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In June of 2015, I noticed a lump and went urgently to the hospital for a medical check. I was diagnosed with cancer of uterine neck. I was 41 years old.
While I was waiting for the results, I went on holiday to the beach with my daughter Olivia. I was nervous, but I wanted to enjoy time with my daughter - hug her, play with her, make her laugh. I was afraid I might not be there for her much longer. The day before our holiday ended, I received an urgent call from the hospital. They said I had to be home the following morning. I was trembling as we drove back. The next day I left her with my mother, and my father came with me to the hospital.
My diagnosis was not positive; I had a tumor over 4 cms in the uterine neck and it seemed to have spread to other organs. I was shocked. Why did this happen to me? I usually go to all my gynecologist checks and, I even had cytology that was ok a few months before that. But, the cancer was affecting the endocervix, the part of the cervix closest to the body of the uterus the part that is difficult to be checked with cytology.
My treatment consisted of a combination of radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and brachytherapy. I was shocked because this meant I was not to going be able to have more children but the oncologist told me that this was the least of my worries. Treatment was urgent; it was vital to start the treatment. The week was a frenetic week - no sleep, no tears, just complete shock.
A friend told me to get a second medical opinion from a private hospital. I did not expect any different answer because for me I already knew. I went to see the doctor and he told me that no other organs seemed to be affected. He said that I should have an operation to try and remove the tumor. He said he would do a robotic laparoscopy, and if lymph nodes weren’t affected, that chemotherapy may not be necessary! I was so happy; I could not believe it.
One week later, I had over an 8 hours surgery. The lymph nodes were miraculously unaffected, so I did not have to undergo chemo or any other aggressive treatment. At the end of September, I returned to work. Throughout the end of the year, I was weak, but I could go to work part time and stay active.
Today, I am fine and only have to have regular medical checks. I also have a new member in the family, my little cat Kloe. Looking to the future, I am happy that my daughter Olivia has the ability to prevent this type of cancer with a human papillomavirus vaccine, and I’m happy to continue to watch her grow for many years.
Thanks to everyone who has made advancements in medicine possible that helped me and others survive.
World Cancer Day