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Monthly Archives: October 2012

I still have a stage 1B2 cervical adenocarcinoma. It’s well defined, it isn’t trying to expand into any other organ or tissue, it hasn’t metastasised. It’s just pretty big at 6.8cm in length/diameter/however they measure it.

as a consequence, i can’t just have a hysterectomy to remove it. i have to go the long haul way; i have to go through chemo-radiotherapy, which made me cry when they told me. as well as sounding scary, it just brought up a million images of being really poorly, of throwing up, of being bedridden, of losing my hair. it really freaked me out.

but now i’ve had my first trip to The Christie, and it went well. i’ll be having four weeks worth of radiotherapy, monday to friday with the weekend off, and every wednesday will be chemo day. then after that i will have two more weeks where i have a session of internal radiation as an in-patient. and then i will be finished. in six or seven weeks, i will be done with my treatment and the doctors have said i will be cancer free. i have another check up six weeks after that, then a scan three months after the end of the treatment to check. but they seem really optimistic still that they are going to get rid of it for me.

which is good because when they feel optimistic, i feel optimistic. i lost my hope last week somewhere between a&e and bed number 19 at Oldham Royal, but i feel like i got it back yesterday. i’ve been up and about instead of lying in bed. and i feel happy, if that’s possible in my situation.

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Yesterday was my first appointment at The Christie hospital.

I felt awful in the morning, and I didn’t want to get up, could barely get myself dressed, and wanted to curl up into a ball and stay there. The nausea I had was terrible, and the tablets they gave me at the hospital weren’t working too well. I managed to pull myself together enough to get ready and out into the car along with my husband, and my mum who had insisted on coming with us. Then I cried silently to myself pretty much all the way there. Part of it was self pity I guess, the other, the sickness driving me mad by this point. I also had this overwhelming feeling that this was it. This was the point where it would start to feel real. Because for the best part, I’ve been sitting there asking myself if this is really happening. Because after being told that I had Cancer, I didn’t feel any different. And I expected that I should feel different. And all I had felt was maybe a little numb; not anywhere near the hysterical woman I thought I’d be.

We got to the hospital on time, checked into our reception, and after a short wait were shown into a room where we waited for the Dr. One of the registrars came in to see us, and went through the history of this – I am so tired of going through the history of how long I have had the symptoms and how long I’ve been trying to get this seen to and how many times I’ve been in hospital and how I found out I have Cancer. I laid on the bed in there because I’d brought two supporters, not just the one normal people take with them, and there were only two chairs. And as I laid there, she assured me she would give me something to stop me feeling so sick all the time, she said she would give me something to top the bleeding, and she told me they were looking to ‘cure’ me. And that my treatments would be done by the end of the year. By the time she finished talking to me and I was waiting to be called in for the pre-treatment blood tests I felt a million times better. I still felt weak, and I still felt sick, but I could cope with it. I don’t know, I guess she gave me hope again. I guess I’d lost it somewhere between A&E and bed number 19.

I went home, and I managed to eat. And then in the afternoon we had to go back – just me and my husband this time, to go through my pre-radiation scan. I still felt better. I didn’t feel so sick any more. Even when I had to drink the aniseed flavour iodine solution I didn’t throw up. I signed the consent forms, got my three pinpoint tattoos, ready to start the radiotherapy treatments and got to go home again.

At home, the good feeling carried on. Sure, I went straight to bed until my dinner was ready, but I got up for food – a first in a while. I helped to set the table – something I haven’t been able to do for at least a month. And I managed to eat most of the stew my mum had brought round for me. I did really well, even if I do say so myself.

I’ve been the same today. I’ve been up and about equal to the time I’ve spent sleeping. I’ve been making sure I have enough to eat and have even been snacking on sweets in the house. I feel like I’ve turned a corner and that everything is going to be okay. If I can get up in the daytime and play with my son like I have today then my quality of life is a hundred times better than before I went into hospital last week where I stayed in bed twenty-three hours of the day. Better for me and better for my son, and better for my husband and better for my mum. I don’t know if it’s because I have the start date for my treatment now, or if it’s just the new medicine so I don’t feel sick. Or if it’s the knowledge that my doctor expects my Cancer to be gone by the New Year. The thought that I will eventually get my life back as opposed to it just being a waiting game. The fact that I have dates now in my diary are important to me. I can begin to plan things now. I have something to tell the people who are wishing me well and asking how I am doing. It just feels good to me. I have something to aim for.

And it feels good.

 

It’s been a day over three weeks since I was first told I had cancer, and I can safely say now, the worst part of this has been the waiting. It’s all I seem to have done for the last three weeks; wait for appointments, for the MRI scan, for the first week’s MDT, for a CT scan, for the second MDT, for the diagnosis, for blood transfusions, and to be told how my cancer is going to be tackled. And after being told I have a Cervical Adenocarcinoma of 6.8cm which is to be dealt with by means of chemo-radiation, I’m waiting on another appointment at the Christie in Manchester with the person who will be my doctor there; again, this isn’t to start treatment, it’s to discuss it. And all the while I’m here dying to get this thing out of me, dying to have it gone, dying to be able to get back to a normal life again.

Except I’m coming to realise that now I have cancer, my life will never be normal again.

At first, I thought I would be given a radical hysterectomy. Even though this came as a shock, I could deal with it. I could resign myself to losing my cervix, my uterus, my ovaries and pelvic lymph nodes. Because the cancer would be going with it. It would be one operation and then it would be gone. It wouldn’t be able to come back. And in a couple of months I’d be back to as near normal as possible, maybe back in work even. But because of the size of this thing, a hysterectomy isn’t an option anymore and I’m facing the hard slog now. I don’t get to do this quickly and quietly and privately anymore. Now I have to have chemo. I’m going to get sick. My hair is going to fall out and anyone who sees me over the next few months or however long this is going to take is going to know. All of my friends. All of my family. All of my neighbours. The teachers at school, the people I work with, the people at the supermarket. They’ll all know that I have cancer just by looking at me. It’s no longer a private battle. And it’s going to suck.

and i’m feeling a little bit positive still.

i’m not long back from seeing my oncologist. he said that i have a rather odd tumour, and that because of it’s placement the MDT (multi-disciplinary team) need me to have a CT scan to see whether it did originate on my cervix or whether it has grown there because i have cancer elsewhere. I expected it to be in a week’s time or so but no, it’s on Monday – the next available day. and then it will hit next Wednesday’s MDT meeting and i’ve been assured i’ll know exactly where i stand on Thursday next week.

right now, i have Stage 1B2 Cervical Adenocarcinoma.

i hope it stays that way.

i should have known earlier. i guess i kind of did. the pains in my abdomen, the ache in my back. the blood. the infertility. i should have made it clearer to my doctor. i shouldn’t have let myself be talked into it being something normal that losing a little bit of weight would fix. that it was just something to do with my age. i should have fought for more tests. i should have gone private sooner. i should have known.

i went into A&E a couple of weeks ago with the bleeding. the dr took away a sample and put me on medication and i didn’t hear anything back. but two weeks later i had a reaction to the medication and ended up back in A&E where they examined me for a second time. and a third time. and a fourth.

i have been diagnosed with Cervical Adenocarcinoma.

i have a tumour the size of an apricot. by my reckoning i’ve had it for maybe nine months, though it could be longer. i’ve had my MRI scan to see if it has spread. and i have another five days to go until i find out what stage it is at, what my treatments will be. what my chances of seeing my son grow up will be.

my heart is aching for my future with my son, but otherwise i feel calm. otherwise i feel numb. i see the people around me trying to make the best of it. telling me i have to think positive, telling me i can beat this. asking me how i feel. asking me if i’m okay.

and i guess i am. i am okay. right now. while i don’t know. while i can still think of this thing inside me as an isolated tumour that they can cut out. sure, it means no more children. there’s nothing they can do to save that.

i feel like i’m in a dream.

if i am, i want to wake up.