Thursday, 24 January 2013

The results and the next stage

I had had some pain in my thighs from the lymph node removal so had asked to see Mr Devaja. I rang my nurse and she told me they wanted to see me anyway so off we went. I was told that one of my lymph nodes had been positive for cancer so it had spread, but that it had been removed during my surgery. The Consultants had all got together for a MDM (Multi disiplinary meeting) and the Oncology Consultant - Dr Jyothirmayi had suggested I undergo some extra treatment to make sure I would be clear of cancer. So an appointment was made for the following week.
We went home with my head spinning as usual.

The following week we went to the Oncology clinic and met Dr Jyothirmayi who I must say is one of the nicest, kindest doctors I have ever met. She advised me to have radiotherapy and chemotherapy. The very words chilled me to the bone. The radiotherapy would consist of 25 sessions everyday, except weekends and the chemo would be every Monday for 8 hours for 5 weeks. The chemo was called Cistplatin and would cause hair thinning, but not hair loss.
I was told to go home and think about it and to come back the following week which was the 20th December 2009. Dylan and I discussed the treatment and researched more into it. It was found that it could cause my Interstitial Cystitis to worsen and cause Radiation Cystitis. I was really concerned about this as my symptoms (being newly diagnosed just 2 months before my cancer diagnosis) were quite bad and hard to live with. I contacted the Urology team and thank goodness my wonderful nurse Emily said she would start me on a bladder instillation through my treatment to line my bladder and would carry on with it after my treatment.

I went back to the hospital and signed up for the treatment. I was told it would begin in February of 2010. Before the treatment could start I had to go for a planning ct scan. This would measure the area and I would have tiny tattoo dots put on my hips and pubic area so the radiotherapy machine could be lined up each day. I was also given a talk about the short term and long term effects of the treatment. It would cause diarrhoea, sickness, soreness akin to sun burn around the area, tiredness, loss of appitite and that was just the radiotherapy! The chemo would cause sickness, diarrhoea and tiredness too. The long term effects I didn't want to really think about, I figured I would deal with them later! So the countdown began.....

The day came. 8:30am appointment at the chemotherapy suite at Maidstone Hospital. You are not allowed to have someone stay with you as space is limited. You are given a reclining chair (which is quite comfy) and you have a little table. You have to drink absolutely loads and measure everything that goes in and comes out!
My veins ran and hid so I had to put my hand into a bucket of warm water to encourage the veins to appear.
The nurse put an IV line into my left wrist and attached a bag of fluid. Firstly a litre of fluid had to go in and I had to start drinking and drinking so my kidneys would not be affected. I was given steroids to take and some anti sickness medication. They gave me a dvd player and some headphones and I watched chick flicks through the whole process. Luckily I had my phone too so I could text Dylan at home.
I have never pee'd so much in my life! It was constant!
Next a bag of anti sickness and steroids went up. so far so good. Then the chemo. I just kept imagining this poison going through my body and wondering how this could be helping me.
The nurse brought me some lunch, which was a sandwich, bag of crisps, fruit and a cup of tea. By now I was reclined on my chair, with my dvd and a blanket. I slept a while (inbetween peeing and drinking). After the chemo had gone through it was time for another bag of fluid.
I began to feel a bit strange. My limbs were very heavy and I had an awful taste in my mouth, all of which were "normal".
When the fluid had finished I was told I could leave and go to my first radiotherapy appointment. I went to the radiotherapy waiting room feeling heavier by the minute and rang Dylan so he could collect me. I was lucky we lived about 10 minutes from the hospital, some people I met had to travel miles everyday for their treatment.
I was called into the room. The room is very large and in the middle is a couch/table. You lie on this with your bottom half exposed save a piece of blue paper towel. The staff then line up the machine with your tattoo dots and also draw all over you too! The machine is called a Linear accelearator and as you lie on the couch it moves around you. In the case of pelvic radiotherapy it began on my left side, moved above me to do my tummy, round to the right and then underneath. The whole process doesn't take long (about 15 to 20 minutes) and there is a flat screen tv showing you images of cute animals and ocean scenes lol.
By now I was absolutely knackered and was glad to get home. By now I felt very sick and very strange. I was restless and had very bad muscle tension. My colour was a healthy grey colour too.

The following day I went for my next session of radiotherapy and felt absolutely awful. By the Wednesday I couldn't take anymore. I was sure it was the chemo making me feel so awful so I told my Dr at my mid week checkup that I wasn't having it anymore! He agreed to reduce the amount by a few units. By Sunday I began to feel normal again, ready for the next dose the following day.
The chemo nurses asked me how I was so I told them. The Sister said "Oh that'll be the Metoclopromide (anti sickness drug) making you feel awful, we will get that changed". She got a different drug prescribed and she was right. I still felt terrible, but the restlessness and muscle tension had gone!
The next nasty symptom appeared in the 2nd week. Every Friday night until Sunday morning I had chronic diarrhoea to the point that at some points I couldn't leave the loo it was so bad. We only had one loo too so poor Dylan & Glen had to hang on!

I have never felt so ill. I could not understand how other people having chemo everyday coped. I spent most of my time in bed. I could hardly speak as I felt so sick all the time. I was marking off the days until the end of my treatment and the end couldn't come quick enough.

Eventually after 5 weeks, 15 dvd's, 5 hospital lunches and about 25 toilet rolls it finished.

I NEVER want to go through that again!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

The Following Days

Hot flushes. Bloody hell. Instant menopause, fabulous. Luckily Mr Devaja prescribed HRT right away. I was glad as there had been a possibility because of the history of Breast Cancer in my family that I wouldn't be allowed it.
I feel different somehow. Don't know how to describe it. In my mind there is just a space where my womb used to be. I will never produce any eggs, never have a period again. Some people said "Oh lucky you, no periods ever again", but periods in a woman show you your body is working properly and that you are "normal".

The doctors told me they had got all the tumour and surrounding tissue, but I had to wait to get the results of the lymph nodes they removed.

I started to move around a bit more and even managed a bath. By now all the tubes were out of my neck and belly and the catheter had been removed. I still had a couple of lines in my arm for different medications. pain relief wise I was taking Paracetamol and Oramorph, which tastes absolutely foul.
On the Monday I started to feel very ill. I felt like I was coming down with a really bad dose of flu. I had a temperature, was shivering uncontrollably and was in a lot of pain on my left side in my pelvis. The nurses bleeped the drs as my temp was so high I was hallucinating. Mr Devaja came and booked me in for an immediate CT scan. I had more bloods taken and they called Dylan in.
I went for the scan and it revealed I had a collection of fluid sitting in my pelvis, which appeared to be infected. They needed to aspirate it as soon as possible so straight away I went down to ultrasound. The Consultant met me there and explained what he was going to do. He was going to use the ultrasound to guide him while he inserted a long needle into my vagina and through the wall to where the fluid was sitting. This needed to be done immediately and I would have to have it done with no anaesthetic. Lovely.
Dylan stood behind me and held both my hands. The pain was absolutely unbearable, probably the worst pain I have ever experienced. I swore at the top of my voice. The poor patients sitting outside waiting for their painless ultrasounds must of wondered what the hell was going on! The procedure took 10 minutes and was hell. But afterwards apart from the pain from the procedure my temperature had gone and I felt 80% better. The nurses gave me a sticker which read "I've been brave!" LOL.

We went back to the ward and had a visit from our good friend Darren. He is an ambulance technician and was at the hospital working. Thank God he visited then and not 40 minutes earlier as I wouldn't have even known him!

The nurses gave me some morphine IV and I slept peacefully for the first time in ages!

A few more days went by and I had visits from my Mum & Dad in-law, brother in-law, brother, Aunty, Nan and Sam & Jo from work. One night my in-laws and I planned our ideal dinner party choosing people like Grace Kelly and Stephen Fry to attend! It was good not to think of what was to come for a while.
The ward was very busy and there was a very noisy woman opposite me. She had come in with a urine infection. She had her husband and kids to visit during the day and her boyfriend at night! That gave us all something to gossip about.

On the Thursday a week after my operation I was allowed home. Dylan came to collect me and the first thing I did was have a bath.
I spent the next few days in agony as I was very constipated and the pain was awful. That thankfully passed and I began to get a little more mobile.

I just have the wait now for the lymph node results.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Operation Part 2 and the next day

I remember someone shaking me "Mary, wake up it's all over now". I didn't open my eyes. "Mary, open your eyes love". I remember thinking I wish you would bugger off! The recovery nurse was insistent that I had to open my eyes so I compromised and opened one. She laughed and told me that Sandra had gone off duty and would come and see me on the ward later. I asked what the time was and they told me it was 9pm! She said my surgery had lasted 6 and a half hours and I had been in recovery since 19:30 as I wouldn't wake up.
I felt so so sick and just wanted to be left alone. No chance. I had nurses checking my stomach, shining torches in my eyes, blood pressure machine going up and down on my arm, heart monitor bleeping.
Eventually they wheeled me out of the recovery room. I don't remember anything until I was wheeled onto the ward. I looked at the clock and it was 21:30. I thought "Where's Dylan?" then went back to sleep. I woke up again and Dylan was holding my hand. He had really cold hands so I put one on my forehead. I still felt sick and couldn't speak without heaving. It seemed like 5 minutes, but after a hour Dylan told me he was going to let me rest and go home. I said "I feel sick", so he got me a bowl. I was dramactically sick everywhere, which hurt my stomach and looked to see my vomit was bright green. The nurse told Dylan it was bile. Of course it wasn't it was the Sentinel dye I had been injected with.
I started crying as I hate being sick and didn't want Dylan to leave. Eventually he went and I slept on and off having very strange dreams and feeling very poorly.
I couldn't move my head from side to side as the CVP line in my neck had been stuck down with tape which was stuck to my jaw and neck restricting my movement. So I just tried to lay still and relax, which was easier said than done.

The next morning and I realised just how many tubes there were! I had 3 drains in my stomach, a drip in my arm which filtered off into 3 separate lines with antibiotics, fluids and pain relief, a drip into my neck and a catheter leading to a urine collection bag full of bright green wee (again from the Sentinel dye). Moving wasn't really an option as it felt like someone had literally ripped out my stomach. I still felt sick and was itchy as hell from the diamorphine i had been given in theatre.

A nurse came to check on me and said I could have some water and a cup of tea if I wanted. I had some sips of water, but the tea really made me heave so I left that. Another nurse came to take a blood gas sample from the line in my neck. I remember she had really strong perfume on - note to health care professionals strong aftershave and perfume is not good when you feel sick!

Another few hours passed and daylight came. I am still alive, I feel like absolute crap, but I am still alive. The Ward Sister came over and told me Dylan was on the phone. She asked me what I wanted her to tell him. I said "Tell him I am ok but I feel like shit!" She asked if she could actually say that to him, I said yes he will laugh. She came back and told me he had said that sounded like me and to tell me he loved me and the shed roof had blown off! Fabulous.

A nurse came over and told me it was time to have a wash. I had to get out of bed and stand up straight. Yeah right love! She helped me wash my face and top half and advised me to keep a clean gown on rather then my own nightie as I still had drains in etc. She washed my front and back and then my legs. She asked if I had any cream to moisturise my legs as this would help circulation as I had had lymph nodes removed - 29 in total - in my groin and upper legs. I told my Mum in law had got me some Champneys stuff so she went to my locker to find it. She put it on my legs and then told me I had to stand up. Bloody hell. I was dizzy as hell, felt sick, was in pain and they wanted to get me out of bed.
So legs off the edge and up I got. I managed to stand up straight and then sat in the chair. The nurse changed my bed and I was allowed back into it.

I fell asleep again and woke up absolutely covered in sweat, feeling as though I was on fire. This was the immediate effect of the removal of my ovaries and was awful. The nurse brought over a fan and I went back to sleep again.

About a hour later I woke up again covered in blood. There were clots over me and blood soaking through the sheets. I rang my bell. The nurse came over and said "Oh dear". My drain had come loose and where they had injected me with Heparin to thin my blood it had gone everywhere. Panic ensued and the bed was stripped and pressure put on my wound. The drain was fixed into place again and I went back to sleep!
About 20 minutes later I woke up again and was covered in blood again. I rang the bell and this time the Registrar was called. He removed the drain which felt like someone pulling a 10 foot hose out of my belly. He then had to stitch the wound. There was blood everywhere and I began to feel very faint. The other Doctor was brilliant. he held my hand and kept me talking while the Registrar worked to stem the bleeding. I had oxygen and just kept taking deep breaths. Eventually it was all done. And I went back to sleep LOL.

Mark the anaesthetist came to see me to check on my pain relief. I told him I had been sick and I still felt sick. He laughed and apologised and told me that I had been under for about 6 hours so it was no wonder. He prescribed some Piriton for the itching and more anti-sickness medication. The nurse came to give me some Cyclizene through my drip for the sickness. It is awful stuff and makes you feel like you are floating and spaced out. The nurse put it in really slowly, but it still made me feel awful. The Piriton however was lovely and knocked me out.

I tried some tea again and the nurse brought me some toast. It was quite nice. For the rest of the day I mostly slept on and off.

Dylan and Glen came to see me along with my brother James and my brother in law Justin. They went to get a coffee and Glen stayed with me. He held my hand and told me about his science GCSE. I snoozed off and on through their visit! Dylan told me that I didn't look too bad. I felt like absolute crap!!
They left and I slept again.

My next visitors were my Mum & Dad inlaw. Mum sat and held my hand and chatted to me. My friends Elaine & Cathy also came. They had brought me flowers, which they had to take away again as they weren't allowed on the ward, chocolate and a huge chocolate muffin, which I made my dad inlaw take as it made me want to upchuck just looking at it!

That night I had really broken uncomfortable sleep. I still had tubes and drips etc poking out of here, there and everywhere. But I was still alive so onwards and upwards.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Operation Part 1

So the next two weeks passed with a few more appointments including a pre assessment clinic to ensure I was ready for surgery and a MRI scan at the old Pembury Hospital where funnily enough I was born! The pre assessment was to check bloods, urine, height, weight, MRSA swabs etc and to book a bed on Intensive Care should I need it. They gave me some more literature to read about the actual op and about Peale Ward where I would be looked after. They explained I would have a line inserted into my neck - a CVP - so bloods could be taken and blood gases taken etc with ease and I would have drains in my stomach and a catheter. My surgeon Mr Devaja was planning for the operation to be done keyhole where he would make 2 insicions either side of my tummy and use tools to cut away all the tumour and surrounding tissue, ovaries, top of vagina, uterus and pelvic tissue. My womb would act as a kind of "pocket" to put everything in and this would be removed vaginally. If need be though he would revert to open surgery, but he promised not to unless absolutely necessary.
I actually watched the same operation as mine on You Tube before I went in! Well you know how nosey I am.
My MRI scan was just to get markers etc and to check nothing had changed. I listened to Kings of Leon again and was in there so long the CD began playing over again.

I was going to write a section on the nasty comments I received from 2 work colleagues, but then I  thought no sod them. These two women have no part in my life and therefore warrant no part in my present or future.

I went for an appointment at the Family Planning clinic (which was lovely - NOT) to have my contraceptive implant removed and had an appointment with my GP who was very good and asked if Dylan & Glen were ok and that if they needed anything to let him know.

So the day dawned. 18th November 2009. 22 days after I was diagnosed with Cervical Cancer I was going to hospital to have it all removed along with my ability to carry another child. I was worried about feeling less of a woman and was worried about the effect on my sex life to be blunt. I am 36 yrs old and have a lot of years left yet!
My brother stayed the night before so he could see Glen off to school the next morning. Glen had a science GCSE that day, but the school had contacted the examination board to let them know as in special circumstances you can get special dispensation. I said goodbye to them both. Leaving Glen was very hard and I tried my hardest not to cry, but blubbed in the car all the way along the M20. we didn't listen to the radio as I didn't want any songs in my head for the day lol.
We made our way along the corridor to the Admissions Unit stopping to take a call from my Nana on the way which again made me cry. We waited in the unit for a little while and then Mark the anaesthetist came to see me. He told me he would give me a strong pre med before going to theatre and would give me plenty of pain relief and anti sickness medication while I was asleep. The predicted time of the operation was 4 hours. I thanked him and begged him "Please don't let me feel sick!" He promised to do his best.
I was then sent down to the gynae oncology office and treatment room. I was to have a Sentinel procedure. This procedure was only carried out for Cervical Cancer at Maidstone Hospital & the London Bridge Clinic, but was carried out nationwide for breast cancer. It involves a green radioactive dye being injected into the cervix. This then "lights" up the lymph node chains by clinging to the Sentinel Node or main node to enable the surgeon to remove the correct nodes that may be affected. This prevents the need for each chain of nodes to be sent for a quick analysis while you lie in theatre. I was sent off with my huge bundle of notes in a brown paper bag.
I went into the treatment room with Mr Devaja, a radiographer and Keli (Mcmillan Nurse). Dylan had to wait outside as the room was so small. I laid in a chair with my legs in "rests" and assumed the usual position! The radioactive dye was injected directly into my cervix with no anaesthetic, which was very pleasant! I came out of the room walking like John Wayne. Dylan hadn't realised the dye was going into my cervix, he thought it was just going into my vein in my arm so he gave me a huge delicate hug. We sat in the waiting room and by now I had my dressing gown and slippers on which those of you that know me well know this would have been heaven as I love my dressing gown. I was warned my skin may have a green hue and my wee may be green.
We waited to be called along to nuclear medicine to have a scan to see if the dye had taken. within the hour I was wheeled along to have the scan. They were all lovely along there and kept apologising for keeping me waiting. It was now 12:30pm and my operation was schelduled for 1pm and I hadn't been to the ward or had my pre med yet, but I was actually quite calm.

After the scan which confirmed everything was lit up as it should be I went along to Peale Ward. I had been on that ward when I had my bladder op 2 months previously so I knew the staff on there. I was shown to my bed and a student nurse began to complete some paperwork. She was asking about previous illness and medical history. Well the only history I had was gynae problems including Poly Cystic Ovaries & Endometriosis along with the bladder issues. The gynae problems would all be removed within the next few hours so I didn't see the point in going over them to be honest. I was saved from the paperwork by the porter turning up to take me to theatre. The nurse rushed over as apparently by law I had to do a pregnancy test! I mean what would I have done had it been positive? What a situation. Of course it was negative, I had only had my implant removed yesterday.

I got on the bed and panic set in. I was crying uncontrollably as I was wheeled along the corridor. I hadn't had my pre med so wasn't calm at all. I passed Sandra (the recovery nurse who had looked after me before) in the corridor and she later told me that she had never seen anyone so frightened. Dylan came into the first part of the reception area and cuddled me. He was sobbing, I was sobbing, the 2 nurses were crying. I have never wanted to hold onto Dylan so much in my life. He had to let me go and I now realise how tough it must have been for him to walk away and be alone. I had staff all around me taking care of me, but he had to walk back down the corridor and drive home alone.

I was checked over and wheeled down to theatre. Mark apologised for me not having my pre med and gave it to me then and there in my vein. The nurses gave me tissues and encouraged me to blow my nose so I didn't go to sleep snotty.
Mark told me the anaethetic was going in and I feel asleep.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Staging and before the main operation

Squeamish or don't want to read about intimate operations? Don't read!

So another week went by and I got on with mundane things like washing, hoovering not cooking obviously!  I stopped going to work as I couldn't cope with trying to concentrate on one task at a time.
Had lots of phone calls and texts from different people to see if I was ok. I sound really selfish now but not alot of people asked how Dylan was. I think that people assumed he would cope.
Poor old D whenever I am worried about something I always look to him, forgetting that he might be scared too. When we go on an aeroplane or ferry I question him about noises and if everything is normal and am not happy until he reassures me. The other day at Thorpe Park he had to talk me all the way round a ride as I was shitting myself! Pathetic I know but he is my rock and I forget that he can't make everything better all the time. I wanted him to just say "Yes you will be fine" and really mean it. Of course he couldn't be sure, no-one could.
The days passed in a daze really. We went for walks and spent a lot of time snuggled up talking about stupid things.

The day of my first procedure arrived. We made our way up to the Admissions unit at Maidstone Hospital. Booked in and waited for the anaethetist (spelling?) to come and see me. His name was Mark and I explained to him that I was totally phobic about being sick. He laughed not in a horrible way , but was surprised that being sick was the thing worrying me most considering why I was there! When I was 11 I had my appendix removed. I was laying down and told the nurse I wanted to be sick. I couldn't sit up and the nurse told me not to be silly that I wouldn't be sick as my tummy was empty. I promptly threw up and choked. My Grandad came rushing in and pulled me up, but since then I am phobic about being sick. I hate feeling sick too.
When I had had my bladder op a few months ago I had had a spinal block with a little sedation, so Mark agreed I could have that again, but he said I had to have heavy sedation, because of the nature of my op. I agreed relieved that I wouldn't have to be knocked out totally.
Mr Devaja (Gynae-Oncologist) came to see me and explained what would happen. He said I would have my legs put into stirrups (fun) and they would use a spectulum so they could see my cervix clearly. They would use an ultrasound on my belly and a camera inside to look around, measure my tumour and see if there was any spread. What a lovely way to spend a wednesday morning!
So I walked down to theatre with the nurse and Dylan and had a good cry. Dylan gave me a hug and kiss and promised he would be back for me.
The theatre nurse checked everything on my notes and asked me if i knew why I was there. I said I did. I was walked down to the anaesthetic room and sat on the edge of the bed with my feet on a stool. I had an implant in my arm as a contraceptive so they had to put the blood pressure machine around myright arm and the needle into my left hand. My veins of course ran away as soon as the dr came near me! Eventually the sedation went in and I felt a little woozy. they inserted the spinal block and laid me down. I was wheeled into the theatre and could hear Kings of Leon "Use Somebody" being played. I remember telling the nurse I liked it and then nothing. The next thing I recall was waking up in the recovery room. my recovery nurse was Sandra who I had known for years as she was the midwife who delivered my younger brother. She checked me over and had to clean me up as where I had had a spinal I wet myself as I had no feeling. They hadn't put a catheter in because of my bladder problem. It was very embarassing but couldn't be helped. She saved me a lunch to take to the ward with me (it was like a little happy meal box!) and she called Dylan to let him know I was ok.

I left the recovery room and was wheeled along to Whitehead ward as this was the only place in the hospital that had a bed. The nurses I am afraid were not very good. Dylan arrived and had to clena me up again as I had wet the bed again. I burst into tears. Dylan had seen me at my worst, but this! He hugged me, kissed my head and told me to stop being silly. He went out to the nurses and asked why I had been left and they said "Oh she should have called us". I would have done but couldn't reach my bell and was numb from the waist down!
We sat there for hours and eventually my legs started to come back to life. No nurses came to check on me at all, even though I had asked for pain killers and something to stop the itching caused by the Diamorphine. I had no energy to complain and just wanted to go.
The guy in the bed opposite kept coming to the end of my bed where the TV was situated and banging on the TV trying to get it to work and me and D were getting more and more annoyed. I asked D to help me up. I still was a little numb, but managed to walk to the loo.
We found a nurse and asked her to call the Dr to see if I could go home. He came and asked why my drip was off. Not a clue I replied! he went off to "have a word" with the nurses, came back and apologised and let me go!
Before I went he told me that my cancer was still there (boo) and was a Grade 2 Stage 1b1 Cervical Adenocarcinoma and so far it hasn't spread. Wow it has a name, but I still call the tumour Fred.
We got home and I slept. No better off or worse off then I was this morning.

I still have cancer, but I have amazing people around me to help me through.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

The Following Days

This next blog contains information about procedures and women's things LOL. If you are easily offended or squeamish don't read!

Didn't sleep too well as you can imagine. Snuggled up to Dylan for most of the night and cried. It hurts so much seeing Dylan so upset. He just keeps crying and I can't make it better. I can't think of the what if's I simply have to survive this and fight it as hard as I can.
Glen is ok, I don't really think he understands, but he is quite a private person and we later found out he had told no-one at school what was happening.

Today is the 28th October. It is my brother James' birthday and he is coming over to sit with Glen while I go for a CT Scan at the hospital and chest xray. It is amazing that once you have cancer written on your notes how quickly you get tests done!

Before I went to the hospital I had to make some phone calls. Firstly I rang Michelle. She cried, I cried and it was one of the hardest phone calls I had to make. Later on at the hospital we saw Darren and he told us that Michelle had rung him in tears. Hate hearing that my friends and family are sad. Next I rang Elaine. she has battled breast cancer twice so I knew that she would know exactly how I felt.
The previous day I had had a visit from my Aunty Marg. She had been in Asda shopping when I rang her and came straight over. Together we rang my Nan (she had also beat Breast Cancer). Nana said "Whatever they offer you take it, don't give up". I took her advice!
I decided instead of calling other people I would text. I apologised that people were receiving such crap news in a text, but ringing everyone would have been exhausting.
I rang Glen's school however as I needed to know he would be looked after. It was half term so at least he had some time with us.

I have cancer. The words are really easy to say. I don't feel ill, but somehow this morning I feel different. Is everyone looking at me knowing what is growing inside me? I can't imagine that I have a tumour, I am thinking of it as just some cells. If I picture it as a tumour it becomes too scary.
D and I went off for my scan. I changed into a rather fetching gown and posed for a photo opportunity! I had a needle put into the back of my hand so they could later inject dye. The nurse doing it asked why I was having the scan. I replied "I have cancer". See really easy to say, not to easy to sink in.
I laid on the couch. went through the "doughnut" and listened to the instructions from the radiographer. "Breathe in, hold it, breathe away". Then the dye was injected. Not a pleasant experience. It makes your head warm, your mouth dry and also makes you feel like you have wet yourself. With my exsisting bladder problem that is not a feeling you want when you haven't got your tena lady on LOL.
After the scan I had a chest x ray to see if there was any spread and to check if I was ok to go for surgery.

We left the hospital and drove home. we collected James and Glen and decided to go out for lunch somewhere. We went to the Village Hotel, but James had no signal on his phone there and was on call, so we tried the 2 for 1 at notcutts and were told we had to wait a hour. so then we tried the Early Bird at Tesco, but they had stopped serving food as by now it was 3pm. so we went into Tesco bought some Gammon steaks and D cooked at home.

For most of the evening I slept on and off. Tomorrow I have my appointment with Mr Devaja the Gynae-Oncologist. Maybe he will tell me it has all been a mistake and there is no cancer.

Thursday morning the 29th. Glen stayed at home on his X Box and me and D went back to the hospital. Luckily we only live down the road so it's not far. We went to the Peggy Wood Breast Clinic where the appt was to be held. I had to fill in the first of many forms. One question which in the following weeks/months/years I would never have to worry about again "Are you pregnant?"
The clinic was running behind so the nurse told us to go and have a cuppa and come back. Those hospital corridors are mighty long when you are in a daze.

We went back to the clinic and were called in. Mr Devaja greeted us (he is rather easy on the eye!) and introduced us to Nellie and Keli the Mcmillan nurses. He went through my notes and confirmed that yes I did have cancer and it was the rare form of Cervical Cancer. Well it would be wouldn't it!?
He said the tumour (the first time I had heard that word) was behind my cervix and that is why Mr Goodman had been so sure that I didn't have it. He drew a diagram and then he told me my options. Well there was only really one. A Radical Hysterectomy. This next bit is a bit personal so if you want skip it! A radical hysterectomy is what it says "Radical". I would have my womb, ovaries, pelvic tissue and the top of my vagina removed. This would help insure the cancer would not return. He asked if we had finished our family. D and I had spoken about it. We had a 15 yr old and hadn't been successful in having any more children. Many of you know how many times we tried! There was a fleeting thought that maybe I could have one more child, but it wasn't that realistic.
Do you know hard it is to be told your child bearing days are over when you are 36? I could never give Dylan another child, ever.
Dylan said he would rather have me then a child he didn't know and that we had Glen, but it was still a tough decision.

So an appointment was made for the following Wednesday to measure my tumour. I would be in for the day and they would examine me internally and "stage" my tumour. This is when you find out what stage your cancer is and how big your tumour is and if it has spread. I then went for more bloods and another chest x ray.

So home again. Home to think, but not of the what if's. I am going to have surgery. It will be scary. It will be hard, but I will not give up. I am a Mum, Wife, Sister, daughter-inlaw, Grandaughter, Niece, Cousin and Friend I have too much I still need to do.
You notice I didn't say I am a daughter. That is because I have nothing to do with my Mother and my father is dead. even now my Mother does not know I have had cancer.

So hospital next Wednesday for the start of many visits! My head is all over the place. I am still not ill but I have cancer.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

The beginning

I went for my routine smear test on 11th August 2009. The nurse had a problem taking the smear and I remember having to put my fists under my bum!
I didn't worry too much and went away and got on with life.
At the end of August I had to go into hospital for a Bladder distension operation. I had been diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis and it was felt that this procedure would help me. I had the operation and was discharged just before my 2nd wedding anniversary. We went out for a meal and had a nice time.
I received a letter from the clinic at the hospital asking me to attend as my smear had shown abnormalities. I didn't worry too much as I had had abnormal smears before. I went along and had biopsies taken (not something I enjoyed!). My husband Dylan came with me and held my hand whilst watching on the screen what the Dr was doing!
The Consultant Mr Goodman told me that my cervix looked ok, but the cells he had taken looked like they were pre cancerous. He wanted to treat me then and there, but because I had not long had my bladder distension he said he would wait as two procedures so close together would not be beneficial.
So we went home and then we had a week away in Scotland.

On my return from holiday I received a phone call on the 23rd October 2009 from Mr Goodman's secretary asking me to return to the clinic on the following Tuesday. I asked why and she told me that he wanted to have another look. I remember the phone call as we had been out to buy a cooker that day.

Tuesday 27th October 2009 came and we set off for the hospital. As we neared the clinic I suddenly felt sick and began to cry. I hadn't thought up until then what could be wrong. We carried on past the clinic and went to the Hearing Aid clinic to collect some batteries for our sons hearing aids. Next we went to the sweet shop and bought 2 Star Bars!
We went back to the clinic and I felt even more scared when the Consultant himself came out to the waiting room to collect me. My husband and I went to the consultation room and sat down. there was a nurse present.
Mr Goodman told me that they had found cancer in my biopsies and that I had Cervical Cancer. Everything after that washed over me and I felt like I was in a tunnel. Mr Goodman said he wasn't convinced that I had cancer, but the pathologist was certain. Mr Goodman said that the machine could have mixed my results up and that we wouldn't want the press finding out if there had been a mix up! Dylan got a litle annoyed at this point!
We went back to the clinic room to have more biopsies. I remember on the radio was playing "Time of my life" from Dirty dancing. The nurse next to me kept rubbing my shoulder and saying "Ah". She was very annoying! Dylan felt ill and had to sit down. He was very pale and looked like he was going to faint.
Mr Goodman took more biopsies and said my cervix was very tough indicating there was cancer there. He was more convinced I had cancer after this examination.
Mr Goodman made me an appointment with a Gynae-Oncologist - Mr Devaja for the 29th October and sent me to have bloods taken.

We went home and had to break the news to our son who at the time was 15 yrs old. We also rang my in-laws and my family. That evening we went to my in-laws and spent the evening there with them. I drank some wine and slept on and off.
We came home and ate the Star Bars we had bought earlier!