So here is a little bit about me…
At the beginning of 2013 I was in my element. I had just celebrated my 27th birthday, finished a huge piece of work and was hungry for the amazing adventures 2013 would bring. I loved my friends, my life, my job, had just started seeing someone and was planning on enjoying some travels through out the year to come. I bounced between the Gold Coast and Brisbane at my heart’s content enjoying beach hangouts, a bit of surfing, nights with friends and simply enjoying life. The biggest medical concern in my life was whether I should get braces or just embrace the smile I had.
I had no idea. I would never have guessed 2013 would be the year I would face the biggest challenge of my life and be front and centre in a fight where there were no rules, no niceties or umpire – my fight against cervical cancer. And believe me when I say, it plays dirty.
I had an inkling something was a little off…a couple of times I had unusual bleeding. I justified this with, ”some girls bleed afterwards”, “my period must be early” and so on until I started to see a little pattern.
I was due for a pap smear anyway so made my way to the doctors with trepidation. I thought through a couple of possibilities. “Oh please don’t be an STD/STI…embarrassing…”, “Cancer? Don’t be stupid, we don’t have a history of cancer in our family”.
15 seconds in I knew it wasn’t good. The doctor’s head shot up and she asked me a question in a high pitched, nervous voice. No need to necessarily worry, she advised me. It could be nothing, but she could see a growth at the base of my cervix and would like it checked by a specialist. Within the week I went through a whirlwind of appointments, tests, scans and a biopsy.
On the 15th of May, the gynaecologist confirmed it was cancer but not what type, so next stop…the gynae-oncologist. Until I knew what we were dealing with I didn’t want to overly concern my parents. No point in us all fretting and not able to do anything about it. When I broke the news I wanted to be talking about solutions right away. So I waited until the gynae-oncology appointment to break it to them. Shell shocked is an understatement. Getting lost on the way to the hospital didn’t help either.
In an odd twist of fate, the same day I was told I had cancer was also the same day I was offered a highly sought after position at work (let’s just say the graceful decline was a little wobbly).
Clear cell cervical cancer was the prognosis. Very unusual, they said. You’re very young, they said. If you had HPV cervical cancer we could cure you with our eyes closed – thanks for that.
And so that was the introduction to something I wouldn’t wish on anyone.