First post – Initial diagnosis.

7 Feb

First posted 15 Jan. http://community.macmillan.org.uk/blogs/b/kaths_cervical_cancer_blog/archive/2013/01/15/first-post-part-1-first-diagnosis.aspx

Hi all,

As vaguely promised, this is a the start of a blog to let you know where I am with my treatment.

I’ll be honest that the whole thing still feels like a bit of a story. I meet lots of doctors, and they all look very serious, and tell me I have to do more and more tests, but it still hasn’t really sunk in I think.

It’ll help me a bit to write it down, but feel free to skim through bits I’ve probably already told lots of you.

The story so far:

I went for a Pap smear in November, and I remember I got a call from the Nurse the day after. I missed the call, and worried myself silly for a day… I finally got in touch and she said ‘oh, just wanted to tell you there was a mild yeast infection, drink some cranberry juice.’ Such a relief – I knew how to deal with that!

When I got a letter a few days later, I really assumed it was just telling me things were ok, and so I opened it without the slightest worry.  It took ages for me to absorb what it said. Severe Dyskaryosis. I did lots of googling, and stressed myself out – which I am sure everyone does when they get a bad result!

Anyway, fast forward to a follow up with a consultant, and after another test (Colposcopyhttp://www.patient.co.uk/health/Colposcopy.htm) he wanted to do a cone biopsy. http://www.bupa.co.uk/individuals/health-information/directory/c/cone-biopsy. While this is called a Biopsy, in most cases it is also a cure – ie they take enough cells to actually remove any cancerous and pre-cancerous cells. In my case they also did a hysteroscopy ( I went to put in a link here, but you know what – you don’t need to know! ) which meant that the whole thing had to be done under a general anaesthetic. Hysteroscopy is basically a test further inside the womb to see if the abnormal cells have gone further. This test came back negative (ie, no abnormal cells in the womb.)

However, the cone biopsy wasn’t curative in my case. There were still CIN3 (pre-cancerous) and cancer cells on the edges of the sample taken, which was then the diagnosis changed to cancer.

That was on 7 December.  I look forward to celebrating the date next year with this whole thing behind me.

Going to Australia

One key thing was that the sample they had had gone through a blood vessel, so I had to get an MRI and a CT scan to ensure it hadn’t spread beyond the cervix. That couldn’t be done for at least 2 weeks from the Cone Biopsy, as my body would still be recovering from the surgery. That would mean the scans would be done around the 20th, and not a huge amount would take place until after Christmas. So.. we decided that we would still go on our holiday to Australia. Not much time would be lost, and there are lots of benefits from getting some family support and sunshine.

Which is why the first thing we did after a cancer diagnosis was go on a three week holiday! It was a fantastic break, and really helped me cope. In a way it also meant I could leave the cancer behind, and in Australia I was healthy. On the flip side, it made coming back that much harder.

MRI and CT Scan

Once we got back on the 29th, I then went for the MRI and CT scans on the 31st. I actually find the science quite interesting, and once I got over a little claustrophobia, the MRI was quite interesting. I had read this great blog post from Ben beforehand, so I did have an idea of what was to come. http://benbbrave.blogspot.co.uk/2011/02/mri-mini-rave-in-isolation.html This reminded me how much I really do like dance music… I must listen to it more often!

The only slightly hard thing was that I had to hold my breath for long periods. Which I didn’t really know about. So no music for me, as I was given regular instructions as to when I could breathe or not.

I actually got the results much faster than expected. All clear! Yay! But.. I think I misinterpreted what that meant. I thought if it hadn’t spread, then it was be definition very small, and could be addressed with a smaller operation. It seems that isn’t the case… or rather, it isn’t definitely the case.

But, back to that later (got to keep the suspense). Next step is IVF info.

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