Phew……

Great news today. My CT scan yesterday (how many people does it take to find a vein ? …… 4) was ‘hot reported’ so I got the results today over the phone.

‘Nothing nasty found but your back has certainly been doing some hard work’

Will still need MRI next week to get a more detailed picture of my lumbar spine.

Now I have that answer I can write about all the things I wanted to write before but was too scared to.

I’ve been doing WAY too much googling. If you’re a fellow CC girl and you don’t want to know ‘stuff’ stop reading now!!

Recurrent cervical cancer is incredibly hard to detect. Yes we all obediently go along for our check ups. But the vast majority of recurrences are found by investigating symptoms. I.e the patient says ‘I’ve got xyz’ rather than them being found at check up.  The symptoms are all rather subtle and one of them is hip/leg/buttock/back pain usually unilateral. Oh HELLO!!!!!!

We still still don’t know exactly whats causing my pain but it would appear that something is pressing on a nerve from my symptoms . What we do know is that ‘something’ isn’t a tumour.

When cervical cancer comes back it is a grim prognosis. This of course is dependant on previous treatment. If you’ve already had radio you can’t have it again. I haven’t so this was an option but it is also dependant on where it comes back. Some places are not suitable for radio even if you hadn’t had it before. There is an operation called a pelvic exteneration. 10% die on the table, 70% die in 5 years and you lose your bladder and rectum….that’s the deal. It’s not an option for the faint hearted. I wouldn’t do it. Cervical cancer is pretty resistant to Chemo. They are trialling different combinations currently, but is very much a palliative measure rather than a cure.

If the ‘something’ pressing on my nerves had been in the lumbar/sacral region and was a recurrent tumour I would of probably been looking at a year,  likewise if it had spread to my bones.

There were times when I’ve felt like a bit of a hypochondriac recently. I knew I had something going on and worked myself up into a ‘oh my god’ worse case scenario frenzy. Do you know what? I don’t care. If we don’t communicate our worries and aches and pains to our medical team how are they ever going to know. I said to my consultant on the phone today. ‘I’m glad there’s something wrong’ because I’d got to the point where I was doubting if the pain was real or I had just freaked myself out so much it was psychosomatic.

My son said ‘I’m not worried about you Mum, you will never be as bad as you were before’

I’m glad he’s not as good at googling as me!

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Naproxen

Bloody wonder drug!

Pain had been getting worse and worse. Totally  overdid it Saturday and even with 8 Tramadol knocking around in my system was in pain. Now on Naproxen and its back to the mild ache it was before it got bad.

Still don’t know what’s causing it but feeling sooooo much better.

Hooray!

Fear.

Let me tell you about Cancer.

Not the physical stuff. But the mental stuff.

I am in the middle of a ‘scare’. My leg/hip/buttock pain has increased in both severity and frequency and I have now been prescribed maximum dose Tramadol. I have a CT scan booked for next week and waiting for an ‘urgent’ MRI to come through.

When I first bled all those months ago ……. ‘You’re bleeding like a stab victim’ were his exact words. I was concerned obviously, but I wasn’t terrified. That afternoon changed my perspective on my body, probably forever.

I try very hard not to freak out about stuff. But I’m failing badly.

This pain could be a huge number of things.   Just like my bleeding could of been. The difference now is that ‘history of Cancer’ is a big red flag for lots of serious things. It’s a very fine line between researching your illness and turning yourself into a raging hypochondriac.

As always it’s the not knowing that does your head in. And no one knows. I asked my GP ‘could it be bone mets?’ And she said ‘it’s possible’ I asked my Mac nurse ‘what are the chances this is a recurrence?’ She replied ‘it’s impossible to say’

So I just have to wait it out. Wait for the scans, wait for the results.

This little merry go round of ‘stuff’ started on May 13th with my 3 month check up. Since then it’s been pretty full on with appointments, biopsies, results, appointments etc etc. I’m knackered.

I  hate how it takes over my mind even if it’s left my body.

I’ll be over the moon to find out this is a herniated disk or arthritis…….words you’ll only hear from a Cancer survivor.

Partners

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There’s a bit of a stigma about cervical cancer and HPV. It’s pretty well accepted now that the vast majority of cervical cancer is caused by HPV. HPV is spread by sexual contact. It’s worth pointing out that it’s skin to skin contact thst spreads it opposed to fluids, therefore condoms may reduce your risk but certainly not eliminate it.

HPV is incredibly common (75% of sexually active people will have it at some point) and has no symptoms. To add to its trickery it can lay dormant for years.

If you liken it to the common cold, the vast majority of people will clear it from their system. However some will be particularly susceptible to its effects and their immune systems cannot clear it. In my case I’m sure my smoking and years of chronic stress were definately a factor in that.

I can safely say I have slept with more than one man. But the likelihood is that you, dear reader have too. I read an interesting article the other day whose headline was ‘cheating husbands blamed for spike in cervical cancer cases’. I don’t have a husband so can’t blame him!

The thing is, sex isn’t dirty. Sex is how you and I came to be here. Sex is an intimate act of love.  Sex is, go on admit it, bloody good fun!

So. If you want to avoid cervical cancer don’t ever have sex. Likewise if you never want be in a car accident never get in a car.

Cervical cancer is caused by a sexually transmitted infection. An infection that 7 out of 10 people have had.

We don’t need to be ashamed of that.

Chances

Results. Vain 2 and just signs of HPV on anus, maybe some ain 1 lurking around but not worried about it. Very pleased re arse! No ‘arse guy’ for me!!

So.

Vain is slap bang in the middle of mild and severe.

Offered laser excision under general.

Haven’t taken it. The only definitive cure I’ve been told is a total vaginectomy. In my consultants words ‘it’s a really grim  operation that I don’t want to do’

The other option is to cut buts out/laser bits off every 6 months.

Ive heard from women who have done this for YEARS and have still got Cancer. My consultant says, for me, the chances of this turning into Cancer is 2% year on year. Less than the chance of my cervical cancer recurring.

So. I’ve decided not to have treatment this time. I will go back for this in 6 months and if it has worsened will reasess my options.

Now just got CT to do and we can all get back to normal life again!