My name is Leah, I am 22 years old and live in the UK. In March of this year my Mum, now 45, was diagnosed with stage 3 cervical cancer.
We have been very lucky in our family as we really do not have much, if any, experience with cancer. I^m not sure if this worked in our favor or not really, in some ways it would have been nice to have had some kind of idea about what to expect with treatments etc, but on the other hand, the fact that none of our family or friends have had to suffer this ordeal has made us incredibly lucky and thankful!
We were told that the cancer is VERY slow and could well have been there for a really long time, it is only because my Mum started bleeding so heavily that she became severely anemic and couldn^t leave her bed that we had to get the doctor out and the tests started there.
Once she had the biopsy they told us that the tumor was about 5cm^s and was considered stage 3 because it was attached to her bladder, but luckily it was not ^in^ the bladder. We were so thankful that it hadn^t spread anywhere.
We were also told that they found a non-cancerous lump on one of her ovaries, which they would remove (both ovaries just in case it grew back, it would save having another operation).
My Mum is a incredibly emotional person and couldn^t cope with the news. She actually hadn^t coped from the beginning, when the tests started. She spent most of the days crying.
Well, upon diagnosis, even though the nurse reassured us that Mum had been very lucky and that the cancer was treatable, Mum was inconsolable.
She was in hospital for a few days as she needed a massive blood transfusion and they had to try to control/stop the bleeding before she could go home.
She spent those days weeping, telling me that she was going to die and telling me how scared she was. I honestly have never been in such a heartbreaking situation.
I was absolutely terrified.
Well, she had the operation to remove her ovaries 2weeks after she was diagnosed and they had another ^nose around^ and reconfirmed that there was no cancer anywhere else.
4 weeks after, once she had healed from her operation, and had another two massive blood transfusions, she started chemo and radiotherapy. Chemo took a total of 9hours each day but the radiotherapy was done in a matter of minutes.
I was signed off of work, suffering from debilitating panic attacks and anxiety. Something Ive never had before. So I would run Mum back and forth to treatment each day, 5 days a week.
She was doing very poorly through treatment, she more or less suffered all of the side effects.
After 6weeks of treatment she had a 4 day break and then had brachytherapy for 18 hours straight. I wont lie, it was a horrible experience for her.
After that she had a really rough time, the brachytherapy is brutal. But three months later she had her first check - the treatment had been successful, tumor had shrunk immensely and the Doctor told my Mum that he was very happy with everything and had a ^very good feeling about this^ - that day was the happiest of my life!
And as if we weren^t elated enough, my new horse that I^d had for 9months, surprised us all by having the most beautiful filly foal that very day. Nobody had a clue she was pregnant! I^m not a spiritual/superstitious person, but it was like this little filly was sent to mark a new beginning.
It is now 3 months on and my Mum is doing well. Most of the problems caused by the treatments have been sorted and things are looking bright.
She has her next check next week, on the 22nd, and we will all be glad to get that out of the way!
I think it is the mental effect that is taking the longest to heal, my Mum is a wreck every time she has a back ache, or a tummy upset, or any kind of ^symptom^ even if it is perfectly explainable, she is convinced it is Cancer. It is very difficult to talk any sense in to her when she^s worrying, but she is getting a lot better at being able to look at things more logically.
In Feb/March she will have a MRI scan to see how everything is looking, and then I believe her 3 monthly checks will be further spaced apart.
I^m still struggling daily with severe panic attacks and anxiety, I can^t drive often due to this and more or less have no social life, but it is a small price to pay to still have my Mum :)
When my Mum was first diagnosed I came across this website while I was ^researching^ and decided that once we were over the treatment I^d come on here and post my Mums story.
I know that many people diagnosed with a late stage cancer think that the future is bleak, but my Mum is proof that this is not the case!
I apologize for the extremely long story, but even if only one person reads this and finds it of help, it will be worth it.
My love goes out to all that are fighting and recovering this terrible disease,