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Sorry in advance for the essay. I was diagnosed first week of 2019. No children and caught early; so my consultant luckily agreed to hold off on the radical hysterectomy & chemo.
Two extreme LLETZ treatments later (01/19 & 02/19) the tumour with most of my cervix was removed. Staged as 1B. Due to it being larger than suspected I then had robotic assisted bilateral pelvic node dissection & an endometrial biaposy (04/19). 55 nodes were removed, all came back clear as well as the biopsy. I am awaiting my first check up today which I am very nervous about.
I ‘was’ a secondary school teacher and continued to work after initial diagnosis until I got an infection after my first LLETZ treatment, and realised I was exhausted. I have been off sick since. I am extremely lucky to have an understanding employer who has been supportive.
It has been 14 weeks since my last operation. I am still suffering with side effects such as swollen feet/ legs and bleeding if walking too far or on my feet to long. I am still experiencing pain in my pelvic area. I am also still exhausted all of the time. Since finding out that my treatment is completed and I am moving into the monitoring stage I have struggled mentally. I’m not coping well with the changes to my body, I am also struggling with intimacy with my long term partner, even with just a hug. I have felt very anxious & depressed recently. I think I put on a brave face and now it is ‘over’ it has hit me. I am having counselling to help with this but progress is slow.
I also feel that I am being a bit pathetic. I have survived cc without having a hysterectomy, chemo or radiotherapy. So at times I feel a bit like I am a ‘fake’ that I got off lightly so should move on quicker.
My mom and partner and 2 close friends have been amazing and supportive and I am lucky to have them. However other family members & friends have not been supportive. A lot of people keep asking why I’m not back at work now and when I am going to get back to ‘normal’. I feel very misunderstood I don’t think it will be possible to ever go back to fully being ‘normal’. I feel as much as I want to go back to work, my job is very stressful, demanding physically (constantly on my feet/don’t stop) & emotionally. I am struggling with normal life atm so I am very scared about going back to work and being ‘normal’. I have read a lot of articles about people who worked through their cancer treatment or went back to work after a month or two, which again makes me feel like I am being pathetic and should get on with it.
I wondered if there was anyone who had similar experiences? How long from being told you are ‘cancer free’ until people went back to work? How long did it take people to recover? How did you cope with getting back to ‘normal’? What is normal after cancer?
01/19: Diagnosed adenocarcinoma of the cervix. All previous smears clear. Suspected grade 2. (Age 29).
01/19: LLETZ to remove tumour.
02/19: 2nd LLETZ to remove tumour.
03/19: Tumour fully removed from cervix. Graded as 1b.
04/19: Robotic assisted bilateral pelvic node dissection & endometrial biopsy. 55 nodes removed.
All lymph nodes & biopsy clear.
1st check up still cancer free.