I Hate This Place…..

hate-dictionary

 

It’s been a while since I blogged ‘on location’.  Today my ‘office’ is the cramped, depressing Oncology waiting room.  I hate this place.  Not the wonderful staff; but how this awful clinic fills me with dread on each occasion, which gradually builds up for a few weeks before each check up.  I think most people who have fought cancer feel like they are a ticking time bomb, I know certainly that’s how a lot of my brave cervical cancer warrior friends feel.  I however, try to see it as living more for the moment, never committing to anything too far in the future. And that’s not me accepting some awful impending fate; it’s me learning to be more spontaneous and fulfilled in the moment instead (well as much as you can do as a single parent to two quirky babies!).

Looking around this airless room, it’s full of every aged and type of woman you can think of; cancer does not discriminate.  You can also tell which ladies are here for their check ups, and who are awaiting initial results….God I remember that day so vividly.  The day my world changed forever.  In lots of ways for the worse.  In other ways for the better.  I have a love hate relationship with my cancer journey – I wrote a very personal account on why this time last year which I would encourage you to read HERE.

Anyway, back to the stuffy waiting room…..I’m being subjected to an episode of Jeremy Kyle on the tele; “Did my fiancée have sex with another man on the bathroom floor?” Well according to the lie detector yes she did…..but of course she protests her innocent.  God, I’m bored and feel sick waiting here.  Whoever designed this place needs a hard slap. Sticking cancer females who are now largely infertile due to no real choice of their own, right within a maternity unit.  Yep, you read right.  Talk about adding insult to injury each and every time you come for a check up.  Clearly emotional well being still means very little to some hospitals; no matter how caring and wonderful your treating team are (and mine are amazing!).

So I’m home now, after over an hour’s wait, contemplating in that horrid room waiting to see my Oncologist.  Upshot is, I’ve made a fully informed decision to decline a drug and major surgery which was hoped would help ease some of my ongoing pain that was caused by my cancer treatment 3.5 years ago.  Even my Oncologist sighed a breath of relief that I had made such an empowering decision based upon weighing up the pros and cons of such a risky and big operation (even more so than my initial cancer surgery!), especially given my status as the sole-carer to my quirky babies.  I actually feel a calmness about ‘just’ living a life of a pain instead of having the treatment.

In other areas, I’m back in two months time to check on something new that has developed (FFS), another MRI, another referral to a different specialist.  This all comes at the exact same time as having heart scans, colonoscopies, and a different surgery next week.  But for now at least I can tick Oncology off for a few months before the panic sets in again…..

Is it gin time yet??? 

gin

 

 

 

Amy Griffiths, Well Being Freedom Services Ltd ©

International Women’s Day…Don’t insult us…

IWD

 

Now, I’m not against celebrating women, our struggles, successes and how far we have come (and still have to go); but I do take issue with this bizarre need to have one single day a year to acknowledge us.  I actually find it quite insulting on so many levels, rather than celebratory.  And don’t get me started on Mother’s Day either…that’s equally as insulting.

I don’t need a single day a year to recognise the women around me who inspire me each and every single day.

There’s the incredibly brave and young fellow cervical cancer survivor who will never be able to carry her own child, and yet still keeps going.

The enormously strong mother who continues to fundraise for sick kids and work on a busy maternity unit despite her own miracle baby sadly growing his wings at just 8 months old.

The determined single woman fighting tirelessly to get the law changed so that her and other single women can legally become parents using their own eggs via a surrogate and a sperm donor (I can’t even believe that this is even an issue in this day and age!)  She also happens to be a fellow cervical cancer survivor.

The courageous mother who grabbed her kids and fled her abusive ex partner, risking her own life.

And finally the resilient fellow warrior who takes a daily kicking from their own special needs child, and yet gets back up each and every time despite their own chronic health issues.

These are the true women who need celebrating and I feel truly honoured to have them in my life, each and every day.  Not once a year.

 

Inspire

 

Amy Griffiths, Well Being Freedom Services Ltd ©

The Dummies Guide to Enjoying Christmas When Your Cancer May Have Spread…

cervical cancer awareness

 

So, I’ve thought long and hard about writing this blog; partly because of keeping my ordeal very private over recent months; partly due to old memories being re-lived; partly because I want to protect my babies; and partly because I am awaiting further surgery.

BUT January is Cervical Cancer Awareness month, and I am very passionate about encouraging as many women to get their smears tests done as possible, and for society in general to appreciate the long term consequences the illness brings to YOUNG women – YES CERVICAL CANCER IS A YOUNG PERSON’S CANCER and completely destroys the life young women dreamed of ever having.

So here I go……

Around 3-4 months ago I began suffering extreme pain.  The type of pain I walked around with for a good 18 months a few years ago prior to my cervical cancer eventually being picked up via a routine smear test (this was after all my CLASSIC symptoms being dismissed by medics!) 

I tried to ignore the pain the best I could, despite being secretly panicked.  However it eventually began to become unbearable and I gave in and telephoned my cancer nurse who made me an emergency appointment with my Oncologist.

My Oncologist was wonderful as always and could see I was in pain and ordered me an urgent MRI scan.  This was then followed by an urgent laparoscopic surgery on 11th December (exactly three years to the date since my original cancer surgery, so you can imagine that this was an incredibly difficult day for me).

The surgery involved a general anesthetic, four abdominal incisions, probes and a camera to effectively ‘dig’ around my insides to check if my cancer had spread, and also see if there was anything else which could be causing the pain.

Before being discharged from hospital, my amazing Oncologist came to see me armed with some pretty gross but fascinating photographs of my insides!  He explained that although he couldn’t see any obvious reoccurring tumours, he had taken some samples for testing and that I would have a three week wait for the results of.  Shit.  That was any small bit left of my Christmas cheer thrown firmly out of the fecking window.

He also found quite a lot of significant adhesions from my previous surgery which could explain the pain – basically certain organs in my body have decided to fuse to places they shouldn’t have.  Great ‘ey?  Having Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (a rare genetic connective tissue disorder) had dramatically increased my chances of adhesions and I am deemed ‘high risk’ for any type of surgical procedure.  Gotta love ya faulty inherited DNA 😉

I won’t lie (gosh, I sound like Nessa!); the past month has been incredibly difficult.  I came home from hospital in pain, weak, dizzy, exhausted, panicked.  But being a single parent, I just had to continue as normally as much as possible; so back on the school run the next day, looking after my babies, seeing their wonderful Christmas concerts, housework, studying, fighting infections, CHRISTMAS!

The three week wait for my results was absolute agony; not just physically, but mentally too.  I couldn’t really tell many people what was going on for various reasons – the main being the Christmas period and not wanting to cause upset to others or be a burden.

Well, the 3rd January FINALLY came around and I was sick with nerves all day waiting for my afternoon appointment slot.  The wait in the horrid, stuffy depressing Oncology waiting room (right next to Maternity of all places; really people, talk about adding insult to injury?!?!?) was made slightly more bearable by my lovely chap holding my hand and getting me to play eye spy bless him.  But as always I chose to go into my appointment alone……

I can’t begin to tell you how good it felt to be physically shown a paper report by my Oncologist with the words “NO MALIGNANT REOCCURRENCE FOUND” written on it!  I felt an instant peace come over me.  My cancer hadn’t spread!!!

My main worry over the past few months hadn’t been ‘just’ about the cancer possibly spreading, but more about how my kids would cope going through the same thing again.  A mum will always put her babies above anything else.  Always.

So, despite being given the ‘all clear’ (which is absolutely fantastic!) I still have a second bigger surgery to follow to try and unfuse my organs in the coming months, but after cancer everything else seems pretty insignificant in comparison.

I really don’t know how I would have gotten through the past month without a few amazing people taking such good care of me and my babies.  We love you xxx

And for every other female reading this GET YOUR SMEAR TEST because believe me the alternative doesn’t even bare thinking about.

smear