My perspective on life has changed – Elaine’s Story

I am 54 years old.

In January I visited my GP because I had been having symptoms of vaginal bleeding and some discomfort during intercourse. I was offered an hysteroscopy investigation at the local hospital soon afterwards. This was partially carried out, ie, I had the scan, but because it seemed things were normal, the second part of the test was not carried out. I was discharged back to my GP with advice to consider that my cervix might possibly need cauterisation.

In May the symptoms were worse so I returned to my GP. She checked out the January results from the hospital letter which stated that the test was done by a trainee under supervision, and the womb lining was normal at 2mm. I recalled that I was only with one clinician during that test, therefore the supervision was not direct. My GP re-referred me to the fast track clinic at the hospital and soon afterwards I had a full hysteroscopy test which showed the womb lining to be 9mm, and clear evidence of a polyp. Two weeks later I was admitted for day surgery to remove the polyp, and discharged with no follow up required.

Two weeks later, whilst at work, I received a voice mail message to ring the hospital. I was told that “there had been developments following the surgery” and given an appointment the same day to see the Consultant. During this appointment, I was told that I had cancer of the endometrium, was booked in for an MRI and for total hysterectomy, both within the next few days. I cannot describe the shock, the fear, the sense of unreality and the isolation which began on that day and continues even now.

The MRI indicated no spread of the cancer, and the relief was obviously enormous. The day after this result, I was admitted for surgery and had womb, fallopian tubes, ovaries and cervix removed. The day after the surgery, the doctor explained that a further test result would be available in “2-3 weeks” to rule out any spread of cancer. I was totally in shock again, because I had understood that the MRI result was conclusive. Apparently, it cannot rule out cancer at a microbiological level and the pending test is required.

It is three weeks tomorrow since I had my operation and I have progressed very well physically. I find it difficult to describe the emotional torment of the last few weeks and I believe that things have developed so rapidly that I have not yet dealt with the impact. There is the issue of cancer; there is the issue of the hysterectomy. It feels like having been punched twice and I am reeling. I still fear bad news, of course, and worry because the Bank Holiday has fallen within this “2-3 week” window which could possibly have delayed results being communicated. So I wait. I have a follow up appointment in October and know that life, my perspective on my life, will never be the same again.

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in my own words book coverNow available on our online store and all other online book store’s. In My Own Words: Women’s Experience of Hysterectomy is full of many other real-life stories from women the world over.

Other people’s stories help women feel less isolated. They show that they aren’t going mad, missing the point or stupid.

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