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When Life Hands You Lemons

These photo's have been sat in my drafts folder for two months, waiting for me to make my mind up whether I should write this post or not. It's a personal one you see and even as I type, I'm still in two minds about it. 

With the hope that it'll be cathartic for me to put it into words, and with the hope that maybe another will benefit from reading it, here goes nothing.

I'll cut to the chase and keep it brief. In April I was diagnosed, after a routine smear test, with cervical cancer. Quite the flaming spanner in the works.
I don't want to go into the nitty gritty too much, but I feel that it's important for me to share my story (albeit briefly). 

Having had no symptoms or felt any pain, I went for my routine smear, happy to have ticked it off the list for another 3 years. Fate had other ideas. Instead of a card during the week of my 34th Birthday, fate sent me a letter referring me to the hospital. Splendid.

To cut a long story short, one colposcopy and biopsy later, it's Friday 13th, of all dates, and I'm sat in Royal Preston Hospital with Oliver, trying to process the news that we've just been told. It's cervical cancer.

Me, "so you're saying it's pre-cancerous then?"
Consultant Gynaecologial Oncologist, "no, it's cancerous."
Me, "so are you saying I've got CIN3 abnormal cells?" (I'd been reading up)
Consultant Gynaecological Oncologist, "no, it is cancer."

Bless my shocked self trying to make things not so. 

Consultant Gynaecological Oncologist, "put my lunch break back Jean, this could take a while." (I fabricated this last part although I'm sure the thought occured)

The procedure to remove the cancerous cells was carried out there and then, and we made our way back to the car like any old regular Joes. Like it was just your run of the mill day, only today, shoved in my purse in-between my Boots Points Card and my Morrisons Match & More, now sat the contact card for a Macmillan nurse, in case I had any questions or needed any support. 

We made our way like we hadn't just been told potentially life changing news because, well, what else is there to do?

Fast forward...this time less than two weeks later, and we're back in the hospital to find out if the cancer has spread. Oddly enough, it was equally as strange trying to process the news that it hadn't spread, as it was being told that it was there in the first place. I suppose some news is just too big to process. Not on the spot anyway. 

I'm incredibly "lucky" that the cancer was found at Stage 1, and was able to be removed without the need for chemotherapy and radiotherapy. 

Now I'm aware that this post might seem a bit brief, considering the seriousness of the topic and all,  and naturally there was more to the journey than "you've got cancer" - "great news now you haven't" but a) I don't feel like spilling everything on to this page, it's personal and I hope you understand, and b) I don't want to overdramatise my journey when in comparison to what other ladies have to go through, I had a walk in the park. Don't get me wrong, the walk was utterly frightening, emotional and hard to believe it happened at all, but still, in comparison to others I got off lightly.

I have follow up checks ahead, as you'd expect, but God willing that should be the end of it.

I'm not usually a call to action type, but I hope this post finds you ladies as a gentle reminder to always make sure you go for your smear test. I also hope that this post doesn't frighten you either. It's rare to be diagnosed with cervical cancer after a routine smear test, or so I read in an NHS leaflet, but always go for your test for peace of mind. Go for your test because it might just make the most frightening of journeys a little less so. Go for your test because it might just save your life. 

Remember, there's light at the end of every tunnel, and it's only sometimes that it gets scary as f*ck in the middle.

Thank you so much for reading. It truly is lovely to be sat here writing again.


Elaine x

P.S The NHS get bad press at times, but I can't thank them enough.

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