I was horrified by this diagnosis, especially because of the fact that HPV can cause cervical cancer. I knew I hadn't had sex with anyone other than the wonderful man I have been committed to for 20 years, so I was even more confused and began finding out about several times he was with another woman and then I was not only horrified, but also embarrassed that the cancer could be a direct result of his actions and I was worried that everyone that found out about my cervical tumors would assume that I was with other people than the man I lived with. I had to leave home for 5 weeks of daily radiation and chemotherapy due to the distance between the cancer center and my home. The doctors and social worker who was assigned to me kept assuring me that it wasn't anything I did that caused the cancer, but still mentioning often that it was caused by the HPV, so I hung my head in shame and went for my treatments, not socializing with any other patients and wouldn't even go to the kitchen at the treatment center because I was afraid someone would question me about the type of cancer I had. I only left my room to go for treatment and to go to Subway for a sandwich. When I was finally finished with the round of treatment, I was finally released to go home. I was so glad that adventure was over and I was back home and could breathe a sigh of relief. WRONG! Within a couple of weeks I got a letter to go to the treatment facility for a consult with the radiologist. He said he highly recommended that I go to the hospital for a few days to receive brachytherapy (not sure about the spelling). This involved sedation to have several rods inserted into my vagina, to remain in place until I had 3 internal radiation treatments while in the hospital. This involved hooking tubes to every rod and releasing "seeds" into my cervix. It was miserable. I had to lie perfectly still in my hospital bed for the 3 days I was getting this procedure done. At least I had a private room and I didn't have to talk to anyone other than the doctor and hospital staff. Finally, that was over too. The doctor scheduled a follow up visit to check my progress. I was rescheduled a couple times so I didn't get there as soon as I should have. If I had known what the delay in my appointment would cause, I would have found a way to get there sooner. During the internal exam at my follow up appointment, I was told that the internal radiation (brachytherapy) had caused so much scar tissue to form in my vagina that I would have to use "vaginal dilators" daily to break up the scar tissue. These "dilators" were nothing more than 4 dildoes, varying in size from small to "you've-got-to-be-kidding-me." They also gave me lidocaine gel to use with them because I was in a lot of pain. I tried for a while but it just seemed too degrading and it caused a Urinary Tract Infection. So I just put them away and concentrated on getting rid of the UTI. My next visit to the doctor for a check-up was to my own gynecologist. As soon as he began to do a pap smear, he stopped abruptly and said I don't even have a vagina anymore and he couldn't perform that procedure. I sat down with him to discuss how we can take care of this problem. He then informed me that it had grown and spread too far to correct the problem. I inquired about the possibility of surgery and he said that wasn't really an option, and that he wouldn't attempt to operate on it. He is also a surgeon, by the way. Now I am receiving notifications for a 6 month check-up. What's left to check? I feel horrible pains in my abdomen, much like it felt when I was diagnosed with advanced stage cervical cancer. I have no energy, serious pains from my abdomen through to my lower back, no appetite (though I have gained over 20 pounds in the last few months), and I can barely breathe. I have to have a referral from my primary care doctor to see my oncologist and I already know what kind of stress and anxiety I deal with when I have to take charge and try to coordinate the visit to the oncologist, the referral from my primary care doctor, the insurance company and any tests or procedures that my oncologist would require me to have done. If anyone else has been through this mess before me, I would definitely be interested in how you dealt with it. Sorry for rambling on, but there was so much to it that I felt like I had to explain the whole situation if I wanted to hear from someone who has been through this or something similar to it. Have a great day. Thanks for taking the time to review my dilemma. Peace to all!
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