I had my one-year check-up last week. Quite a milestone! Results in a couple of weeks to confirm but my consultant was happy with how everything looked and felt, so fingers crossed that's a significant clinical (and emotional!) milestone crossed.
Having said that there is now the possibility that I will need a bit more surgery, in the form of an oophorectomy (ovaries out). I have been getting symptoms of ovarian failure and I also have a constant pain in one particular area of my pelvis which sometimes is worse than at other times, and he thinks that this might also be caused by struggling ovaries. Further, I discovered a few years ago that I am in the highest risk group for breast cancer, and he said last week that with that in mind, he would have been a bit happier removing my ovaries when they did my original surgery last year, because it would lower my breast cancer risk. To be honest, with the type of cervical tumour I had, it's also not a bad idea for them to be removed, just to protect me a little bit more. Having said that, there is no rush and it is entirely my choice. He has sent a referral to the Breast Unit to get their opinion on it as well and I don't have to make up my mind for six months (although obviously I can decide before that), so there's no sense of urgency to things. It's a very different feeling from the 'emergency' feeling that surrounds the rush of cancer surgery. I don't know how I feel about it at the moment. I think I'm slightly nervous about what the Breast Unit might say because eight years ago they offered me a double mastectomy as a preventative measure, which I turned down but then went on a health drive and up until a few months before I was diagnosed with cc, I was running 20-25 miles a week, as well as doing swimming, and I haven't had dairy for years. On the one hand I am worried about the loss and how that will impact on me, but on the other hand I have got time to think about it, so there is more of a feeling of choice about it, and the benefits (lower risk of cc recurrence, relief of ovarian failure symptoms, lower risk of breast cancer, impossible to get ovarian cancer) might outweigh the loss when it comes down to it - it might actually give me peace of mind. I don't know. We'll see.
In a way, I can't believe it's now just over a year since I was diagnosed with cervical cancer. In one way it's gone really fast, but in another way when I think about how I was and how different I am now, it seems ages ago, and it is almost as if I can't really remember what I was like before I was diagnosed. So much is different in my life: I have ditched any aspects of my work that I didn't like and I am pursuing research that I have wanted to do for years (and loving it); my husband and I are closer than we were before I was diagnosed and we make sure that we always talk about things and not leave things unsaid; anything and anyone that wasn't ultimately a positive force in my life has gone because when I was faced with my own mortality, I got pretty ruthless about and possessive of my life! It is no exaggeration to say that everything is different, and although I am in no way 'over' having had cancer, I am getting on with my life and I deal with the distress and chaos of it in a much calmer and more considered way than I was able to a few months ago. I've stopped crying every time I see a new born baby and I am now physically able to be more active again. Like I said I guess, just getting on with life and wanting to make the most of it. Cancer or no cancer, none of us really know when the curtain will fall, so I just want to get as much as I can out of my life now, spend time with the people who matter and not worry about the things or people that don't.
So, even though I am not on this forum as much as I was, I just wanted to pop in and give a little update.