I’d firstly like to apologize as I haven’t noticed any other males commenting on here so I don’t know if it’s ‘taboo’ although if just one person benefits from this story (with a positive outlook) then I’m glad I decided to comment.
Before I write anything else I just want to begin by saying how incredibly inspirational I have found this page. You are all so strong and I cannot even begin to explain how much respect I have for you all.
In July of this year my 24 year old girlfriend received (after a lot of arguing with more than one physician) her first smear. She only had the one symptom, which was bleeding during sex. The results came back as low to moderate levels of CIN. She was then asked to have another smear a few weeks later as, I’m sure many of you are aware, women under the age of 25 regularly have abnormal cells in the cervix which are there one week and gone the next which is, why I am told, 25 is the age at which they begin routine smears. The second smear came back the same and they said that the results were indicative of early stage cervical cancer. They stated that they wanted to perform LLETZ treatment the following week which they were very positive would remove the cells. Following the treatment she had an MRI which confirmed the cells surpassed the edges of the LLETZ and she was staged 1B1. A week later she attended another hospital is Sutton which apparently would offer them a more detailed image through the use of a new technique involving some form of probe. The doctors seemed unphased by this second MRI and stated they wanted to perform a radical trachelectomy as they wanted to preserve her fertility. They also in the interim ordered a pet scan as the second MRI showed slightly inflamed lymph nodes. This was obviously very worrying for us however the surgeon did note that it is not unusual for lymph nodes to be inflamed following a LLETZ as it is not exactly a delicate treatment. With mixed emotions we left that day. 2 weeks later she had an EUA (which is an exploration under anesthetic for those who don’t know) and when she awoke they told her they were happy with what they saw both during the EUA and the pet scan which we were thrilled with as it meant they could do the trachelectomy.
She had the trachelectomy 3 days ago and was discharged yesterday. They were able to do the operation laproscopically so she bounced back relatively quickly. They removed some lymph nodes during the surgery and the surgeon said he was happy that they did not look inflamed and they were not firm which suggests that the cancer has not spread. We are now waiting for the results from the pathologist who is inspecting the nodes and will hopefully confirm that they got it all next week. We aren’t out of the woods yet but the outlook couldn’t really be any better, which we are so grateful for.
She’s had a lot of wind since the op and a lot of aches and pains as well as some heavy bruising but nothing out of the ordinary. The doctor said she lost a lot of blood during the surgery but she didn’t need a transfusion and her blood pressure returned to normal very quickly. She’s a very healthy girl; she exercises a lot and doesn’t drink to excess and is a non-smoker so everything is in her favor.
The main reason I wanted to share this story is, as like many of you, I knew nothing about this and Jo’s trust and MacMillan were the first places I turned to – I didn’t trust any other sources as too many people think they are doctors these days. The information, support and words of encouragement on here helped us both immensely in dark moments. The main thing I notices is that everyones story differs so much and although I saw many people having radical trachelectomy’s I didn’t come across anyone that had to undergo so much testing before they signed off on it. This was a big worry for me so I hope that anyone else in the same position see’s this and doesn’t mistake the thoroughness of the doctors for doubt.
On one last side-note, there may be girls reading this in a similar position to what my girlfriend was in before her smear. She looked at sites like this when bleeding during sex was outlined as a symptom and I’m ashamed to say I thought she was being ridiculous when she said she was worried about having cancer. The possibility didn’t even register in my mind. If you have any symptoms or any doubts PLEASE see your GP immediately. Maybe your boyfriend is like me and he’s telling you it’s nothing but it really isn’t something that’s worth taking any chances with and we (by we I mean boyfriends, friends and family offering pseudo-medical advice) are not doctors so we are not qualified to tell you what you do or don’t have.
Once more, thank you all so much. You are amazing people and I sincerely wish you each and every one of you the best possible outcome. I have really had my eyes opened these past few months and it has radically changed my outlook on life.