Less than four months ago, I received a phone call that would change my life forever. I remember the day like it was yesterday.
It was a Thursday, just before Easter. A nurse phoned to say that they had received the results from my latest cervical smear test and that I needed to go into the clinic that same afternoon. The doctor wanted to discuss the results with me face-to- face. An alarm bell went off so I asked for more information.
The nurse advised that she was unable to give me any information over the phone, however, my results had shown that I had abnormal cells.
That my appointment with my doctor? Well, I guess you could say it changed my life.
It also made me realise how little I knew about the New Zealand health system. And if there are any women out there in the same boat as me, then they’ll want to know more. That’s why I’ve put this list together of the five pieces of advice I wish knew if I was told I had cervical cancer.
I want other women to be prepared because let’s face it… I wasn’t.
#1 Take a support person
I had asked my Dad to come with me to the doctors to look after my one-year- old daughter. During my appointment, he stayed in the waiting room.
As soon as the doctor said “you have adenocarcinoma insitu, the early stages of cancer,” I should have stopped right there and asked my Dad to attend the rest of the appointment with me.
Why? Because almost everything the doctor said after that went in one ear and out there other. My mind raced. All I could think was;
“I’m 31-years- old and now I have cancer”.
“How bad was it?”
“Surely I was going to be okay?”
I sat there and showed no emotion.
I remember nodding as my doctor continued to tell me how sorry she was. Truthfully? Inside I was a wreck. My emotions took over and I was unable to digest any further information.
All I knew was that my doctor had put through an urgent referral to a specialist. She explained that I would require a colposcopy (which is where the specialist would take a biopsy from my cervix). This would then be tested and graded to find out what stage I was at.