Thursday 12th March 2020

AlishaAt the end of 2017, I went to the doctors as I felt a lump down below and I was experiencing discharge and irregular bleeding. The doctor did an examination and it was so painful that I was edging up the bed, practically screaming.

Despite me being in obvious discomfort, the doctor didn’t think anything was wrong with me.  

She said it should clear up by itself and sent me away. It made me feel like I had wasted her time. Because of how I was treated at the first appointment, I left it for 10 months to go back.

I wish I hadn’t. 

This time I saw a different doctor. She said that she wasn’t going to take any risks and transferred me for a biopsy. She also gave me tablets to stop the bleeding. By now, my mum and I thought something was seriously wrong as I was bleeding heavily, and I couldn’t keep any fluids down. 

My biopsy results showed that I had a tumour on my cervix. It was removed and tests showed that I had clear cell cervical cancer. It’s a slow growing strain so that would have been what was wrong with me when I went to the doctor the first time. I was just 21, so it was really rare for me to have it, but I think all doctors should be aware of the symptoms.

They need to think ‘it could be cancer’ so they can rule it out. 

I was listening to the doctors but, in this case, I needed to listen to my own body. My advice would be that if you feel something’s not right, then keep going back. 

They gave me the choice to have my cervix removed or to have a full hysterectomy. I was told I couldn’t have my eggs harvested because there was a risk that this could spread the cancer.  

I decided to have my cervix removed as that would give me the chance to have children in the future. There is only one doctor in Europe who can perform the operation. I had to wait from October, when I was diagnosed, until January for the operation. I started to get really nervous. 

During this time, I was introduced to Teenage Cancer Trust’s Clinical Nurse Specialist Sam, who has supported me throughout. I suffered from anxiety and Sam really helped me. He was there to listen to me when I needed him. 

Sam checked in with me after my operation to see how I was feeling. He was also there when I was worried that it might come back at some point and it might be terminal. I didn’t want to worry or upset my family, so it was great to have Sam to talk to.

He has done so much for me – I can’t thank him enough.