Age: 20

Cancer type: cervical cancer

Diagnosis

When I was 17, I was just a normal girl who enjoyed spending time with her friends, enjoyed spending time with family and doing everyday things. I had just got a full time job in nursery nursing and I was over the moon.

The only thing that was getting me down was the fact I hadn't stopped bleeding from my last period. I kept getting blood and discharge that didn't smell very nice and I had to sleep with bath towels in between my legs as I used to leak through everything. I was going backwards and forwards from doctors, hospitals and walk ins and I kept getting different diagnoses from water infections to other bugs.

I went to see the GP, who asked me to do a pregnancy test even though I told her it was impossible for me to be pregnant. I told her that I had been getting really bad stomach cramps - I couldn't even get something off the floor without crying in pain. She said it was period pains but I told her it was 100 times worse than that and eventually she sent me to the local hospital.

The doctors at the hospital told me my blood count was 5.2, but I didn't know what that meant and I thought it was normal. When I got on the ward, the doctor said I had to have an immediate blood transfusion. I was petrified as I had never heard of one and it sounded scary! Another doctor suggested that I could be having an ectopic pregnancy, and I told him I didn't have a boyfriend and I hadn't been in a relationship for over a year.

He sent me for an ultrasound, and my mum was sitting next to me when the doctor said he had to go and get his consultant to come and have a look at something. He told us he had found a shadow. My mum and I didn't know what this meant so we went back up to the ward to where my dad and sister were, and soon a doctor came up and said I had to go to the Liverpool Women's hospital via ambulance. That’s when we thought something was seriously wrong.

Treatment

The next day I had trouble going to the toilet and was in a lot of pain so they called the surgeon and he told them to prep me for theatre. I was absolutely petrified as I had never had an operation or anything like this before.

When I came round after my operation I was back in my room. The doctor came in and told me he had removed a lump the size of two oranges and it needed to be tested. That's when he said it could be cancer, but we thought “he's wrong, I'm 17, there's no way I can have cancer”.
 

After a couple of days the surgeon came in and told me the dreaded news. I had cervical cancer. I didn't know what to do or say but he told me I had to have a hysterectomy.  I didn't know what a hysterectomy was so he had to explain it to me. I was heartbroken because I had always wanted a family.

I had my operation the next day then I started my chemotherapy two weeks later on the Teenage Cancer Trust ward at Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology. Everything happened so quick I didn't have time to think about it all. I lost over 2 stone so I my weight went down to just under 6 stone, but after the chemo and the radiotherapy was over with, I got stronger.

Life after cancer

3 years later, I'm back at work, working with children, I'm doing everyday things and I've started fundraising for the Teenage Cancer Trust.  My first fundraiser was a charity night and I managed to make £1,083.25. I definitely look at life different now, I don't take anything for granted anymore and just live every day and having fun like any young girl should!