My very first few early signs of cervical cancer I experienced were intermittent vaginal bleeding & clear vaginal discharge that appeared when I was around 22 years old. I remember most of my symptoms started off and I was about 19. I was having vaginal spotting and irregular cycles off and on for several years.
I did have further testing done with a MRI because of the problem with my periods and that's how I found out I had a pituitary tumor. A pituitary tumor is a type of brain tumor in the pituitary gland. With having the tumor, I nearly stopped having periods and it came almost to a halt.
When I was around 23, I was getting used to not having periods and the doctors said there is absolutely not a chance that I could get pregnant. It was roughly about a year or so later I was starting to have some abnormal vaginal bleeding, however; I was also somewhat excited because I thought that I was maybe going to start having periods again.
After a few months of the this going on, the vaginal bleeding was so intermittent and it was so spotty, that I was really starting to think that maybe it wasn't a menstrual cycle after all.
Another month or so went by and I started getting blood clots and white thick discharge, it was just something so out of the ordinary that I was used to, that it started to get me. I started to be more and more concerned that there was something else going on. I was then passed on to another gynecologist after several stressful trips back and forth.
I soon felt as I was getting nowhere and no one heard my cries or would listen. I knew something wasn't right; It could feel it in my bones. All the pap smear tests I was having, just kept coming back repeatedly abnormal (but within normal limits), or negative for any abnormalities such as cancer and dysplasia.
After several phone calls, I was told I was bothering them and nothing was wrong. I was overwhelmed; and actually disgusted at this point. I was scared and I had to do something, and I had to do it quickly.
I was eventually referred to an OBGYN/Oncologist who said I was advancing rapidly with cervical cancer. He was very adamant and to be honest, arrogant. To verify, he had performed a biopsy, CT scan and a Pet scan. I was receiving mixed signals and mixed diagnoses; I was really getting frustrated with all the different opinions by now. To be honest, I think I had about 4 or 5 opinions by now with all different answers, opinions tests, etc.
Normal Pap Smears & Cervical Cancer
Is it true you can have cancer and have a normal Pap smear? Well, it depends on who's reading the smear and/or type (progression of cancer, etc.). I had numerous normal pap smears, how could I have cervical cancer?
I always knew, or at least I was told, and under the assumption, that pap smears and pelvic exams would find and detect types of female cancers such as: cervical, uterine, vaginal. I had to go for a second opinion; I just had to. I have been told so many different things and had such high hopes that the place said that I was a bother, was right. I would rather be a bother than have cancer.
I made an appointment with another doctor for the following days ahead. The specialist was supposed to be one of the best and I wanted to know for sure if I had cervical cancer. I also had gone through another pap and pelvic exam. The pap test showed I had the disease of endometriosis and that there wasn't any Cancer.
We cried, celebrated and then called the oncologist right when I had returned home. I told him that my pap test was normal and they said I had endometriosis. I was so happy to explain to him he made a mistake that I couldn't see straight.
For some reason, the next morning, I made a frantic appointment to see him to explain and go over the results with him. It was like I second guessed the best of the best; and I'm not sure why. When it comes down to do or die, it's amazing where you find yourself going with all your gut feelings.
I Survived Cervical Cancer
There are other personal and truly heart breaking stories of cervical cancer. Understand that there are others are fighting the same battle and you are not the only one.
I am trying to collect any kind of survivor stories, if you share your story, I would be happy to add yours.
We had the appointment with the doctor first thing in the morning and told him the good news. This is what he said: "Young lady, I hate to tell you this, but you do have cervical cancer and we need to treat it promptly." He said for me to come into the hospital the next morning and he was going to take a larger piece of tissue to biopsy to send to confirm his diagnosis; however it was to prove to us, not him. I waited very anxiously to find an answer; as I knew something was wrong, very wrong; and I had no idea what I was in store for.
As I dropped to my knees and screamed, the emotions that ran through my mind as I looked at my 2 year old son, were more than what anyone could imagine. It was eerie, deafening and It was like everything and everyone just was at a standstill. All I could think of over and over was; Who was going to take care of my child? There's nothing like a mother and dying of cancer was nothing I ever thought I would have to endure.
After the shock of knowing for sure I had cancer, I asked my doctor why the pap smear did not detect any of the cancer on the pap smear. He explained to me that I had a different type of cancer which was a little harder to diagnose. I had adenocarcinoma (which is a glandular type of cancer) of the cervix. The cancer cells were under the lining of the cervix. I had stage IIB cervical cancer. I had to faithfully go everyday; 5 days a week, to my radiation treatments and about a month later had a radical hysterectomy to take reproductive organs and surrounding tissue, the tumor and a little excess to try and get all the cancer out.
I wanted a larger family; but i was blessed with one wonderful son and I'm happy to be a mom of one child that has given me more support than six children. If you have a child and found out you have cancer, or any sickness, consider your child as a reason to live and knowing that makes you want to fight harder. The years went by quickly and soon enough I made it past my 5 year mark, where they say you are considered cured of cancer. It has been 21 years since I have been cancer free. I am not saying the long journey was easy, but once the cancer is gone, you feel the world just lifted off your shoulders.