In the last quarter of 2015 I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer. As you might imagine it came a a big shock, hearing that malevolent C word especially around an illness that very rarely affects pre-menopausal women (I'm 35).
The diagnosis comes at the end of fifteen or more years of gynae suffering for me, suffering I had become so accustomed towards, living in pain and having no energy. It was seriously taking its toll on my happiness, my work, my relationships - my whole life.
The diagnosis helped me understand why 2015 had felt worse than any previous recurrence and why I was not recovering from the most recent surgery in August. It made sense, which was a scary concept to give acceptance for.
I was put on the cancer treatment pathway at Lewisham Hospital, but retaining many of my known gynae team which was immensely reassuring, and very quickly processed for scans that determined the treatment plan. I was very, very lucky to have an early diagnosis meaning the cancer could be completely curable.
Within seven weeks of the diagnosis appointment I was having a hysterectomy to remove my uterus, fallopian tube, right ovary (left one removed previously) and cervix. Most of what makes me biologically a woman. There was potential for this treatment not only to get rid of the cancer entirely but also fix many of the other problems I have had. The only reason this surgery had not been offered before was down to my age. There's side effects to early menopause.
However, following a careful recovery period of 9 weeks, taking it as easy as possible (without losing my mind), some extremely helpful counselling offered through the hospital, and more support and love from my wife, family, friends and colleagues than I could have ever wished for, I am well and truly on the other side.
I am living the best possible outcome... no surgery complications, a recovey period as planned, minimal menopause symptoms and no more pain! My energy is back, my confidence is back, my life is back.
So now I plan to make the best of it and life and not waste this gift of health. I have set some goals - more next time, I am focusing on making the most of my strengths and only offering help when I have something to offer, not just because I think I should. Learning to say no has been the most empowering maneouvre.
2016, here I come!