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My perspective on life has changed – Elaine’s Story

I am 54 years old.

In January I visited my GP because I had been having symptoms of vaginal bleeding and some discomfort during intercourse. I was offered an hysteroscopy investigation at the local hospital soon afterwards. This was partially carried out, ie, I had the scan, but because it seemed things were normal, the second part of the test was not carried out. I was discharged back to my GP with advice to consider that my cervix might possibly need cauterisation.

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In May the symptoms were worse so I returned to my GP. She checked out the January results from the hospital letter which stated that the test was done by a trainee under supervision, and the womb lining was normal at 2mm. I recalled that I was only with one clinician during that test, therefore the supervision was not direct. My GP re-referred me to the fast track clinic at the hospital and soon afterwards I had a full hysteroscopy test which showed the womb lining to be 9mm, and clear evidence of a polyp. Two weeks later I was admitted for day surgery to remove the polyp, and discharged with no follow up required.

Two weeks later, whilst at work, I received a voice mail message to ring the hospital. I was told that “there had been developments following the surgery” and given an appointment the same day to see the Consultant. During this appointment, I was told that I had cancer of the endometrium, was booked in for an MRI and for total hysterectomy, both within the next few days. I cannot describe the shock, the fear, the sense of unreality and the isolation which began on that day and continues even now.

The MRI indicated no spread of the cancer, and the relief was obviously enormous. The day after this result, I was admitted for surgery and had womb, fallopian tubes, ovaries and cervix removed. The day after the surgery, the doctor explained that a further test result would be available in “2-3 weeks” to rule out any spread of cancer. I was totally in shock again, because I had understood that the MRI result was conclusive. Apparently, it cannot rule out cancer at a microbiological level and the pending test is required.

It is three weeks tomorrow since I had my operation and I have progressed very well physically. I find it difficult to describe the emotional torment of the last few weeks and I believe that things have developed so rapidly that I have not yet dealt with the impact. There is the issue of cancer; there is the issue of the hysterectomy. It feels like having been punched twice and I am reeling. I still fear bad news, of course, and worry because the Bank Holiday has fallen within this “2-3 week” window which could possibly have delayed results being communicated. So I wait. I have a follow up appointment in October and know that life, my perspective on my life, will never be the same again.

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in my own words book coverNow available on our online store and all other online book store’s. In My Own Words: Women’s Experience of Hysterectomy is full of many other real-life stories from women the world over.

Other people’s stories help women feel less isolated. They show that they aren’t going mad, missing the point or stupid.

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Linda Parkinson-Hardman

Transformational coach and founder of the Hysterectomy Association. Professionally I'm an information scientist who specialises in the adoption and engagement of digital technologies. I am a writer and author of nine books to date, and I've edited a further seven; phew what a lot for a Thursday afternoon :-)

This Post Has 9 Comments
  1. Where are you planning your event Cynthia. We can help you publicise it if you’d like through our newsletter, blog, Facebook and Twitter. Also do you want speakers? And thanks for the compliment too 🙂

  2. Morning Ladies

    I am so touched by all your stories and pleased that we are all so powerful and inspirational in sharing our personal stories. We have all had a long road to travel and arrived safely.

    I am 52 and had a full hysterectomy in May as a result of massive fibroids. Recovery went well and I was well cared cared for. Back to work in November.

    I am planning a health awareness and wellbeing event for next March.and one of my topics will be in the menopause, hysterectomy and cancer of the reproductive areas. Prevention is better than cure and I am passionate about spreading the word and raising public awareness.

    Any suggestions, tips, ideas would be greatly appreciated. Anyone wishing to share their personal stories.

    Stay blessed and well everyone.

    Fantastic forum and well done To you .Linda

  3. Hello ladies, I had a hysterectomy on 10 August for complex hyperplasia which was diagnosed in June following bleeding. My subsequent biopsy results revealed endometrial cancer which I am assured has not spread through the muscle wall and has been completely contained in the endometrium. My ovaries, cervix and Fallopian tubes were also removed and were found to be all clear. I am 55 and like you Elaine feel everything has moved very quickly and though I try to be positive I have periods of being afraid that something may have been missed. My consultant tells me that because it was contained in the endometrium only no further treatment is required so I am immensely relieved! So, why do I still feel so afraid? I guess it’s the very word cancer isn’t it that fills us all with dread?! We have so much to be thankful for girls, so I guess positive attitude is what we all need. I wish everyone the very best, and take comfort from knowing I am not alone with this.

  4. Hi Ladies,
    had simlar thing happen to me,
    Jan 2011, had TAH, after my cervial smear test being abnormal, after an MRI scan the cons said there looked like there was somthk susspious near the lining of my womb, was shocked as hell when the cons said it may be Cancerous, & i needed to have a total Abdoninal hystercecomy, was aged 44yrs & i felt absolutley terrified,
    I had always gone for my cervial smear tests religously, never thought this would happen in a million years,

    In my early 20’s i had a lot of abdoninal surgury that unblocked my falloium tubes & was plauged for years with Ovarian cycts on my left ovary, which had drained & cut out, but they kept coming back, unfortunetly i wasn’t able to have children, after a miscarrage in 1999, & IVF treatment which wasn’t succsesful, found it really difficult to cope with, even at the age of 44yrs old, we considerd another IVF cycle, Untill all this Happened, so Jan 28th 2012 went ahead & had the hysterecomy, 8weeks after the TAH, i went to find out the results of the Pathology test, they said i had Grade 1, Stage 1, Endometrial Carcinoma, So i was very luckly indeed, but have put on loads of weith since the TAH, & mussles in body seem to ache a lot, also been having bowel & bladder probs since the opp, which they did say the couldn’t garrentee there wouldn’t be damage to my bladder or bowels, so am currently waiting for another abdoninal scan, I’m so paraniod that the cancer may come back, even tho they said it was all clear, & i didn’t need any follow up appointments, i Just think it makes you like that after having any type of Cancer,
    Think your all very brave ladies, & thank you for sharining your stories, it does help, only just come across this site, its a great help!

    Hugs Lisa x

  5. Hi Elaine I hope u are feeling well and continuing your rd to recovery!
    I had the exact same happen to me 2 yrs ago in April, I was 40 at the time!! Such a shock and a very scary time! My cancer had not spread and contained in the lining!
    I didn’t have any further treatment ie chemo but do have smear every 6 months and abdominal MRI once a yr…
    You are very brave Elaine and sharing stories we all help each other so much and I hope that u can also take comfort , in the same way I do, just knowing that u really aren’t alone and that there so many wonderful brave and compassionate ladies on the forum that help each other!’
    All my best wishes for a speedy recovery and on ur test results
    Karen 🙂

  6. Hi –
    Glad you are feeling better –yes finding out ou have cancer is definitely quite a shock – in May 2011 I had a hysterectomy ( age 46) do to several large fibroids – when I awoke from the surgery I was told I had stage 2 ovarian cancer the doc took some tissue from my abdomen and lucky it hadn’t speared . After 5 weeks of healing from the total hysterectomy I started weekly chemo for 18 weeks …. Everything went well – no sickness a couple of blood transfers but other then that piece of cake lol
    Now a year later I have had 3 scans all clear – mammograms every 6 month since I am apparently one of the ” lucky ” ones who carries the Brac 1 gene 🙂
    Hoping and praying that every scan will stay clear – kicking cancers butt . My hair is short but it’s back 🙂 feeling great – stay well my cyber “friend” I hope everything goes well for you – hang in there !

  7. Hi Caroline, it sounds like you are coping really well and it’s a good idea to relax with a holiday – I hope you enjoy it 🙂

  8. It was good to read of someone else around my age, having a hysterectomy, I had a polyp removed in december last year, had had them removed several times before, this time was under a general. Results came back pre-cancereous cells, was recalled to hospital told, as I had a meriva fitted sometime can combat cells. booked in for 1st june, for bi-opsies. was told by surgeon they removed a lump and thickening of lining. Came back precancer significantly advanced. I am going on holiday, then have my op for hysterectomy on 7th September, I must admit I am scared. But your article has helped, Hope all ok with you get well soon

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