Tag Archives: Uterine Cancer Symptoms

A Fairytale ending!

Once upon a time their was a woman who turned 50. She had a lot of exciting things going on in her life, except for one thing, her life was ruled by an evil curse, let’s call her Eve!. Eve not only consumed her for ten days a month, but she kept the women prisoner in her bed chamber for up to four days each month.  Eve not only ruled over the woman’s life but Eve also affected other peoples lives.  She would force everyone to change their plans and on one occasion nine people had to rearrange their plans appease to Eve’s demands. Eve then decided that 10 days a month was not enough, she decided to play havoc and drop in unannounced whenever it suited her, making life even more difficult for the women. The women got so fed up with Eve that she went to see a magician. The magician was worried the curse could have an accomplice named Cancer so the women was sent to a far away place to see if the curse of Eve could be lifted. Many people worked hard to help the women and to everybody’s delight Cancer did not reside with Eve. A party and a banquet was thrown to celebrate the good news but unfortunately Eve was still in the picture and the women just hoped and prayed that the curse of Eve could one day be lifted and that she could live happily ever after. THE END

I wrote the fairytale as I started this blog with the hope for a fairy tale ending. When I was researching I could only find negative information which seemed to point to the fact that my symptoms were  probably due to Uterine Cancer. I hoped by writing this that people in similar situations would see that not every story ends with a diagnosis of Cancer but if  you exhibit symptoms for this or other women’s Cancers, please get it checked out.  When my doctor told me she suspected Cancer I immersed myself into as much information and literature I could find on the subject. Dr google played his part in my quest for knowledge on this serious subject. I read many blogs,  joined groups, I even read a book on the subject which opened up a whole new world to me, not a pleasant world but it made me realise many people are being diagnosed every day some are given good odds on survival and others not so good. With Uterine Cancer the first port of call is to have a hysterectomy and after this major operation the grading is done to see if the Cancer has spread. Then depending upon how bad the Cancer is different treatments are offered. radiotherapy and chemotherapy seem to be the treatments frequently offered. Radiotherapy can be external or internal. With external  beam radiotherapy usually involves a series of daily treatments over a number of days or weeks. The temporary DNA damage to normal tissues causes side effects. Common side effects include sore skin, tiredness and hair loss. So just imagine, feeling sick, sore, tired, losing your hair and having to go possibly daily for treatment which would mean travelling, finding a car park, waiting your turn, having treatment, travelling home and then having to do it all again the next day probably feeling dreadful. If that wasnt enough this awful treatment can be followed by Internal radiotherapy which involves placing a small piece of radioactive material temporarily inside the body near the cancerous cells. With Uterine Cancer I can only imagine how uncomfortable that must be. While we are at home going about our day to day life many people are undergoing these terrible treatments. Chemotherapy also causes side effects and often the two treatments are used together. Most chemotherapy medications have a poisonous effect and often cause feeling tired and weak, feeling and being sick and hair loss. I have read that people don’t know how to deal with Cancer so often will avoid seeing or talking to their friends. The word Cancer holds such a stigma of illness, death and dying almost like leprosy, you might as well be ringing a bell saying unclean. People are scared of the word and don’t want to associate with the victims as it makes them uncomfortable but just for one minute try to have empathy for what they are going through. Not only do Cancer victims have to suffer pain and ill health, loss of income and dignity but often their support network abandon them. I only got a tiny taste of that bitter pill. Most people were understanding to my predicament but I could see the cloud of embarrassment lurking making people uncomfortable at even the suspicion that my symptoms could be due to Cancer. These women who have been diagnosed are still the same people, but they are now fighting a terrible illness and have many obstacles to battle over a long period of time. Even when they get a clean bill of health they still have to be monitored just in case the Cancer comes back. I have two requests. the first is if you know someone battling Cancer, please be kind compassionate and caring, they will probably need a friend. My second request is if you have any symptoms of women’s Cancers, please don’t leave it. The terrible treatments can often be avoided if you act fast. I said to one woman I think you’re so brave and she said I’m not brave I just don’t have a choice.

 

 

 

 

Hysteroscopy with pictures

With mixed feelings and trepidation I rose from my bed the early hours of the morning. I had to get up at stupid o’clock so I could have a light breakfast. To me 7am is stupid O’clock  but In the rest of the world this is quite an acceptable time, but I wonder if the rest of the world have difficulty sleeping due to pain and are still awake at 2am. That is one of the little adjustments both myself and my husband have had to make for the illnesses that have consumed me. I notice the feeling of butterflies in my stomach as I contemplate the day ahead. We have to be at the hospital by noon and I was allowed a light breakfast before 7.30am and clear fluids up until 11am. We left for the hospital at 11am and realised I had forgotten my phone and needed to go back for it, and then the strap on my sandals broke which was a bit inconvenient but was just the start to a very long day. We arrived in good time and joined lots of other patients waiting for their day procedure. There must have been fifteen or more of us just sitting with magazines, newspapers, kindles and phones patiently waiting to be called for assessment. One by one the names were called and each person disappeared around the corner to emerge fifteen minutes later wearing fetching bottle green stockings and wrist bands. Everyone seemed to have been called through but I was still waiting, had they forgotten me? Then slowly people were called to see the consultant,  then off some went  to have their operations and I was still waiting for my fetching stockings. I was feeling quite anxious and unsure of what was going on so my husband Paul asked a nurse why I had not been assessed. The nurse said they were very busy in a “don’t bother me” grumpy manner,  so he came and sat back down. Then a consultant called me through, to a small room, she ran through all the things she had planned. “I will be fitting a coil, performing a Hysteroscopy, cervical smear and biopsy” I nodded, just so thankful that I was actually seeing someone after hours of waiting. There are risks to these procedures she continued, the list was daunting. I could perforate your bladder and you could wake with a catheter which would probably be in for about 10 days as it often repairs itself!  Your bowel or womb could be perforated and you could need another operation and blood transfusion. You will need blood thinners as your not very active and a suppository up your bottom. OK!! but then she done something I would not expect from a consultant and it did not instill much confidence, she leant over to the desk and said “Touch wood”  She smiled and said “Oh it’s not made of wood but it should be fine” I asked my questions and was informed I should get a letter in a couple of weeks with the results and if I didn’t then to call the  hospital. Then back to waiting! I was called back to the tiny room by the anesthetist and asked more questions about previous operations and any side effects and was told that I could wake with a sore throat and damage to my teeth or mouth. We were allowed to stay in the small room and wait. As we sat waiting our attention was drawn to the radio playing ” Show me Heaven” in the background, this experience seemed a bit like something out of a sitcom! The nurse eventually came in and checked my blood pressure and heart and I got the obligatory stocking fashion wear and bracelets, the nurse also left my notes on the table which I so wanted to read but being so close to the nurses station I was worried I would be caught and in trouble with the already aggravated overworked nurses.  By 4pm I was starting to feel unwell, the fatigue from the M.E was overwhelming, I had a headache, felt shaky and my panic disorders were in overdrive. Paul asked for a pillow so I could lay down on the very narrow cold stiff examining bed. Then it happened, they were eventually ready for me, I had to change into the gown and remove all of my underclothes. As we left the small room we noticed the silence and lack of people in the holding area, I was indeed the last one standing! I was feeling too unwell to walk and needed my wheelchair to get to the theatre reception. Paul wheeled me to the door and a kindly nurse took me through.  The room was filled with people recovering from operations some sleeping, and many being monitored by medical staff. I felt anxious as not only do I have fatiguing and pain illnesses I also suffer from agoraphobia, G.A.D, Panic disorder and PTSD. I was totally dependent on my husband and I have not left the house along for over 10 years so found myself in a vulnerable anxious state. I tried to breathe deeply and tell myself that It won’t be long then I would go through. Again time slowly ticked by, I watched the clock on the wall next to my bed minute by minute and still nobody came for me. The panic started to win so I drew the curtain around me to shut away all the things going on. The nurse at the station noticed that I had closed my curtains and came over to see if I was ok. The kindness of the nurse made me lose my cool and I started to blubber, I was so anxious, scared tired, hungry and shaky and was without my comforting husband. The nurse realised my distress and send somebody to find my husband to sit with me. In my upset state I questioned why I was left until last as they had been informed about my medical conditions. I needed the bathroom yet again and had to go all the way back to the holding area as this was the only bathroom and I seriously considered just leaving and going home, in the gown naked underneath but we had left our bags in the theatre reception so had to return. Eventually at 5pm a lady in purple scrubs came to fetch me, we passed a nurse on route who I know from my church who said some kind words but by this time I was so distraught that I just could not stop the tears from flowing. I was taken through to the knocking out room and a nice friendly anesthetist  let me have some gas and air to calm me down. This I must say was amazing, as I took deep breaths I went further and further into an amazing hallucination. I was in a beautiful green field, it was sunny and warm a perfect day, I briefly opened my eyes and was astonished to  see the doors to the operating theatre, I did expect to be surrounded by the beautiful field I had seen in my hallucination. I remember holding my hand out, I wanted to hold Jesus’s hand but to my dismay I was left hanging. This concerned me being a Christian and I questioned God about this and woke with a Scripture verse in my head. Psalm 46 God is with us. So he was with me, I had not been abandoned He was with me all along.  My daughters thought that as the view was so beautiful that if Jesus had taken me by the hand I might have thought I was actually going to heaven. That’s the last I remembered until I was back in the theatre reception surrounded by many recovering patients.  I was much longer than had been anticipated as there was complications and they could not do what had been planned. Firstly they could not fit the coil as my womb was too big, they could not complete the Hysteroscopy due to the position of the Fibroids and as they could not complete the Hysteroscopy they could not do the biopsy and instead done a D&C. My husband was worried and made such a fuss that they released me from the theatre reception and as I was doing well, managed to eat, drink and wee I was released fairly quickly. The nurse showed me pictures of the procedure, which I don’t know if she was suppose to. I am not sure what the pictures are of but I quickly snapped a copy on my phone. I wondered if they were my womb, cervix or my Fibroids and what are the brown marks? are they normal or something to worry about? Just shows that a little bit of information can be a dangerous thing. They have also changed my plan from a letter in the post to another appointment  to discuss options and I had some of the findings on the discharge note.

Please see attached copy of photo’s and discharge note.

Results

Hysteroscopy Photo 1Hysteroscopy phot 2

Hysteroscopy -pic 3Hysteroscopy  joint pic

 

 

Pre-op assessment!

It’s getting closer to biopsy day, I had the pre-op in preparation for the procedure next Thursday!! The letter said to allow upto 3 hours but it was much quicker than that i’m glad to say. I was impressed that they have taken my other conditions into consideration and are going to let my husband stay with me rather than just drop me off. So Big long questionnaire completed (Check!) ECG (Check!) blood test (Check!,) blood pressure (Check!,) But very low!! height (Check!), yes still the same as last time, weight (Check!), and I have lost a few pounds which was a bonus.  The very efficient nurse, lets call her Sue (after all that is her name! ) So Sue said that if I was not disabled and was working I would need one to two weeks to recover! Rather a long period of time I thought! I was expecting one to two days, maybe it’s because they are doing investigation, Biopsy, smear and coil but still that amount of time does seem a bit excessive. We will just have to wait and see how it goes. The questions I have prepared ready to ask, like how long until I get the results were irrelevant as I was asking the wrong person, these need to be asked when I meet the Dr, just before I am taken down to theatre! I was given two large bags for my numerous amounts of medication and sent on my way.  I remember the conversation I had with friends who are in the medical profession. “Try to avoid having any operations in August, as this is when all the newly trained Doctors are let loose on real people, and the death rate always rises in August” Well my procedure is 4th September hopefully they will have the hang of things by then! Eek!! But seriously I just can’t imagine that I have the “C” word! surely I would know! Fingers crossed, break a leg. No, much better than that I will pray, God’s will be done, but please God let me be ok!

Biopsy

It’s been quite anxious waiting to get an appointment for the biopsy. I was not sure if it would be a phone call or letter but I was kind of relieved when Graham the postman turned up with a pile of letters and some parcels from ebay. The letter looked official and  had  a large form for me to fill in. I feel pleased to know when my appointment is! First I have to go in for a pre-op assessment in five days time, the letter said  to allow up to three hours for the assessment. I will have to have an ECG, full medical history, my weight, height and what car I drive, (well maybe not that much info) Then comes the biopsy!! in twelve days. The long probing telescope-like device that is inserted into the uterus through the vagina and cervix, I am very glad to say it will be done under general anaesthetic and they are going to fit a coil and do a cervical smear test at the same time,  you could say (3 for 1 offer!) Then it’s the waiting game, to find out the cause of my horrid symptoms! Could it be the fruits up to mischief, banging into each other and causing problems or could it possibly be the unthinkable, unspeakable word that everyone shy’s away from, too awkward for people to talk about. I found even at this stage, the stage of investigation that people who I have told are playing lets pretend we don’t know anything and putting there hands over their ears singing La la la! I find it hard to imagine if I have actually got the, you know, “C” word. Will people avoid me, not talk to me, not mention it? I already feel different and feel as though I am treated different. I feel like people are speaking about it,  just not to me. How will I cope with a whispering support network that are too afraid to mention the unmentionable. What if i do have “it” do I tell people or do I hide it away in a dark corner and play lets pretend so I can not make other people feel uncomfortable!

hysteroscope

I am glad I will be asleep during this procedure and not know anything about this instrument probing about inside my private area.  Just think, one little piece of skin taken from my womb holds the key!Yuck #dreadinglargeinstrumentinsidemymini!

 

Fibroids, polyps and other!


Fibroids


I have been wondering about Fibroids, these two fruits ( as I like to call them) have been happily and slowly increasing in size in my womb, I know that I had them in 2011, the large one has increased from the size of a tennis ball to the size of a large orange. During this time my periods have got worse and now it is almost unbearable. The Fibroids I have are the Intramural Fibroids.  My questions is would I just start to have intermenstrual bleeding  after all these years? If they have been happily growing on the wall of my uterus what would make them start bleeding now? I am hopeful that maybe my perimenopause or hormones have triggered the bleeding. Maybe because they are quite large that this set off the bleed. But all I know is waiting to find out and all this googling like a detective is not giving me any answers,  just a bowl full of gloom and speculation. I have also started to get pain in my left hip, lower back and pelvic area which is a bit worrying, I have read that these symptoms can be  either Fibroids or Cancer. Throw all this into the mix along with time to research and you get a pot full of worry. #Hurryupappointment!

fibroids

Types of Fibroids

  • Intramural fibroids, the most common, grow in the wall of the uterus and can make it feel bigger.
  • Subserosal fibroids grow on the outside of the uterus. As they grow larger, they can cause pain due to their size or pressure put on nearby organs.
  • Submucosal fibroids grow just underneath the uterine lining and can crowd into the uterus cavity and lead to heavy bleeding and other more serious complications.
  • Pedunculated fibroids grow on small stalks inside or outside the uterus.

Polyps


Although polyps did not show up on my transvaginal ultrasound I do wonder if maybe I do have some that have been missed.

One of the common symptoms of uterine polyps is excessive bleeding from the uterus, however many women do find that they experience no symptoms. Very heavy menstrual bleeding, spotting between periods, bleeding occurring after sexual intercourse or bleeding after menopause are symptoms of uterine polyps.

I have one symptom that I have researched over and over again which is bleeding from vagina after bowel movements, Dr’s look at me like i’m an alien when I mention this symptom and do nothing, but I have since found that this can be a symptom of polyps. The only thing now is,  do I have mysterious polyps playing hiding seek with the fruits? #comeoutcomeoutwhereeveryouare!

uterine-polyp

Another cause of abnormal bleeding is                                      Nonmalignant Cervical Disorders

Awareness


The BIG C?


Four weeks ago I went to see my GP and the dreaded “C” word was mentioned.  Before then I had very little awareness or information about Uterine Cancer. It was something that I did not need to worry about as it only happens to other people. It does not have the publicity that Breast Cancer has, so I thought that  it must be one of those Cancers that is quite rare!! How wrong was I!  Uterine or Endometrial Cancer is the fourth largest female Cancer with 8,475 cases each year just in the UK! I have gone back to my GP many times complaining of symptoms but until I had bleeding between periods my symptoms were put down to Fibroids, which is a possibility, but it could be something more sinister. If I had realised or been given a leaflet on other symptoms to look out for, I would have acted quicker and not just put it down to being perimenopausal or Fibroids. It seems the way to find out about the dreadful “C” is talking to people, but unfortunately its not a topic that is discussed until you find yourself in the symptom predicament. Before, I did not think I knew anyone with Uterine Cancer or the symptoms, but in the last four weeks I have found four other people so a total of five of us are experiencing, going through the investigations or diagnosis procedures, along with the waiting game. Two of the ladies are over 60, one  has had a full hysterectomy and is recovering,  the other lady who I knew quite well from church has her hysterectomy planned . Then there is another two ladies approaching their 50’s one lady, who I know though a good friend, has had abnormal symptoms and her endometrial lining is thick and they are going to investigate further. Another good friend is having abnormal bleeding and is awaiting a scan then there’s me,  I turned 50 this year and have been having heavy periods for a while, but the last 10 months or so they have become so heavy that on a couple of visits to my GP I asked “when should you call an ambulance? “which was just dismissed, maybe thinking I was being a little melodramatic. But in all honesty it has come to the point where I am actually scared of my periods. I am not sure of the definition of hemorrhaging,  but i have wondered if this is what is happening to me. Not only is it the profuse amount of blood loss I am also weak, pale, nauseous, shaky, faint and my heart is racing.  Looking at my symptoms here, now I think of course this is abnormal but when you keep going back to your doctor who is unconcerned about my symptoms and keeps offering the Mirena coil, ( which I don’t really want as I react badly to hormones) what am I suppose to do? So I just kept going, dreading, fearing the next month. It could be the Fibroid fruits I guess but, I have had these for years so why now the awful symptoms!! My point and rant is, we need more info!! The only gynecological appointments are every three years a cervical smear by the nurse. If during the appointments some pamphlets were offered  to make people aware of this then maybe, just maybe people would find out sooner and not have to go through so much invasive treatments and it would be found and eliminated quickly. I am hopeful that my new symptoms are Fibroids, the menopause, hormonal, but a little more info from the medical profession would be helpful and maybe even life saving!!

Uterine Cancer statistics

My Symptoms!


WARNING! This post contains  descriptive explicit information!


This post contains  descriptive explicit information on symptoms which may be unsavory to many readers. If you are squeamish you may find this page a bit of an over share, it’s about my personal symptoms  and contains graphical explanations.

I started my periods shortly after my 12th birthday and from the beginning my periods have always been heavy with stomach cramps. but as I approached the age of menopause things began to get  much worse. I thought what I was experiencing was normal for menopausal women, that it was one last hurrah for my womb! it wasn’t going down without a large display of colour!

The beginning of my uterus changing started at the end of the summer 2013. I woke in the early hours of the morning with gunk all down my legs, initially I thought it was blood and that I had started my period, but on closer inspection this sticky mess was in fact discharge! this continued every month the day before my period. I thought this was a good thing, that it meant along with hot flushes and night sweats that I was officially into my change and these nasty disabling periods would soon be coming to an end. But no, every month as regular as clockwork my menses returned just after the gunk fest!

The bleeding got so bad I found it difficult to deal with myself and was banished to the bedroom for three days to avoid over spill on the soft furnishings. The pain was difficult to bear too and along with the painkillers I would have a hot beanie bag on my stomach which obviously would bring on the hot sweats which was not a pleasant experience and I was grateful for the fan which worked tirelessly to cool me down.  I found that putting a rolled up hand towel between my legs as I walked to the bathroom saved the carpet and was pleased that I had invented this ingenious idea and felt I should share this with other women who struggled with flooding.

The amount of blood loss along with numerous clots plopping from my vagina was a cause for concern and as it lasted between 11-13 days it was quite an inconvenience. I went to the Dr’s many times over the years as my periods got heavier and heavier and discovered I had two large Fibroids, the size of an orange and a plum so believed that this was the culprit. I was offered a  Novasure ablation which failed. Apparently this is a rarity and the consultant assured me that he only had one fail before me, this was on 11/11/2011 and they took me to theatre at 11am which was a little disconcerting. He said that they have a safety mechanism that looks for weak spots and tells the surgeon if it is safe to go ahead or not, they run the test twice and both times it came back as unsafe to carry on. He done a D&C and the results were normal. He said that as I am approaching menopause and I had other health problems that he advised I try to hang on and not have a hysterectomy if possible as the end is in sight!

We moved to a different county, new Dr’s and new hospitals and I was offered a hysterectomy again, as the night sweats had started I thought I would try to hold out a little longer as I knew the recovery would be difficult with my restricted mobility.

(WARNING MORE YUCKY DESCRIPTION!) Then it happened, May 2014, not only was I plagued  by masses of gunk and 13 day periods I woke up about a week after my period had finished in a large pool of blood! so much in fact I had to wake my husband to change the bed sheet in the middle of the night, not really delighted about this predicament but he as usual just smiled and got on with it without complaint!

Again not really understanding that my symptoms were abnormal I thought they must be my menopause or my Fibroids, so just carried on as if nothing had happened. Another month went by and it was just the usual heavy torrent and banishment that I had become accustomed to. Then in June 2014, six days after my long and difficult period was over I had a pain in my left side and went for a lay down, when I got up I was bleeding yet again but vast amounts of blood that seemed to have a different consistency to my usual variety. (WARNING EVEN MORE YUCKY DESCRIPTION!) It was bright red, runny and lumpy, as I sat on the toilet it just literally poured out of me. The colour drained from my face and I was the colour of  a porcelain doll, I felt sick, shaky and faint.

I also had developed a lump on my vagina that was about the size of a pea so thought I should really get that checked out. I went to see a lovely lady GP who informed me my lump was just a cyst and would go away on it’s own.  As an after thought I mentioned that I was bleeding between my periods, to which her answer was we need to checkout abnormal bleeding to make sure it is not uterine Cancer!! “Pardon, you mean my symptoms are not the menopause!”

She sent an urgent referral and I was seen within one week and now I am waiting for the appointment for a biopsy, the consultant said he would do a three for the price of one and fit me a coil and do a smear while I was under general too! So now I am waiting and praying that my symptoms are due to my Fibroids, polyps or the menopause or something else.  Thank you to WordPress for allowing me to distract the worry slightly and share my ignorance on the menopause and to Dr google for teaching me all about Uterine Cancer!

(YOUR SAFE TO READ ON NOW!)

The end!