I was referred to an OBGYN by my GP toward the end of 2011 to follow up my prolapsed womb condition and to check a small growth. Soon after I was examined by the specialist who suggested I trial a treatment in his clinic for some weeks before going down the surgery path for the prolapse. He also checked the little growth and told me it was “nothing to be concerned about, nothing sinister.” I was relieved.I went back around Sept 2012 and was given a thorough gynae examination including the growth. It was decided that I would need surgery. I queried the specialist about the lump as it was getting larger but he reassured me it was fine. I had the surgery but the lump wasn’t biopsied and I was told once again that it was “nothing sinister”
After surgery I had to visit the specialist every Fri for several weeks. Each visit required a physical examination and each visit I complained about the size of the lump. However no test was made until the end of the treatment. Two days later my mobile rang and seeing the OBGYN,s name come up I knew something was wrong. He told me he wanted me to see a Gynae Oncologist at Cabrini hospital in Melbourne as soon as possible. A few days later the Oncologist called me in for another appointment where I was told I had Vulva cancer. He told me this was a huge cancer and I would need radical surgery and hoped it had not spread to my lymph nodes. I was shell shocked and had to drive home to Geelong. That was late in March 2013 and my operation at Cabrini was 12th April, just a year ago.
Surgery went well apparently, but afterwards it was just one thing after the other. The surgery was terrible, I had lost half my “bits” down below and was trying to come to terms with that, when I was told they couldn’t get all of the cancer and I would have to come back in about 8 weeks for further surgery. I was so depressed. My Oncologist met with his team and it was decided I would have no quality of life if they operated a second time so I was told I would need chemo and radiation. However I got another infection so I was in hospital for another two weeks before I could start my treatment. In July, I started chemo and radiation.
I survived chemo as awful as it is and the symptoms that come with it but radiation is like burning in hell. My tests appear to be clear for now and that’s all the doctors can tell you, but thank God I’m alive! I consider myself an educated, intelligent woman who was proactive with her health, having yearly pap smears, mammograms, and other tests but still this happened to me!
So my message to all women is, know your body, and don’t take a Dr’s word as gospel no matter how far up the chain he is. I think we know if something is not right! Get a second opinion, be more forceful than I was and hopefully this won’t happen to you!