This is my first post!
I am 39 and recently been diagnosed with stage 2 cervical cancer. I have had CT, MRI and PET scans which have all shown there is no spread. I have been advised I will shortly undergo 25 sessions of radiotherapy, 5 sessions of chemotherapy and 3 sessions of brachytherapy! I have my planning scan this week and will soon find out when my treatment will start. Has anyone had similar diagnosis/treatment and how did they find this?
Currently feeling very emotional and trying to come to terms with everything!
Hi Sha159 and welcome to our group.
There are a number of us in the group who had your diagnosis and treatment. I was diagnosed at stage 2b in 2018. The treatment you are having is standard at stages 2 and 3, so hopefully there will be a lot of advice and support for you in the group as you go through this.
It’s a lot to process at the start and such a whirlwind of appointments and scans, but it’s good to know you have a plan in place now and things should start soon. Many of us found things easier to deal with once we had our staging and treatment plan.
Everyone is different in how they react to treatment-some ladies can sail through with little or no side effects and some can find it very tough, but until you start you won’t know how it will affect you. For me, I found the chemo very straightforward and quite a relaxing day as you are there for several hours. The radiotherapy side effects kicked in at 3 weeks in, and I had diarrhoea and cystitis. I was also very tired. The effects were cumulative so got harder as treatment progressed.
There are a couple of important things I would recommend-telling your team about any side effects you experience so that they can help you, and taking things a day at a time. You will be told of all the potential side effects when you sign your consent form for treatment, but that doesn’t mean you will have any or all of them and I was prescribed loperamide to help with the diarrhoea and creams to help with cystitis. I didn’t ever feel nauseous, but was given anti sickness meds through the IV on chemo days, and anti sickness tablets to take if required.
For the planning scan, I wasn’t advised to have an empty bowel so it couldn’t be done. I was sent home with suppositories and had to go back the next day which was very inconvenient! It’s a simple procedure to mark you with tiny tattoos (I had 3) so that the radiation can be targeted correctly each day.
Radiation is quick and painless, but for me it was a challenge to have a full bladder before each treatment as there were frequently delays in my radiotherapy department. You will be advised on the water drinking protocol when you first go for treatment and having a full bladder can help shield your other organs from potential radiation damage.
If you have any specific questions, please feel free to post and ask, and you can use the group for any worries and concerns you might have. Lots of us have been through this and come out the other side so we will support and help you as much as we can based on our own experiences. Please let us know how you get on.
Thanks SarahH21 - it’s nice to hear of others who have gone through a similar diagnosis! It’s such a lot to take in! I have days of feeling positive and that I’ll get through this and others where I can’t stop crying! I suppose I won’t know how it will affect me until I start my treatment! Hopefully find out more at my planning scan at the end of the week.
Were you able to drive yourself to your radiotherapy/chemo appointments? I am also hoping that I will be able to carry on doing some work from home (again this will depend how I feel!). How long after your treatment ended did you start to feel better and able to go back to normal things? xx
I don’t actually drive, so was always driven to my daily appointments. (chemo is once a week, so radiotherapy on that day too).
I think many of the ladies here had no issues driving themselves to and from appointments. Are you far from your hospital?
It took a few weeks if I recall to get over the tiredness, as radiotherapy does keep working in your body after treatment ends but my side effects of diarrhoea and cystitis cleared up within a week or two. Everyone is different though. You might well be able to work from home during treatment, but I was already retired so didn’t have to do this personally.
As far as going back to normal things, that didn’t take long at all-I kept up with housework and stuff going through the treatment so that was just as usual really. It’s just a case of having a rest if you’re tired and listening to your body. The treatment is quite intense over a short period of time.
There’s a bit of a wait after treatment ends until you have a scan to check if treatment has been successful so it can be a bit stressful waiting for that.
I hope some of the other ladies will be along to tell you of their experiences, but you can click on anyone’s name to read their profile if this has been completed. Please feel free to add your own details to your profile if you’d like to, as it helps others to know how you got here and what treatment you are having/have gone through.
One thing I would say is that it’s impossible to be positive all of the time, and we all can be up and down with our emotions, so please don’t beat yourself up about having a cry. It’s perfectly normal and I don’t believe anyone can be positive 24/7. However, there are lots of ladies who’ve had successful treatment so try and visualise yourself as being another one!
Hi SarahH21 thanks for taking the time to reply! You have definitely made me feel a bit more positive about things! Everything happens so fast and so much information is thrown at you it can become really overwhelming. Just need to take it a day at a time just now. I have about an hours drive to the hospital (my local hospital unfortunately doesn’t carry out the radiotherapy treatment) so I will just need to see how that goes x
Yes, it’s certainly quite overwhelming at the start of all this, but things will settle once you get going with treatment. See how you feel day by day and hopefully you’ll be able to drive yourself there and back, but I’d suggest having a plan B in place where you could call on someone else to help if you are not feeling great.