Vulval cancer. Life after.
As a married woman, and mother of 3 amazing children (aren’t they all). I headed into my 39th year, feeling invincible, having a better understanding of my life, myself and stuff in general.
Jan 2017 rocked my world! And not in the best of ways. I’ve always been sick and almost held hands with death at some stage, but hell !!
This new surprise , I thought, beyond me. My consultant, after much pushing , utter the words no one wants to hear, the word that means the end of all ends. I had cancer and not any “normal, well supported, talked about cancer. Nope I could have won the lotto, but I got a cancer that in some peoples minds is an easy cancer, wtf?!?!?
Oh yeah, for me it was easy, compared to most of the amazing ladies I have since “met". We are few, but we matter.
I had the terror of the actual diagnosis. I reasoned my eldest was old enough to remember and live without me, she was 18. I was distraught over my younger 2 (10 & 12). I went in for my surgery 5am on the day, no idea what was going to be done until I was on the table and asked him to draw me a diagram. Holy hell, half of my “lady bits" were being torn (dramatic, but that’s what it felt like) from me. My surgeon could not guarantee I could still have a sexual relationship with my husband post OP, but worse he could not guarantee he could stick to the plan. Depending what he found would depend on how much I would lose.
Post op day one, I was told all went very well, no extra surgery was required, BUT .. he had to take more than he thought and stitching was tight, so the question of sex, which was the last thing on my mind, was an unknown. My husband joked that he hoped his private health insurance would cover any nessecary repairs.
It was a long, painful recovery thankfully with no other treatment. And I have been so lucky and glad of the support around me.
My kids, still drive me nuts, but I love them. My husband also drives me nuts but had been my everything! Patient, kind, supportive and just present.
And yes there is life, love and intimacy after vulvar cancer.
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