I am 65, mother of three, grandma of five.
I found a lump inside my vulva in December 2014, I paid privately to
‘put my mind at ease’ and saw a Consultant the next evening. She examined me for five mins, said it was nothing - a cyst in the Bartholin Gland - and she would put me back on the NHS list.
I received a letter informing me this Cyst would be removed in the April 2015, I tried to forget about it, I am not a worrier, but it kept growing and it was uncomfortable ie on the bike in the gym!
Has the Lump removed it was deep and I struggled much more than I thought I would, then after a few weeks I got the call to attend the next day, obviously I knew what was coming ...
Was told it was cancerous, would need no more operations as she had got it all, but would need radiotherapy.
I then was referred to the London where they are the experts and I felt safe. I do not blame the first Consultant, I had Adencarinoma of the Bartholin Gland, quite rare and she obviously had not seen it before. I had never heard of vulva cancer at this time.
I had another operation and lymph node removal on July 1st, they could not get clear margins, but my lymph nodes were clear. so I followed this up with chemo once a week and radiotherapy for six weeks.
Writing this down it sounds simple, but it was a long hard struggle, infections, mobility, bladder and bowel problems to name a few.
I now have Lymphodema which has its own challenges.
I still still my Consultant every four months. This October I will be three years clear (I prefer not to write this and tempt fate)!
I do not dwell on my illness, I am lucky, I got to 63 without having any health issues. However, on my support group some of my friends are much younger, with young families and health issues and misdiagnosis... much harder for them.
Vulva cancer is hard to talk about at first, but it’s important women know the signs/symptoms, if I had been too embarrassed to go the Doctor, who knows where I would be now.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.