Daniella D’s Story

2018 was going to be my year. It started with a family holiday on a cruise line & we were going to start trying for our third. It seemed like perfect timing when I received my Pap smear reminder. Of course I hated the thought of going to have it done, but I thought ‘Great, I’ll have my check up before trying for number 3.’

However that wasn’t going to be the case. A growth was found on my cervix, and after a few tests, it was discovered that I had cervical cancer!! Cervical cancer…I couldn’t believe it! I was only 33 years old and a mum to two beautiful little girls! How could this happen? I didn’t have any symptoms. I always thought it would never happen to someone I know yet alone me…but it did!

The next few weeks were a whirlwind. I met with an amazing oncologist, Dr Kym Reid, who was my saviour!! She organised all the tests and scans, thoroughly explained every process, result and my options. I discovered that my cancer hadn’t spread and I didn’t need chemotherapy or radiotherapy. I was certainly a lot luckier than other women, but that didn’t make my journey an easy one. I had to have a radical hysterectomy, which meant I was basically loosing all my womanhood, ovaries too, and of course the chance to have more children.

Yes I’m so blessed to have had 2, but I felt very sad that the choice to have more was taken from me. However I realised that I this was my path. I can live to see my beautiful girls grow and that is all because I was up to date with my Pap smears. I was advised that if I didn’t go for this smear my cancer would have most likely spread and it could have even killed me.

My journey still continues as I now have 4-6 monthly check ups with my oncologist which include the new Cervical Screening Tests (CST) as well as being on Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) tablets. This was a hard thing to deal with at a young age. Due to the loss of my ovaries, my body would naturally go through menopause if I didn’t take any HRT. Now nearly 2 years on my body doesn’t feel 100% back to normal and it most likely never will, but I have learn to accept the new “normal”, the new me.

Since my diagnosis I have become very passionate about raising awareness for this horrible disease which is still taking too many lives each year. I strive to be a better, stronger role model for my two little girls Ilara & Ariana. Although cervical cancer, like other cancers, doesn’t have a cure (yet) we do have prevention and it’s all done with a simple Cervical Screening Test every 5 years. Remember it’s 5 minutes of your time for 5 years piece of mind, and I can vouch that prevention does work because it certainly saved my life.

My tips for Australian women about cervical health

My advice to woman today is to please keep up-to-date with your CST — I’m living proof that prevention works! Also we need to start teaching the next generation about the importance of keeping up-to-date too.