Emma J’s Story

The day before my wedding I received a call from the hospital with my surgery date to remove precancerous cells. When the day rolled around I was nervous as hell, but I was so glad I was getting it done so that I could concentrate on planning for my honeymoon which was just six weeks away.

One day I was out walking with my husband when my phone rang. It was 6:30 pm and it was an unknown number but I knew straight away. I felt so sick – I just stood still in the street. It was the doctor ringing to give me the bad news. All I heard from the call was that they had found cancer. After that I just said yes to every else he was saying, although I wasn’t comprehending a single word. My husband turned to me and I was a mess  – I couldn’t talk and struggled just to tell him the news that I had cancer. When we got home I cried for a good two hours straight.

I was so nervous about telling my parents I couldn’t even call them. There’s something about breaking their hearts like that – it hurts so much – so my husband called them and told them to come over. The tears started again and we were all so unsure how bad it was and what we needed to do. I was on google all night crying at the fact that I might not have children. It was horrific. The hospital called again in the morning to advise I had a meeting next week to discuss treatment.

Of course I’m not lucky to get cancer but I am lucky I was up to date with my cervical screenings. I was diagnosed with stage 1a1 – the earliest possible. The first treatment plan was a cone biopsy to remove the surrounding cells.

It was recommended that surgery to take place within 30 days. We were planning on leaving for our honeymoon soon for just over five weeks so the doctor advised that I was able to wait and have the surgery upon my return.

Then one week into our honeymoon in America COVID-19 hit. I was panicking. What if I got sick? What if we got stuck there and then they introduced 14 day self isolation? We ended up booking an extremely expensive flight home the same day. We self isolated immediately and I was booked in for surgery within four days after our isolation period ended.

Waking from surgery I was told everything went well, though it doesn’t mean much when you have another week to wait for the results to truly determine how it went. Then Covid-19 added on another day of waiting for results.

Finally I received a phone call saying my margins were all clear! Right now I’m still at a very high risk of the cancer occurring again as my cells have changed, but I’m super cautious now and have a wonderful team at the Royal Women’s Hospital who won’t let me miss that important six month follow up appointment.

If I was not up to date with my cervical screenings I could be in a much worse position -potentially without hair and my sense of taste, being severely unwell and without the prospect of ever being able to have my own children. I’m so thankful to myself for trusting a professional and having the confidence to have that 10 minute Cervical Screening Test!

My tips for Australian women about cervical health