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Written on 25th January 2016 by Sita Soni


In October 2009, I saw my GP for a routine smear. I was told that abnormalities were found and I was referred to hospital. I hadn’t experienced any worrying symptoms leading up to this. Obviously this made me feel very anxious, I have never had a smear come back abnormal. To be honest, I didn’t really know what would happen next or what it meant. I tried to forget about it until the hospital contacted me. 

I attended the colposcopy clinic and biopsies were taken in February 2010. The biopsies confirmed the abnormalities and I had to undergo a large loop excision in May 2010 to remove the abnormal cells. I was happy to hear there was no invasive cancer but given that excision was incomplete, re-excision was strongly recommended.

I attended the colposcopy clinic again in September 2010 for the excision but this wasn’t done. I was instead examined and had a smear. I was told everything was normal and advised undergo a further smear in six months. I felt relieved and trusted what I’d been told by the medical professional.

In February 2011, I went to my GP surgery for a smear and I was referred back to the colposcopy clinic as abnormal cells had been detected. I had the colposcopy in March 2011 which showed a lesion in my cervix. The doctor took a biopsy which revealed I had cervical cancer. I was in complete shock. I was told that I had no choice but to have a radical hysterectomy. I was distraught that the chance of having more children had been taken away from me. I lost confidence in myself. I felt that I was not going to be the same woman I had been before but my husband insisted that my primary focus was to get better. I was devastated to hear the treatment options may have been different had the cancer been diagnosed earlier, which it should have been.

It was a slow recovery from the hysterectomy. I had five months off work. Part of that time was needed to recover emotionally because it had been such a roller coaster. I was worn out. There were queries as to whether I was suffering with depression for which I attended counselling sessions to come to terms with the diagnosis.

Even though I then received the all clear from the cancer, I struggled to accept what had happened to me. My friends and my support network went back to their everyday lives, but I was still dealing with the fact that I’d had cervical cancer. I was in a post treatment limbo. I’d become distant from my children and my husband, and pushed everybody away. I approached Jo’s Trust, a charity that supports women and their families dealing with this type of cancer, who really helped me. They put me in touch with women that have been through similar situations, and who have the knowledge and experience to help you through the bad times.

It took a while for me to feel better about myself and the future, but eventually I picked myself up and felt more positive. I was starting to go back to the person I was pre-diagnosis.

I didn’t know what was round the corner for me. My journey with cancer was not yet over…

Read the second part of Josie's story here: