In 2014 I was diagnosed with Cervical Cancer after putting off my smear test for 3 months, I had some symptoms which I tried to ignore, heavy bleeding and heavy discharge which would not stop. When I realised something wasn’t right, I had googled my symptoms and I convinced myself I had cancer. My results letter came after two weeks and I was told there were abnormalities on my cervix which needed further investigation so I was sent for a Colposcopy, where a vinegar type liquid is put onto the cervix to highlight any changes. I was told then that a mass was visible and I needed an operation the next day to take a piece of the tumour away to be tested I woke up from that operation to the doctor holding my hand “I’m sorry to tell you Gemma, but it is cancer” In that moment my world fell apart at the seams. The only words that came out of my mouth were “Am I going to die?” I must of said it 50 times. My son, Jesse was only 18months old at the time and I was terrified of him growing up without a mum. Who would look after him? Would he remember me. I planned my funeral in my head that evening. A few days later I was sent for an MRI scan to see if the cancer was anywhere else in my body, i was very lucky to find out it was confined to my cervix. I was staged at 1b2, my tumour was 5cm in length and I needed treatment straight away. I was sent to the Christie hospital and I began 5 weeks of radiotherapy every day and chemotherapy every Wednesday. The treatment made me so poorly! I lost a lot of weight and could barely stand up for longer than a few seconds due to my body being blasted with harmful radio waves and poisonous chemo continuously. But this gruelling treatment is the reason I am alive today! I have gone through the menopause at age 25 and I can no longer have any more children which has been very hard to deal with. I am so lucky have had my son just in time, every day I’m greatfull I got the chance to be his mummy. Please don’t put off your smear tests, if I had left it any longer, I would not be alive today and my son wouldn’t have a mother.
My goal is to break the stigma around smear tests and encourage people to attend screening by listening to my story and learning from my mistake of putting off my smear test, which I did for 3 months and then eventually I found out I had cervical cancer. You can follow my awareness page on Instagram @Public_Cervix_Announcement, I share lots of helpful information and real life stories which will hopefully help you to make a choice which can save your life.
I work alongside Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, a Charity which campaigns for change, raises awareness and provides support to anyone who has been affected by Cervical Cancer.
If you are worried or need someone to speak to, I am always available through my page or you can contact Jo’s helpline by searching the website (www.jostrust.org.uk)