Valentina (Cervical Cancer): Think positive and half of your battle is done

About Valentina:-

Valentina is 42 years old and works as a freelance Communication Coach and Writer. She conducts workshops and also writes/edits content as well.

How it started:-

It all started one morning when she went to the washroom and there was blood when she wiped herself. She never had unusual periods, ever. Her periods were always on time. When this happened outside her cycle, it immediately caught her attention but she waited for a month. When the situation did not change post the next cycle, she went to see her gynecologist. On examining her, the Gynecologist found that there was what appeared to be, a mass growing. Not only did she have a tumor; she had multiple fibroids too. Up until then, there was absolutely no indication of having fibroids. Being a runner and leading an active lifestyle; she found it very strange that she had never experienced any discomfort nor had any indication that something was amiss. Her Gynecologist conducted a pap smear which indicated the possibility of cervical cancer however he was unsure how far it had progressed. 

The Other Gynecologist:-

A close friend of hers, who was with Valentina throughout this phase, suggested they consult a common friend’s wife who runs a pathology and diagnostic center. She advised her to consult with an “oncology gynecologist”; a gynecologist who also deals with oncology; just to make sure that she was headed in the right direction. After researching potential doctors she zeroed in on Dr. Yogesh Kulkarni who practices at Kokilaben. Dr. Kulkarni suggested a procedure called ‘Colposcopy’ ( it’s a medical diagnostic procedure done using a Colposcope; to visually examine the cervix for cancer and it’s done under general anesthesia). The gynecologist told Valentina that it looked suspicious and later the results certified that it was cancer. She was told that a Radical Hysterectomy was the only way to get cancer. On 6th September 2019, it was done via open surgery.

The Treatment:-

The gynecologist said that she has to be hospitalized for around 7-8 days, just to make sure that when she walked out of the hospital she is free of any complications. The surgery propelled her into early menopause; also known as ‘Surgical Menopause.’ Due to the premature onset of menopause, she began to experience many changes in her body; not just physically but psychologically too.

While suffering from cancer:-

She has an amazing bunch of supportive friends who never left her side. Her friends and family never made her feel victimized about her condition. They rallied around her and kept her spirit high. Post the surgery, an extensive biopsy was conducted and it turned out she had developed a precancerous condition called Vaginal Intraepithelial Neoplasia (VAIN). 

Doctor’s Advice:-

While suffering from VAIN the doctor’s advised her not to undergo any kind of radiation immediately because that could cause adverse effects. Therefore, he advised her to wait and have her check-up every three months. As soon as the cancer cells change, she will have to go ahead with the radiation. Since she is checking in every three months it was not going to alter her life. She got back to her normal routine and even resumed her runs after she completed three months post-surgery. 

How she handled her side effects:-

Valentina says exercising takes care of a person’s mental wellbeing. Just 30 minutes of exercise in a day can lift your mood. She doesn’t talk about her disease to her friends or family. Initially, she did experience physical weakness throughout her body but once she started exercising she bounced back to how she was before.

How her son reacted:-

A week before her surgery, she took her son out to breakfast in a bid to break the news to him. She was amazed at how positively he looked at the situation. For her son, cancer was just a disease, as he had seen two of his closest friends fighting and overcoming it. For him, his friends are living examples. So, he was not worried about it and he was confident that she would beat cancer too. 

Valentina’s Advice:-

She advises not to let the disease consume you by giving it too much thought and to not overthink it. Be someone very aware of your own body. Be aware of small changes that can be impactful. If you feel/see any symptoms like bleeding, hair loss, unexplained weight gain or weight loss, and lack of appetite, take an appointment with the doctor immediately. Cancer is not hereditary anymore. If you listen to your body, you will know when something is not right. Cancer doesn’t necessarily mean death. It doesn’t necessarily mean that your life is altered. There is a life beyond cancer and you will learn to live through it well. Think positively and more than half of your battle is won. 

Valentina (Cervical Cancer)

About Valentina:-

Valentina is 42 years old and works as a freelance Communication Coach and Writer. She conducts workshops and also writes/edits content as well.

How it started:-

It all started one morning when she went to the washroom and there was blood when she wiped herself. She never had unusual periods, ever. Her periods were always on time. When this happened outside her cycle, it immediately caught her attention but she waited for a month. When the situation did not change post the next cycle, she went to see her gynecologist. On examining her, the Gynecologist found that there was what appeared to be, a mass growing. Not only did she have a tumor; she had multiple fibroids too. Up until then, there was absolutely no indication of having fibroids. Being a runner and leading an active lifestyle; she found it very strange that she had never experienced any discomfort nor had any indication that something was amiss. Her Gynecologist conducted a pap smear which indicated the possibility of cervical cancer however he was unsure how far it had progressed. 

The Other Gynecologist:-

A close friend of hers, who was with Valentina throughout this phase, suggested they consult a common friend’s wife who runs a pathology and diagnostic center. She advised her to consult with an “oncology gynecologist”; a gynecologist who also deals with oncology; just to make sure that she was headed in the right direction. After researching potential doctors she zeroed in on Dr. Yogesh Kulkarni who practices at Kokilaben. Dr. Kulkarni suggested a procedure called ‘Colposcopy’ ( it’s a medical diagnostic procedure done using a Colposcope; to visually examine the cervix for cancer and it’s done under general anesthesia). The gynecologist told Valentina that it looked suspicious and later the results certified that it was cancer. She was told that a Radical Hysterectomy was the only way to get cancer. On 6th September 2019, it was done via open surgery.

The Treatment:-

The gynecologist said that she has to be hospitalized for around 7-8 days, just to make sure that when she walked out of the hospital she is free of any complications. The surgery propelled her into early menopause; also known as ‘Surgical Menopause.’ Due to the premature onset of menopause, she began to experience many changes in her body; not just physically but psychologically too.

While suffering from cancer:-

She has an amazing bunch of supportive friends who never left her side. Her friends and family never made her feel victimized about her condition. They rallied around her and kept her spirit high. Post the surgery, an extensive biopsy was conducted and it turned out she had developed a precancerous condition called Vaginal Intraepithelial Neoplasia (VAIN). 

Doctor’s Advice:-

While suffering from VAIN the doctor’s advised her not to undergo any kind of radiation immediately because that could cause adverse effects. Therefore, he advised her to wait and have her check-up every three months. As soon as the cancer cells change, she will have to go ahead with the radiation. Since she is checking in every three months it was not going to alter her life. She got back to her normal routine and even resumed her runs after she completed three months post-surgery. 

How she handled her side effects:-

Valentina says exercising takes care of a person’s mental wellbeing. Just 30 minutes of exercise in a day can lift your mood. She doesn’t talk about her disease to her friends or family. Initially, she did experience physical weakness throughout her body but once she started exercising she bounced back to how she was before.

How her son reacted:-

A week before her surgery, she took her son out to breakfast in a bid to break the news to him. She was amazed at how positively he looked at the situation. For her son, cancer was just a disease, as he had seen two of his closest friends fighting and overcoming it. For him, his friends are living examples. So, he was not worried about it and he was confident that she would beat cancer too. 

Valentina’s Advice:-

She advises not to let the disease consume you by giving it too much thought and to not overthink it. Be someone very aware of your own body. Be aware of small changes that can be impactful. If you feel/see any symptoms like bleeding, hair loss, unexplained weight gain or weight loss, and lack of appetite, take an appointment with the doctor immediately. Cancer is not hereditary anymore. If you listen to your body, you will know when something is not right. Cancer doesn’t necessarily mean death. It doesn’t necessarily mean that your life is altered. There is a life beyond cancer and you will learn to live through it well. Think positively and more than half of your battle is won. 

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