The author is a Women's Health Physiotherapist, a colleague and friend of mine .Whilst she prefers to remain anonymous, she has bravely decided to share her story with you all in the hope that it may spread awareness of the importance of vigilant self examination and, more importantly, to act upon anything suspicious that you find and not put it off. If it helps to save even one person from going through what she has then sharing has been worth it.
It is a very timely post with today being WORLD CANCER DAY.
I am post-surgery, to cut out a lump I'd been dutifully ignoring, and growing, for probably 5 or 6 months.
Who ever puts a circle on the calendar the day you ‘notice’ a lump, especially when 'tis among other lumps and in an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ area like the pelvic floor!
I hadn't looked, but was sure 'twas a haemorrhoid, such a disappointingly undeserved one.
I am a Pelvic Floor and Women’s Health Physiotherapist, I was a diligent student of my own advice, and didn't really have any ‘problems’ with my bowel….I just thought, it was a symptom of me “holding onto shit too long”, did the full Psychosomatic appraise on myself. When finally I did look, I saw something I had never seen before. I thought…bummer, now I need to show someone else, so I bravely emailed my ‘beauty spot’ to a most caring surgeon,he wanted to see me the next day.
My GP reassuringly told me that most commonly these things are the most common things, and told me it was likely a thrombosed haemorrhoid, which allowed me to sleep that night, but still happily referred me for a surgical opinion.
Long story short, my surgeon, very professionally gave me all the possibilities …and we both agreed it needed to “begone vile spot”. 10 days later surgery was fitted in, and I got the news…it was a cancer, luckily the best sort, but still I should have chemo--‐radiation to top up and mop up!
I had let it grow too close to a vital structure that couldn't be cut through. If only then only!! If I had of seen to it, when I had first noticed it was ‘hanging around and not going anywhere’, if I’d had it removed at half the size, maybe listened to my inner‘nagging’….if only, then maybe etc etc.
I decided not to beat myself up, but instead to share, to tell you all…
PLEASE, LOOK under your pretty skirts, trousers, knickers, or boxers!!
USE A MIRROR, please check the creases and folds, please keep looking, and if something doesn't feel or look right, please see to it, don't put it off.
I had months of ‘putting it off’, manically squeezing in two flights overseas (family duties), a house move and a visit from an English family, had thrown a special birthday party, to boot!
I was too busy, too scared to know the truth, I didn't want plans changed, I couldn't let us all down…I didn't want to prioritise me, I wanted to be the mega Mum and please us all.
Instead I faced Christmas, sick and with a burnt bum, New Year pretty similar, and my own 50th birthday “to remember”.
Yes I will use this as my ‘reset button’, a turning point for me to finally “do less and enjoy more”, as I had been resolving to do for the last 20 New Years. I sit now, having extracted myself from family duties, to write down my thoughts and hopes for you all.
My message is:
look where others usually don't, use a mirror, do it now, then keep looking, if anything feels or looks strangely different (colour changes, spots, lumps, rashes, different sensations, bleeding, painful) show your GP.
BE YOUR OWN BEST FRIEND, SEE TO IT EARLY.
If 'tis nothing, you get to sleep; if it's of concern, early is so much easier to treat, whatever 'tis.