Story of a warrior like many others

It was March 9, 2023, and when I entered the office of the HPV doctor who had performed the cancer biopsy on me at Businco in Cagliari, I immediately read the result in his eyes. At 36, I had to learn that there are various types of breast and ovarian cancer and that mine was called triple negative, but I didn’t care what its name was. After the first few minutes, I felt someone had punched me in the ring. I already knew what to do: I had to fight.

With my expansive nature, instinctively, I took the doctor’s hand and asked him if he could help me kick this HPV tumour. I began my journey with that promise.

I like to think that God never entrusts burdens greater than those we can carry, and I know that everything that happens to me is part of a great plan and that there is a reason for everything.

Lessons from Past Challenges

I was already convinced of this at the age of 22, when a chronic illness, following a banal mononucleosis, stuck me in bed for years, making me live like inside a doll, making my every gesture difficult and sometimes impossible.

There is a reason for everything; sometimes, even the worst things can bring rays of sunshine. We have to see them and have faith in the future. Thanks to hope, we can take what happens to us most darkly and as a rebirth.

In recent months, I have come to know stories, lives, and the biggest smiles I have ever seen. In oncology, we smile and laugh easily because those who know suffering often laugh much more.

Like family members, I met people who accompanied us on this journey with sweetness and delicacy. They take care of our HPV health and well-being from every point of view, in the true sense of care.

I have heard stories of those who didn’t make it, and above all, it is in comparison to them that I consider myself very lucky.

On September 28th, that doctor I had taken by the hand-delivered the final blow to that cancer. I had already sufficiently eliminated it with chemo, sending it into complete CA125 remission.

That day will be a second birthday, a rebirth because, from today, a fundamental thing has changed: a banal verb tense from “I have HPV cancer” to “I have had cancer.” A new perspective that smells of hope and life.

Story by Roberta 

The HPV disease manifested suddenly, with little warning, and I only connected some ailments to its presence later. One night, I experienced very strong abdominal pain and pangs during my period in the following months. I also suffered from cystitis, endless tiredness, even at the beginning of the day, and weight loss that I didn’t even realise. Having a very full life and doing a lot of physical activity, I believed it was just a particularly “stressful” period, as they say.

Luck…or perhaps God helped me. It was by chance that while accompanying my mother to the gynaecologist, I asked if I could have a check-up, too. During her visit, her expression changed; she talked to me about ovarian cysts, surgery, and no alternatives. It was December 6th.

He then requested tests, markers, and an ultrasound that confirmed the diagnosis he suspected: ovarian disease. It seemed to me that my brain was disintegrating, and terrible images passed through my head. I especially remember the anguish of potentially leaving my daughter, who was still little… And I felt like I had no way out in the end.

I don’t know how to use other words to define the state of terror that had taken hold of me. Then, little by little, the presence of my father, doctor, and psychotherapist, who followed me throughout this journey, and the luck of having found some doctors of unquestionable scientific competence, but above all capable of empathetically assisting us patients, allowed me to accept what I could not change and to face everything that awaited me with a confident and positive HPV attitude.

Recovery and Reflection

I had surgery, I had chemotherapy, I repeated the checks first every three months, then every six and finally every year.

He never abandoned my desire to fight. I wanted to come out of this experience and get something positive; my high-risk HPV life has changed since then.

I always say that I started living for the second time. It seems obvious, but it’s really like that. I was given other ways of thinking, and I grew up.

By the way, it was 1996, fourteen years ago…

Now and then, the ghost of the disease appears in my mind; I don’t think it can be forgotten, so I shift my thoughts to what I love, the projects I still have to complete, and the irrefutable fact that they exist.

Story of Iride Tarricone

It all began in 1986 when I had a fibromatous uterus removed. Everything was going well until 1994, when, during a check-up, I was diagnosed with an ovarian cyst. I was 43 years old. After a couple of months of treatment without result, the decision was made to intervene. Instead, it was cancer that had now spread to both ovaries.

After the operation, I received high-dose chemotherapy, based on cisplatin and carboplatin, then IIlook with the removal of the lymph nodes in the omentum and further chemo.

For about two years, everything was fine, but then a check of the CA125 gave me a result of 1500!! Another operation occurred where they gave me no hope: the disease had invaded the entire peritoneum and diaphragm. They attempted chemotherapy with little hope… but that time, too, the CA125 normalised. They re-operated on me, but removing the small mass remaining in place was impossible.

Ongoing Treatments and Recovery

However, two quiet years passed, after which the CA125 rose again. Then, they restarted chemotherapy by changing drugs. After about ten months of chemo, they reopened me and finally removed the mass located behind the rectum. Another 3 months of chemo. This time, the HPV disease gives me five years of respite… It all seemed over. Instead, during an ultrasound check, a mass reappeared. I was immediately operated on (we are at 6 operations) and treated again with chemotherapy. This time, the histology following the operation was completely negative, and the CA125 was normal even before the chemotherapy treatment.

Seven years have passed since then. I am infinitely grateful to the Tumour HPV Institute doctor who followed, cared for, and encouraged me…I owe it to her that I faced the treatments and operations with a smile, continuing to work and live as normally as possible. I always looked forward, remaining positive. And I have changed profoundly. I know I will have this HPV companion to keep under control for the rest of my days. On the other hand, I live every moment with joy as a great gift.