Story of Giovanna

In 2011, I was expecting my second daughter, Arianna, when in the 7th month, the sonographer told me that the baby had dilated intestinal loops and she could glimpse a rounded figure. We were very worried and entrusted ourselves with a good HPV Test with a gynaecologist and researcher, Dr Capo, from Sussex. The CA125 Blood test was a standard issue; the levels were up.

In the meantime, my blood pressure was acting up, and the doctor decided to deliver the baby, who was breech, via cesarean section. At birth, I saw my daughter in a lot of pain; an ultrasound check revealed that she had a granulosa cell tumour! I don’t know how she managed to maintain a clear and cool head. She decided to operate immediately. Thanks to Dr. Ungher, everything went well.

A year later, some CA125 analyses revealed that the values were off! Concerned, we turned to Gaslini in Genoa, where we met an exceptional doctor, Dr. Conte, who I will never stop thanking! Thank God everything is fine. The HPV protocol checks are now complete. I never stop thanking the doctors who did their work with much love and professionalism. Arianna, thank you.

Story of Maria

Monday 4 July 2016 Today, I finished the annual CA125 check-ups. Everything seems to be fine, even with the Nabothian cysts in the cervix, which I was assured are harmless and the eosinophils in the blood, which are at 10, while the normal value is 7. But the HPV Oncologist on duty at Pascale told me that maybe it’s an allergy, even though they keep asking me for an MRI with breast contrast, even though I can’t do it because I risk dying from anaphylactic shock due to the nickel allergy. Even without contrast, I must do it in December because she asked for it for the next check-up! So, last year, the annual checks on August 8th were suspended and could not be completed because the oncologist suspected that the “TINY SCLEROTIC AREAS” of my left scapula were the beginning of bone metastases.

Delay in Diagnosis

He postponed the diagnosis until October, after the scintigraphy, and was not happy with the PET and CT scan with contrast; he said goodbye to me, telling me to do the shoulder CT scan again after two months!!! HOW DID I SPEND THE REST OF THE TIME BEFORE THE OCTOBER EXAM?

I wonder if oncologists wonder how we feel! During the holidays in the hills, I decided not to see the sea I love too much, which would have created further suffering. The photos that I thought were the last (which one will they put on my tomb?) The “macrobiotic” diet that I follow and that, by now, I felt useless for the prevention of HPV relapses – what the f***! – I said to myself. I gradually lost the sense of duty but forced myself to do it because of commitments: work, home, my beloved children, and everything else!

Family Support and Personal Struggles

Luckily, MY HUSBAND is here!!! WHAT A ROCK! It keeps me ALIVE and demands life from me! And how much I LOVE him for this!!! The CA125 nightmares at night, the start of school and the difficult recovery were made even more difficult by the thought that I wouldn’t be able to continue the school year. The fear caged inside, mine alone, that NEVER abandoned me! The impossibility of confiding in colleagues and having to say NO to commitments planned for the school year. SAY NO! – Why? – They asked me, and I kept quiet: – I don’t feel like it! – But now you’re fine, you’ve overcome everything! – The colleagues and the others don’t know about HPV. They don’t imagine how it feels from this side of the barricade. And I SHUT UP! And with martyrdom in my soul and the desire to abandon myself to tears!

Frustration with Healthcare

The anger towards that doctor who replied to my dismaying questions: – of course, they could even be due to osteoporosis, but I am an oncologist, and therefore, I cannot reassure you, for me, they are suspicious! – Then, from him, he did not come back. The CT scan report was negative, and I thought it was useless to have them re-read it (because that’s all they do). They certainly don’t look at the X-rays; who knows why! They can prescribe important CA125 tests and give you the medicines that accompany you at the end.

Relief and Ongoing Challenges

I was happy after the HPV exam in October and even happy until January, and then, after the effort in the gym, the pain in the operated breast and the ultrasound with the doctor who told me to do the needle aspiration because he felt nodules !!! The emergency ultrasound the next day and the release from anxiety. There is nothing strange; it is a crease in the CA125 prosthesis. How is it like this?! We have to live together.

Moments of Joy and Normalcy

When I’m well, I feel good, HPV and pain-free and strong, and I go to the gym for a lesson, or when I go to school by bicycle (damn them, they stole it from me days ago!!! But then I hope someone who took it took it). He was worse off than me and needed it to find a job. Ok, poor guy, you’re justified!) and… then I feel HAPPY! Finally! But they are small moments I can’t share with anyone else but me! I want to live more intensely with my family, friends, and colleagues, sharing my moments of profound joy with others! There are evenings like this that make me want to throw a party to stay up all night to observe the stars, but it’s impossible; everything is normal: cooking, dinner, TV, sleeping, and that’s it. Ugh!