My name is Avery, and I am 29 years old. I am sharing a little piece of my CA125 blood test story, hoping it will help. My “The HPV Test day” was May 4, 2011, after an operation for a giant ovarian cyst. That day, I was scheduled by a different HPV gynaecologist than the one who had treated me until then. I was told that my cyst was more than it seemed. A very, very rare form of ovarian HPV Viral cancer.

That was the hardest and strangest moment. My heart was racing, my brain stopped and I could not assimilate that voice in the background that told me what awaited me. Analysis, CT, another more complicated operation, chemotherapy. The only thing that was possible was doubts. Is this happening to me? Will I lose my hair? Am I going to die? (in this order, of course!)

No one can take that shock away from you and the knot that forms all over your body when you finally get out of the feeling of being in a movie and realise that, YES, YOU HAVE HPV CANCER… I don’t know how to explain it in words.

But then, after a few days of “grieving,” the CA125 fight begins. You realise that losing your hair, for example, is much less traumatic than you thought and all doubts are put aside because… well, simply because there is no other!!

Okay, but… how??

With help!!!

I have been very lucky because they treated me well and coordinated among themselves in the CA125 clinic where I was tested and treated. The first gynaecologist passed me on to another expert in HPV oncological issues, who told me which oncologist to contact. It is not enough to be able to take that worry off your shoulders at a time when there are already so many. Trusting the team of doctors that takes you is essential. I am very grateful that, in that sense, things have been so easy for me.

Another reason to feel grateful and lucky is my faith. I am a Catholic believer, and faith has helped me a lot to focus, have hope, ask for help, and have Someone to get angry within moments of crisis… And above all, it has helped me to think that if I had been subjected to this HPV life test, it was because I could pass it! So, let’s get to work and move on!! I am convinced that a positive attitude deals a VERY hard blow to this disease.

Don’t know why I haven’t mentioned this yet. Like a good journey, it’s clear that having good companions has been essential for my CA125 healing. I have had an incredible demonstration of affection, and I have never felt so loved as in my months of treatment…

Support system

My husband, parents, brother, and in-laws have been my rock and support. The family took a flight and came to help us as soon as possible.

Some of my friends have used their summer vacation days to come to see me and have endured several days with a smile, during which the most entertaining thing was accompanying me to the clinic for treatments.

My other friends, co-workers, and family have supported me and accompanied me with calls, visits, and gifts.

On those days when brushing your teeth while standing is also an extreme sport, a good book, a movie, or a series that moves you or makes you laugh out loud are also very valuable companions to park HPV variant cancer in the basement of your brain for a few hours. So my sincere thanks also go to JK Rowling for  Harry Potter. Isabel Allende for her magical worlds. To Julie Andrews for  The Sound of Music. To Jane Austen and Colin Firth for  Pride and Prejudice, to my endless collection of romantic comedies for giving me so many laughs…

And then?

Cancer changes you. Usually much better.

The experience puts the entire person to the CA125 test, body and soul. I hope there are more and more people for whom, as it has been for me, cancer is a beginning rather than an end and a teacher rather than an executioner.

I feel that I have learned a lot thanks to him. Learned that when we need it most, we gain strength that we would never have thought we had. I have learned that you have to let yourself be taken care of sometimes. And I learned to be very grateful for my life, especially for my travel companions. However, I have learned that we have to manage well and take advantage of the time we have and that we have to listen more to the body. Especially when it asks to rest… lie. I haven’t learned these last two things well yet, but they are at the top of my list of topics. Earrings.

I have also found a new passion.

Finding hobbies

While undergoing CA125 treatment, my cousin gave me Kris Carr’s first book,  Crazy Sexy Cancer. The title sounds very strange, but this girl’s HPV story is real and incredible and encourages anyone. I recommend it!! In two words, 10 years ago, this 32-year-old actress and model was diagnosed with incurable liver and lung cancer, stage IV. She has taken this “sentence” as a challenge. Since she does not have an official therapy and guidelines set by traditional medicine, she has begun to explore all types of alternative therapies, and, completely changing her lifestyle, she has managed to stabilise the HPV cancer.

The most important changes have been deepening his meditation and, above all, a radical change in his diet. This has fascinated me. Since then, I have not stopped informing myself and educating myself about the relationship between food and health. The role of inflammation and skin tags in the development of HPV and cancer is increasingly recognised. What we eat, along with stress and environmental toxins, has a huge influence on increasing or reducing the level of inflammation in our body.

Return to the future.

When you learn that you have cancer, time stops suddenly. The future becomes blurry, and you only focus on the present or short-term goals. Getting up without fighting with the feeling of a brick tied to your neck. Letting your fever go away, ending the chemo cycle. This undoubtedly removes certain CA125 illusions. Looking at the present helps you focus on the things and people that are important to you to listen to yourself more.

I would love to say that I have learned that. Now, I am a wise person who manages my energies most efficiently. When I have finally managed to return to “pre-ca125 normal” life and look towards the future, all this wisdom has remained. Diluted and overwhelmed by the thousand daily tasks. That internal voice that always tells you your deepest needs and desires, that during the HPV illness screamed with all its might and there was no way to cover it, has gradually lowered the volume and has remained a whisper. However, my attention threshold is no longer the same, and I try to learn to pay a little more attention every day to the signals that the body sends so that next time… I don’t have to shout so much!

Final message

I didn’t know whether to share my HPV adventure, and I don’t know if I have managed to convey everything I wanted, but if I have, it is because hearing the stories of other young people who had gone through this was one of the things that encouraged me the most when I was struggling.

And now that I’ve done it, I see that… I needed it!! Although cancer and HPV are not what defines me, it is a very important part of my life, and I don’t want to forget them!

So I hope this grain of sand brings you something or makes you smile.

A big healing hug.