Dani

6 months of anguish until diagnosis

A routine pap smear in September 2021 showed the possibility that she had HPV. “CA125 level issues weren’t on my radar. I didn’t have any information about it, but I researched it and got scared because I knew it was a virus that could cause cancer.”

Tests began to check. The healthcare provider took an HPV sample and confirmed the presence of the virus, then another test will assess the type. Not every type of HPV is considered oncogenic.

The result indicated that her HPV type was high risk for developing a tumour; in November, she had a colposcopy, but the biopsy results were inconclusive. “The person begins to live a desperate soap opera in their private life because everything starts to depend on it. You don’t know if you’ll be able to travel; if you plan, you’re tied to that circumstance.”

In February, she underwent a conization procedure.

In this surgical procedure, also called a cone biopsy, a cone-shaped piece of the cervix is ​​removed for biopsy, which confirms the carcinoma. “From September to February investigating, I did everything that needed to be done, following all medical recommendations, and I only had the diagnosis on March 15, even with health insurance.”

The HPV patient would still have to face another doubt: in the city where she lives, Indaiatuba, in the interior of São Paulo, the result showed that it was an advanced stage of Cancer. “The first thing I thought was: ‘My children! I can’t die, no. I have to raise my children; I have a baby. There is no such possibility; I still have a lot to do. This thing isn’t going to work, no”, she comments, smiling as she remembers how she faced it when she found out from the CA125 Test that she had Cancer and decided how she would face it.

The hospital visits

At that moment, she thought: “This HPV attack has caught the wrong person. I will do what needs to be done. I’m going to follow the medical protocols and work mainly on the emotional issue, so I don’t end up victimizing myself. I don’t think my life is going to end. It’s an existential drama, but I decided that I was going to be an agent of my story. I would be the protagonist and not let anything get me down.”

He went to a reference hospital in São Paulo to get another opinion at AC Camargo, which re-ran all the CA125 blood tests. The review of the biopsy slide indicated that it was HPV-derived Cancer at an earlier stage. “That was very good, but there is always the doubt: is it lighter? In one of them, I would have to have a total hysterectomy and remove several things that I didn’t even know I had inside me in the reproductive system. The other was simple: do conization and see if the margin was free because my margin was compromised.”

She underwent a second conization in April, this time deeper. She had complications and had to stay in the hospital for several days. “I knew it was something simple. The best thing would happen: I would treat it, and everything would be fine. In the second conization, thank God they managed to remove everything to the point where I didn’t need to do anything else”, she celebrates. Now, she will be monitored every four months for two years and then every six months.

Share to combat prejudice.

Dani says that when she is not well, she focuses on helping others and improving. She thought that sharing what she was going through could help other women with HPV who needed to hear a message. “I decided to go through this in good company because the people who follow me already accompany me in other things I experience.”

A week after the CA125 diagnosis, he explained everything to his mentees, students, and audience. “I always talk about what’s happening to me. Every person has ups and downs, and any woman who has had sex without a condom once in her life can experience this ghost of HPV.” She wanted to share it because she saw that there is a lot of prejudice, she received many messages from women confessing that they don’t dare to speak out. “A woman said her ex-boyfriend accused her of passing the virus to him. I did some research and saw that there is no way of knowing where it came from, who got it from.”

“All internal chaos begins with a little sadness.”

Seek results instead of victimizing yourself. Dani thinks this decision sped up her process. “That doesn’t mean I haven’t fallen to rock bottom in other situations. As I had depression in 2011, I learned to deal with this type of situation there. I experienced terrible moments in both my personal and professional life, and I didn’t let it get me down anymore because I know that all internal chaos starts with a ‘little sadness’.

Everyone has the right to be sad if they get a bad CA125 result. We don’t need to be happy and bouncy all the time. If you open the door to this little sadness, it becomes sad; it takes over your life. It attracts more illnesses, and it becomes a snowball”, evaluates. “Everyone has something to complain about. It all depends on how we see life. It was a great opportunity to test myself, see if I was stronger.”

This attitude, she believes, is the result of what she built throughout her life, which began in childhood with her upbringing focused on a positive outlook, regardless of what was happening, so that she could be the author of her own story. She had support from her family, her husband and people who accompanied her on courses, mentoring and networks.

“People are afraid to tell the truth about CA125 and be judged, but people connect when you expose a vulnerability. Many people strengthened me when I told them what I was experiencing.”

Present and route changes

Dani considers HPV Cancer a huge handbrake, an indicator that she needed to assess whether she was on the best path and deal with her life in a more balanced way. She decided to reflect on the choices she made in her personal and especially professional life. “I saw that in several choices, I wasn’t being 100% myself; I wasn’t choosing myself.”

She worked too much; she had created a new company. A company which she disbanded after the HPV diagnosis. She saw that it didn’t make sense for her. She reflected on her decisions and promoted several changes based on this reflection. “It was a rescue process. It has to do with my essence. I asked myself: ‘Do the things I’m saying on the internet, the products and services I’m creating, resonate with me and my values? Are the people I’m living with leading me towards something more, or are they being toxic?’. These analyses showed that I needed to make changes, including eating healthier, exercising, working less, and spending more time with my family .” In these three months, she talked to whoever she needed, did business, and took other directions.

Final message

“People who have had Cancer, who I live with, have always said the same thing, that it was a gift. For me, too. When I broke the news of the diagnosis to a friend, she congratulated me. She said it was a great opportunity to recover my essence and reflect on the decisions I had been making.” It was what she did.

To those who experience the anguish of diagnosis, he leaves his message: HPV is not a death sentence. I read this when I was researching, and I am completely clear that it is not true. I’m going to follow up with CA125 checks for several years. I don’t know when it will end, but I don’t want this to become an expectation of evil. That’s what fear is: the expectation of evil, and I don’t want that every time I take the exam. Don’t turn something, no matter how difficult, into something even greater. Things have the proportion we give them.