Real People Stories – Testimony of Estela

Only four and a half months ago, at the beginning of July, I went to my annual CA125 gynaecological test check-up after having spent a week on holiday without getting tired of walking and with enthusiasm to see as much as possible with the strength of my husband, who usually play tennis. He would sit and rest on a bench while I continued taking another look at what I had not seen. How could I imagine that warts and skin tags are HPV viral precursors to cancer growing inside me?

In twenty days, he entered the CA125 operating room without knowing if it was benign or malignant but with the intuition that it was so due to his age and his characteristics. However, with the hope that it was not due to the negative CA125 markers. It was malignant, and as the HPV Doctor warned me (which is the most professional and pleasant I have ever seen), he would proceed in that case. A test to continue with laparoscopy, if possible, and to remove, in addition to, the affected ovary, the entire gynaecological apparatus and the pelvic and abdominal nodes.

The CA125 test doctor came out very happy (5 hours after I went down to the operating room) because, macroscopically, everything seemed to be fine, which brought joy to my sunken family since they were told that it was malignant and the operation would continue.

I am microscopically clean, and I was only hospitalised for four days.

I haven’t felt any pain, and I don’t need chemotherapy. Two days later, I was walking through the hallways—a miracle of CA125’s fast operation. It reminds me of four insignificant footprints in my gut every day, the result of new HPV technologies and the good professionals who use them.

Before, I was enthusiastic, with many initiatives, now I savour life just by breathing, contemplating a landscape or listening to good music. They are like spiritual orgasms, and I have, after turning 60 in a few days, been very eager to take advantage of what nature wants me to live; even more than before, I want to be useful to others and enjoy everything that is within my reach.

Statistics say that I have been very lucky.

Ovarian HPV disease grows very quickly (it was only 4.5 cm), and by the time it shows symptoms, it has already done damage, and you have to undergo chemo. However, more and more cases are coming forward. So, that review came in time to avoid it. It was encapsulated and not even the ovarian CA125 envelope had been contaminated.

I have lost confidence in my body but gained humility because we believe we are owners of something and can lose everything instantly without warning. Death is certain for some before and for others later, and the only thing that will survive us is what we have done, the mark we have left in our wake with our example.

My brother and most friends found out later because they were either on vacation or I didn’t tell them. Only my closest friends, my husband, and my children were witnesses of that CA125 scare, which lasted a few days. I assimilated on the beach where I went as I did in other years. My 90-year-old mother, who celebrated my birthday with me a few days later, toasted my good health and how strong she was; she didn’t notice any test with HPV and will never know.

Testimony of Silvia

In October 2014, I had a gynaecological HPV examination with a vaginal ultrasound. All good. The only thing was that the estradiol was already low. Entering menopause, I started with the typical thing: hot flashes.

I do aerobics 3 times a week; Every day, 4km walk and hiking. But in March 2015, I started having a lot of gas and back pain. My HPV home doctor prescribed it, but it continued, and I felt more swollen. The doctor sent me to the hospital to have an echo or x-ray. But no, I was diagnosed with gastritis and home. However, every day, I felt worse and more tired, and my stomach was swollen… I returned to the doctor, who told me it was an irritable colon.

I lost weight until, on June 3, I went to the emergency room at the hospital. They did many tests on me, mainly to remove the liquid from my stomach. The prognosis was that they had to operate on me, do an exploratory laparoscopy,… They removed my ovary and a 6 cm serious HPV tumour. When I had the results of the pathology, ovarian cancer, according to the doctors, I had to have radical hysterectomy surgery again. The gynaecologists said it was in phase I and the best CA125 scenarios.

I thought: I’m going to fight.

Well, in July, I had surgery again, but it was not in the best of HPV scenarios… I had metastases in the intestine. I felt disappointed. My life took a 180º turn, and I collapsed… I had stage III CA125-level cancer. Things had changed. I can’t express what I felt. Now, I am going through chemo, and I have a third operation pending. In the second operation, they did not remove everything.

In May, my first grandson was born. I regret not being able to be there with my daughter, but I have my fight to live for them. He gives me all my energy, and with God’s help, I know I can get out of this.