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 to a good gynaecologist and HPV test researcher, Dr Capo, from Sussex.

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 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 CA125 protocol Tests and the HPV 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 check-ups. Everything seems to be fine, even with the HPV-related 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 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!

Suspended Check-ups and Emotional Toll

So, last year, the annual Ca125 checks on August 8th were suspended and could not be completed because the Ovarian oncologist suspected that the “TINY SCLEROTIC AREAS” of my left scapula were the beginning of bone metastases. 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 Ovarian cancer relapses – what the f***! – I said to myself. Gradually, I lost the sense of duty, but I forced myself, I had to do it because there were commitments: work, home, my beloved children and everything else! 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!!!

Overcoming Fear and Isolation

The HPV 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 about CA125 Ovarian diseases 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, the others don’t know, they don’t imagine how it feels, 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 Medical Responses and the Path Forward

The anger towards that HPV 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 Ovarian and HPV tests and give you the medicines that accompany you at the end. I was happy after the 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 CA125 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 prosthesis. How is it like this?! We have to live together.

Finding Joy and Normalcy Amidst the Struggle

When I’m well, I feel good, 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 CA125 Cancer 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!