Real People Stories – Marina

It never rains forever. Life is today, not tomorrow.

HPV infections have been in all my life in tests. But it all started four months ago when I was diagnosed in a test with borderline ovarian CA125 cancer (as bad as it gets, the best there can be). Many months ago, specifically in December, I noticed my belly was slightly more swollen than normal, even though I always did sports. At first, I didn’t give it any importance. I thought it would be the common swelling that women have when we are about to have menstruation, but it wasn’t like that.

Until April of this year, continuing without importance, I continued with that mini bloating until suddenly my belly grew uncontrollably. At that moment, I began to think that I was gaining weight. And decided to go out every morning to run on an empty stomach, walk, do twice as much exercise as I was already doing, quit gas and even go on a diet. However, my belly remained the same; it didn’t even stop growing, so I went to the doctor. After seeing my incredible belly and undergoing multiple pregnancy tests, insisting that I was not pregnant. Each person will know what they have and have not done. They performed higher CA125 level tests on me: blood tests, ultrasounds, x-rays… until just at that moment, they realised that she had a 20cm HPV-style tumour on her right ovary.

They told me that they had to have CA125 surgery to remove it and analyse it, and I was waiting for them to call me. Three days after going to the HPV doctor, I had to return because my belly was growing bigger and bigger, as it had grown to 26cm. After the operation, 2 litres of fluid were removed from the tumour; everything was good.

Now, it was time to analyse it.

Days later, they brought forward my appointment to tell me that the cells they found in the HPV tumour were bad.  Therefore, it was necessary to operate again, an operation based on removing the rest of the right ovary, the tube, the peritoneum, the abdominal fat and the appendix (all to prevent).

Hopefully, it hasn’t spread to any area, and I haven’t needed Ca125 blood test treatment. Now, however, I have five long years of revisions ahead of me. Thanks to my family and friends, I have managed to go through all this in the best possible way.

I hope that my HPV testimony has been of help and comfort to you… Now I understand the fear of waiting while sitting in front of the doctor’s office, the nerves, the nights of desperation because you don’t know what is going to happen now, the fear of going back to going through the same thing, the deep and long nights of reflection… However, I keep the good. My family and friends. Thanks to this I have learned to enjoy what we have and what happens in every moment, value the little things in life that seem insignificant to us and, above all, how strong we can be. Life is today, not tomorrow.

Much encouragement to all the people who are facing this CA125-related disease called “cancer”. You are not alone. The best recipe to overcome it is a lot of love, family and friends. IT NEVER RAINS FOREVER… God gives great battles to the best soldiers…

Violeta

The important thing is not to fall but to get back up.

Before talking about my experience with ovarian-CA125 level cancer, I would like to convey a message of strength and hope because this HPV disease does not define our entire life. We must live with it, normalise it and not dramatise it excessively because otherwise If we do not help us, it is neither useful nor constructive. Well, here we go with my presentation:

My name is Violeta, and I am 32 years old. It all started after an HPV tag operation in which I was diagnosed with low-grade cancer in the ovaries and uterus and implants in several peritoneal organs. After a long operation and a few hours of sleep, I woke up, and really, the only thing that mattered to me was the fact that I was alive. Although it may seem obvious to say it, even seemingly easy, it is an inexplicable feeling. After a few hours, my doctor explained to me what had happened.

They had emptied and cleaned me of any visible tumour.

Even knowing what that meant, my body and mind only thought about recovering, and I told myself there would be time to think about it. After eight days in the HPV hospital, where I was wonderfully cared for, it was time to return home. It was at that moment when the head started working: Why? Because I? How could it happen? From now on… What?

I acted like it wasn’t me, as if she were a mere spectator of an event that occurred to the protagonist of a film. All are narrated in the third person. After about three weeks, I had an appointment with the oncologist, who explained everything and the treatment to follow. From there, I learned what happened; It was a real emotional shock. Despite the strength and courage, fear and trepidation were present in the face of chemotherapy.

Courage is not an antonym of fear; It is courage that helps overcome fear.

I informed myself of the experiences of close people and others. And from all this information I concluded that it would be a tough few months in which I would be more or less unwell but that it was temporary; It was the time for patience. I felt anger and sadness the first weeks, but there were also good days, very good…Emotional ups and downs of the mind; everything imaginable and unimaginable. But I never shied away or repressed these feelings; I shared them so that those closest to me could understand me better.

Worst? Like so many things in life, the uncertainty of this disease is what will happen tomorrow. However, today is the day I have learned to think. As our friend Paloma said, “to savour the moment”, to know that I cannot control the future. Still, I can control the present and not punish myself psychologically. I can make peace with myself, be more aware, and push away everything I can. Be toxic in the past until today. But, above all, prioritise only what is important.

After four sessions of CA125-induced chemotherapy, physically, it has not turned out to be so hard, maybe a little annoying, but nothing that a woman would not be able to handle; with more strength and self-confidence, enjoying any good moment that comes my way and trying to be the best version of myself.

In short, no one wants to go through this HPV story, but there is no doubt that we can handle it. We must be aware that we are still 100% us, regardless of what happened. The important thing is not to fall but to get back up.