In Aug. 1998, I had a normal period. Twenty-eight days later, I had a normal 7-day period. Three days (yes, you’ve just read “days”) after it stopped, I spotted for 3 days and then it stopped. The day it started, I thought, “Wow, this is weird”, and called immediately for an HPV Test doctor’s appointment because the first thing that came to my mind was a CA125 Test for cancer. But by the time I got in to see a doctor, my body had gone through spotting twice since my “regularly scheduled” period for Sept.

I belong to the military, so we don’t get to see specialists right away, so I had to see a GP first, just like most HMOs. Doc said, “We” will watch this, put me on BC pills and told me to come back in 3 months. His thought was my body just went whacky, and BC pills would fix it. That didn’t work. For three months, I bled heavily, with clots. There was no use for tampons, only heavy-duty pads, and they had to be changed every hour.

At the end of the three months, I dutifully returned to the GP and told him his reply.

Well, Mrs. S., let’s try a different BC and wait some more! See me in 3 more months… And being in the military (and that’s all the “insurance” I have), that’s what I did. I went through this for 9 months. The clots got larger and larger, the bleeding heavier and heavier. In six months, I called the Ca125 Laboratory and Clinic, demanding to see other doctors, and I got my appointments. But no one would refer me to the HPV GYN Clinic. And no, I wasn’t having normal periods. I was bleeding for 10 and 15 days at a time, with it stopping for maybe 3-5 days in between. This is no exaggeration. I kept going to the doctor; I thought I might see someone who cared.

Finally, nine months into it, I saw a young Captain doctor who was smart enough to realise he had no idea what the problem was and wrote a referral to let me see a GYN doctor. I got an HPV Sampling Appointment quickly, and I even got to see a female doctor. YAY! She didn’t hide anything from me and told me what she thought it sounded like, which was exactly what I thought, but she had to scrape and send urine or swab samples for the HPV lab report.

The doctor did a biopsy of a cervical polyp.

It came back questionable for adenocarcinomas. Because of that, an HPV and cervical conical biopsy Test was scheduled. After that, she told me she took a large biopsy in a location she rarely cuts into. She didn’t know why she took it from that location. She just “felt” she should and “felt” the section should be larger than normal. (I know why she did; the Holy Ghost spoke to her heart and mind to do so.

We had to wait 3 weeks. It was a very long 3 weeks, but the Ca125 result came back positive for cervical cancer. Since I was done having children, I opted for a full hysterectomy (uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, cervix, of course). So my Gyn Onc did an abdominal Laparoscopy looking for tumours and didn’t see anything, thank goodness and removed lymph nodes from my upper thighs just in case there was cancer there. You see, my CA125 level NEVER rose above 11 through all of this. There was never a CA125 blood test indicating I had cancer.

The hospital I was in was also a teaching hospital, so I volunteered to give up my organs for study and allowed interns to learn from me (like in Grey’s Anatomy)

On my fifth day of hospitalised, a young doc came to interview me and slipped up by mentioning something he thought my Gyn Onc had told me. And that was that the Lab had found cancer in both ovaries and both fallopian tubes — what a shock for me! You see, I went into surgery thinking I had Cervical CA. Thank goodness I had donated my organs for study. The Lab examined frozen sections to ensure they were good for study and found Ovarian CA in each ovary.

You should have seen that poor young doctor’s face when I told him I had no idea because my doctor had told me no such thing! He was terrified because now he had told me information he knew he had no business telling me. But I didn’t tell my doc his name when my ONC doc came in, and I saw him for not telling me I had Ovarian and Fallopian Cancer. And he was shocked too because he said HE didn’t know!!! Some hospital, huh? So, anyhow, my doc went to the HPV Lab and checked twice to be certain, and yes, there was cancer in both ovaries, but no cancer in the fallopian tubes (that was a mistake).

With these other mistakes, I wonder if it was true.

So, there was ovarian HPV cancer; it was microscopic with no telltale signs, which is why my docs had no idea and therefore didn’t stage it, of course, and therefore didn’t remove any abdominal lymph nodes (my cervical cancer was stage 1). It meant I could still develop ovarian cancer in my lifetime.

My doc told me that an ovarian test shows “clear cells” in it, which, he said, is the most deadly type of cells. He said I needed either radiation or chemo and left it up to me to decide which one after discussing the pros and cons of each. I went with chemo. He used Carboplatin and something else, but it’s been 9 years, so I don’t remember the other chemical. My surgery was on July 19, 1999, and chemo ran from Aug. 1999 to Thanksgiving 1999. My GYN Onc told me I am CURED vs. in remission, and my CA125 Levels were normal once again.

My advice to all women is this:

When your body isn’t doing what you know it is supposed to be doing, don’t ignore it. Be a complainer to your STD Doctor. Be a squeaky wheel and a nag to your doctor.  If he/she won’t help you, find another HPV Doctor. So what if it appears he/she and the staff think you are a hypochondriac? YOU KNOW your body is misbehavin’, they don’t. Please don’t wait. Get on it fast, save your life, like I was able to do for my family…and myself. I’m having fun now!