Last November (2012) my wife went into her Obstetrician for a post baby check-up now my son is four months. We both started to get a bit concerned when his receptionist rang a few times to check if my wife was keeping her appointment on December 13 and that keeping it was very important. Probably not the best sign.
At that appointment my wife was told her checkup revealed a few abnormalities on her cervix; she has cancer. My work Christmas weekend was the next day (all expenses paid weekend at a 5star resort on the Gold Coast) which she didn’t want to miss, otherwise she’d have had a cone biopsy the next day (December 14). As it was, she went in on the Monday, the day before her 32nd birthday.
That week was horrible for her, as she waited for the results to confirm the extent of cancer. We had been pre-warned anyway and she was going to take the more radical option. That week we both spent stressing and on Chirstmas eve we went in for the results.
The diagnosis and treatment was as expected, a total hysterectomy as soon as the Obstetrician could perform, which would be first thing January 14, when he got back from a two week break. Again, otherwise it would have been earlier.
Cancer is one of those things you don’t mess with.
Unfortunately the operation did not go as smoothly as it could and my wifes’ bladder was damaged, resulting in her stomach being opened up and a catheter inserted.
On the Thursday after the operation last week the analysis of the uterus showed more cancer than initially discovered, which was the exact reason the hysterectomy was recommended, that and due to the glandular cause of the cancer, it was given that it would reappear in the uterus anyway.
It’s been a challenging month or so, and especially the last two weeks, where my wife has been basically bed-ridden, unable to use any torso muscles and in a lot of pain.
Something very humbling from all of this is the amount of help we have received from friends, family, and the wider community. Many people have donated their time, brought meals around for us both while my wife was in hospital and now she is home, the wider community have chipped in and got services for lawn care and house cleaning, and the kids have been baby sat by various people. It’s very moving, humbling, and just makes me want to give back more. (My wife was great too, before she went to hospital she’d prepared and frozen meals to last us the week).
The most important thing, something I cannot stress enough after recently looking down this barrel, and having to contemplate the potential early loss of my best friend, wife and the mother of my children is that it’s cervical cancer (and I assume it’s direct male analogue, prostate cancer) is not something to ignore. Checkups aren’t that frequent and early detection will more than likely save lives, as I’m sure it did with my wife. I shudder to think what may have happened had Ed not unexpectedly came along. The checkup may have been years down the road, when it was too late.
Co-incidentally, I meant to type this up last week but delayed. Today I found a blog post by Scott Hanselman, one of the developers I admire, who is currently going through nearly the exact same thing with his wife.