A MUM who claims to have had sex up to six times a day says that cervical cancer ruined her love life – stopping her from getting down and dirty for two years.
Jessica Shaw, 30, had an active sex life until she had a hysterectomy and despite getting the all-clear, hasn’t found the confidence to resume her active love life.
The mum-of-four from York had surgery in September 2017 after being diagnosed with cervical cancer.
“I’ve not been intimate with anyone since my hysterectomy,” Jessica said.
“I’ve heard a lot of horror stories so that really put me off.
“Sex has always been an important part of my life.
“I’ve always enjoyed being intimate with the people I love so not being able to have sex has been very difficult.”
She says that there’s “no doubt” that her diagnosis led to the break-up of her relationship.
The care worker was originally diagnosed with cervical cancer in May 2017 – just three months after the birth of her fourth child, Ivy.
Jessica went to her GP suffering from a bad back and nausea, and was promptly advised to have a smear test and a colonoscopy – to check her bowels.
“After I gave birth I was still feeling really sick and had a really bad back, and had started bleeding,” she recalled.
“I think I had experienced some symptoms while I was pregnant.
“I’d been due a smear test but didn’t have it because I was about to have a baby.
“When doctors told me I had cancer it was terrible to find out, I really did think my life would be over.”
Two weeks after being given the devasting news that she had stage three cervical cancer, Jessica was told that she needed to have a hysterectomy.
Symptoms of cervical cancer
“Not all women diagnosed with cervical cancer have symptoms, which is why it’s really important to attend cervical screening (smear tests) when invited. But, whatever your age, it’s equally important to be aware of cervical cancer symptoms,” Imogen Pinnell, health information manager at Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust tells The Sun.
Early symptoms can include:
1. Abnormal bleeding (during or after sex, between periods and also post-menopause)period
The most common and earliest sign of cervical cancer tends to be irregular bleeding.
It happens when the cancer cells grow on the tissue below the cervix.
It’s an especially alarming sign in postmenopausal women who no longer have periods. There’s no age limit to developing cervical cancer.
2. Unusual vaginal discharge
Everyone’s discharge is different, so it’s a case of knowing what is normal for you.
If you find that the colour, smell and consistency has changed, then that’s something you really need to have checked out.
When cancer lacks oxygen, it can cause an infection which leads to strange smelling discharge.
3. Discomfort or pain during sex
Pain during sex can be a sign of a number of different issues, but one is cervical cancer.
Because the disease often comes with no symptoms, pain during intercourse is one of the key indicators. It can be a sign that the cancer is spreading to surrounding tissues.
4. Lower back pain
It could be down to you straining something in the gym, or it could be a warning sign that something’s wrong with your reproductive organs.
Persistent pain – just one off twinges – in the lower back, pelvis or appendix can be a symptom of cervical cancer.
5. Unintended weight loss
While effortless weight loss might sound like the answer to many of our prayers, it’s never a good sign if it happens seemingly without cause.
A loss of appetite and unexplained weight loss tend to be signs that the body isn’t working properly – it’s trying to conserve energy. If you notice that you’re not eating as you normally do, go to your GP.
She had her womb and fallopian tubes removed in September 2017, after which she started to suffer from backache and nausea again.
Eventually, she started to bleed and ended up in A&E.
Doctors couldn’t find anything wrong with her after a series of CT scans and surgery.
But in June 2018, she was given the devastating news that despite having a hysterectomy, doctors had missed a tumour on her cervix.
The heart-broken mum turned to her then-boyfriend for support but the on-off relationship of three years buckled under the stress of Jessica’s diagnosis.
Jessica said: “A few weeks before, my boyfriend had bought me a really nice dress to go to the races in.
“He had promised me the world and I thought he was going to support me again through this.
“But when I went to his house and told him that they had found the cancer again, he looked at me and said he couldn’t do it anymore.
“The cancer had meant we never had intercourse anymore, as after I had my hysterectomy I’d read a lot of horror stories.
“The fact I was going to have to have radiotherapy meant we couldn’t have sex.
“He never said that directly but I think that had something to do with it.
“Initially, I was angry, but I don’t blame him anymore.”
Jessica has now been single for nine months – despite getting the all clear last October.
She’s determined to live her life to the full but hasn’t had sex since due to her fear of the impact her hysterectomy could have had.
MORE ON CERVICAL CANCER
“I’m still scared about having sex but I think it’s really important for other cancer patients to talk about this stuff – it shouldn’t be taboo.
“I’d like to be intimate again with someone, but they’d have to be really special.”
Having put her own test off for ten months, Jessica is now urging other women to have their smear tests as soon as they can.
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