Posted on Friday 19 February 2021

Shauna’s story: “I wanted my mum with me – I’ve never felt so alone and scared in my life”

At just 22 years old, Shauna faced the news she had womb cancer without a hand to hold; she also underwent life-changing surgery, alone. She shares her story as part of the #Hand2Hold campaign:

 

“In December 2019, I was suffering from horrific period pains, which doctors initially thought were due to polycystic ovary syndrome, I was eventually referred to a gynaecologist and an ultrasound revealed polyps in my womb. A biopsy showed I had pre-cancerous cells but, within a few months, the cells changed from pre-cancerous to cancerous.

“In June 2020, I was diagnosed with womb cancer – I was alone at the appointment when I was told. They were the most terrifying words to hear; I had to ask them to repeat it because I couldn’t believe it. I was heartbroken and sad – all I wanted was to have my mum with me – I’ve never felt more alone and scared in my life. I remember coming out of the hospital, and mum being in the carpark, and crying hysterically and telling her I’d been told I had cancer.

“I was lucky enough to have mum with me for few of my appointments but when she wasn’t allowed, I was filled with anxiety and fear. It made me feel totally isolated and alone. I missed knowing I wasn’t so alone facing cancer and having someone to take in information, when I wasn’t able to, because of feeling overwhelmed, which I felt often.

“I had a hysterectomy in August; mum came in with me into the consulting room beforehand but, after we talked with the surgeon, she had to leave as she wasn’t allowed on the ward. After my operation, she wasn’t allowed in to see me – I was in hospital for three days recovering without any visitors. It was really isolating, especially after going through something like that. After I woke up from the operation and was taken to the ward, I was so emotional, I was crying and felt so alone. It would have made an unbelievable amount of difference if my mum could have been there to support me through it.”

Shauna has been supported throughout her cancer journey by CLIC Sargent.

“I speak to a CLIC Sargent social worker every two weeks. When I was first diagnosed, June got in touch and we spoke weekly – it was so good to have someone to talk to, especially when things weren’t making sense. I’m also in a cancer support group for people with endometrial and uterine cancer and it’s just good to have women who can relate and understand what I’ve gone through.

The 23-year-old is now in remission and is studying health and social care so she can help other young people with cancer.

Hand 2 Hold

Young Lives vs Cancer, alongside Teenage Cancer Trust, is supporting young people (over 16) who have had to go through treatment, attend scans and hospital...

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