Even if my boyfriend was in Nigeria and I was in London, our relationship never felt like long distance. He was in London every other month for business or any other event he could come up with as an excuse to visit me.
So, yea I found myself taking the pill quite often. I’ll bleed a few times here and there but I always attributed it to the pill. Nathan wasn’t comfortable with this and asked that I stop the pill. He would jokingly say “babe you know if you got pregnant today, I’ll marry you tomorrow.” He was serious about getting married but I wasn’t ready.
He proposed about 8 months earlier but I insisted I was only going to get married to him after completing my masters degree and Law school back home in Nigeria. Nathan was very sweet. He had no objections and just continued to wait even if his parents were constantly pressuring him to pick a wife as he was their only child.
About 18 months later, I graduated from Law school in Nigeria. I felt accomplished, I mean, I looked forward to dressing up in my gown and wig and also having the title ‘Barrister’ from the first day I gained admission to study law and here it was, playing out.
Nathan was excited too. I felt his excitement came more from the fact that I was finally going to get married to him than from me becoming a barrister. Lol...That same day, he proposed again in the presence of our families and I said Yes. I couldn’t imagine spending my life with anyone else.
We got a wedding planner immediately and plans started.
Three months later, I still experienced bleeding even after stopping the pill, this time it went on for days. Nathan ignored me and called his friend who was a medical doctor to book a consultation.
On getting to the doctors office, he asked a few questions after which he suggested a HPV/Cervical Screening.
“Cervical screening?” I repeated. I had never had one. I was close to having one two years before then at my school's campus but I got busy and never went back.
I could feel my heart beat faster than usual. Do you think I have cancer? I asked as tears began to build up in my eyes. No, that's not what I’m saying. He replied. Just book an appointment first and we will take it up from there.
I remember first doing a visual inspection test with colposcopy, where an instrument called a colposcope is used to view the cervix. I was bleeding that day as well so samples were taken and sent to the lab for further investigation.
My result was going to be ready in 2 weeks. It was the longest two weeks of my life. We went back to the doctor’s office and I remember the look on his face as he asked Nathan and I to have a seat. I knew it wasn’t good news.
“I’m so sorry Kosi, The results came back. You have stage 2 cervical cancer.” I burst into tears as Nathan comforted me. I had no idea what to say. I felt very numb and weak. Nathan had to ask all the questions. He was more concerned about the next step.
A hysterectomy (a surgical procedure to remove the womb) with chemotherapy and radiation treatments are the options available, the doctor said. “Really?” Nathan asked in shock. After two minutes of silence, he told the doctor we were going to be back. He supported me to stand and we walked to the car.
We were both quiet as we drove back to his place and as soon as he turned off the car, he said,” You will have the hysterectomy and treatments. I want you alive and with me more than I want children. I can’t live without you.”
So, I won’t be able to have children. I laughed. I couldn’t believe it. I had cried so much, I didn’t have any more energy to continue. I was angry with the world, myself, and even Nathan who was so supportive. I spoke to my parents and in 2 weeks I had the surgery and commenced treatment.
Every other day, I still think if only I got screened earlier, I may have prevented all of these from happening.
Two years later, I am alive and grateful to be married to Nathan. While I will never be able to carry a child. I am happy knowing that I have surrogacy as an option as I was able to freeze my eggs before the surgery. Nathan still insists we wait one more year for me to heal completely before we start trying out surrogates.
Cervical Cancer does not show signs early. However, some women have complained of pain during sex, bleeding during/after sex, bleeding in between the menstrual cycle, lower abdominal pain, low back pain, and excessive vaginal discharge.
Every woman who is sexually active(has ever had sex even if it was once) should be screened every 2-3 years so as to detect infection early and treat it to prevent cervical cancer.