Blue_Sky's Journey with Squamous Cell Carcinoma, Vaginal Cancer

Patient: Vaginal Cancer > Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Patient Info: Finished active treatment less than 5 years ago, Diagnosed: about 6 years ago, Female, Age: 48

  1. 1
    • Blue_Sky
    • Experience with Squamous Cell Carcino...
    about 6 years ago
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    Newly diagnosed

    Oh No

    I was put under for a hysterectomy December 1. The doctor found a lesion in my vagina before starting the procedure. By the time I'd awoken, she had biopsied it and found it to be cancerous. I have since been diagnosed with stage II squamous cell vaginal cancer. I'd been having chronic pain in the pelvic area for about 6 months, so I guess they finally found the source. I'm 41 and feeling a little alone in my diagnosis. I'd love to talk with and meet others with vaginal cancer.

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  2. 2
    • Blue_Sky
    • Experience with Squamous Cell Carcino...
    over 5 years ago
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    Procedure or Surgery

    I had no surgery. Just extensive radiation with chemotherapy to hopefully bump the effects of the radiation up.

    Went as Expected: Not Specified
    Minimal Recovery: Not Specified
    Minimal Side Effects: Not Specified
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Not Specified
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  3. 3
    • Blue_Sky
    • Experience with Squamous Cell Carcino...
    over 5 years ago
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    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    Considering I had way more radiation than chemo, I still had terrible side effects. I lost almost 20 pounds in 4 weeks due to nausea and vomiting. At first, the chemo only made me really nauseous. At the second dose, two days after I couldn't eat and vomited everything I tried to eat. I had constant diarrhea, too. After a few days it would relent. The next week I had those symptoms sooner and for more days. After the 4th week I had lost too much weight and no meds were helping the nausea or vomiting, so my chemo doc cut my dosage by half. That helped for the last two doses. I couldn't work during this time, at all. I couldn't take my kids to school when the side effects were in full swing. I know others don't have as strong as a reaction as I did, but my chemo experience gave me very severe side effects.

    Easy to Do: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
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  4. 4
    • Blue_Sky
    • Experience with Squamous Cell Carcino...
    over 5 years ago
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    Internal radiation

    Radiation

    I had extensive radiation, because no surgery was done. Doctors felt they would shrink it until it was gone if I had both internal and external radiation for 7 weeks. The first 4 weeks I had external radiation. It was painless and gave me little to no side effects. I went 5 days a week for 5 weeks for external radiation. Then I had 2 weeks (but only 3 times a week) of internal radiation. Both were painless experiences during. As for the side effects, they started for me around the 3rd or 4th week. Urinating became painful--it felt as if I had a bladder infection. Then I became extremely tired. So tired it was work to get out of bed. I became almost grey in skin coloring. It gave me a bit of nausea (though the brunt of it was from chemo). Directly after treatment was over, I had to have a blood transfusion, because radiation killed so much of my blood cells that part of my extreme fatigue was because I was so grossly anemic. After the transfusion I started feeling a little better. I could stand up or moved my head without feeling lightheaded. But it took me at least a month after until I had enough strength to go move around enough to go back to work, and I essentially had a desk job.

    Painless Experience: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
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  5. 5
    • Blue_Sky
    • Experience with Squamous Cell Carcino...
    over 5 years ago
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    Anemia (low red blood cell counts)

    Side Effects

    I became anemic within my 5th week of chemo and radiation (chemo was once a week for 5 weeks; radiation was every 5 days for 4 weeks, then 3 days a week of internal radiation only for 3 weeks). When I brought it up to my chemotherapy doctor he said that was unlikely and kind of dismissed it. But I saw him again the next week, telling him it was worse, and he saw that my skin color was light grey and ran a panel. Two days later I was getting a blood transfusion at the hospital. Side effects were fatigue, dizziness, difficulty taking regular breaths, and severe ringing in my ears. And I believe skin discoloration.

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  6. 6
    • Blue_Sky
    • Experience with Squamous Cell Carcino...
    over 5 years ago
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    Bladder problems

    Side Effects

    After maybe 3 or 4 weeks of 5 days a week daily external radiation, it became painful to urinate. It felt as if my urethra was burning, as if I had a bladder infection. There is an over the counter medication for bladder pain, and it helped greatly.

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  7. 7
    • Blue_Sky
    • Experience with Squamous Cell Carcino...
    over 5 years ago
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    Chemo brain

    Side Effects

    Chemo brain was minimal, a little rough for about 2 weeks, then subsided. I didn't make or have any real plans during this time, and I was off work. So, I don't think it effected me that greatly.

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  8. 8
    • Blue_Sky
    • Experience with Squamous Cell Carcino...
    over 5 years ago
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    Constipation

    Side Effects

    Yes. Varied between constipation and diarrhea. From chemo.

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  9. 9
    • Blue_Sky
    • Experience with Squamous Cell Carcino...
    over 5 years ago
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    Diarrhea

    Side Effects

    So bad. It was so bad. Doctor had to cut chemo dosage in half because I lost so much weight due to nausea and diarrhea.

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  10. 10
    • Blue_Sky
    • Experience with Squamous Cell Carcino...
    over 5 years ago
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    Eating problems (anorexia)

    Side Effects

    I was constantly on various kinds of nausea meds, and they didn't get rid of the issue. So eventually I learned if I stopped eating I wouldn't feel as bad. Plus I was nauseous so any food sounded so gross. I lost 20 pounds during treatment.

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  11. 11
    • Blue_Sky
    • Experience with Squamous Cell Carcino...
    over 5 years ago
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    Hair loss (alopecia)

    Side Effects

    I lost all the hair in my vaginal area only.

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  12. 12
    • Blue_Sky
    • Experience with Squamous Cell Carcino...
    over 5 years ago
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    Hot flashes

    Side Effects

    I was told that because I did not have surgery and instead was having extensive radiation that I would shortly become post-menopausal. Many woman my age would only need a small amount of hormones to take, but my ovaries would no longer produce any hormones at all. I had been having hot flashes very rarely before treatment. But by the end of treatment I had them every 15 minutes, at least. They improved as soon as I got the right dosage of hormones in my system. Doctors told me that because I was only 41, I would need hormone replacement therapy until I was around 50, because hormones help prevent other cancers until that age.

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  13. 13
    • Blue_Sky
    • Experience with Squamous Cell Carcino...
    over 5 years ago
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    Infertility (unable to have children)

    Side Effects

    My hormones and eggs were dead after treatment.

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  14. 14
    • Blue_Sky
    • Experience with Squamous Cell Carcino...
    over 5 years ago
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    Nausea/Vomiting

    Side Effects

    Very bad nausea and vomiting due to chemo.

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  15. 15
    • Blue_Sky
    • Experience with Squamous Cell Carcino...
    over 5 years ago
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    Pain

    Side Effects

    I pain before diagnosis. I had been working with my doctors to figure out where the pain was coming from, but no one checked my vaginal walls. During cancer treatment, pain became worse, most likely from the radiation being pointed right onto the area where the pain was coming from.

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  16. 16
    • Blue_Sky
    • Experience with Squamous Cell Carcino...
    over 5 years ago
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    Vaginal stenosis

    Side Effects

    This I am not totally sure of. During intercourse, I can't say it feels like the vaginal wall is thinner or tighter. But certain sexual positions now give the feeling that my vaginal walls are shorter. Sorry for TMI, but deeper intercourse feels like my cervix is being hit hard. I have the same boyfriend as before treatment, too. I don't have any vaginal dryness at all. And I still bleed during intercourse periodically, but doctors cannot tell if that is due to stenosis or because the site where cancer was is still healing.

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  17. 17
    • Blue_Sky
    • Experience with Squamous Cell Carcino...
    over 5 years ago
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    Weight loss

    Side Effects

    Due to nausea and vomiting I lost 20 pounds. However, after about 4 months after treatment the pounds started to return to me.

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  18. 18
    • Blue_Sky
    • Experience with Squamous Cell Carcino...
    over 5 years ago
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    Remission

    Celebration

    I am still in the healing phase, but what is left is no longer cancerous! I get the news about 1 month ago. While it was a huge relief to know I don't have cancer right now, I don't feel the elation I thought I would. I keep feeling as if I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. Like it may come back at any time.

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  19. 19
    • Blue_Sky
    • Experience with Squamous Cell Carcino...
    over 5 years ago
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    Decision Point

    This person has yet to add any details about this experience.

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  20. 20
    • Blue_Sky
    • Experience with Squamous Cell Carcino...
    over 5 years ago
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    External radiation

    Radiation

    I had minimal side effect from both internal and external radiation. The main one that was extreme though was sever fatigue. That stuck around for a bit, too.

    Painless Experience: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Neutral/NA
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  21. 21
    • Blue_Sky
    • Experience with Squamous Cell Carcino...
    over 5 years ago
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    External radiation

    Radiation

    This person has yet to add any details about this experience.

    Painless Experience: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
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