In the last few days there has been much in the news abouts Jade Goody being told that her cancer is terminal, she has only months to live.
I have not followed the ups and downs of her life since leaving Big Brother in whatever year that was. Every now and again I have heard something about her but I can honestly say that she has never been high on my list of must know topics.
I have heard that her diagnosis is bringing cervical cancer to the public notice. Her fight being so much in the public domain could help to save lives by inspiring women to have screening.
Yesterday I had yet another unwelcome telephone call from SF. But he said something to me that hit a chord. He said he had been discussing the publicity around Jade with one of his colleagues. He told his colleague about my battle against Cervical Cancer and the open letter I wrote once I was in remission which was sent to all the parents from the schools my children attended. It was published in a magazine that was circulated around the MOD Agencies in the UK. In the following couple of years I sent this letter to online friends across the world. I would like to share this letter with you now. I know this is not the first time, I am also aware that as my writing style has developed in recent years I would probably have written this letter differently if I was writing it now. But this letter was how I was feeling at the time.
October , 2001
Some of you will know me but many of you won’t. Earlier this year I was diagnosed with cervical cancer. I have just recently been given the all clear, I am now cured. However I wanted to write to you to ask you to do your best to make sure that your children don’t have to go through what my children did.
There has never been any history of cancer in my family I don’t smoke and I am only in my thirties and have never missed a routine smear test. I had no reason to believe that I would get cancer especially not at this age. But I did, I have been very positive all through my treatment and have now come through it with a clean bill of health. When I told my boys that the cancer has all gone away they were all very pleased especially Elliot who announced to everyone within earshot, “I have got my normal mummy back.”
Hearing my son saying this has confirmed what I already knew, it was not only my life that has been put on hold for the last 8 months, but my whole family. We have had a lot of support from a lot of people including the staff at school. Some of you will also be aware that I have made it my aim to make sure that as many women as possible are made aware of just how very important it is that we all keep healthy. It is especially important to check your breasts regularly for lumps and go for regular smear tests. From asking around I have discovered that the general rule at Dr’s surgeries in this area is to call women for a smear test every five years. However the specialists at the hospital are adamant that we should be all tested every three years. If you don’t want to go to your own doctor’s you can get a smear test done at your local pharmacy. Just ask for an appointment although you will have to pay a small fee. It is not important where you go as long as you do get tested at least every five years, but every three years would be better. I know having a smear test is not pleasant, but it is nothing compared to the treatment for cancer.
If you have a smear test that shows abnormal cells you can be treated and like me get better.
For the sake of your children please, please look after yourselves.