Vicky Phelan has proved just how string she is in the last 12 months.
One of the women who suffered as a result of the cervical smear crisis, Vicky has made it her mission to ensure other women are protected.
The mum took to Facebook on Sunday, where she shared a throwback picture of herself and her daughter.
But this wasn’t your typical throwback – Vicky’s came with an important warning.
“This photo has just popped up on my timeline from my Memories of me and Amelia. Look how small she is. Now, she is the same height as me and will soon pass me out!”
“This photo was taken 4 years ago today. We went on a holiday (that we could barely afford) to Lanzarote to get away from it all. It was 3 months after I had finished treatment for cancer. I still didn’t know how successful (or not, as we now know) the treatment had been.”
“I didn’t have a scan until after we came back from holidays. I really thought, at that time, that the worst was over me and that I was finished with cancer.”
“I put up with being sent into early menopause, putting on weight and going through the most horrendous, barbaric brachytherapy treatment THREE times where you are given an epidural and knocked out three times in the space of 10 days and an applicator is shoved up your vagina to which rods are attached and whatever is left of your insides is radiated, just in case!”
“Well, just in case didn’t work for me. My cancer came back with a vengeance three years later, twice the size as first time round and I was faced with NO options.”
Vicky wrapped up her post with an important message to any women reading:
“I am sharing this here today to impress upon ALL you women how important it is to go for your smear but, more importantly, how important it is to KNOW your body and to listen to your body.”
“IF you notice any irregular bleeding between your periods, particularly if the blood is a different colour (pink red rather than dark red).”
“IF you have persistent lower back pain, like a period pain that won’t go away regardless of whether you are carrying small children on your hip or can find another explanation for back pain.”
“IF you bleed after sex…”
“For ANY or ALL of these symptoms, make an appointment straight away with your GP and insist on a colposcopy, particularly if your gut instinct tells you something is wrong.”
“You do NOT want this cancer. There is NO cure unless you are lucky enough to get it caught early.”
221 women were affected by the CervicalCheck controversy which saw false negative results delivered to patients under the national screening programme.