Gail on diagnosis

Gail sitting looking down
Gail sitting looking down

It was almost by chance that Gail, now in remission, was diagnosed with vulva cancer after going for a smear test.

She believes the best thing she can do now, is tell people to see their nurse and not put off doing a test.

Gail's story

I went to see my GP and the nurse saw me. She’d been sending me letters for a smear test. She took me by the hand and said, ‘We’re doing it today – five minutes.’ I didn’t want to but it probably saved my life.

I really didn’t believe it at first. What really sunk in and made me believe I had cancer was when I went to the cancer clinic. When I checked in and went into the reception area, all the women in there were bald. It just hit me right in the stomach. That’s when I knew it was real – it was really powerful.

The worst thing is telling your family. I didn’t tell anybody for a long, long time. It was my second time around that I finally told my family back in America because I knew exactly what they’d say. ‘Come home.’

It was really hard for me to accept it in the beginning because I come from a farming community back in America. It was very small, everybody knew everybody. You don’t ask for help. I had to learn to do that. It’s like being a child again – can you tie my shoe for me? That’s the way it feels.

The best thing you can do is tell people to make sure they go and see their nurse. She saved my life. I know she did. I still believe she was my little angel that year because I was only stage one then. Think if I hadn’t done the test then?