I have so much to say on this subject that I don’t exactly know where to start. It’s so important, so extremely close to my heart.
This isn’t a sponsored post, I’ve not been asked to write it and no I didn’t get it sent to me free in the post!
It’s written for my beloved Mum and every other woman who went through / or is going through what she did. It is to raise awareness.
So I’ll start with Maureen …
Who is she?
Maureen [drumroll …] is what my friends and I call our vaginas , other wise commonly referred too as your muff / tuppence / fanny / pussy / me-me / Mary or Fairy … long story short on a drunken holiday , during a drunken, slightly ridiculous conversation with ‘the girls’ it got christened. Oh how we laughed and the name stuck.
I’ve no idea why we were even talking about our vaginas , back then I don’t know why we did a lot of things!
[ thinking back I guess it could have been that time I shaved all my pubic hair off. I was bald as a coot and couldn’t look at myself down there for weeks, it resembled a plucked chicken! ]
Not that we ever really did [ talk about her ] , but we could if we wanted discuss our Maureen’s in public, safe in the knowledge nobody really knew what we were talking about. Our Aunt maybe?
Fast forward 25 years and my beautiful, vicious Mum receives the awful news that she has Vaginal Cancer. We joked about it at first [that’s what we as a family do as a coping mechanism] ‘Miss Funny Fanny ‘ but then reality kicks in , the illness takes over and our humour can only take us so far.
I’ve spoken about it a lot. You can read more about her and our journey // HERE
In July this year , 5 years after her initial diagnosis, Mum died from the bloody evil disease. She was just 72.
Ever since that awful day, [months before even ] I had been feeling extremely helpless, guilty that I was so bloody useless. More than anything I just wanted to do something. I wanted to use my voice, this little internet space I occupy to do some good. I would do anything to stop other ladies going through the same.
Since Mum died , my life has quite literally flipped on its head, at times it doesn’t even seem real. Nothing’s changed yet everything has changed.
Most days I feel as though I’m living in a parallel universe. I wake up some mornings and I temporarily forget she is not here . I think to myself I must ring Mum to tell her this, tell her that. The realization she is not here hurts every bit as much today as it did 3 months ago.
The first thing that shocked me when I mentioned vaginal cancer on my Instagram feed a few weeks ago was the number of private messages I received from ladies of all ages stating they didn’t even know vaginal cancer existed. Would I talk about it more?
I suppose we don’t talk about it and that’s where the problem lies. Our vaginas are to some extent still a taboo subject.
So let’s get the conversation started.
Let’s talk Vaginas , Vulva and Wombs !
Let’s raise awareness.
Vaginal cancer is one of 5 Gynaecological Cancers you can be diagnosed with.
The other 4 are womb, ovarian, cervical and vulval.
Awareness levels of these cancers is very low, something I’m discovering myself. In the UK alone each year, there are over 21,000 women given the news that they have a form of gynae cancer.
I always say you know your body better than anybody else. If you think something is a-miss go and see your doctor. Get yourself checked over.
Its often referred to as the silent killer; my mum herself had no symptoms [ that she was aware of ] but after she passed an unusually large mass of blood and mucus that had a strong, unpleasant smell she went straight to see her GP. She didn’t hang about she went the very next day.
We understand this was the main body of the tumour breaking away.
As with most cancers the earlier you act the better your chances of survival. My mum acted straight away but devastatingly was still one of the unlucky ones. Cancer has no rules. Had mum not got checked out we don’t know how long she would have had with us…
As a women of 25 and over, you are routinely invited to have a smear test. I say invited because you don’t have to attend. It is undertaken to prevent cervical cancer, not to diagnose cancer. My mum had regular smears . As far as I am aware , and after questioning my doctors on various occasions, I am advised no other Gynae cancers are picked up during your smear.
It is STILL so important that you have your smear. Please , please, please ensure you attend when you are invited. I know it’s not nice sitting with your legs akimbo while somebody insets a spatula in you …but it could potentially save your life and it literally takes minutes.
This fabulous, straightforward video and information page from the Eve Appeal explains the 5 gynae cancers in simple and straightforward terms. It highlights the symptoms and what to look for [better than I ever could].
Please head over and watch // HERE
There are a number of fabulous charities I have stumbled upon while researching this post. These are all doing their part to raise awareness and raise funds for research
Eve Appeal – “every day in the UK, 58 women are diagnosed with a gynaecological cancer and 21 will die. The Eve Appeal is determined to change this for the future of women everywhere.“
Lady Garden Campaign – “is a campaign by a group of British women on a mission to change the future of female cancers. We think it’s time to change that. Don’t you? Our mission is to empower women everywhere to talk more openly – without shyness or shame.”
I spotted these t-shirts while I was browsing; I bought one which I have been proudly wearing . I bought this online from Selfridges.
This one was designed by non other than Naomi Campbell .
There are a selection of others to choose from all co-designed by Simeon Farrar of Black Score with Suki Waterhouse, Charlotte Tilbury and Cara, Poppy & Chloe Delevigne.HERE
What better way to start the conversation, than to walk around with a big Vulva on your chest! The first day I wore mine I was quizzed as to why I had a woman’s bits on the front of my t-shirt. See it works.
The more we talk , the less of a taboo it becomes… and luckily for you I bloody love talking.
Please join in the conversation , share this post, buy a t-shirt – anything ! let’s just be more aware of our bodies.
Let’s look out for each other.
* linking up with #brilliantblogposts linkup
14 thoughts on “Health |Let’s talk about ‘Our Maureen’…”
🙏🙏thank you so much for talking about this and so sorry to hear about your mum 😌 . My mum was diagnosed with womb cancer at 72 (no real symptoms) and passed away just over two years ago. She had all the treatments and operations but I have a feeling it was diagnosed too late. I worry that it may happen to me too but there is little that you can do apart from tune into your body and know when things alter. I will read up and follow the threads you’ve suggested. Sending a hug to you 😘 x
I’m so sorry to hear about your mum. Eve Appeal are amazing and have lots of information . Thankyou for popping across and commenting x
I’m actually shocked there are 5 different kinds! I was only aware of 3…
Thanks for raising my awareness. All because your Vag t-shirt caught my eye.
Sending much love Trace, this time of year is bloody tough I’m not going to lie xx
Thank you for commenting.I’m glad my t-shirt caught your eye. I only wised up myself when mum got really sick as I wanted to know is there was anything i could do. I was initially shocked as I only though their was ovarian and womb cancer myself. It is something I’m learning not many people are aware of. If i can highlight it to hand full of people then my work is done. Than you for taking the time to leave a message and thank you , Tracey xx
Fantastic funny but also very serious imformative post Tracey xxx I love how you are speaking the word and so so important xxx
Thankyou Lovely. It’s so important. After instagramming about it I was shocked by how little ladies knew on the subject. I had ladies messaging me for more info. Really appreciate you reading & commenting xxx
Thank you so much for sharing something so private. I will be posting this onto our Menopause Facebook Group, as we talk so often about Vagina’s, and this is something else we need to address x
Sarah, Thankyou for popping across and reading.
Please share on your page the more ladies who know , the better xx
Oh Tracey, I’m so sorry you lost your mum. I have to agree with you though about raising awareness – at 36 years old I was diagnosed with cervical cancer, and it really shocked me. Like your mum I had no symptoms and it was picked up during my routine smear test (which I’d delayed). I am one of the lucky ones and they managed to catch it before it grew too big, they cut it out and I am now cancer free. But the biggest thing that shocked me about it all was when the doctor told me that nearly 60% of women don’t go for their smear test! We really need to talk about these cancers and make more women aware.
I had no idea there was vaginal cancer, I did know about cervical and ovarian cancer but that’s it. Thank you for opening my eyes. 🙂
Sending much love. xxx
Morgan, I’m so sorry you had to go through all this but I’m absolutely thrilled your cancer free.
I honestly can’t believe people don’t go for their smears, it is embarrassing but so worth it.
I’ve had a message today from a lady who hasn’t been going for her smear but after reading my post has booked to go. This alone made this worth writing. Thankyou for popping across and commenting xxx
Great information – thanks so much for raising awareness
Its my pleasure , I didn’t realise until I started talking about it how many people didn’t even know these cancers existed x
Thankyou Leigh … it’s what Mum would want xxx