Get tested because prevention is better than cure!
A grieving husband has shared horrifying pictures of his cancer-stricken wife after she was diagnosed almost a year ago to the day having skipped a smear test.
Three days before Christmas most people are well and truly in the festive mood, enjoying quality time with their friends and family.
But for Donna and Elliott Lowe, December 22 was like something out of a nightmare.
That day Mrs Lowe, of Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, was diagnosed with cervical cancer.
In January the mother-of-four had further scans, which showed the disease had already spread to the lymph nodes in her pelvic region and was at the terminal 4B stage.
She underwent six weeks of daily radiotherapy sessions, but on August 5 this year she died at Willen Hospice, Milton Keynes. She was just 32.
Mr Lowe, 42, told the Daily Mirror: ‘The children are struggling beyond words. My eldest is angry with everything, my disabled son still thinks she is coming home and my eldest daughter shuts herself away.
‘My youngest daughter is very matter of fact and tells everyone that her mummy is in her heart and her head.
‘I’m dreading Christmas. I have no idea what to expect or how the kids will react, I’m just going to have to play it by ear.’
Yesterday he posted two heartbreaking pictures of his wife on Facebook, one of them healthy and happy together and another showing the devastating effects of the disease.
He says his wife missed a smear test at the local cervical cancer screening centre and is begging women to make sure they don’t make the same fateful mistake.
He wrote on Facebook: ‘A year ago to date (22/12/2016) my beautiful wife, my best friend, the mother to our four beautiful children, my world, my soul mate in fact my everything was given a diagnosis by Milton Keynes Hospital that would devastate our lives and change it forever.
‘Regretfully, on the morning of Saturday the 5th of August 2017, my beautiful wife passed away in my arms surrounded by our four young children, her mother, brother and sisters aged just 32 at Willen Hospice, Milton Keynes.
‘I am sharing this with you today a year after her diagnosis to encourage everyone reading this to make sure that we take it upon ourselves to ensure that the special women in our lives in fact all women in our lives be they relatives or friends to attend their cervical screening (once called smears) and not to either miss them or forget to re-arrange.
‘My wonderful wife postponed her last smear for reasons I can’t even remember, believe me I’ve tried to remember and there’s not a day goes by I wish I could swap places with her or wish I’d dragged her to the appointment and re-arranged it for her.
‘Having already spoken to some of you here I know that some haven’t had a smear in a number of years, I think the longest was 20 years.’
‘Cervical screening (smear) takes only minutes. I am aware its not the most comfortable or dignified of experiences for women to go through but the consequences of missing one devastates live’s for everyone connected and will do for generations to come.
‘I wake up every morning alone, bring my kids up alone.. yes I have family around me supporting me, and I’m truly thankful for that, but it’s never the same nor will it be.
‘My wife missed her last cervical screen and paid the ultimate price she paid with her life.
‘Let’s not let other families go through this immense pain we face daily let’s fight cancer together as early detection saves lives I know this as I’m still in contact with women and their families who were being treated at the same time as my wife and who have been given the all clear.’
The harrowing image of his wife in her hospital bed, gaunt with her mouth open her bones protruding from her chest.
Mr Lowe apologised if the images were distressing, but said he ‘needed to demonstrate how devastating cancer is ‘.
The emotional post has been shared over 15,000 times.