Treating Christina's Cervical Cancer with Brachytherapy

Real Stories

Video Transcript

My name is Christina Zehetner. I'm 48 years old. I live near Erding, outside Munich and I'm a social worker and teacher. I provide further training and courses to parents and social workers.

I've been married for seven years now and have a 14-year-old daughter with my husband.

She's spreading her wings and becoming independent.

It's not always easy to let go but we're very proud of her. Our family also has a small dog who was a great companion when I was sick.

The diagnosis came as a big shock for me. It really came out of the blue. I was on my way to a routine checkup with my gynaecologist and I felt perfectly healthy when I was driving to the appointment.

But there, I was diagnosed with cervical cancer. I drove home as a seriously ill patient and it really pulled the rug from under my feet.

My gynaecologist tried to make it a bit easier. She also explained what the treatment would involve but none of it sank in at all. It was all just too much for me that day.

At first, the focus of treatment that the doctors mentioned to me was radio chemotherapy: When this began at the clinic in Großhadern

Dr. Corradini arranged an appointment with me and answered all my questions very thoroughly. That was the first time I had ever heard of brachytherapy.

My doctors explained that brachytherapy was a good option for me and it was actually necessary to ultimately defeat all of the tumor cells and the cancer.

And for that reason... Well, I trusted the doctors and it was a potential option for me too.

So it was the route I wanted to take. Of course, I also did some research on the Internet at home but I was disappointed because there were so few pages and so little information about brachytherapy.

Many of the things I read weren't specifically about my type of cancer and were more confusing than helpful.

I finished my brachytherapy in August 2020 which is about one and a half years ago now. Since then, I've made a good recovery.

A cancer diagnosis like this and the disease itself have a long-term effect and it also takes a long time for your mind to recover.

But right after my brachytherapy I was in a rehabilitation center where I was able to make a good recovery and I have relatively few lasting side effects that are directly related to the treatment.

Brachytherapy definitely helped to improve my quality of life. I would even say that brachytherapy probably saved my life.

It was quite clear that brachytherapy was needed to ultimately defeat the tumor.

I would definitely recommend brachytherapy to other cancer patients too.

I know that there are a lot of worries in the run-up to treatment. I had them too, but in the end, they are actually unfounded.

Surrounded by a good team of nurses and doctors, like I had here in Großhadern you can get through it. Of course, it is difficult but there's really no need to be scared of brachytherapy.

What helped me a lot although I think to some extent it differs from person to person was to ask a lot of questions and really reach out to the doctors who were thankfully very open and answered my questions.

You'll also bury your head in the sand for a while but then it's good to talk about things and the treatment and diagnosis and find your own way through this difficult time.

My biggest wish is to be able to spend lots more precious time with my friends and family. And I definitely want to see a bit more of the world.

Back to Real Stories - Christina