Carry on Cancer

In early March 2016 I started having to get up in the night to go to the loo. I also had a flareup in my back which I attributed to an old injury. By the end of March I was having occasional shooting pains in my groin which again I thought was originating from the old back injury. As I was now getting up several times a night I went to the doctors to be checked out. I was told I had a UTI which was treated with antibiotics. I returned several times as symptoms were worsening. I was then diagnosed with irritable bladder syndrome.

By this time I was very bloated all the time I was having frequent indigestion and had trouble eating my meals even though I was hungry.

The last straw was feeling a lump in my abdomen at which point I insisted on further investigation.

Fast forward to September 2016 and after ultrasound, blood tests and an MRI scan I was told that I needed to have a hysterectomy due to a large mass in my abdomen.

At this point I wasn’t too concerned, mainly relieved that they had finally found the issue. He then told me that the surgery would take place at Christies............. I didn’t hear anything after that.

The day that I received my MRI results cancer was the furthest thing from my mind! I thought I probably had a cyst or polyps.

The hardest thing I’ve ever had to do was tell my mum.

Surgery took place September 2016 at the Christie Hospital in Manchester.

I had never been ill or had surgery and I admit, I was terrified.

My recovery was slow from such major surgery and at this point I still hadn’t had a confirmed diagnosis.

Three weeks after surgery my diagnosis was confirmed. I had high grade serous ovarian cancer stage 3B.

Ovarian cancer is staged from 1 to 4.

Stages 1 & 2 are classed as early stage.

Stages 3 and 4 are metastatic, which means the cancer has spread.

The 5 year survival rate for stage 3B is currently 20% even with treatment.

Time to embrace a new hairdo!

There are two ways to look at a diagnosis like this. You can either accept what is and go along with it or you can decide to be your own advocate and walk your own path.

That is what I have decided to do.

Since diagnosis, I have diligently researched my disease. I have learned all about the treatments available and their benefits and side-effects and I am abreast of promising new treatments on the horizon. I often joke that I have an unwanted degree in oncology!

I am hopeful that by being able to explore some of these new treatments I am giving myself the best chance for some more good years.

I have looked upon my cancer diagnosis as being the biggest challenge of my life.

It is a part of me and I have to live with it so I have made peace with it.

I have no intention of spending however much time I have left wallowing in self pity and despair. That is just not me!

I have down days like everyone but I also have an awesome network of family and friends that have been there for me every step of the way. Hopefully some of them will get to join me on my adventure of a lifetime!