My Mum was diagnosed with Ovarian cancer in June 2014, it was stage 4, although she didn’t share that at the time. She had fluid in her lungs and struggled to breathe, which is why she was rushed to the hospital. I was staying with her at the time but was away for the weekend. March is Ovarian Cancer awareness month, so I want to share her story and spread the word about the condition.
Ovarian cancer is usually found very late because there aren’t any screening tests for it, like mammograms or smear tests.
With my Mum, I went with her to all the specialist’s appointments. We were told that she needed 3 rounds of chemo and then a hysterectomy followed by another 3 rounds of chemo. This started very quickly after the diagnosis, but even with all that treatment, that wouldn’t be it. The chance of surviving for five years was low, I think 20%. It wasn’t do all this, and you will be fine.
The chemo was luckily only one day a month in the hospital. Basically on a drip, but obviously, it wiped out Mum dramatically. My Dad had died seven years earlier of cancer as well, so it was lucky that I was staying with Mum at the time.
I remember going to see the specialists before the hysterectomy. And then them telling us that the cancer looked like salt and pepper on a steak. So while they were in there for the surgery, they would try to get all that they could see. But it was very hard to see hence why they couldn’t guarantee to be cancer free.
On the day of the op I waited around at the hospital as I wasn’t sure how long it would take. It went well, according to the surgeon, but I wasn’t allowed to see Mum until an hour or so after she came out of recovery. It was, I thought, a positive sign that she called me before I was allowed in requesting a certain type of coffee to be brought to her!
Obviously, Mum was worried about cancer and lost all her hair, got fitted for a wig, and wore headscarves. But despite all this, she remained pretty positive. I kept saying yes, it’s horrible, but just get to Christmas, and it will be all done. We were looking forward the whole time. She didn’t want to be a bother to people. I have a sister and two brothers, and somehow, I knew that time was not on our side. When one of my brothers decided he was going to marry his girlfriend, I urged them to have the wedding before Christmas so that Mum could be there.
Mum passed away in March 2015. It was A horrible, horrible time. In the end, she was at home in the kitchen in a hospital bed so that she could be part of the action! For her last week, the whole family were there. We had dinners, went to the beach, and even celebrated my niece’s 4th birthday. One of us slept on the floor each night on a mattress next to her bed in case she woke up and wanted a chat or anything. Mum was so worried about all of us children. She wanted to make sure that she was ok before she left us. And, in the end, was in a lot of pain.
It has been eight years since she died, and I still miss her. Ovarian cancer is horrible, all cancer is horrible, but this one is very hard to catch early. It doesn’t have many survivors because of that and therefore doesn’t get as much funding. Many of the symptoms of ovarian cancer are the same as other diseases, such as a bloated tummy, tiredness, weight loss, or needing to wee more, which is why in older women, it can be written off as old age. My Mum was 73 and very active, painting, gardening, and socialising. We did think that the tiredness was just her getting older.
Raising awareness of ovarian cancer is so important to help other women be aware of its symptoms of it. Because of this, I have done various fundraising efforts raising over £15,000 for cancer research.
March is Ovarian Cancer awareness month there are lots of ways to get involved, from runs to fundraising to just raising awareness by sharing this post. Are you fundraising for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month? Contact us to let us know.