In 2010, I lifted something at work and felt a pain in my side. A few weeks later, a friend said, “you keep holding your side, you should go to the doctor”.
The pain was the only symptom. I’d gone through the menopause and put any aches down to getting older. But my GP responded quickly. I was diagnosed and treated for Stage 3 ovarian cancer.
I gave myself ‘goals’. Not running marathons or climbing mountains – with my knees, no way – but to prove the statistics wrong and get to two years clear, then three years, then five and 10 years.
I’d nearly got to my fifth year when it returned, in my stomach area. I went through the whole range of emotions, but especially anger. How dare this disease invade me and my family’s lives again?
I’ve had chemotherapy every year since. We’re talking long-term containment now. My oncologist says don’t give up. And that’s how I feel. My motto is Keep Calm and Chemo On.
Why isn’t there more awareness? Because it’s to do with private parts. And it’s not just ovarian, this is true for all gynae cancers. This is why we need to talk.