Lynette was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2011. She recently took part in the review of our What happens next? and Back here again guides. Here she tells us why she thinks including personal stories in our information is so important.
I am fortunate to belong to a group of passionate and dedicated women who meet up every six weeks at Cherry Lodge in Barnet, north London. We share our personal experiences, from our hospital visits to our social lives, and – when we feel we can – offer help and understanding. From time to time we also have visitors and this was how I met Katie from Target Ovarian Cancer. After her visit to Cherry Lodge we met for coffee so that I could share my experiences as part of their updated information guides. I never stopped talking but I knew she would be able to pick out the salient points!
Information about ovarian cancer has improved hugely since my diagnosis in 2011 and I think personal experiences have helped a lot. By giving other women an insight into your life this way, you may just provide something that they can relate to and latch onto. I’ve always put great value on information that is specific to your own experience and I think the ovarian cancer guides are informative and so powerful because of the personal stories that have been included. I’m a firm believer that what you put in is what you get out. That’s why I spoke to the charity to share my personal experiences.
At the moment I’m also taking part in a clinical trial. I feel very privileged to have been specially selected for this – we’re learning a lot, and hopefully it will be a big breakthrough for women with ovarian cancer. My wish is that the findings of this trial will be taken on board for the future and give hope to all of the women who are living with ovarian cancer. I treat this trial as a ‘job’ as I feel so much depends on this.
My personal message to anyone who might be thinking of sharing their experiences in a more public forum in the future – for any reason – is don’t be shy. No matter how insignificant you feel your input may be, it could be exactly what is needed to give someone else a positive outlook. It’s so important to make people more aware that there are woman like me – and lots more reading this – who are coping with ovarian cancer. To all of them, I want to say – be vocal, be strong, and above all be positive.