As a working 47 year old I was used to feeling exhausted and fairly crappy.
Presenting with bloating, I was poked and prodded and told categorically that ‘the one thing it isn't is fluid’ by my GP. I persisted and was lucky to get a young locum who put two and two together and ordered a CA125 test which proved to be over 3000 and set the alarm bells ringing.
I had interval debulking and post-op, I participated in the PETROC trial at Mount Vernon because I think one should do trials when accessible, to move research forward, and having read about the better results they were getting in the US with intraperitoneal (IP) chemotherapy, I wanted to see if I could get that. I was randomised into the IP trial which was horrendously uncomfortable. I got the cisplatin option which meant long, slow infusions and a lot of hydration, and involved being physically tipped around to slosh the chemicals around my middle.
However, post-chemo scan at New Year 2012 there was no longer any sign of lymph node involvement and NED (no evidence of disease). In my view, this was purely down to the IP delivery. I'm now well and living life as if it's never coming back. While, obviously, constantly worrying that it will.
I worked throughout, running my PR business and writing technical white papers and proposals from my armchair. I've been left with a grab bag of minor complaints which seem to be due to chemotherapy - a bit of neuropathy still, aching joints and continuing sleeplessness, to add to the galloping menopause (which I'd forgotten would happen – lovely surprise). I am still working around the clock and keeping my fingers crossed that my normal working life won't mask anything nasty going on, in future.
It’s so important for women to be aware of the symptoms of ovarian cancer, and to recognise when something is wrong with their own body, which is why I wanted to tell my story this Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.