Lynn, from Staffordshire, had never heard of ovarian cancer before she was diagnosed. Lynn has now been living with ovarian cancer for seven years and wants other women to know about living well with the disease…
I’d always considered myself fairly fit and healthy. But, aged 48, I was diagnosed in A&E with stage III ovarian cancer.
It all started about two and a half years earlier when I had some bowel problems and was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
I had a prolapse and had to go into hospital for an operation, but afterwards I started having bladder problems and was recommended physio for a weak pelvic floor. Doctors said it was due to so many things – because I’d had a big baby, because I was petite, or because I’d been a postal worker and was used to carrying heavy bags. It was none of those things…
Once I finally got the diagnosis, I had to have surgery to remove the tumour, and six chemotherapy sessions. I was put on Avastin, a drug that aims to prevent the cancer recurring. I was actually one of the first people in the Midlands to use Avastin. I had 15 infusions – but had to stop after that because of the side effects.
It’s now been seven years. My son who was eight when I was diagnosed is now completing his GCSEs! I can’t deny that it’s been hard on the family. I’ve had a number of different treatments over the years, but it’s been less and less effective each time. Explaining that to my son was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.
Despite all this, I want people to know there is help out there for families. Hospices aren’t just for those who are dying - our local day hospice does loads for family members. I go on my own as well – it’s a day where you can be there with your cancer and nobody’s going to look at you differently.
In February I went on a new drug regimen, but unfortunately experienced a bowel blockage as a result of the cancer growing, so I now have a colostomy bag. Practically, it’s not difficult to deal with. I’ve done one 10k and am signed up for another later this year – I’m really looking forward to them!
Living well with cancer
I know that ovarian cancer will end with me dying earlier than I thought, so I have everything planned and sorted legally. But at the same time, I tell everyone proudly that it’s not that I’m living with cancer – cancer is living with me.
So I walk 5K every morning with my dog and I craft. I want to do the UK’s longest zip line in Wales, and I’m going pony trekking with a group of friends - despite the fact that only one of us can actually ride a horse! I need action. Keeping my mind busy won’t cure my body, but I know it will help make my life better.
You can live well with cancer.