Marian was diagnosed and treated within a month of experiencing ovarian cancer symptoms. She is overwhelmed by the quality of care she received, and desperately wants more women with ovarian cancer to have a positive experience like hers.
One evening, my husband prepared a light meal, which I was thoroughly enjoying. Suddenly, from one mouthful to the next, I couldn't eat. I didn’t feel full, or sick, I simply couldn't eat. I felt uncomfortable and realised my tummy was a bit swollen.
The following day I felt out of sorts but was not too concerned - I didn't have any pain, diarrhoea or sickness. Every time I sat down I fell asleep and, when I awoke, I didn't feel refreshed but thick-headed and clammy.
Speaking to the doctor
I phoned the out of hours surgery. After answering numerous questions, the doctor concluded it must have been something I ate. I blurted out, “It's not the food - I'm afraid something is going to burst!” He suggested I come to the hospital.
A wonderful doctor listened to me, believed me and examined me. I'd never seen her before, and haven’t since, but I have written to thank her.
She couldn’t feel anything but recommended I have a scan. I had blood tests at the hospital, checking my kidneys, bladder, liver and a CA125 test. I was sent home and told to drink peppermint tea.
Twenty-four hours later my own doctor (another wonderful lady to whom I am eternally indebted) phoned with the blood tests results. The tests were all normal – my CA125 was 33 – but she wanted to have my ovaries checked and also recommended a scan.
Four days later it took two seconds for the Radiologist to see a tumour the size of a grapefruit on my right ovary.
The following week I saw a gynae-consultant who arranged a hospital appointment - one I'll never forget – with a doctor and specialist cancer nurse. My husband and I were told the nitty gritty of all the possible outcomes and my surgery was booked for two days later.
I had a full hysterectomy and a colostomy was not needed. I returned home from hospital a couple of days later – four weeks to the day after my very first symptom.
I started chemotherapy a month or so after my surgery.
All I have is praise for the remarkable care I’ve received. I didn't realise how blessed I was until I attended a support group. Some ladies had waited a year to 18 months to get a diagnosis, let alone treatment.
I am fortunate to be alive and well, and feel an obligation to advise women and doctors of how early diagnosis is the key to a successful outcome. My greatest wish is that my care be available to all.
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