MY CANCER STORY
In January 2005, aged 41, I was diagnosed with Stage III C Ovarian Cancer http://www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/3169.aspx?CategoryID=96&SubCategoryID=220
Anybody who has been associated with this degenerative disease will know that Stage III C is a pretty bleak diagnosis. The tumour on my left ovary had grown so large it had attached itself to my bowel. In addition to this, the cancerous cells had also spread to my liver and abdomen. My CA125 blood count was 1,392 and not the national average of 45.
I was swiftly treated with chemotherapy (to reduce the size of the tumour to a removable size), then major surgery - where they performed a complete hysterectomy, a blood transfusion and also removed part of my abdomen. This was then followed up by more chemotherapy to mop up any remaining cancerous cells.
After my follow-up chemotherapy in June 2005, I returned to my office job. It wasn't long before I was back up to speed, and into a life of full time stress!
Then, 18 months later, just like a bad penny, the cancer came back. My CA125 was 625. There was no tumour this time. The cancerous cells had spread to the lining of my left lung. My oncologist delivered the prognosis: it is not curable and I had between 6 and 18 months to live. The nurses booked me in for another 6 bouts of chemotherapy. Meanwhile, a friend introduced me to a company that specialise in Health Sciences. I have been taking their nutritional supplements since cancer recurrence. My CA125 marker hasn't gone above a count of 9.
During my cancer "journey" I benefited greatly with support from the Macmillan nurses at Brighton, and Haywards Heath Hospital via a specially formulated Ovarian Cancer Support Group. This put me in touch with the Sussex Cancer Network (SCN) Partnership Group where I became the Membership Coordinator.
These days I share my story and experience with fellow cancer patients and professionals with the hope that I can raise awareness of cancer, encourage prevention, and help other people cope with this disease.
Ding ding - round 3! July 2017, a routine mammogram detected breast cancer, carcinoma grade III. As a known BRCA1 carrier (http://www.dellaferrari.com/cruk/ ) the management of this diagnosis is being dealt with swiftly. A sentinel node biopsy procedure took place followed with 6 cycles of chemotherapy. In January 2018, the remainder of the lump was surgically removed and I took the decision to wait for surgery to have both breasts removed. With no further recurrence to date, a double mastectomy and reconstruction will now take place in December 2018.
Updates to follow....
Note: Everything happens for a reason... My medical condition has made me realise that I am here to help make someone else’s life better…