In August 2012 I celebrated my 50th birthday climbing around the Stripsenjoch Hutte in the Wilde Kaiser in Austria – I felt great apart from symptoms that I associated with ageing and IBS (persistent pain in the abdomen, feeling that my guts were bursting out of my tummy, weeing more often, diarrhea.. ) A few weeks and a scan later, I was facing surgery to remove a ‘complex cyst’ on my right ovary. I woke up on Halloween 2012 to find both ovaries gone and an appointment for a second round of more extensive surgery (total hysterectomy, appendectomy, omentectomy, removal of tumour from bladder…) two weeks later. I had joined the ranks of the 7000 women in the UK who are diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer every year.
I am lucky in that I have an extremely skilled surgeon and keyhole surgery and my recovery has therefore been super-fast. I am already training for a mountain marathon in Austria this summer… a real uphill struggle for someone still in recovery – I am keeping my fingers crossed that I don’t grow more tumours before the race 🙂 Find Ovarian Cancer Runner on Facebook and follow my progress.
I am doing this to raise awareness of ovarian cancer, which is one of the deadliest of womens’ cancers because it is usually diagnosed late. One of the reasons for this is because women are not aware of the symptoms – I didn’t realise I had the classic symptoms. Please take the time to learn about them for yourselves (or your mother, daughter…). It could save a life.
The amazing thing is that a diagnosis of cancer is not all bad – it has made everything in life brighter and more precious. Even small achievements (like my BlocFest Vets win) bring a real sense of satisfaction and remind me I am alive.