Rose and her family

Rose's story

Mum of two, Rose, was diagnosed with low grade serous ovarian cancer this year after her surgeon became concerned during an emergency caesarean. She wants to share her experience to raise awareness of this rarer form of the disease.

My grandmother died of ovarian cancer the year before I was born, but I wasn’t aware of any symptoms to look out for – I just didn’t think it would happen to me. 

Ovarian cysts  

My children are two years old and 10 months old. During my first pregnancy I was told I had cysts on my ovaries, but it was confirmed that they would just go away on their own.

However, during my second pregnancy I was told the same thing – they weren’t an issue because I wasn’t experiencing any pain or fertility issues. The cysts were never really investigated with any seriousness and looking back I wish I had pushed for more for some answers.  

During my daughter’s birth things didn’t go to plan and I ended up having an emergency caesarean. During the procedure the surgeon asked if I had endometriosis due to the tissue growing around my reproductive organs. I’d never had any symptoms of endometriosis and it wasn’t something that had ever come up before.  

I was sent for an ultrasound scan three months post partem to review it further and was told that things still didn’t look right.

It was then that I was referred to a gynaecologist.  

Unfortunately, I didn’t hear anything for another three months so during this time I made the decision to contact a private consultant. Six weeks later I had an appointment and was sent for MRI and CT scans.

The results concerned the consultant enough to suggest an operation to examine the cysts in more detail. This would also allow for a biopsy to be sent to the lab for testing. It was explained to me that if they were cancerous then I would need a full hysterectomy. That terrified me. 

Rose and her family

Exploratory surgery and diagnosis 

My operation was scheduled for 22 February 2023 – it didn’t go as I had expected.

When I came round, I learned that they had had to perform a full hysterectomy immediately. My consultant then had to go straight into another surgery, so I had to wait four agonising hours to be told exactly what had happened. It was an incredibly difficult and scary time.  

I was diagnosed with stage 3a2 low grade serous ovarian cancer and was told I would need chemotherapy post-surgery. I was confused about what it all meant and started to panic for the future. 

Throughout this time, I didn’t think I had experienced any symptoms, but looking back I realise that I did have a few – bloating, lower back pain and intermittent constipation. I just hadn’t acknowledged them as anything other than the side effects of having two pregnancies close together. A ‘mummy tummy’ that I would work on at the gym at some point. 

Looking to the future and raising awareness

I have now started my course of chemotherapy, which will include six rounds in total. 

My body has been through so much in the past two years. Two pregnancies, a caesarean, a hysterectomy and now chemotherapy and medical menopause. It’s been a huge challenge, both physically and mentally.

My diagnosis was a real shock and honestly I’m still coming to terms with it, but I try and stay positive and get on with daily life as best I can.  

My children definitely help take my mind of it all and inspire me to keep going. I’m determined to watch them grow up and be there for them as they get older.  
Even though someone in my family had had a diagnosis of ovarian cancer, it still wasn’t something that I knew about. Searching for content on Instagram one day I found Target Ovarian Cancer and thought that if I share my story, my experience so far, then I can hopefully help shine a spotlight on this disease and increase awareness of it.  

If you’ve been affected by this story and would like to speak to a specialist nurse, you can call our dedicated support line on 020 7923 5475 or contact us: [email protected]. We're open from 9am until 5pm, Monday to Friday.

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