Choosing not to have more chemo

After 2 years of being clear of Ovarian Cancer I've just undergone major surgery to remove a small tumour spreading from my diaphram to my liver

My excellent surgeon has had the histology back today and I'm devastated to find it confirms that the tumour was cancerous. I feel utterly ravaged by the surgical procedure which began as a 2 hour op and became 5 hours. My post operative pain has been horrible and it's been a struggle to cope as I do not have a partner or children

I will be meeting with my oncologist soon but my surgeon believes chemo will be suggested. He also confirmed that in his opinion ALL the cancerous areas had been removed during surgery

This may upset some people but I do not want to go down the route of chemo yet again. If I had family support I might view the treatment differently but I do not feel I have the strength to go through the ordeal again. I want to try alternatives as the first round of chemo may have held back the return of the cancer but did not eradicate it.

I'm emotionally exhausted and feel the need to talk to others here as you are the only ones that understand what I'm going through

12 Replies

  • You are in a tough situation but I find that making decisions when you are "under the weather " is not good and in time when you are feeling better you may have a more holistic perspective so hold fire for now. You are right to seek opinions and do research ...knowledge is power and the stronger and more powerful you feel the more confidence you will have with whatever decision you reach. Ultimately its your choice but be well armed with information so there will be no regrets....Give yourself time to heal physically and emotionally....a 5 hour operation is a huge ordeal but it's very reassuring that the surgeon thinks he removed everything. Good luck with what ever you decide to do

  • Hallo organise, I am sorry you had a tough time during and after surgery. It will take some time for you to recuperate fully. It must be hard when you are on your own but remember that some of us here may have someone around them but they may not be necessarily supportive to them. Sometimes we can find that our friends and family are dismissive of our illness so we can be lonely in ways as well. I would suggest you speak to you oncologist and his gynae liason nurse. If you have access to any Cancer Support Group in your area or hospital do go and see if it suits you. Ruth the Ovacome Nurse is also available to chat to you on the telephone. Perhaps you could look into having home help to assist you while recuperating from surgery. Your district Nurse would assist you to find somebody suitable. I would also seek to speak to a Counsellor in the hospital who might give you some direction. I am ten years down the road and at present I am waiting for a result of a ct scan. I have had recurrences and have accepted whatever treatment is available to me. Dont ever feel worthless because you have no one around you, I am sure you are a lovely person who has been through the mill lately. I wish you well and do post on here anytime you like and some one will answer you. Best wishes

  • Hey Organise,

    I am very sorry that you find yourself in this situation. I have just finished Chemo so I can understand your reluctance to go back there to be fair however I was only driving home from work today and I couldn't help but smile just because I was able to do that!

    As the others have said I would urge you to wait until you have full information and know all the options available to you before you make any decisions and I wish you the very best with all the decision making.

    I found this forum a true lifesaver during treatment so keep in touch!

    Onwards and Upwards!


  • Hi

    I am so sorry to hear that the cancer has returned after 2 years and I completely understand how devastated you are. I honestly don't know how I would feel if faced with a recurrence in the future, but I feel by talking on a one to one or group basis with people who have empathy and understanding might help . Don't feel you are alone in this, there are so many of us struggling with this disease, and feel a connection with other women in the same situation. But please take your time before you make decisions- this is a difficult and emotional time........and remember there is always support on this site.


  • Hiya,

    I know exactly where you are coming from. I had a hideous year following the chemotherapy. The medics talked about remission but it certainly didn't feel like that. Now a year later I have had a good spell for a few months with the help of painkillers and steroids. Now mobility has become affected. I am still in remission and it feels a bit like it but it is certainly not a return to fitness or my previous life.

    I have been talking to friends about what I would do if there was a recurrence. Like you I am on my own. I am in contact with my local hospice and go to the day care center. They are very helpful and understanding. At the moment I think I would do exactly what you are doing and go out on my terms and with grace.

    Hope you find some palliative care to talk to. For me it is all about quality of life and death.

  • The others are right: you're at your lowest point and that's not a good time to make decisions about anything. Surgery which turned out longer than expected is daunting but it's also to be celebrated. It sounds as if they got you to the best possible place to be.

    I don't think, at initial diagnosis and treatment, generally it is made clear to us the very high likelihood of recurrence. For understandable reasons perhaps. One of the consequences of this is that many of us, when we do recur, are pole-axed. I certainly was. We think of medical interventions as getting rid of problems.

    At my first recurrence I had surgery that went on longer than planned and had to have chemo too. With some similar thoughts to yours, I think. I've just finished treatment for my second recurrence.

    If chemo becomes the new normal, I think our attitude changes a bit. Some women on here are amazingly philosophical and resilient. I think it's a shift to living with cancer rather than pushing it away. We know better what to expect. I know this isn't true for all, but I have found each of my four chemo regimes easier to deal with than the previous one.

    I would try and get as much support in place as possible..... clinical psychologist?, home-help, some help with shopping.....?

    Good luck with everything. xx

  • Hello

    Agree with mac27, your head will not be in the right place to make any decisions. You may feel differently when you see the doc again. There are preventative things you could try for example tamoxifen, see the people at Care Oncology Clinic for repurposed drugs, but concentrate ok building your self up after your op xx

  • Hello and thanks for your reply

    I've never heard of care oncology clinic - I'll do some research. Have you had personal experience of dealing with them ?


  • Take time. Don't rush any decisions. There are great supports out there. You must find out what services are available to you. When ready try one or two - you'll be surprised where you draw strength from. Stay strong. X

  • your life, your decision. however, making life altering choices at your lowest ebb is not wise. how old are you? what would you do with another year or 2 of ned? what makes you happy? life is precious. dont burn bridges now. hang in there. give yourself time to recoup, regroup, and reconsider.

    4c here, currently ned, cherishing each minute. and yes, chemo can be hellish. was for me. but im here. and you're here. dont make hasty decisions.

    warm wishes to you.

  • I understand how you feel. I'm not a chemo fan for lots of reasons. Although I gave in and have some after my last surgery. You have to follow your gut instinct.


  • Morning xx I feel so much for you. I wondered the reason you have know family or children. One would have to know why this is, to try to understand how you feel, ( I am not asking you to reveal why but I feel it is simply a factor) I would really if it was possible to be nearer to you, and help you through, your bad times. I think good friends proper friends are as good as family, or can be. Sending you all my love, and hoping you achieve what you need xx

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