Feeling numb

Hi I am 55 years old and have just been diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer which has spread to the liver and have been told I am going to die of it. Am starting chemo on Wednesday. I had no real symptoms was fit and well or so I thought a few weeks ago and now am terminally ill. I just don't know where to begin. I am a complete mess at the moment and need some help to sort my head out. Thank you for listening.

46 Replies

  • Hi There,

    I am so sorry that you are feeling this way and that you have received this news so near to Christmas. I have stage 3C and my oncologist and all my team have never used the word terminal. They call it incurable but treatable. There are many ladies here with Stage 4 or like me Stage 3c who have been around for years after their shock diagnosis. I myself have been living with it since 2011, I've had 3 rounds of Chemo and 18 months of maintenance chemo. Try and go with your feelings, let them out and if you have a friend, partner etc share how you are feeling with them, if you can. We are here for you too. Wishing you all the best and sending you hugs.



  • You will be fine, cancer is manageable though not curable, just follow doctors instructions. Go for your chemo, live for today, you will be surprised there is a lady in my support group who has been around for thirty years after diagnosis. I am also going through chemo and after that radiotherapy, you are not alone, God is with us all.

  • Dear Kimjane, What a blow! Just to let you know that if you are being given chemotherapy the oncologist is planning on giving you as much life as possible. None of us know how long we have got and it is a waste of energy worrying about it - accept where you are , enjoy every single thing you can, count your blessings and good luck go with you. Make sure you enjoy Christmas!

    With very best wishes - Pat

  • Thank you for your support again it is very much appreciated. Have a fantastic Christmas.

  • Hi KimJane I am sorry that you have had such bad news, and that you are in a mess, but don't give up hope. You haven't started chemo yet and you may respond really well to it. There are lots of women on this forum who have been diagnosed stage 4 and are living with it and having on going treatment, others who had treatment and have been cancer free for 4 or more years. I am 49 and was diagnosed with stage 4 in May this year. 6 chemos and a huge op later I am still here and having ongoing treatment. I feel well and am looking forward to returning to work in January. You have a right to feel a complete mess as you say; but don't give up hope, do lots of things you enjoy and see people you like, have as much fun as you can to make you feel good despite this diagnosis. This is a really good place to get help and supoort. Thinking of you. Jo

  • Thank you Jo for your kind words. I must admit it has been very helpful to hear from others you understand what you are going through. I do feel rather isolated even though I have people around me. Thank you.

  • I know the feeling of isolation, not wanting to burden friends and family with fears and emotions, and knowing that unless they have experienced something similar, they can't understand. I choose to be open, letting people know where I am with my treatment but being quite upbeat. But I have insisted that my partner makes time to listen to me and let me be sad when I need to. Funny thing is feeling sad just makes me feel sadder so I try to keep busy doing things I enjoy and not think about it. Because I haven't been working I have had the privilege of spending more time with friends and getting to know them loads better than I did before. I have done loads of things to make my home more lovely and quite a bit of retail therapy. Is there a Maggie Centre near you? If there is you may find that helpful as everyone will understand some of how you are feeling. Good luck with your treatment.

  • Thank you for your support and kind words.

  • Hi kimjane I too was diagnosed stage four advanced this time last year and just like you was totally shocked by the diagnosis but twelve months on after 8 cycles chemo and surgery am at present doing ok and looking forward to xmas with the family

    My oncologist as said it is treatable at present but not curable but like the ladies have said we can go for years yet

    I am 55 too and know how desolate u feel but try to take one day at a time you have us all on the site if u want a good chat or just advice

    In my thoughts take care x babs

  • Thank you I have just woken up after taking a sleeping pill last night as I cannot sleep and was drinking rather too much just too numb myself. The sun is coming through the bedroom window so will get dressed and go out for a bit before starting chemo tomorrow. I really do appreciate everyone's support.

  • Dear Kimjane,

    I was you two and half years ago. I was also told that it was likely that I had months to live because my Cancer was very rare and aggressive. But here I am after two lots of chemo, one each year. Is it easy ? Absolutely not. However, with the support of friends and family and the fantastic ladies on this forum it is possible to still have a good life. There are bleak moments, am not going to lie, but the good times make life worth fighting for. So chin up, and give your chemo a chance to kick the liver tumour to the kerb. What is happening to you is awful, those of us in our position know that only too well, but you have support here.

    jackie xxx

  • Thank you so much for your kind words and support.

  • Sorry you have had such shocking news and I hope that the stories the other ladies have shared with you will help. Wishing you the best of luck with chemo and hope for a good result.

    Love Mary xx

  • Thank you.

  • I bet you don't know where to begin!

    But you've come to a good place to find support, wise words, comfort and experience from the amazing community of women and their supporters dealing with this horrible disease.

    So welcome!

  • Thank you all. I do feel so different and lonely.

  • Thank you.

  • Hi,cannot for the life of me comprehend medics who tell you that you are going to die.

    We must have hope for some sort of future for ourselves.

    As you will know from this site,everyone is different despite their stages,also new drugs are on the increase.

    So, shake yourself off,start a new day, and hope in your heart always.

    Lots of love xxxxxx

  • Thank you.

  • Thank you am going to ice my Christmas cake today and go for a walk .

  • Dear Kim Jane. Please don't panic. You are still suffering from the shock of being told. You are still well in yourself and don't let the terminal feeling take over your being. You are you and even though you have cancer do not accept it is yours. Don't let it dominate your life. I know it's easy to say words but hang on in there. Keep busy and appreciate each day and fill it with nice things. No one on this site knows how long we have got. Sorry you had to join this club. Please keep in touch. Lovis xxx

  • Thank you.

  • Dear Kimjane, what a terrible shock you've had. Reading your post took me back nearly 4 years ago to my diagnosis which wasn't very hopeful at the time.

    You have found our community and I think that is going to be a great help and support, and I hope you have found the Nurse-Line run by Ovacome. They are really brilliant people to talk to. Their line operates during office hours: 0845 371 0554. I can't recommend them too highly and I know they will be a great help in sorting out your thoughts.

    At the moment you have a prognosis that sounds very frightening but there are women on this site who are testimony to living well with cancer. It's good you've had swift treatment. Will they be looking at surgery too?

    I guess you will be starting chemotherapy tomorrow. That in itself is daunting. I hope you've had a chance to look round the chemo ward to see it's all very mundane and people are sitting quite comfortably having these drugs. Remember when you start treatment they do tell you about every side-effect you might have but in reality for many many patients these can be managed and you will be able to lead an active life on treatment.

    Keep posting. Try not to do too much research on Google. There is sound information on NHS Choices website, and the websites of the three ovarian cancer charities, Ovacome, Target Ovarian Cancer and Ovarian Cancer Action. Each of these charities have different events where you can meet up with other women sharing your experience and that, for me, has been a great support. You might also find there is a support group near you. Macmillan have a list of support groups on their website, or you could ask here.

    Welcome to our friendship group. Please keep posting and let us know how you're getting on. It's also helpful to ask questions about anything that worries you. Not that any of us are experts in anything other than our own condition, but we can nonetheless commiserate, suggest things that have helped us, or signpost you to other sources of support.

    Hope all goes well tomorrow. xxxx Annie

  • Thank you. They have said three courses of chemo then scans and if all going well hopefully surgery. Chemo starts tomorrow. I am very scared. I will update how it goes and cannot thank everyone enough for their kind support.

  • Amazing that you will hear so many stories here of us , who like you, had only "months". Here I am, 10 years later, still with OC, but managing it so well. Still take Chemo, it's almost like it's my life's elixer. Leading a perfectly normal life, probably with a bit less energy. OC is a funny disease, it chooses its own path, the Drs. have no idea how all of us are living, but strong faith will get you through. You definitely CAN go on living with this. And the Drs. would not be giving you chemo if they didn't think there was a chance. So, join our club, the True Survivors.

  • Thank you.

  • Thank you.

  • I'm so sorry this has happened to you. In 2009, at a similar age, I was in a similar position, stage 3c with grade 3 cells, which then had a prognosis of about 20% survival over five years. BUT, more than 5 years later, I am fine.

    What I'd suggest you do first is call the Ovacome help line, as others have suggested. Your call will be answered by a nurse with special experience in ovarian cancer, who will be able to give you lots of encouraging information.

    I sometimes think doctors hand out grim prognoses because they don't want to encourage false hope. But as you've seen here, many women who are diagnosed at stage 4 survive for many years after treatment. A few of them never recur - i.e. they remain free of cancer.

    All these words will be unfamiliar to you. Cancer is a new world, a world that we all wish we had never known. So much depends on how you respond to treatment and what happens when you eventually have surgery. Please don't lose hope. Take it a day at a time, eat well, make sure you have something to help you sleep. Many of us take something for anxiety after diagnosis, which takes the edge off the feelings of doom.

    I found Bernie Seigal's relaxation and meditation tapes very helpful. Somehow his words put it all into perspective. Cancer is a disease, no more than that. It can be successfully treated. Best wishes, Vx

  • Thank you I will give the tapes a try.

  • Hi. I was dignosed 3c in 2007 and had 6 months chemo then over 5 years remission before it was spread to liver, lung anc pelvic mass December 2013. Had 6 mths chemo with mixed fesults and now waiting for it to grow enough for chemo. Have just been referred back to onc today by my doctor as I have a lump that is bleeding in my vagina. Upset, hurt and scared but know nothing is achieved by crying so while im waitingfor phone call for appointment will try to cheer myself up, kick my own bacsksde and get on with looking forwards with hope in my heart to see my new grandson due in February 2015! Hope all goes well for you and you have a long happy future. Carole x

  • Hi Carole I do hope that all goes well for you and pray that you get to meet your lovely grand son.

  • So sorry to hear this KimJane but please take comfort from what others are saying regarding theirs and others stories regarding OC. I too was diagnosed 3c in Aug 2012 and am aware there is no 'cure' but I will keep taking the treatment while ever I can! In fact I recently started 2nd line treatment and whilst it's knocked me back a bit, I'm not giving up on myself yet! Please don't give up hope, we must all hold onto hope. I know it's been an awful shock but please don't give up on yourself. We are all here for you.

    Sending you love

    Annette xxx

  • Thank you so much.

  • Hi It may seem an odd thing to say and I hope I dont offfend anyone but when I was told 'your cancer will return and it will shorten your life' I was devastated but then I read somewhere to think on it this way 'we are all terminal its just that we (cancer patients) are forced to accept our mortality'. I try to hold on to that thought and fight with all I have. For me this diagnosis makes me see things differently, prioritise things in my life differently and take happiness where I can. over 7 years later and waiting for scan results tomorrow I thank god for each day. I wish you well, a peaceful Christmas and a long happy future xx

  • Thank you so much.

  • I am also stage 4 diagnosed in May. As one of the ladies has already mentioned you will be in shock and your feelings are perfectly normal. Have you been introduced to a Clinical Nurse Specialist please ask them if you can speak to her/him as they can help support you. I would also recommend you see your GP and consider anti depressants as I have done as they do help even though I have never classed myself as suffering from depression.

    Now here's the thing doctors do know we are not curable but we are treatable and we must have hope. Treatment is getting better and we are not statistics. You are the same age as myself which is relatively young and you feel well which is all good. Hold on to the fact OC responds well to chemo and that treatment is getting better so the statistics are past their sell by date so please don't google. We are all here for you on this site anytime you need support. Take care xx

  • Thank you.

  • Hi, I was diagnosed Feb 7, 2014. Mine had spread to the fluid around my heart. Up until then, I had always been healthy. I hadn't had a single surgery, now I've had 3. I started chemo exactly 1 week after diagnosis. I had 5 rounds of chemo, then hysterectomy and 4 more rounds of chemo. My prognosis wasn't good either, but the chemo did it's job. It shrank 3 golf ball size tumors to the size of jelly beans by the time I had my surgery. My last treatment was 7/11/14. I've had my 1st 3 month check up & my CA 125 had actually dropped another point from when I finished chemo. I took up the attitude that I wasn't going to let this end my life. Try to stay as positive as possible. I know it can be difficult, but give it your best effort. It really does help. Good luck & we hope to be hearing from you for years to come.


  • Thank you.

  • Hi Kimjane

    I am so sorry that you've just been given this awful news. I remember how scared and shocked I felt when they told me I had stage 3 oc in 2004. The surgeon told me i had 25% chance of getting to 5 years and here I am feeling fit and well in my 11th year. Granted i've had 5 lots of chemo and thats not easy but in between I've been well and enjoyed a very full life. Just come back from a caribbean cruise and the cancer is coming back again but I try to take each day at a time and focus on the fact that I feel well at the moment. I have produced a website if you are interested cancerselfcare.com

    i hope that you don't feel so alone after reading your messsages here

    love and hugs Francesca

  • I am so sorry to hear about the cancer returning and wish you good luck.

  • Hi. I was diagnosed stage 4 in April this year and told there was nothing they could so. I was 39 and devastated but I wasn't ready for giving up. I got a second opinion. I've had two lots of chemo and extensive surgery. I feel good and I'm in 6 weekly monitoring. I was told by my oncologist that no matter what stats say why can't I be the survivor. I've been clinging on to that and will continue to do so. He has told me there are new treatments in the pipeline next year. There are lots of positive stories on here about survivors of stage 4. There are ladies on here that bring great strength and support by just reading their posts. We always have hope not even cancer can take that away. Xo

  • Thank you for your support. Kim x

  • Welcome to the site KimJane, you have had such a shock. Its such a difficult time, try and go with what you want to do to get over the shock and plan a little for your next experience. Be as compassionate with yourself as you can and try and rest and eat well- i found that sleeping and resting worked wonders for me. Talking and blogging might help with some of your anxieties . I am 42 and stage 4 and was fit as a fiddle before diagnosis.

    Let us know how are are getting on and i know i have found this site very helpful for all sorts of reasons for emotional support , medical info, and just knowing that i have a community of similar folk that i feel i trust.

    best of luck with your first chemo and bring nice things to it , good book, music with head phones, a snack, tea that you like, blanket, knitting or something to make/do - what every rocks your boat.

    Talk to the nurses or the support units for cancer as they might have some relevant suggestions to help you along the way. Do things in your own time , when you think its the right time for you.

    the very best of luck to you and your doing a good job already.

    kind regards


  • Hi Kim!

    Havent been on this much but saw your comment and I felt you needed some positive answers. My mum was diagnosed with stage 4 clear cell oc that had spread to 4 other organs, 3 years ago. She was 51 when she was diagnosed and it was such a huge shock to my family! My mum is like super woman raised me and my siblings all on her own so we are very attached to her and this made the fight even more tough for all of us.

    She had a full de-bulking op (9 hours), then a couple of months later was put on chemo, however the doctors told us that the testing they did on her cancer cells werent very effective but the doctors still thought it was worth a shot. . My mum then finished the chemo and went on to avastin (another form of chemo) for a year. Shes now in remission and all of her call backs have been good news thank god.

    The point im trying to make is that from the day we found out she was stage 4 we were told it was very aggressive and they were not sure if anything would really work. But after all the tough fighting my mum is flying about now. Just your best to stay positive as it does make your mind and body fight harder. You can do this Kim believe in yourself!

    I hope your doing ok at the moment. Hope this helps in some way.

    Ailbhe x

  • Thank you for your reply your positive words do help. I have had three lots of chemo and am having a scam today to see if it has worked. I get the results on the 16 Feb. I hope your mother continuous with good health. Kim x

You may also like...