Article in Fife Today: For Christmas I got Cancer

Article in Fife Today: For Christmas I got Cancer

My brave friend Elaine Drysdale has kicked off Ovarian Cancer Month with a fantastic article raising awareness of Ovarian Cancer and a mention of Sharon Gould-Graham who fought so hard and won the battle for access to cancer drugs in Scotland. Part of the article is copied below or you can read the full version online at:


"With Ovarian Cancer Awareness month launched in March, Glenrothes woman, Elaine Drysdale, is using her battle with the illness to bring about a better understanding of the early symptoms: Pic: FPA by Neil Henderson: Published on the 25 February 2015 14:00.

Three years ago Glenrothes woman, Elaine Drysdale, knew little or nothing about ovarian cancer.

Like many thousands of women she led a fit and healthy lifestyle, exercising regularly, took care with her diet, was a non-smoker and drank only in moderation - life threatening illnesses were certainly far from her thoughts.

But her life was turned upside down on Christmas Eve 2012, when at the age of 46 she received the shattering news that she had joined the 7,100 other women that are diagnosed with ovarian cancer every year.

Getting confirmation from my doctor was truly devastating, it came as a complete shock as it's just something you think happens to other people, not yourself, especially as health wise I felt fine, Elaine told the Gazette.

But having ignored some of what she now knows to be the early symptoms - the desire to go to the toilet more, stomach aches, fatigue, back pain and feeling bloated - dismissing them as indigestion and niggles of everyday life, Elaine carried on as normal.

I put it to my age and not wanting it to inhibit my lifestyle, I even started pelvic floor exercises to see if that would help, she explained.

While all the time the cancer was developing unchecked because I didn't know any different and didn't do anything about those early warning signs.

Following the diagnosis Elaine underwent a hysterectomy operation and embarked on a six-month programme of chemotherapy vowing to tackle the illness head on.

Once myself and my family had overcome the shock of the situation we quickly realised the best way to beat this illness and get through the treatment programme was to stay positive at all times. I saw that as my defence mechanism, she explained.

Elaine came through the treatment and went into remission, and decided to use her first-hand experiences of the illness to help others across Fife finding themselves in similar positions, involving herself with a number of help groups and cancer-related charity organisations.

But with a 70 per cent chance of the cancer returning, just three months on Elaine received the news she had dreaded, that the illness had indeed com back, more vigorous and widespread than before.

The news was a blow but it has made me more determined than ever to beat this illness and to use my experiences to benefit and bring about a better awareness of ovarian cancer, said Elaine.

In December Elaine joined MPs, leading health professionals and fellow cancer sufferers in Westminster in a bid to raise awareness.

It's so easy to ignore the signs but women need to listen to what their bodies are telling them and go to see their doctor. By catching this illness early it gives them a massive advantage in beating cancer for good, said Elaine.

Meanwhile Elaine's own private battle continues. In April she undergoes atmospheric pressure plasma jet treatment at the Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy.

As with all of her treatment so far, Elaine is approaching it in a positive fashion, despite her latest diagnosis not being a good one.

It's the latest, most advanced type of treatment, so hopefully that will give me a fighting chance of beating this, but whatever happens, if my experiences can help other potential sufferers then it will have been worthwhile, she added stoically.

Councillor continues fight ...

Fife councillor David Graham raised a motion at the full meeting of Fife Council last week, urging the local authority, as well as the Scottish and UK Governments, to raise more awareness of ovarian cancer.

Cllr Graham's wife, Sharon, lost her bagttle with the disease in February last year, and he vowed to cary on her fight to raise awareness of the cancer, which affects one in 50 women in their lifetime.

As a promise to Sharon I committed to continuing her work to the best of my ability, he said, in firstly campaigning for awareness through the media to inform as many people as possible about the symptoms and what to watch out for, and secondly to campaign to improve the knowledge of medical professionals about what they should be looking for to improve the time which it takes to get to diagnosis which would in turn improve survival rates.

His motion received unequivocal support from fellow councillors, and commenting after the meeting he said, 'I am delighted that my motion received unanimous cross-party support today and thank all councillors in Fife for their support.

Too many women die of this horrible disease every year. This is caused by the massive lack of awareness from throughout the wider community.

I urge the local community and GPs to take up the opportunities which are out there and available to them to make themselves more aware of the symptoms.

Cllr Graham is supported in his campaign by the Target Ovarian Cancer charity. Rebecca Rennison, Director of Public Affairs and Services said, 'It's fantastic tha Cllr Graham is raising awareness of ovarian cancer. Sharon, his wife, was a tireless campaigner and throughout her lifetime strove to raise awareness, and we're incredibly grateful that Cllr Graham is continuing the work that she put in motion.

I'm aware my friend, Elaine, is one of many women in this community who will be promoting Ovarian Cancer during Ovarian Cancer Awareness month in March. There are lots of ways to get involved. It would be lovely to be able to read other posts about what you all get up to to do what we can to spread the word about ovarian cancer and its symptoms.

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5 Replies

  • Hi Annie,

    Is ELaine on this forum?

  • She was, which is how we got chatting to one another and then met up. Not sure if she still looks at the forum.

    I can put you two in touch if you PM me your email address. xxx Annie

  • Hi Annie. Jacqui here. Not long home and still intending to phone you tomorrow evening if that okay. I have been looking back at posts and read this about your friend elIne from Kirkcaldy.

    If she is up to it do you think you could ask her if I could contact her.

    Thanks in advance and speak soon. Jacqui

  • Hi Jacqui

    It would be lovely to chat later today. If you're at home in the day I could ring you as I have free calls so we wouldn't need to wait till the evening.

    I've just messaged Elaine on Facebook to see how she is. She's awaiting a date for a plasma jet operation at Edinburgh. She'll be the first patient outside the Royal Marsden who will have had surgery with this leading-edge technology.

    I'll see how she is. She's an amazing lady and I'm sure she'd have time to chat to you. xx xAnnie

  • Morning Annie. I am on my way to shower and get dressed then have an appointment at 9.30 at CLAN which is a cancer support service here. I am then out for lunch and visiting my daughter this afternoon so most probably will not be home till perhaps 5 or 6 pm.

    Thankyou for e.mailing Elaine. I have not heard of that operation before and would like to learn more.

    Look forward to speaking with you Soon.


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