Living with cancer

I have grade 3C ovarian cancer and I have had 4 cycles of chemo and surgery. Only my ovaries were removed as the other tumours are too intermingled and therefore dangerous to try and remove. I have been fitted with an ileostomy bag because of a blockage in the bowel area. I will now have further milder sessions of chemo to hold things at bay and been told the average length of time for survival is around 3.5 years. Is anyone else living with this and what sort of lifestyle can I expect to have? Will I be reasonably well for lots of the time or will it be a life of tiredness and sickness. Any advice would be gratefully received.

4 Replies

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  • Hi Cathysal,

    I'm sorry to hear that you've had such a rough time.

    Did you have your surgery after some chemo cycles? Sometimes the chemo can make the surgery easier. A paper in last weeks New England Journal indicated that this 'interval' surgery is just as effective as up front surgery, with potentially less side effects. If you want to read the abstract it can be seen here BUT PLEASE STOP BEFORE CLICKING ON THE LINK.

    It does contain lots of science, and some hash facts/data.

    nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/N...

    The thing about survival, is that in the end we are all individuals. I know one lady who is more than 10 years post stage 4, and she only ever had one course of chemo, and its never come back thank goodness.

    The way we respond to treatment is different, as is our recovery. The most important thing for me was fighting back against it all in a constructive way. For others I know its been about family, others want to put it all behind them as soon as possible and get their life back to just the way it was. The thing is you can have your life back, and the lifestyle you choose, although with the illiostomy I guess things will be different no matter how well you recover from the chemo.

    Lots of ladies I speak to have amazing lives post chemo doing things they had never imagined, or had put off for years. Others have struggled for a few months to get themselves back to full form. I hope you are one of the former, and get over this horrible time quickly. Do you have a post chemo treat planned?

    I hope this helps a bit - I'm sure other will be along soon who can share their thoughts too. I'd always recommend the Ovacome nurses as they have spoken to thousands of women recovering from treatment and will be able to give you some more specific support.

    Good luck Cathysal!

    Lou x

  • Hi Cathysal.

    I so agree with Louise, we must concentrate on the fact that we are all individuals and not pay much attention to all the statistics that are bandied around. I have had surgery and chemo and then 11 months later the cancer came back so more chemo last year. My CA125 has now risen again and I go tomorrow for the results of the recent scan. For me, I try to look on the bright side and concentrate on all the wonderful things in my life. I'm not saying its easy all the time and we all have our dark days but life is for living and enjoying. Book yourself lots of treats and days out, I find that helps to have things to look forward to. I also practice visualisation and see myself going forward in my life. Best wishes to you.

  • your life will be / is different - but it is still your life. Ignore stats. Ignore ANYONE who tells you you can't beat this. You can. I know a woman who was given 6 months to live - over a year ago, and she is still cycling, walking her dog etc. She is amazing - but she is just a normal woman who wants to survive - and she is. Surviving. 3.5 years? What is that? How can anyone really quantify your life?

    Enjoy every moment. Sending you lots of love and I shall keep you in my thoughts. Kick it's butt babe! Louise is right - we are all individuals. The most important thing is to be positive.

    Sx

  • Hi Cathy, I have been through a very similar experience, grade 3c, a colostomy as one tumour had wrapped itself around my bowel. My tumours were all stuck together but the surgeon removed almost everything luckily. I had six rounds of chemo and now a year later a feel really well and in fact better than I have in years. I have just redecorated my whole house all by myself as I am a single parent! I am in remission and my tests are all clear. It is difficult to live with, but each individual is different so no clear and concise prognosis can be made. I know a lady who is stage 4 and still works full time. I expected to feel kind of permanently under the weather, but once the chemo was out of my system I feel really good. Just take each day/week/month as it comes. Spoil yourself and encourage others too lol!! I have been thru lots of different phases and Im sure most women do, of obsessing about the disease, panicking with every little ache of pain, but it gets easier as time goes on. Hope this helps, take good care xx Jill

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