"I want to share my experience of chemotherapy and remission to help other women going through the same thing"

Karen Holden

Last time I wrote for Ovarian Cancer Action I had recently finished my final chemotherapy session. I’m now pleased to say I’m in remission and couldn’t be happier! 

I want to share my experience of chemotherapy and remission to help other women going through the same thing. Especially those who may be feeling anxious about what lies ahead.

On the morning of my first chemotherapy session I was so nervous. I knew that it affects people differently and it was the unknown that I found frightening; I didn't know what to expect. Fortunately the chemo nurses were very kind and reassuring and were able to put me at ease right away.

The chemotherapy I was given was paclitaxel and carboplatin (Taxol/ Carbo). From my first to my last session I was lucky not to suffer bad side effects, apart from aching muscles and a sore chest, and I was only sick once.

I also tried the cold cap, which worked really well for me. My hair did get a bit thin but I was so relieved not to lose it completely.

"I feel myself getting stronger every day and each day I can do more and more."

Karen Holden

Fortunately I could still manage a bit of exercise when I was undergoing chemo, and made sure I did a lot of walking. Now I’ve finished chemo I’m still keeping well, but I do get tired. As well as going out walking every day, I also do some exercise at home — but only a little as I don't want to overdo it. You need to listen to your body! I find I’m still able to do most things, just in moderation. I feel myself getting stronger every day and each day I can do more and more.

I’m going back to work next month which I’m really looking forward to. My work colleagues have been amazing throughout my journey and the support that I’ve had from them has been incredible. I am truly grateful for that.

Having a good support network is definitely a big help. My friends and family were always there for me. They say laughter is the best medicine and I can thank my good friend Rachel for that. We would do normal things like go out for lunch and just have a good laugh. My friend Robert’s radio station also kept me going; his banter had me laughing in the mornings and really cheered me up.

My partner Ian was also a tremendous support and I can’t thank him enough. It's not been easy for him either, as he’s with me every step of the way and saw me when I was at my weakest. Taking me away on holiday was just the tonic I needed.

Staying positive though out your journey really does go a long way. It wasn’t always easy but I would say to myself, “I’ve got this, I can do it.”  

I’m not going to hold myself back as it feels like I have been given a second chance and I don’t want to waste it. It’s been a tough journey, but I’ve come out the other end fighting.


Karen is an Ovarian Cancer Action Voice. Find out how you can join her and help raise awareness of ovarian cancer.