Trigger warning - this article contains graphic imagery of a surgical scar
On the 4th January 2022, Lottie gave birth to a baby boy born at 29 weeks gestation. His premature birth was put down to her having multiple infections. Lottie had become unwell in pregnancy firstly with a kidney infection. She then discovered this was only the start. Lottie tells us her story.
“While in hospital pregnant, the doctors had performed several scans – MRI, CT and ultrasound – but nothing particular showed itself on the scan and they all turned towards a serious gut infection. I improved with antibiotics and was able to carry on but whilst my baby was still in NICU in March, I had a scan to check on my kidneys, the scan showed a mass on one of my ovaries. It was labelled a cyst and my GP booked an MRI scan.
Throughout this time, I’d ended up back in A&E, this time diagnosed with pelvic inflammatory disease and given more antibiotics. In May, I received my MRI results and was told it looks like a dermoid cyst and a follow up appointment would be arranged. This was delayed until August, but I should be able to have it removed and be able to have more children. They just wanted to do an ultrasound to check as it had grown quite quickly.
When I had the ultrasound in September, the lady looked at me and said ‘I don’t think it’s a dermoid cyst’ but I had to wait to hear from my consultant.Lottie
In October there was another CT scan, and I had a CA125 blood test, I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
I was booked in to have a full hysterectomy within two weeks but when the surgery came, the cancer had spread. This wasn’t shown on my scans. They removed my large intestine.
I ended up not only with a stoma, but as a stage 4 cancer patient at 34 years old.Lottie
I’ve had one round of chemotherapy and now I’m awaiting my appointment with my oncologist and more chemotherapy. It made me feel quite unwell, especially for the first week, but I'm hoping it works well for the second round.
I am just trying to stay positive. I am getting on with things, the best I can and trying to still enjoy being a mum, although it's hard. My auntie is going to do a head shave to raise funds for Ovarian Cancer Action. She’s just waiting until I’m ready to shave mine when it starts coming out.
If anyone with ovaries is reading this and you have concerns, get checked out and push for it."
Lottie's story highlights how much more progress we need to make to have the knowledge, breakthroughs and fairness that women need and deserve. An ovarian cancer diagnosis shouldn't only be down to other factors; early diagnosis is key. In Lottie's Name and thousands more, we need to take action.