Sharon Jones was diagnosed with ovarian cancer fourteen years ago. She is now working with OCA’s Wales Regional Officer to help raise awareness in her community.
“I was taken ill with ovarian cancer fourteen years ago in the summer of 2003, aged forty. Married with three children, ages ten, eight and six I had a busy lifestyle so put the tiredness that I felt down to that.
The first real sign that anything was amiss was that I thought I was gaining weight. This weight gain increased gradually over a few weeks until I became quite worried.
I went to the GP who thought I must be pregnant. As I had been a midwife and had had three children I knew I wasn't but he insisted that I did a pregnancy test. This came back as negative so he ordered an urgent scan, which revealed I had stage three ovarian cancer.
I was totally shocked even though I had been in the medical profession. I thought it might have been an ovarian cyst but cancer hadn't crossed my mind.
Things got underway pretty quickly and I was booked in for a total hysterectomy. This was followed by six sessions of chemotherapy, taxol and carboplatin at three weekly intervals.
"I lost all my hair and was very weak and tired, especially after the last three doses"Sharon Jones
My mum's sister had died of ovarian cancer several years before but following my treatment and genetic counseling I was tested and found out my cancer wasn't genetic.
I was very blessed in having support of my wonderful family, friends and church, as there was no designated ovarian cancer charity at the time or any kind of support group.
My faith really helped me, as I didn't know anyone that had survived ovarian cancer. I also knew that statistics for ovarian cancer weren't very good but my consultant used to say, “I deal with individuals, not statistics”.
I knew that the medical profession would do all that they could but when I asked my husband honestly, “do they think I'm going to die?” He answered "they don't know.” I knew I could only depend on God.
I have become a Voice for Ovarian Cancer Action in the last six months since our youngest child went to university and we had the first regional officer for OCA in Wales.
I owe a debt of gratitude to the medical profession and want to try and raise awareness locally in the hope that women can be diagnosed earlier and have a better outcome.
Wales, where I live has the worst survival rate for ovarian cancer in the UK. I have been with Alicia, Ovarian Cancer Action’s Wales regional officer, to speak at a couple of events and have also done a cake sale at the school where I work to raise funds and awareness.
I am so thankful that I have been discharged from the cancer hospital for six years. Primarily I would like this to be a message of hope to those being diagnosed at this time.”