Karen was diagnosed with ovarian cancer thanks to doctors spotting the signs of what turned out to be an aggressive grade three tumour. She shares why it's been essential to read other women's ovarian cancer stories
“Normal now, isn’t what normal was before. You’ve had too much happen to you – you’re different and you’re stronger. Instead of looking into the future and thinking, I don’t know what’s going to happen, I think about how much I’ve overcome.
What are the symptoms of ovarian cancer?
"The very first thing I noticed was discomfort when I was walking, even short distances hurt. My abdomen was swollen and I had lower back pain.
I saw different GPs at my surgery. One said I had an infection and gave me antibiotics but the pain was getting worse. Finally, I saw a GP that took one look at me and said 'I’m fast-tracking you, I think you might have ovarian cancer.'
By then I was the size of a woman full term with twins. It felt wrong and was so painful — horrible really. They gave me a trans vaginal scan, but she said that everything was fine.
My GP was stunned, he gave me a CA125 blood test because he was so sure that it was ovarian cancer.
It came back at the high end of normal, so what with that and the result from the hospital, he decided to look at other things.
"Talking to someone else who has been through the same thing is incredibly supportive"Karen Ramscar
Ovarian cancer diagnosis
"I knew something wasn’t right. I could feel a lump on my side that was growing. I could hardly walk and every time I moved I was in pain. At one point I was in so much pain I asked to be examined by a locum doctor, I saw her face change and she fast-tracked me straight away.
Your Stories - support for women with ovarian cancer
"Talking to someone else who has been through the same thing is incredibly supportive. Looking at Your Stories on the Ovarian Cancer Action website, you see people who got through it and survived.
You think that once you’re cancer free that you’ll feel wonderful and so happy. Everyone says "you must be so pleased to be alive". But sometimes you feel flat and very empty – and that’s okay.
I’m trying to take it a bit at a time. Only you can know what you’re capable of dealing with – so it’s about finding out what works for you.”
Would you like to share your story of ovarian cancer to help us raise awareness? Please email Jennifer@ovarian.org.uk