My name is Mandy. I have recurrent ovarian cancer and it’s been more than five years since my diagnosis. This is my story…

I would say things began in late 2013, but like many women with ovarian cancer, I’d been experiencing symptoms before that. And like many women, I put them down to the onset of the menopause. One of them slightly worried me: a bloated tummy. But I wasn’t worried enough to take time off work and go to the GP. I promised myself I would go in the Christmas holidays.

Before I could get to the GP, things went sideways. I went to work feeling fine but developed extreme tummy pain. At my local walk in clinic I was diagnosed with a large hernia and given paracetamol. I went home but the pain only got worse, so I went to my GP. She was brilliant. The following day I had a CT scan and two hours later a lovely man came into my room and introduced himself as a gynae-oncology consultant. I was operated on quickly, and on Christmas Eve we learned that I had advanced, high grade serous ovarian cancer. At this point I knew very little about ovarian cancer and I used websites like Target Ovarian Cancer’s to fill in the gaps. I started six cycles of chemotherapy, which was very hard and there were times when I wanted to stop, but I stuck with it.

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