A lovely friend of mine sadly lost her Mother to this horrible illness earlier this year. She’s asked to remain anonymous, and for names and references to be removed, but has given permission for me to share her story:
Today is #WorldOvarianCancerDay so it seems appropriate to talk a bit about my lovely Mummy.
I hate the use of the word “battled” in this context because, by definition, it implies that Mum ‘lost’ or that she didn’t ‘fight’ hard enough. When she did. She fought bloody hard. But, in the end, my brilliant, loopy Mummy had just over two and half months from her diagnosis to her death – that’s crazy, that’s no time at all – and each day in those months brought her (and us) more and more depressing, shitty news, until we all realised that we were finally out of straws.
Mum dealt with each and every second of those days like an absolute trooper; (I know that those of you that knew her wouldn’t expect anything less) part of this was because of the amazing care she received in hospital from the girls (and guys!) on the Ward. I can’t even begin to detail how utterly fantastic, and under-appreciated the NHS team there is, particularly the nursing staff who seem to work every hour God sends and still manage to be on-the-ball, unfailingly kind and incredibly supportive and helpful. They went above and beyond and I will be eternally grateful for everything they did to help Mum.
Ovarian Cancer isn’t talked about. Its not as ‘press-friendly’ (don’t hate on me, it’s true…) as some cancers and it doesn’t have a catchy slogan. It’s ‘not quite nice’, and it’s ‘private’ and it’s something that us Brits don’t talk about. That’s bollocks.
If, as a society, we put more focus on promoting awareness and proactivity with regards to feminine health, I might still have my 56 year old Mummy by my side today, here to help me teach my daughter to look after her health.
Women aren’t made aware of the symptoms, or if they are, they presume any ticked boxes would be flagged up by a regulation smear test, when they wouldn’t.
Ladies, today, I urge you to be proactive, not passive. Don’t presume. Check. You’re not wasting anyone’s time, or “being a nuisance” as my Mum would have said. Mum actually asked for tests and was poo-poo-ed by her locum doctor and so didn’t take any further action. Don’t let that happen. Get seen.
Everyone else, talk about it. Support women to look after, and out for, themselves. Support your NHS. For every dickhead, there’s someone who’s been working a 14 hour shift, on their feet and is still smiling. Support UK cancer charities, like Macmillan and Ovarian Cancer Action. Don’t just sit there and wait for it to effect you.
I miss my Mum every single day. It doesn’t feel real. I don’t know if it ever will. It happened so quickly. And now she’s genuinely gone. And that’s really bloody hard.
Mum didn’t recognise it, her locum doctor didn’t recognise it, and that shouldn’t ever have happened.
Raise awareness today. It’s more than just a hashtag. #worldovariancancerday