Cher's story - in her words
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Cher, a 37 year-old mother of four children, has terminal ovarian cancer. ”I knew there was something wrong but I kept being told I was depressed, that it was all in my head and that I needed counselling.”
Cher has been diagnosed with manic depression in the past and believes that her history of mental health delayed diagnosis. It was only upon examination by a locum doctor that Cher was rushed to hospital and underwent an emergency hysterectomy which revealed three large tumours. “I was angry at first but you have to deal with things and move on. Mother Nature has done this so I want to do something constructive and help other people by telling them to persist with seeking help if they feel something is wrong. Whilst guidance says that bloating is a key symptom of ovarian cancer that wasn’t my experience. I felt pregnant, had bowel spasms and continuous water infections.” Cher urges any woman to persist if she feels that something is wrong: “You know your own body better than anyone else.”
During this turbulent time and in constant pain, Cher was dealt another blow as she was served notice to move out of her privately rented home within six weeks.
She picks up the story: “Telling my children we had to move was almost worse than telling them I had cancer – they have had such a rollercoaster time – but then a nurse told me about Bromford: my knights in shining armour! I felt a load lifted to have support in getting a house with everything else going on.
“I’ve always been independent and I knew where I wanted to go but not how to go about it. I didn’t know that I needed to register as statutory homeless for instance. We were in temporary accommodation for just one week before moving into our new home.
“I wouldn’t want to see someone suffering as I am and would want to take the pain away – that’s what this service has done for me, taken the stress away. I can now concentrate on my children and the precious time I have left with them and sort out guardianship.
“There’s always a positive thing to focus on when things go wrong and my focus is to secure a future for my children. This is my final home. I don’t know how long I have left but I have a home and no-one can make me move again.”
For more details of Bromford’s ‘My Home Support’ contact Lisa Simpson on 07739446207 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Louise Bayne chief executive of Ovacome, the ovarian cancer support charity said:
“Cher is absolutely right to encourage women to see their GP if they suspect that something may be wrong and has changed in their body, because ovarian cancer often quietly lets women know that something is not quite right.
“The problem is that ovarian cancer is often dismissed as irritable bowel syndrome, the menopause or other less serious conditions and that is partly because few women actually know its symptoms.
“The ovarian cancer charity Ovacome has come up with the BEAT acronym of the main symptoms to help: B is for bloating that doesn’t come and go; E is for eating less and feeling fuller quicker; A is for abdominal pain and T is for telling your GP.
“Ovarian cancer is often referred to as the silent killer, but people are recognising now that there are definite signs that women should check out with their GP if they are persistent. Often the symptoms will be from something less sinister but it is worth getting checked.
"Don't wait too long, if you think you may have a problem see your GP and ask for a quick and simple CA125 blood test, which will indicate if ovarian cancer is present.
"Ovacome has an online symptoms tracker which you can use to record your symptoms and to show your GP to help come to a quick diagnosis. For if caught early the five year survival rate is more than 70%."
If you are worried about ovarian cancer, contact Ovacome's nurse-led support line on 0845 371 0554 or visit ovacome.org.uk.