Jenny Bogle, 49 from London, England was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2009. She is currently undergoing her third round of treatment as her ovarian cancer keeps coming back.
“My diagnosis came out of the blue. I had difficulty breathing and a pain in my chest which had been caused by secondary tumours in the lining of my lung. It took a month of scans and tests to find out where the cancer was coming from, and I have since had two major lung operations, a radical hysterectomy, further surgery and am on my third course of chemotherapy.
No one in my family has a history of cancer, and I had always been really healthy, so it was a total shock. I found out about Target Ovarian Cancer by looking on the internet. It was a year after I had been diagnosed and I really wish I had been in touch with them earlier – but I had been afraid to explore on the web because there is so much frightening rubbish out there! In particular I wish I had had their very sensible ‘What happens next’ booklet when I was first diagnosed. I now make sure my hospital has a good supply.
My daughter was only 10 when I was diagnosed and I immediately let school know and emailed her schoolmates’ parents as I wanted them to hear it from me directly, and to be aware in case she needed support. I’m amazed by how positive she is; she has even been doing fundraising at school through making and selling rosettes and cupcakes. I have a fantastic support network of family and friends who have looked after my daughter, brought us ‘meals on wheels’ when I’ve felt lousy, walked the dog when I’ve been too tired, given me lifts to hospital, helped me choose a wig, and some have also got involved volunteering and raising money. One friend recently had a coffee morning and invited me to come and talk about the sort of support cancer patients do (and sometimes don’t!) need.
I’ve had so much really helpful advice and support from Target Ovarian Cancer. I attended one of their events where women, both living with ovarian cancer and survivors, meet up. It’s a very uplifting event and women can take part in workshops on anything from raising awareness to diet and nutrition. I was very keen to do something positive so I’ve been helping them get Members of Parliament to support the cause. Although I’m not working at the moment I am a lawyer, so I’m very determined and can handle a debate!
I am determined not to let this disease define me, but I find it easier to cope by trying to do everything I possibly can to help give women in the future access to better treatments and support. I was horrified when I realised how common ovarian cancer is, yet the ‘standard’ first line treatment for it is 20 years old; and I’m fed up with explaining to people who tell me ‘they can do so much now, new treatments are coming out all the time, you’ll be fine’ that it just isn’t the case for ovarian cancer, which has been overlooked for too long.
Target Ovarian Cancer is helping to fund research, which is vital as there is an urgent need for new treatments. Their work supporting women diagnosed and improving early diagnosis is also incredibly important. The Walk for One Million is key to spreading awareness of the symptoms of ovarian cancer. If 1000 people take part in the Walk for One Million and get sponsorship from 10 friends that’s 10,000 more people that are aware of the disease. Plus they’ll raise funds for a very worthy cause.”