Lynn Hill's story

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Lynn Hill of Staffordshire is a Postwoman and mum living with ovarian cancer. Like many women, Lynn had never even heard of ovarian cancer, let alone knew of the symptoms – as a result, it was months before she was finally diagnosed as being in the advanced stages of ovarian cancer. She’s now a tireless campaigner for symptoms awareness.

“As a 49 year old postwoman, married with a 9 year old son, I’d always considered myself to be fairly fit and healthy. But, on the 5th April 2012 I was diagnosed in Accident & Emergency with stage 3 ovarian cancer.

It had all started about two years earlier when I started to have bowel problems. After a few fairly invasive tests I was diagnosed by a consultant as having Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

In June 2011 I had a prolapse and had to go into hospital for operation. I was told that it was caused by my being a postwoman and carrying heavy bags of mail. After my operation I immediately started having bladder problems. At a check-up I was told to see my GP and get physiotherapy for a weak pelvic floor. They suspected this was caused by having a big baby and me being petite. So, for about nine months, I lived my life thinking this was the case, even though everything was getting steadily worse. Finally, my physio suggested that I go back my GP, who then got me and appointment with an urologist.

In late March 2012 I started having problems with my clothes feeling really tight, even though I was beginning to struggle eating. It was only when my sister came to lunch with her family and thought that I looked pregnant that it really clicked that something was dreadfully wrong. Especially as there was no way I could be pregnant as I’d had a hysterectomy six years earlier.

I saw my GP on the Monday, who arranged for blood tests the next day and breathing tests on the Wednesday. I went in for the blood test and carried on as best as possible as by this time, my stomach was really swollen and I was having breathing problems.

In a twist of fate, I’ve a friend who’s a Macmillan nurse. She told me to get myself straight to Accident & Emergency. But, because I didn’t think it was serious enough to go to A&E for, it took a couple of phone calls from the doctor to get me there saying that they’d found a blood clot on the lung. 48 hours and many tests later, I got the real diagnosis – ovarian cancer.

I had to have debulking surgery (that’s when they remove the tumour), and six chemotherapy sessions, which at the time seemed rough, but in reality I sailed through it all. I went back to work after the second chemotherapy session, but on reduced hours.

This has made me very determined to work with Target Ovarian Cancer to raise awareness of symptoms, as I hadn’t known them or even heard of ovarian cancer. Early diagnosis can save lives and make treatment easier. I have managed to get the information into the Royal Mail in-house magazine; I have had my story and the symptoms sent to 1885 managers within Royal Mail; the local hospital I go to has put an article in the in-house magazine; my local paper did a three page spread; I have been on two radio shows; I have given the information leaflets and posters to local doctors’ surgeries; and finally I have put leaflets and posters out in the public collection office at the Royal Mail office where I work.”

For media enquiries please contact: cmackay@worldovariancancercoalition.