I wasn’t going to put this out on any social media, as it is quite personal, but after discussing it with my Mam, we both agreed that if Baby Body Fit can help with fund raising for Ovarian Cancer research and awareness, then I should do what I can.
In May of this year, my Mam was on holiday in Australia, and was unwell, with pain in her lower abdomen. She went to a medical centre, was told it was a bladder infection, and put on antibiotics. When she came home a week later, the pain was getting worse – she had no appetite, was bloated, felt sick and tired, was in a lot of pain, and had a dragging feeling all over her lower abdomen. She then went to her GP, who put her on different antibiotics and told her to come back if she wasn’t any better.
I should mention now that my Mam has had breast cancer twice previously. When she wasn’t feeling better after the second round of antibiotics, her GP insisted on an ultrasound, given her history. The ultrasound revealed the worst of our fears – a 9cm growth on her ovary, and evidence of other masses in her liver and spleen. The next day she was admitted to hospital, and she was diagnosed with Stage 4 Ovarian Cancer.
Her symptoms came on very suddenly. The pain in her abdomen, along with the bloating and lack of appetite could have been an indication of many other things. Ovarian Cancer symptoms can be diagnosed as a lot of other issues – bladder infection, bowel infection, even IBS. My Mam was with her oncologist for her regular check up in March, and there was no evidence of cancer. It seems that in just 6 weeks, this horrible cancer had progressed to stage 4. She is now undergoing a very aggressive form of chemotherapy, followed by surgery, then more chemotherapy.
Unfortunately, there are no screening tests for Ovarian Cancer – smear tests check for Cervical Cancer, but nothing exists for Ovarian Cancer right now. Many women go months and months with symptoms that can be diagnosed as other health issues, not knowing that they have Ovarian Cancer. According to The Mater website – “It has few early symptoms and is most often detected in its advanced stages when it has become less treatable and widespread. Partly because of this, the mortality rate from ovarian cancer exceeds that for all other gynaecological cancers combined and is the fourth most frequent cause of death in women. It can occur at any age, even in childhood, but is most common after menopause”
This is why research for this disease is so important. I really want to highlight the fact that this form of cancer can spread so rapidly, to the point where it is diagnosed at stage 4. I have a good platform to raise awareness in women in Ireland, so I want to do some sort of fund raising event through Baby Body Fit. I have done some charity events in the past, a couple of coffee mornings for Barnardos and Crumlin Children’s Hospital, but I would like to do something different this time. I want to raise awareness, and raise money for SOCK (Supporting Ovarian Cancer Knowledge), an Irish charity.
Which is why I’m posting this blog piece – I don’t know exactly what type of event to organise. So I need ideas here. Should I do a big mother and baby fitness class, followed by coffee? Get all Dublin members to come together for one big hour long exercise session? Or should we do some sort of challenge? Like I (try to) hold a plank for 4 minutes? Or we all do a load of burpees? Or press ups? Or alligator planks?
It would be great if anyone could suggest any ideas. I want this to be a big event, to raise as much money as possible for this charity, and to raise awareness of the symptoms of Ovarian Cancer. So any ideas, anything at all, would be much appreciated.
You can comment on the facebook post, or mail me at facebook. Or mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call or text me on 087 9254378
Hope to hear from some of you soon.
Thanks in advance
Steph (and Juliet, my wonderful mother)