Clare Brindley of Theale, Reading, England, was diagnosed with stage 3 low-grade serous carcinoma in 2016 at the age of 30.
The mother of two daughters, she and her husband had been trying for a year to have a child.
She had experienced sharp pains in her pelvic area for several years, but attributed it to her coil IUD.
When the pain became more frequent and so intense she could hardly move, doctors suggested she try painkillers and come back if they didn’t work. She put up with the symptoms until the pain was unbearable. After a more thorough physical exam, she was referred for an ultrasound and a transvaginal scan. The results showed a tumor on her right ovary, where she had been experiencing the pain.
She felt like even the professionals didn’t know what to do. At first they told her it was borderline, but surgery in November 2016 to remove the tumour determined it had spread beyond the ovary, and she had to go back for debulking including bowel resection.
“When they had told me after my major surgery that it was low-grade serous ovarian cancer, my world just felt like it had stopped,” she said. ”I couldn’t quite take the news in. Was this really happening to me?”
She had chemotherapy, but a year later the pelvic cancer returned and another tumour was found between her heart and her chest.
“So now I was classified as incurable as they can’t remove the one on my chest and the other is in a difficult location to remove,” she said.
“The second time I was told it had come back hit me a lot worse and like a ton of bricks,” she said. “Another hospital where I had been referred said it was incurable. I remember just sobbing the whole two-hour journey home. Nothing ever prepares you for that kind of news.”
She took Letrozole for a year before the tumours recurred and then Trametinib, which worked for nearly a year, until a recent scan showed growth.
“I try my best to live my best life,” she said. “Bad days do come and they are hard. I am 35 and I feel like I am 80 years old at times.”