Angela Feshangchi is one of our wonderful volunteers at the Ovarian Cancer Action office. Here she shares her story since being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2015.
"My journey began in May 2015. I had just finished an Open University degree and had been working full-time.
I remember the last couple of months before my degree finished, feeling tired, bloated and in a bit of pain. I had put this down to the studying. Unbeknown to me I had a large cyst which was gradually increasing in size.
One morning I woke up and noticed my ankles and legs were slightly swollen. I made an appointment to see the GP and she suggested I go to A&E immediately to rule out DVT. The scan came back negative.
Meanwhile, as time went by my stomach seemed to increase in size and I decided to head back to the local health walk in centre. The doctor explained that I had a mass and referred me urgently to St Mary's Hospital for a CT scan.
The scan revealed a huge cyst the size of a football along with large fibroids and a follow up appointment was made with Queen Charlotte and Chelsea hospital.
By this time I had already decided to have an abdominal hysterectomy and around August of that year I developed a persistent cough.
"The cyst had grown and was pushing on my diaphragm making it difficult for me to breathe and walk"Angela Feshangchi
The operation had been booked for July and funnily enough I was looking forward to getting the operation out of the way. I had another scan and unfortunately more bad news. The scan revealed liver scarring, i.e. liver disease.
I had never been much of drinker but apparently it was discovered that I had portal hypertension of the liver. This meant they had to put the operation on hold until they had an MDT meeting with the liver specialist.
I remember feeling deflated but I decided to follow guidance from my husband and cousin’s husband by putting my trust in the NHS team.
It was mid-August and a lovely sunny day. I felt I needed to go for a walk in the park. We had only been walking for a short while when I had excruciating pain in my stomach and I collapsed with breathing difficulties.
Looking back I’m glad this happened because the operation was brought forward, but not until October.
Once the operation was over I felt so relieved. I spent nine days in hospital due to various complications. I had forgotten about the biopsy results thinking all would be fine. Little did I know that two weeks later I would be told that I had stage 3a1 Grade 2 serous mucinous ovarian cancer on a background of endometriosis.
I had always tried to remain positive and this seemed the only way to deal with what had been thrown at me. Therefore, I took the view that I should continue to remain positive.
I began by having carrot juice everyday along with smoothies, including supplements such as chia seeds, acai powder, vitamin C powder and goji berries whilst I underwent chemotherapy treatment for eighteen weeks.
I went out on short walks every day. I realise I was lucky to have a supportive husband, family and friends so this, coupled with my daily intake of vegetables and fruit, helped me through a difficult time.
I always say to anyone going through cancer treatment that it is all about managing the side effects and being around positive people. I just thought it has happened and I have to get on with it.
I finished my treatment in May 2015. I am working with Ovarian Cancer Action as a volunteer and will always be grateful to the wonderful team at Catherine Lewis & Gary Weston Centre under the care of Professor Gabra."