Jo Beagley, who was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer in July 2014 at the age of 39 kindly writes for us this Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month (OCAM). Jo shares her thoughts five years on from her diagnosis and describes how the fear of recurrence is never far away. Her reflections, although written as part of OCAM, can strike a chord with anyone adapting to living with a cancer diagnosis.
July 2019 marked five years on from my diagnosis, a significant milestone given the five-year survival stats based on how advanced my cancer was at diagnosis when it was discovered. There were many times over the last few years when I questioned whether I’d see my eldest son go to secondary school and thankfully I have. I know how fortunate I was to have had a swift diagnosis and to have the support of a fantastic oncology team and access to the maintenance drug Lynparza.
Jo and her two sons
Lynparza and me
Following chemotherapy for a recurrence of my cancer in 2017, I have been on Lynparza which has been successfully keeping my cancer managed for over two years now and has enabled me to enjoy a good quality of life. Yorkshire Cancer Research funded the research that led to the discovery of Lynparza. It’s great to see the drug becoming available to more ovarian cancer patients and its usage extended to other cancer types.
Jo recently helped us say thank you to our supporters for their generosity on World Cancer Day 2020.
The prospect of a recurrence is never far from my thoughts and continues to be a mental barrier to overcome when planning anything more than a few months ahead. I continue to be monitored through regular clinic appointments and blood tests and remain hyper vigilant to any symptoms out of the ordinary.
Staying active, staying positive
Exercise continues to be an important part of life and has played a pivotal role in coping with treatment and then reality of an incurable cancer. It’s been great to see the launch of the Active Against Cancer service in Harrogate in conjunction with Harrogate Hospital and funded by Yorkshire Cancer Research - supporting people diagnosed with cancer to be active. I’m one of the ambassadors for the 5K Your Way, Move Against Cancer initiative that recently launched in Harrogate. This is a national initiative that is all about supporting those living with, or beyond cancer, to be active along with family members, friends and healthcare professionals at a monthly Parkrun gathering.