Hello All - A message for my Mum... :(

Hello All,

I never suspected I would find myself on an Ovarian Cancer forum seeking support - but these are unique times we are in, after all.

Originally from Toowoomba, QLD, I have been living in the UK for the last 18 years. My 71 yo Dear Mum(DM) still lives back near Toowoomba and we tend to take turns visiting each other every couple of years. DM has grown to love travel and calls herself a "World Traveller"! On 7 Jan this year, I got the phone call I always dreaded getting living halfway round the world- it was DM to tell me she has been diagnosed with OC Stage 3. Symptoms??? The usual suspects - abdominal pain, some bleeds, ascetic bloating.

As a registered nurse in the army, I'm quite composed and professional and like to think I handle stressful situations well, but soon realised this all goes out the window when its a family member, especially your DM. I went into practical mode for her - contact the OCA and got fantastic advice and lots of resources to send to her in Toowoomba. The team on the end of the email when we got the first diagnosis

DM handled 10+ weeks of chemotherapy like a trooper, being much stronger and more positive than I ever gave her credit for (and that I probably came across as!). I suspect she's had a relatively easy chemotherapy journey than some of the stories we have read- no nausea or similar side effects. She has lost her hair but take it in her stride. I think she quite likes the lil' caps she now wears! She has smaller weekly doses rather than every 3 weeks.

This Monday (11 May 20) DM heads to Brisbane for surgery to have 'everything he can see with cancer on it' removed (her consultants words!). Unfortunately, we've just heard her post-chemo scan has picked up likely cancer on the liver, bladder, bowel and diaphragm :(. As always, she is keeping positive.... and that's a motivation for me to ensure I do as well. I can have my moment when the Skype turns off......!

COVID-19 has exacerbated a bad situation and made it worse as I would be in Australia supporting her as opposed to still being here in the UK. The solace is she is from a small country town with all the benefits that brings at times like this- a close knit supportive community who will rally around and the family back home.

Whilst DM is not completely techno-naive, the forums I suspect would confuse her. lol. So, any messages of support would be greatly welcomed. I will login and show her my screen over Skype. Whilst I, her friends and close family can be sympathetic, sometimes all you need is to hear from is someone who has been through things themselves and speaks with the authenticity I'm not able to do.

Many thank for taking the time to read this... I'm looking forward to my DM being a cancer survivor and coming on many more trips to UK to see me :)

Nurse81 (Patrick)


  • Hi Patrick,

    Never loose hope. I have been fighting Ovarian Cancer Stage IIIC for the past 25 years. I was diagnosed on the 11/3/1996. If you would like me to contact your mum directly and chat with her and give her support I would be happy to do this for you on a regular basis. I have undergone many operations over the years with Dr Lou Perrin who is a surgeon specialising in gynocological problems and he operates out of the Mater Private and the RBWH he is fantastic. Also the best oncologist in Brisbane is Dr Jim Coward. He is an Ovarian Cancer specialist. He runs a lot of trials and is part of Icon Cancer Care and he is at the Mater Private Hospital. I am one of the online councillers for Ovarian Cancer Australia so if there is anything I can do for you and your mum please don't hesitate to contact me direct. If it wasn't for all the lockdowns and rules I would go and visit your mum at the hospital but I don't think I would be allowed to go there. Take care and stay safe and just want to say what a great job you are doing on the front line. Best wishes to your mum xx

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