GET SUPPORT GET CONNECTED Your Voices Beth What cancer were you diagnosed with? Ovarian Cancer What age were you diagnosed? 26 What has helped you to thrive? Through all of this, it's tough to be positive and be able to look forward. But this is the most important thing you can do. Day by day, week by week at most, make plans, cancellable plans. See a friend for a hot chocolate, go to the cinema, go eat at Nando’s. Little things make such a huge difference. Surround yourself by positive people, who make you feel like you, make things seem a little more normal in a time where nothing is. My way forward from this is to do as much as I singularly can to help anyone who finds themselves in my situation. I am talking, to anyone who will listen about the importance of listening to your body. I’m participating in a charity event raising money for a cancer charity. I’m doing things for me and being selfish for once in my life, because if you can survive cancer, why the hell not do things for yourself. But equally, don’t pressure yourself, don’t compare yourself to a stranger on the internet, do what you need for you to be you. Beth's Story Life has a funny way of throwing bad things your way just as you think you’ve got it as together (as you can be as a 26-year-old)… and who knew 6 little letters could have such a life shattering effect. I’ll never forget being told I had cancer. You couldn’t write it. It was my boyfriends birthday, he, my parents and grandparents had all just arrived to my tucked away corner of the hospital ward, next to the radiator that was making the air far too hot, when the poor doctor who had to say that word out loud for the first time appeared, pulled the flimsy pointless “magical sound cancelling” blue curtain across and broke all of our hearts. But he didn’t have to say it, his face said it all. It was then I pulled my very own magical blue curtain around my brain. I shut everyone and everything out, trying to keep my normal life as far away from reality as I could, Netflix, blankets, pyjamas and my bed being my only friends for a while. I was diagnosed (post op) with a borderline ovarian tumour, once again being a girl was the worst. My hormones were horrendous, periods went a bit crazy too. My stomach had shrunk due to the size of my tumour, so I was barely eating one meal a day but was getting fatter due to my tumour growing to the size of a bowling ball. I felt so sick and tired all the time. The crazy thing is when you google these symptoms, pregnancy comes up first. But it couldn’t be further from the truth. I can’t stress enough if you’re not feeling right, go see your doctor, and talk it over. Go for check-ups, do the tests they suggest, I’ve given more blood samples in the last 6 months than in my 26 years, but it was all worth it in the end to know what was wrong. The thing about a tumour is there is no straightforward explanation, answer or way to make anything better. I spent a month in bed, crying, asking why me, why now, what have I done, why am I the one in two? I googled everything and anything, and googling ovarian cancer is not your friend, I should have talked to my friends.” Looking back it was the quickest month of my life and before I knew it I was in the hospital in a gown about to face the scariest day of my life, but I know now how I lucky I am that an open surgery to remove my huge bowling ball sized tumour, my effected ovary fallopian tube and appendix was all it took to make me better. I’m now 3 months on, tumour free, with a life of regular check ups ahead of me. It was a rare type of tumour, rare to happen to someone in their 20s, and there’s a rare chance it will happen to my other ovary… but I have to keep my chin up and do the things I’ve been putting off for years, because if I’ve learnt anything, its life’s too short, and my god does cancer make you find out who your friends are.