1D946CB1-0B49-4342-BA1F-0805597D1E86 Everything you need to know about our brand new website! 1D946CB1-0B49-4342-BA1F-0805597D1E86

Fill 1 Copy 2@2x

Antonia's Story

Antonia thought she had just eaten a little too much when she began to feel bloated and uncomfortable – tests revealed ovarian cancer and chemotherapy began straight away.

Antonia's Story | Lingen Davies
2DBB8AC8-8E37-44A4-8ACC-93C7D60A6974

Feeling Bloated and Uncomfortable

Antonia thought she had just eaten a little too much when she began to feel bloated and uncomfortable – tests revealed ovarian cancer and chemotherapy began straight away.

Symptoms

Antonia thought she had just over-indulged on Christmas treats when she was given a diagnosis of ovarian cancer. Less than a month later in January 2020 she was undergoing chemotherapy. Subsequently Antonia has been diagnosed with heart failure, paralysis of the vocal chords, and the ovarian cancer has returned. But the 62 year old is keen to do as much as she can to maintain her physical fitness and stay well enough to cope with her treatment regime.

1D946CB1-0B49-4342-BA1F-0805597D1E86
Carer Support | Lingen Davies

Antonia Comments

“I had breast cancer ten years ago and after undergoing treatment at the Lingen Davies Cancer Centre I decided I wanted to give something back. I was involved with Macmillan doing various volunteering roles, and I worked with Lingen Davies selling Christmas cards in the Centre in December 2019.

I retired from teaching in August 2019 and had thoughts of travel and widening horizons. In October that year I saw two different GPs about a change in bowel habit. Bowel cancer was ruled out and no further action taken. I now know a change in bowel habit can be a sign of other cancers too.

On Dec 27th I saw my GP with a suspected urine infection and was told to monitor it and return a week later. However, by New Year’s Eve my tummy was slightly bloated but I couldn’t pass urine. I went to A& E and was processed fairly quickly and then admitted on intravenous antibiotics. Various doctors puzzled over me and on 4th January I happened to say “with my past history…” (Breast Cancer 2012. And so a CA125 blood test was requested and an ultrasound scan.

My abdomen was continuing to swell. Ovarian Cancer was diagnosed on 6th January and I was transferred to the Gynae ward at The Princess Royal Hospital in Telford. On 9th January a biopsy was taken and a drain inserted to drain the accumulating Ascites (fluid in the abdomen). I looked nine months pregnant and was extremely tired all the time. A massive 6.5 litres drained away in less than an hour. What a relief!! I was able to actually eat something, although I had to lie completely flat, for the first time since being admitted on NYE.”

Antonia's Journey

Antonia was discharged on the 10th January, and during her consultation five days later she was told a course of chemotherapy and an operation would be required. Treatment began before the COVID pandemic hit the UK and thankfully it had little impact on her care plan.

Antonia Continues

“The Gynae Cancer Pathway team were brilliant. They are very supportive and practical. My chemotherapy started on 28th January – an impressive four weeks on from my visit to A&E. Covid hit in March. It didn’t interrupt my treatment at all though, I was meant to have three treatments and then an operation, and then three more treatments.  Because of Covid I was given six treatments and then went to Stoke for my operation as it is a specialist centre as the op was complicated. Then I had two more courses of chemotherapy as top-ups in August. This was followed by three weekly infusions of Avastin until April 2021.”

Antonia's Treatment During COVID

By the end of May 2021 Antonia had finished her treatment. A holiday to Cornwall followed during which periods of breathlessness and a panic attack forced her back to A&E. Cancer marker tests revealed an increase in levels during the summer so regular chemotherapy followed, managed alongside tablets for her heart failure, and paralysis of the vocal chords which were effected during the panic attack in holiday.

2DBB8AC8-8E37-44A4-8ACC-93C7D60A6974

Balancing Cancer and Heart Failure

“I was walking and generally just taking it easy in Cornwall. But I found myself really short of breath so on return to Shrewsbury went back to A&E. A series of tests followed and I was diagnosed with heart failure, a possible side effect of the chemotherapy. My current oncologist has now questioned this connection. I spent July and August in and out of hospital and ended up in coronary care for four days. I was given drugs for heart failure. The fact that I only have one kidney complicated things as the drugs affect kidney function. It’s a careful balancing act.

Cancer is the biggest problem but I need to focus on my heart too.”

Find a Support Group

Many people find it useful to speak to others who are going through the same things as them. There are a range of support groups in our area, some focusing on specific cancers and other more generally.