With Mum on her birthday

Alison Bird

First post: Dec 20, 2009 Latest post: Feb 13, 2017

You are looking at my old blog - posts from 2009-2016.
Please visit the alisphere to read my latest health updates.
I have actually copied all my old posts to the alisphere, so everything is on that site from now on.
You will also find some other bits and pieces posted there, about ideas that I wanted to share.
When you arrive in the alisphere please look for the FOLLOW BLOG button if you would like to subscribe and receive email notifications.

xx A

Ovarian Cancer - briefly what happened to me
The symptoms of ovarian cancer are so unclear that you’d be lucky to pick it up in early stages. I had an advanced case but I was fit and healthy and unsuspecting till the 16cm tumour began to press on and obstruct my lymph and venous flow. I puffed up quite quickly at that point, and it was this phenomenon that led me to consult a doctor.
I was diagnosed with Stage 3 ovarian cancer on 18/12/09, underwent surgery on 29/12/09 and had chemotherapy at the Brisbane Mater from February to May 2010 (intraperitoneal cisplatin with paclitaxel). I had a temporary ileostomy all this time and it was reversed on 2/6/10.
Afterwards I regained health and fitness and felt fantastic for over a year till mysterious swollen glands in my groin indicated a recurrence of the cancer in August 2011. More chemotherapy followed (carboplatin with paclitaxel), in combination with a trial drug, farletuzumab (an immune therapy) which seemed to be very effective for me. After finishing chemo, I continued on weekly IV farletuzumab for 16 months till the trial was closed, and I still felt well for another 10 months without a care. However, that same tell-tale lymph gland swelled up in my groin again by the end of 2013. For a while I tried taking tamoxifen (an oestrogen-blocker) but that didn't help, so in 2014 I was on chemo for the 3rd time (carboplatin with gemcitabine). About 6 months later I noticed the swollen gland in my groin again. This time a CT scan showed that only one of the lumps had begun to grow so I had surgery to remove that tumour from my right groin. Sadly, it was only a month or two before the cancer progressed in my other abdominal lymph nodes, so I tried a different hormone blocker (letrozole) but it didn't work either. In October 2015 I joined another clinical trial for a targeted therapy which suited me brilliantly. Genetic tests at the time revealed that I have a somatic BRCA1 mutation and this looks like a perfect match for rucaparib therapy. I took those trial pills for 16 months and was very happy to nearly forget about cancer. By the end of 2016, however, one tumour had begun to grow again so I had to leave the clinical trial and go for some other treatment.
My story continues on the alisphere here https://alisphere.wordpress.com/contents/ovca-journal/ where there is a proper summary as well as the full blow-by-blow account (including old posts transferred from Caring Bridge). I hope you will visit the alisphere and keep in touch.

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