THE BLOG

Mum Almost Gave Up Cancer Treatment - Now She's One Of The Busiest People I Know

21/08/2017 11:20 BST | Updated 21/08/2017 11:20 BST

Kate is a financial advisor and lives in Cornwall with her husband Stephen and their two children Jack, 11, and Harry, seven. In 1999, Kate's mum Julie was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Kate was 18 at the time and her younger sister Hannah was 16. Julie, who was due to marry her partner Clive the same year, first realised something was wrong when she started to suffer from stomach pains.

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Because of all the stomach pains she'd been having, doctors told Mum that they thought she might have appendicitis. But Mum was found to have a cyst on her ovary the size of a large grapefruit and further tests revealed it was actually a cancerous tumour. After surgery to remove the tumour, Mum had chemotherapy. Six weeks later she and Clive got married.

After she was diagnosed, Mum was monitored regularly to check for any signs of the cancer coming back. In 2002 a check-up revealed it had returned and Mum needed to have more chemotherapy.

In fact, since her initial diagnosis, in total, Mum has undergone four major surgeries as well as numerous courses of chemotherapy and a course of radiotherapy.

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The first time she had chemotherapy it wasn't too bad, but when the cancer came back and she had to have it again it knocked her for six. It was a lot harsher.

Mum has always expressed herself through her hair. Over the years she has dyed it blue, pink and purple, so when it started to fall out it was heart-breaking for her. In the end I shaved her head to support her. It was really emotional for us both, but also turned out to be a tender mother daughter bonding experience.

At one point during treatment Mum felt so poorly she told us she couldn't go through chemotherapy any more. But thank goodness we all got together as a family and discussed with her how it would be worth it in the long run.

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I'm so glad we had those discussions. Mum decided to keep going with her chemotherapy and since then she's lived to see the arrival of her six grandchildren, she has walked on the Great Wall of China and last year she and Clive flew to Australia to visit my stepsister, Claire. She has a very busy and full life.

Mum started another cycle of chemotherapy a few weeks before Christmas 2016 and lost her hair again. But she was determined to celebrate her 60th birthday in March. In fact she ended up having two birthday celebrations! We had a family trip to Center Parcs which was a lovely get together, as well as an afternoon tea for all the family and friends that have supported her throughout her journey so far.

Mum's treatment is ongoing and her doctor has said it is likely to continue until at least September.

In October 2016, I took part in Race for Life Pretty Muddy at Plymouth along with four close friends. I was running for Mum, but all five of us had been affected by cancer in some way. It was my first Race for Life and I just found the whole experience really amazing and quite emotional too.

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Normally I can talk about Mum's cancer without getting overemotional or upset but the impact of this disease really hit me during the minute's silence at the start of the race. I realised just how many people have been affected by cancer and have lost loved ones to it. The tears started to flow then.

I really wanted to take part because I know that research really does make a difference. And events like Race for Life Pretty Muddy help raise money to fund life-saving research that's helping more people survive cancer.

Kate is supporting Cancer Research UK's Race for Life in partnership with Tesco. Run, walk or jog. Every pound raised, from £10 to £100, will help beat cancer. Sign up right now at raceforlife.org