Heartbroken husband's plea: 'Seek a second opinion on ovarian cysts'
A heartbroken husband is urging couples to always seek a second opinion on ovarian cysts.
Philip Sagar, of Main Street, Tallington makes the plea after his wife Jane died two weeks ago aged 67 after a near-five year fight against ovarian cancer.
Jane underwent a variety of treatments, including chemotherapy, radiology and using ground-breaking procedures such as cyberknife and brachytherapy and immunotherapy drugs which the couple had to pay towards as they weren’t available on the NHS.
However, Philip said: “We made the fatal mistake of trusting the first consultant. I will never forgive myself.”
The tragic saga began in 2013 when for Philip’s 60th birthday, the couple were given two half-price LIFE CT scans as a present.
They found Jane had a 6.5cm ovarian cyst, which was confirmed in a follow-up scan three months later. However, the cyst had not changed and the consultant did not warn of any cancer risk even though he reviewed Jane twice over six months and discharged her.
But by August Jane suffered pains, a CT scan was ordered and the cyst had grown to 11cm and had become cancerous. The couple were subequently told anything bigger than 5cm should have been removed immediately.
Various treatments followed and there were several periods of remission, but the cancer returned.
Philip explained: “Once it’s burst out of the cyst, it’s like throwing 1,000 seeds in the wind. They will still be in the body somewhere.”
By the end of 2018, Jane had suffered more than enough operations and specialist radiotherapy and they tried a new immunotherapy drug, not available on the NHS, which cost £5,800 every three months and the couple looked to equity release their home. However, their insurance company agreed to pay a share.
Sadly, Jane weakened further and on February 14 this year- Valentine’s Day - she was rushed to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, when it was feared she might then die of kidney failure.
Ten days later, she was able to come home, but with her condition deteriorating further, she was rushed to accident and emergency at Peterborough City Hospital but was told by her oncologist that she was too weak for anymore treatment and given 4-6 weeks to live.
However, after further visits to A&E, on Wednesday March 6, Jane was given just a few days to live and shortly after on Saturday, March 16, returned home to die.
Compounding the agony, that was the day Stamford MP Nick Boles announced his resignation from the local Conservative Association. As its chairman, Philip had to deal with some of the fall-out, such as fielding calls from the national press and getting council leaders Matthew Lee and Martin Hill to undertake interviews in his place.
The following morning, on Sunday, March 17, surrounded by her loving family, Jane passed away.
Jane, mum to Emma, Steven and Simon, was born in 1951 in Wolverhampton. Her mum’s family ran a local butcher’s and her dad worked as a chemist for Courtaulds.
Years later, after moving to Blackpool, Jane met Philip at Blackpool and Flyde Technical College when they were paired together during a butchery class at college.
The couple courted for two years at college and both took hotel jobs around the country, leading to a short separation before they got back together and married in 1975 just outside Preston.
Further jobs followed around the country, with Philip working in hotel management and Jane in housekeeping and both rising to the top of their professions with Swallow Hotels.
In 2001, with their three children, they moved back to the Peterborough area, where they had previously worked and made friends. Philip was already a director of Peterborough United Football Club and then they bought a large townhouse Rock Lodge in Stamford, which they turned into a nine-bedroom 5-star accomodation house, winning many awards.
At this time, as business partner, Jane also became actively involved in Philip’s Innpro.co.uk hotel consultancy and she co-authored a book with Philip on quality for the hotel and B&B trade.
Selling Rock Lodge in 2012, brought the couple to Tallington, where they became good friends to many in the close-knit community.
Jane joined the cleaning rosta for the village hall, even teaching the ladies the art of hotel toilet roll folding! For a time, she was also a parish councillor and the village hall has paid its respects to their friend by flying its flag at half-mast.
Philip said: “Jane loved the village life. We have a great community here.”
He continued: “She was also the heart and soul of the hotels we ran. She was the mother hen to all the girls and well-respected within the hotel industry. She actually cared for the people who worked for her. She always believed if you treat people properly, they will work for you.”
“For me, Jane was my rock, my soulmate and my best friend. In my career, she was the driving force behind me. I would not have progressed as far. She was never one to sit down and be idle. She was always doing something. She was always pushing me on.”
Now, Philip feels robbed they will never have the retirement they have both worked so hard for; to enjoy their place in Spain, or their three grandchildren, with a fourth on the way, as much as they had hoped too.
But the 65-year-old can look back at a good life, which saw them meet celebrities, entertainers and rock stars during their hotel years and prime ministers, other politicians and royalty during their hotel years and since.
Whatever else ahead, Philip wants to raise awareness of ovarian cancer, which is diagnosed in 7,000 women a year in the UK - about one in 50 overall. He insists women diagnosed with ovarian cysts seek a second opinion, to help others avoid the tragedy and loss he has suffered.
Jane’s funeral is at midday on Friday, April 5, at the St Lawrence Church in Tallington, followed by a reception at the village hall. Donations will go towards the church roof and Target Ovarian Cancer.