In this study, the lived experiences of women undergoing ovarian cancer surgery were explored, aiming to provide a patient perspective on being newly diagnosed and starting treatment for ovarian cancer. The study period ran from the first visit in the outpatient clinic, till 8 weeks later, when the women had either begun chemotherapy or completed their recovery. Ten women participated in two qualitative research interviews each, before and after surgery. By applying a phenomenological-hermeneutic text interpretation methodology, the findings were systematically identified, put into meaning-structures, interpreted and discussed. This process constituted the theme: 'Hoping for the best, preparing for the worst'. Final diagnostics and treatment start were extensive life events, where life itself was threatened, although hope and will were present. The women intuitively prepared themselves for the diagnosis and treatment. However, the ability to prepare was influenced by personal lifestyle, social conditions, coping strategies, and experiences of hope. The ability to prepare could be strengthened by providing adjusted information, psychosocial support and physical optimisation during the perioperative period. By offering targeted family counselling and taking good care of the women's general health and well-being, hope could be sustained and early cancer rehabilitation initiated.