My journey began when I was 21 years old and enjoying a working holiday in London with my big sister, Elsa. Over the period of a few weeks, I had been suffering from some pretty severe cramping which led me straight to a GP and then to the emergency department for some further testing.
On November 13, 2013, a phone call changed my life. I was told my results were ready, and to bring a loved one to the hospital with me.
As Elsa and I waited anxiously in the gynaecology unit of the Royal London Hospital, I prepared myself for what I thought would be the ‘worst’ case scenario – they had previously hinted at a large ovarian cyst. Would I need surgery? Would I be left infertile at the young age of 21?
Soon enough, the dire extent of my situation was revealed. One minute, I was sitting in front of the doctor. The next minute, everything was in slow motion. I can only recall moments of the conversation with the young female doctor. The words ‘biopsy’, ‘cancer’ and the sound of my sister’s shriek will never leave me.
As soon as my ‘cyst’ diagnosis turned into ‘cancer’, my first thought was am I going to die? It seemed strange how the word cancer automatically brought up so much emotion and heartache, it was like nothing I’d been confronted with before. Suddenly I was in the war of a lifetime and to make it worse, the attacker was coming from inside me.
Fast forward through months of chemotherapy treatments to reduce the tumours, an intensive 11 hour surgery, which involved a full hysterectomy and the removal of my large bowel, followed by months of complications and rehabilitation, I was declared in remission. Free of cancer and free to once again explore the world with Elsa by my side. This freedom lasted until midway through 2015, when follow up scans discovered that my cancer had recurred in other organs.
I’m now 24 years old, fighting for my life and living back in Brisbane. I want to do whatever I can to bring awareness to this awful disease and other women who are living with cancer. Fundraising for Cancer Council is important because the work they do investing in cancer research, prevention programs and support services is helping to save lives. I’m incredibly passionate about research - I’m on a clinical trial at the moment and every scan is nerve wracking because we don’t know if these drugs are going to stop working. I need more treatment options to give me more time. Please show your support this October by hosting a Girls’ Night In.