On my 30th birthday, I lay in a Melbourne IVF clinic having undergone an ultrasound to check how healthy my ovaries were. I planned to donate my eggs to my sister who had exhausted her IVF options.
There appeared to be a cyst on my left ovary, which is fairly common and something that can be resolved if left alone. The doctors weighed the risk factors, I was young, fit, healthy... it was probably nothing sinister. After leaving it for a month, it was still there, and a biopsy confirmed it was cancer. Non-small cell neuroendocrine carcinoma arising in a mucinous tumour of the ovary. Unfortunately, I never got to donate any eggs, I had surgery to remove my left ovary and begun chemotherapy to try to save my life.
I completed six rounds of Carbo/etoposide chemo, which was absolutely gruelling. By round three, I would be hospitalised for three to four days just to complete the cycle.
Unfortunately, the cancer remained and I started the salvage mission of daily radiation to my abdomen for 5 and half weeks. This killed my right ovary and I was now also dealing with menopause. Radiation also proved to be unsuccessful.
I started on weekly Taxol chemotherapy in an attempt to buy as much time as possible. The latest scans indicate it may be holding the cancer at bay for now.
Currently, I am in hospital with complications of cancer and my chemotherapy that was keeping my cancer at bay is now on hold.
My husband, Reuben and I have two young boys who are just about to turn 4 and 6 in July. We are going to throw everything at this for as long as we can.
It’s hard having cancer. It’s also hard having cancer that typically affects older women. It’s isolating and lonely being the zebra in the room.
The OCA Younger Women’s Network is an online facilitated support and information group, delivered monthly for 1.5 hours with approximately 5 – 8 women participating in each session with a health professional facilitator.
By participating in Dry July, I hope to raise awareness of the symptoms of ovarian cancer and ensure no woman who walks this path, young or old does so alone."
Donate to Jessamy's Dry July Team - funds go towards Ovarian Cancer Australia.