In mid 2019 I fell pregnant with my second daughter. During this pregnancy it was discovered I had an ovarian cyst that was growing in size with the baby (it grew so large it was similar to carrying twins!). It had a 1-2% chance of being malignant but all medical advice was leaning towards something benign and nothing to worry about. At week 35 it ruptured and leaked leading to a hospital trip and pain more severe then child birth! Due to this it was decided I would have a booked caesarean at week 39 to deliver our daughter and remove the cyst. All going to plan I could be awake for the birth. Week 39 arrived and we headed into hospital to meet our baby girl. The caesarean went to plan and I was able to be awake for the birth of our daughter, Amia, who was born healthy and strong. The doctors also managed to remove the cyst and only take my ovary and it was sent off to be biopsied. I honestly didn’t think another thing about it, focusing on life with a newborn and a toddler.
Unfortunately, two weeks later I received a call from the hospital asking me to come in the next day for an urgent appointment. That appointment changed everything and I was told the cyst was ovarian cancer - luckily caught early at Stage 1. I had some urgent tests booked for the next day to see if the cancer had spread anywhere else and needed to madly start pumping milk for Amia as the tests would be radioactive and render me unable to breastfeed or hold her for 6-8hours (something I found almost more distressing then the diagnosis).
With the support of our family i managed to pump enough milk and Amia was cared for while I did the tests and I was then referred to Royal Brisbane for surgery. Thankfully the tests showed no signs of cancer anywhere else and after an initial meeting with RBH I opted for a full hysterectomy surgery and further testing when Amia was 7 weeks old.
The further testing carried out indicated i also required chemo and this commenced in April 2020. Six cycles every 3 weeks. So far I’m up to cycle 4 - with my final treatment due mid July!
During this time the support from cancer services from the hospital, Ovarian Cancer Australia and our local cancer service Bloomhill has been phenomenal and overwhelming from financial support through to emotional and physical support.
As ovarian cancer is known as the silent cancer with so many cases not detected until late stage due to the ‘vague’ and ‘all too common’ symptoms it’s imperative we spend more time and money researching and supporting Ovarian Cancer Australia to support those diagnosed and find an early detection test!’
Jess and her loved ones are raising money for Ovarian Cancer Australia by participating in Dry July. You can also help support women with ovarian cancer by making a donation to Dry July today.