31 year old Marie was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in early 2021 when Marie’s youngest child, Alby, was only two and a half months old. What followed Marie’s diagnosis was a 12 hour debulking surgery. Marie is currently undertaking a year of chemotherapy and anti-hormone treatment.
At the time of her diagnosis, Marie felt scared, alone and frightened. “The list of emotions goes on. I also felt determined to not let this disease bring me down and I knew I had to seek, ask and accept help,” she says. Marie acknowledges her incredibly reliable family, close friends and a tightknit, generous community for supporting her throughout her journey.
Marie pictured with husband Leon, daughter Pearl, son Freddie and baby Alby.
“Women diagnosed with ovarian cancer endure extensive surgeries and treatments and our bodies are forever changed. So many elements of ovarian cancer are hard to accept, for me, waking up with my abdominal incision and ileostomy was confronting. I felt alone with my new daily challenges, I did not know anyone else my age with cancer or an ileostomy bag.
If one other girl or women sees my scar and ileostomy bag and it makes them feel like they are not alone or feel proud of their own body, then I have achieved what I intended to.
I see you and I am walking with you. In-spite of the everyday struggles we have, from the mental load cancer brings, the many trips to hospital, the drugs, the surgeries, and the fatigue, know that you are not alone.
Although my surgery was only in February this year, I have learnt to be proud of my body. I am proud of my body because it has not only carried, fed and given birth to three healthy babies in the past four-and-a-half years, its recovering from a 12-hour surgery and it is fighting for health during my chemotherapy treatment. I certainly miss my old body that could run out a game of sport, but for now, I am just figuring out how tough this body of mine is.
I have chosen to be a part of the Overies for Ovaries campaign to represent many of the women who have endured extensive surgeries and treatments. To raise much needed awareness and money to help support women in a similar position to me.
I am also sharing these images for my daughter, for anyone that needs permission to love their body post birth or during cancer treatment. Most importantly to be proactive in raising money to find a screening test to better detect and prevent ovarian cancer.
I am getting stronger post-surgery and have been very up and down throughout the chemotherapy treatments.”
Marie’s advice to women experiencing signs and symptoms is to “Ovary Act! Seek the medical attention you deserve. Don’t settle until you are understood.”
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