In September 2014 at the age of 26, I was diagnosed with a rare form of Ovarian Cancer; Immature Teratoma-a less common form affecting younger age groups. It therefore is so important that we acknowledge and understand that Ovarian Cancer isn't confined to those in older age brackets and in effect can present itself at any age.
When I was experiencing my symptoms Cancer was the furthest thing from my mind...Polycystic Ovaries, IBS, Allergies, anything but Cancer were being looked into. I had to persist to get a scan because on the basis of my doctors referral the hospital only viewed my case in terms of priority as low and not high. I eventually got called 6 months later and the pelvic ultrasound showed what they thought to be a cyst; being compared in size to a tennis ball. I had it removed quite promptly via laparoscopy.
One month later I was called back in and to my horror told the biopsy showed it was a rare form of ovarian cancer; a tumour that actually was hiding out and growing away inside my left ovary, frightening thing is that when I had the blood markers done prior tomy first surgery they showed up as normal, so it was a double whammy to hear the opposite a month later when I thought I had put my worries and fears to bed.
I was immediately referred to Cork to the most wonderful professional and empathetic doctor; numerous scans and checks followed, the first stage of treatment was to remove my left ovary and Fallopian tube. My second surgery went very well and thankfully I didn't need any more treatment after that as the cancer had just been contained within that ovary.
I feel blessed that I listened and persisted, as hard as it was I went to my GP as not all the symptoms can be easy to discuss. I'm also blessed that I got it when I did. Early detection is key and I cannot stress that enough. I'd love to help raise awareness as I was only 26 when diagnosed. I did find it hard to talk about it but time has passed and I have been blessed that my check ups have been going well and I think it's time for me to speak out and help others with early detection!
The scary thing is the amount of times I brushed off my symptoms and put them down to other things. I knew something wasn't right, my body was asking me to speak up, and I'm so so grateful I did.
I am nearly four years in remission now and I can't express enough gratitude for that, I am on the other side and proud of myself and the journey I have put down over the past while. There is hope and I'm sharing this to emphasise that and the positive outcomethatcan be achieved when you act early. We can be bombarded by bad news and horror stories but I feel optimism and hope go a long way so I hope my piece will help other women who find themselves in a similar situation; I urge you to surround yourself withthose you love, let them in, the endless support and love I received from my family, my partner and friends got me through it #youcandoit.
Women young and old need to be encouraged to listen to their bodies and persist in seeking medical advice no matter how small their concerns are. Taking responsibility for your health is imperative, the ball is in your court. Please listen to your body.
My symptoms were a mix and blurred the lines into other possible conditions which again makes Ovarian Cancer hard to diagnose and catch.
I am sharing the following link as it sums up the key symptoms that help detect Ovarian Cancer and is titled 'BEAT Ovarian Cancer':https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=8Zr_3Bop-aA
The main learning on my journey has been to listen...and to trust my body. Not an easy thing to do the best of times, but your body really does know what's best for you. Don't doubt yourself. Be proud to look after your #womenshealth
I will be forever grateful to have come through this process and to be given a second chance. I am so blessed and I truly realise that.
If I didn't keep returning to my doctor however it may have been different. Please don't fear being judged as an overthinker or a worrier...if something doesn't feel right for you, for YOUR body that is enough. There is absolutely no harm being done by checking in with your GP even if it just provides reasurrance with a once over. Don't feel like an inconvience or a bother because you're not. You're you and you're important. You're loved and admired more than you'll ever know. You matter and so does your life.
Life is fleeting, it is a precious gift. Trust yourself.
Warmest blessings and well wishes to all who read, benefit from this and share
'Just like air. I rise' ~Maya Angelou~