A few years ago my beautiful sister aged 44 was diagnosed with the insidious Ovarian Cancer. She bravely fought the disease and with the help of an amazing team at the Royal Women’s, after 12 months of treatment she went into remission.
A year later, on the eve of a much needed holiday with her husband, she received horrific news that the cancer had come back and she had developed secondarys that needed to be treated. Again the rollercoaster of emotions and treatment began.
My sister is an inspirational woman who would not let anything get in the way of living her life and with an absolutely supportive husband and beautiful daughter she fought on. If this was not bad enough, the week she commenced her second lot of treatment our mother aged 73 at the time, was also diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer.
This news absolutely shook the core of my family. Everyone rallied together and watched helplessly as the two most giving and loving people in our family battled against all odds for survival.
My mum and sister are still bravely fighting and every day they live with the knowledge that this is not yet over. It has been an agonising four years now but we wake up every morning feeling blessed that they are with us and hope that our families will be able to share many more years together.
My beautiful daughter, who is extremely close and devoted to both her nonna and her aunt has been there to support them every step of the way. She has researched, read, spoken to people and is now committed to somehow bringing to light awareness for Ovarian Cancer.
She is a regular and keen ‘twitterer’ and writes the most amazingly funny and sometime heart wrenching blogs. One blog, after the sad passing of Jim Stynes, which was also a tribute to her aunt and grandmother was powerful, moving and heartfelt.
I know that as a mother, we always think our children are awesome, but I know I am truly fortunate. In today’s society where our Gen Y’s are touted as being selfish, obnoxious and void of any family tradition, my kids have truly embraced and are proud of our family and traditions. As a very close knit family we are determined to somehow, someday raise not only the much needed funds but also awareness of Ovarian Cancer. I have always been very proud of all my children for who they are, not just for what they achieve, but my daughter’s determination at the moment makes me want to burst with pride. Unfortunately, it is this same determination that makes me cry as I face the dreadful reality that she and the rest of our family with be absolutely devastated if a cure for this cancer is not realised in the near future.
As most of us know Ovarian Cancer is known as the Silent Cancer as it is unspeakably dangerous and the hardest to detect in its early stages. Sadly, only about 19% of ovarian cancer cases are diagnosed before the cancer has spread outside of the ovaries when the disease is most responsive to treatment. Unfortunately, 77% of ovarian cancer cases are diagnosed in an advanced stage, primarily because symptoms that present in the early stages of the disease are often subtle, misinterpreted, inconsistent or ignored. Even routine pelvic exams are unlikely to detect ovarian cancer when it is most treatable, before it has spread beyond the ovaries.
It is so incredibly important that, until our brilliant team of researchers in Australia find either a cure or a screening test for OC, that we educate our broader community and make every one aware of the symptoms. In Australia alone 3 women are diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer every day. Unfortunately, 2 of those 3 are my world.
So, tell every women you know and tell them to tell everyone women they know, talk to them about the symptoms and what to look for. If you are not sure have a look at the website, familiarise yourself with these symptoms and if you are worried or unsure seek medical advice. PLEASE DON’T LEAVE IT TILL ITS TOO LATE!
The odds of this insidious cancer ever being eradicated may be slim but if we can make sure that someone we love is spared the pain and anguish of living with it, we will have made an enormous impact.
To my Sister Deb and my loving mum…… Where there is LOVE there is HOPE.
Daniela has 4 beautiful and very spirited children aged between 15 and 27, 3 boys and 1 girl. She recently commenced her own business and divides her time between work, kids and her family.