“I always thought, well I don’t have a story. My life is really great.”
When she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma last year, Tessa James was just a 23-year-old Australian actress trying to break into the American acting scene. She was known for her long-running role on Home and Away as Nicole Franklin, as well as being the wife of NRL player Nate Myles.
Now, her name is paired with words like “strong” and “fearless”. And for good reason.
James, 24, is appearing on Channel Seven’s Sunday Night program tonight to talk about her battle with cancer. In a preview for the episode, she reflects on the last few months and has spoken about having to make the decision whether to prepare to have a family or to undergo immediate treatment.
“You’d see actresses and they seemed to always go through hardships,” she says on the show.
“I always thought, ‘Well I don’t have a story. My life is really great’.
“Yeah, I have a story now. No one should have to go through that.”
On top of all of this, the 23-year-old had to make a decision about her future family: begin fertility treatment or treatment for her cancer.
“That was a shock for us initially, when that [diagnosis] is happening, and they throw that little curve ball too,” James said.
“So we went and saw a fertility specialist and went through all of that. Previously myself and Nate have been fine to have kids”.
In order to freeze her eggs, James essentially needed to go through a month-long round of IVF, delaying the start of her treatment but this was a risk James was not willing to take.
“I didn’t know if in a month I would have to have 12 months of treatment instead of six, because it was quite fast growing, so we decided to have treatment straight away,” she said.
She says that she still hopes that children are in her future.
You can watch the preview below. Post continues after video.
James has also spoken about her lowest moments: “I would lie on the floor, on the ground, because that’s where I felt good… I remember calling my dad saying, ‘I can’t do this anymore, I don’t know how I am going to get through this’.”
James’ husband, 29-year-old Nate Myles, spoke to The Sunday Telegraph in May about his wife’s battle, saying nightmares and cold sweats were the first signs that something was wrong with James.
“It’s not something which would lead you to say to your wife, ‘get yourself to the doctor’,” he said.
Six months of chemotherapy later and Myles was strengthened by James’ courage.
“It was not cool what anyone has to go through because of that,” he said at the time.
“She’s tougher than any footballer I have played alongside.”
A truer statement has never been said.
Click through the gallery below for more photos of Tessa.
Sunday Night’s special with Tessa James airs at 7.30pm, tonight on Seven.
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