When my beloved aunt Deb was first diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer almost 4 years ago our family was rocked to its core. Like most people we knew very little about this ‘silent killer’ and refused to believe the bleak statistics that were put before us. With the alternative being a complete meltdown I went into research mode, scouring university resources, reading pages upon pages of clinical trial information, looking for anything that would make sense. All through those terrifying initial weeks I spent 95% of the time angry and confused and couldn’t work out why this had happened to someone so fit and healthy and young… the other 5% I felt like truly terrible person as I thought if this was going to happen to one of us Deb was the one who would be brave enough and strong enough to beat the Cancer into submission… And then that magical word came. Remission.
Two years after initial diagnosis and just weeks before Deb and my uncle were due to fly out for an anniversary trip to Italy that had been postponed due to Cancer mark 1, I got a call from Deb one Friday afternoon saying she had something to tell me. When I put the phone down my brother, seeing the look on my face, asked what had happened. As I finished telling him the Cancer battle had not yet been won, his response was “I have something ELSE to tell you”… I will never forget that instant, nauseating, heart pumping in your ears feeling I got when he spoke those words. Our Nonna (grandmother) had also just been diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer and was going in for surgery. How was this even possible? It wasn’t fair, it wasn’t right, these are good people… these are people I love and adore and can’t live my life without… Yep, I had a tantrum… what else was there to do. And then I picked myself up and moved in to help look after my cousin whilst Deb had treatment, because that’s what we have to do – keep going.
Last January I flew to Sydney with my aunt and grandmother (at that stage both back in remission) as my mum lay in hospital recovering from a preventative hysterectomy, for a photo shoot with Women’s Day and to film a segment for “Morning’s with Kerri-Anne”… We were a feature of 3 generations touched by Ovarian Cancer in a ‘Teal’ special for awareness month. I will never forget that day and how unbelievably brave and inspirational these two women in my life are. Deb has become a tireless beacon in the plight to raise awareness, and my amazing grandmother who is not at all confident in her English speaking ability spoke on camera about something so terrifying with such bravado.