“There are no new wonder drugs. Women who get ovarian cancer are getting the same treatments that they were getting 20 years ago.” – Jennifer
My appendix bursting turned out to be lucky for me.
I had my first son in 2003. What followed was years of sadness and disappointment as we tried to add to our family. We had three miscarriages, and then after IVF, we were blessed with the birth of our second son in 2013.
After his birth I had been to the doctor for ‘women’s pain’ but always seemed to just soldier on. It wasn’t till I had emergency surgery for my appendix that they discovered cysts on my ovaries that were ‘probably harmless’. The pain continued, so I had more doctor visits, more scans and more specialists appointments.
A gynaecologist in Wellington agreed to give me a hysterectomy and to remove the harmless cysts. He told me they didn’t look cancerous, and they came out encapsulated (meaning they didn’t burst).
As you can imagine, I was very relieved. Two weeks after my second surgery (on my husband’s birthday), I got the dreaded call; they had found something.
Surgery number three was the removal of my ovaries, my omentum and washings; by far the hardest surgery as I still hadn’t healed properly from the first two. I was diagnosed with stage 2b serous epithelial ovarian cancer, low-grade. I was 42.
I have since learnt about my cancer. It is scary; five year survival rates aren’t great, and chemo often doesn’t work. 1 in 70 women will get ovarian cancer in New Zealand.
Please if you can donate. It’s not only giving me a better chance to live but so many other women who don’t even know they have it yet.
We are grateful to Jennifer for sharing her experience with ovarian cancer and for helping us raise awareness. If you would like to share your story too, please get in touch.
OCFNZ started as Cure Our Ovarian Cancer in 2018, with a focus on low-grade serous ovarian cancer. In 2020, we expanded our focus to include all ovarian cancer and, in 2024, we changed our name to the Ovarian Cancer Foundation New Zealand.