“I hope to bring awareness to my whanau and your whānau by sharing this journey,” she said. “Many voices create an impact and all wāhine deserve a fighting chance. We need to make ovarian cancer diagnosis easier.” – Miracle
Miracle from Whakatāne was diagnosed with stage 1C3 mucinous ovarian carcinoma in 2022 at the age of 27.
“As a young working māmā, I never thought cancer would be part of my journey.”
She had been experiencing increased urgency to urinate, pain in her lower abdomen and pelvis, fatigue, change in bowel habits, loss of appetite and breathlessness.
“I also had swelling of the abdomen to the point where I looked ready to give birth.”
After a negative pregnancy test, she was referred for several scans.
“My GP’s first thought was not ovarian cancer but liver cirrhosis. These results were slow, and I chased my GP for answers and phoned almost every day to talk about my symptoms and my mental/emotional state, which was deteriorating.”
Eventually, she learned that she had a large mass and fluid in the abdomen that could be ovarian cancer. She got referred to a gynaecologist who requested additional tests but then incorrectly told Miracle that the results were negative.
“Being misdiagnosed was the most traumatic part of this journey as I was told by my gynaecologist that pathology came back with no findings from the first biopsy and I was cleared for cancer.”
After learning that cancer cells were found, Miracle had a laparotomy that removed her right ovary and fallopian tube, along with a biopsy of the omentum and 6 litres of ascites fluid. She finally received an official diagnosis of stage 1C3 mucinous ovarian carcinoma.
She had another surgery to remove her other ovary and fallopian tube, uterus and appendix and is currently undergoing chemotherapy.
Though Miracle’s cancer was diagnosed relatively early, there is still uncertainty. Stage 1C3 means cancer cells were detected in fluid taken during surgery from her abdomen and pelvis.
“My surgeon told me that chemotherapy isn’t always effective in my type of ovarian cancer. That’s hard to hear. Will I get to see my tamariki grow up? I hope so. I believe and know I should have been diagnosed a lot sooner, and I know I’m not the only one this has happened to.”
We are grateful to Miracle 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.