Annie’s Story

Thank you for being part of the Afternoon Teal campaign and for raising funds and awareness to help improve the outcomes for women living with ovarian cancer.

In June 2014, something new barged uninvited into my life.  It was 11cm and had taken over one of my ovaries. Within 6 months, I went from being a relatively fit, healthy working mum with two boys, to being a bald, weak, exhausted, ovarian cancer patient.

I’d had symptoms for a while and after four GP visits, I knew something wasn’t right so I insisted on an ultrasound. As a result, I was booked in for keyhole surgery to remove what the doctors thought was a benign growth.  A week after, I got the life-changing call. It was ovarian cancer.

That afternoon my husband Christian and I went to North Shore Hospital for what was the beginning of a whole new chapter in our life. I went into a process of tests, scans, waiting, terrifying appointments and overwhelming fear. The waiting was torture. All of a sudden cancer and mortality were my little family’s new reality and I couldn’t stop thinking of the heartbreaking prospect of leaving my two precious boys.

When the day of the surgery finally arrived, I filmed goodbye videos to my sons, just in case I didn’t make it. The whole thing was surreal. I couldn’t believe it was happening. Most days – I still can’t.

I woke in Intensive Care after 9 hours in theatre having been cut from my breast bone to my pubic bone. Looking down at myself all I could see was tubes and attachments. It was as if I’d become part of a reality TV show called SICK.

My healthcare team is world class, but following the surgery I realised there wasn’t enough research to dictate a single treatment path for me. Some doctors recommended chemo.  The latest science said I didn’t need it.  Meanwhile overseas, women with my type of cancer were still being treated with Chemo.

I had to make difficult choices about my own treatment and on my 41st birthday I decided to have chemo and avoid any “what if’s” down the track.

I lost my hair, which I had been growing my whole life,  but decided to make the most out of being bald. I posted my headwear on Facebook tagging it #chemocouture. Dressing up was my survival mode through the worst months of my life.

However, I’m one of the luckier ones. My cancer has not spread, thanks to early detection of the disease. But not everyone is this lucky. I lost a very dear friend to this insidious disease in 2016. This is why your support Ovarian Cancer Australia by hosting an Afternoon Teal is so important.

The outcomes for ovarian cancer are enough to scare the daylights out of anyone but with your support, we can fund high-impact research to improve survival rates and make sure that women diagnosed in the future don’t face the terrifying prognosis that we did.

Thank you for your support.  For fundraising inspiration, please visit the hints and tips page.  If you are yet to register, please click here or if you would like to simply donate, please click here.  Every bit helps.