Today's guest blogger is Miranda, from Sydney, Australia.
My initial symptom was a tiny pain (feel like pins & needles) from my lower abdomen, it only last a couple of seconds, it came and went. I was a healthy, active mum filled with energy and a busy life style.
This discomfort did not stopping me from doing any thing including my regular active sport - badminton. I ignored this tiny pain didn't think it was a sign of a disease until one year later, during my long Christmas break, planning to spend some lovely time with my kids, and pampering at the same time. I decided to go to check it out.
The ultrasound picked up some abnormality from my abdomen - it shown cystic masses in both ovaries. The blood test results showed three out of the four tumour markers were elevated. The diagnostic was treated as ovarian cancer. I had debulking surgery where it was found that I had stage 3 pseudomyxoma peritonei (PMP).
I then had further cytoreductive surgery, I was so lucky that the surgery was performed by Prof. David Morris who is one of the world expert in this procedure. I was given HIPEC¹ during the operation and EPIC² after the operation for one week. I had post surgery complication by a chyle fistula. I was treated with octreotide and total parenteral nutrition (TPN) throughout the periods at the hospital, I was at the hospital for 5.5 weeks. The operation left me with a stoma, I had a reversal after 5 months.
Emotionally, I was affected every time I faced my children, particularly my son who has Autism. He relied on my care. For support, I turned to my family and colleagues from work, community nurses. Most importantly, I found Kay and she introduced me to the PMP support group. This group had given a strong support during my darkest time!
My health is fantastic now, I've returned to my normal life and be surrounded by families and friends. I was able to get back to my regular favourite sport - badminton - and I went back to work just four weeks after my stoma reversal operation.
If there are three things that I would share with fellow patients, they are:
- Be strong and confident, just thinking of your children, that they need your care
- Talk to the PMP support group, they will spiritually assist you and build up your hope - you are not alone
- Be happy and stay healthy.
I trust my surgeon, Prof. David Morris, who is based at the St George Hospital, Kogarah, NSW, Australia. I am so thankful that I was placed under his care, he has saved so many lives!
If you would like to read more stories, from survivors like Miranda, please visit our Survivors' Stories page.
- HIPEC, heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy
Chemotherapy given directly into the abdomen during surgery. It is usually heated to 40C.
- EPIC - early post-operative intraperitoneal chemotherapy
Chemotherapy given directly into the abdomen after surgery