pre diagnosis photo

An Unexpected Diagnosis

Hi, I’m Jenny and in the last 6 weeks my life has been turned upside down. I knew something wasn’t right but cancer, really?

Cancer’s really good at branding itself as a cold hearted killer so when you tell someone you have cancer they look at you as if you’re going to die. No surprise really, receiving the diagnoses felt much the same.  My boyfriend and I in tears, scared about the diagnoses and unsure about our future.

I went into hospital to have keyhole surgery. We’d been trying to get pregnant for 2 years with no success and after a year of tummy pain, tonnes of GP visits and a dozen pelvic scans, a keyhole surgery procedure was finally arranged. The intention being to diagnose and remove suspected endometriosis. I was looking forward to getting some answers, I never felt like my GP took my symptoms seriously, just put them down to “women’s problems” or IBS.

When I awoke the surgeon, the anaesthetist, the nurse and my wonderful boyfriend were all gathered around my bedside with concerned faces. “You have cancer, ovarian cancer” the surgeon said. “It started in the ovaries and has spread to the lining of your abdomen”.

Then we were given an ice block and left to ponder our new reality. Stunned into a childlike state we tried to process the news, it wasn’t until later I found out that they give you ice blocks at the hospital because the sugar brings you out of shock.

They put me in an ambulance from Kenepuru to Wellington hospital and the nurse chatted with me on the way, I felt carsick. The next morning I met my oncology surgeon. During the keyhole surgery the gynaecology surgeon had skyped my oncology surgeon who’d confirmed that they were dealing with cancer. I think it’s great that they used modern day comms to do this, it meant that my oncology surgeon knew exactly what was going on and it saved a lot of time in terms of diagnoses and hospital referrals. The oncology surgeon described my tumours as grains of rice that had been thrown at my abdomen.

I stayed overnight and had a CT scan, we were told to wait for further results. An appointment was scheduled for the following week where we would discuss the results of the biopsy and the scan, the type of cancer and the stage it was at. Then we were sent home to wait.

That was the longest week ever.