Germ cell, my story so far.
Hi, my name’s Ellie and I’m 19 years old. I was in the middle of my first year at university and was having water infections and unexplained fatigue, days where I literally stopped being able to do anything from exhaustion. After about 3 times of being precribed antibiotics for the infections, I decided to push for more explanation to why I was getting ill all the time. A GP found a lump in my abdomen and suspected it to be a dermoid cyst, but on the 23/03/11 an MRI revealed that I had a 14x11x10cm germ cell tumour on my left ovary. A CT scan and biopsy showed that I also had a smaller tumour on my right ovary (approx 4cm) and that the cancer had spread to my lymph nodes. Germ cell is a rare cancer affecting mostly younger women, only 1% of ovarian cancers are the same as mine.
I suspended my studies (hope to start my first year of uni again next year) and moved out of student halls where I had lived whilst at uni, to come and live at home with my parents while I undergo chemotherapy. I’m 2 courses into a projected 4 x BEP 5 day regieme. It’s definitely tough, I’m getting all the usual side effects including tinnitus, nausea, aches in my lymph nodes, neuropathy in my legs, hairloss, mouth ulcers and “chemo-brain”. I’m also experiencing the menopause complete with hot flushes because my ovaries have been “put to sleep” with the hope that I will recover fertility after treatment. There haven’t been any serious hiccups in the treatment so far. There’s currently a little concern about my lung function and possible damage by bleomycin (I got a cough 3 weeks ago and it still hasn’t shifted), and I had a low white count on a check up in my first round so I had a 5 day course of blood boosters, which gave me quite a lot of pain in my legs and lower back. In the second round when I was in hospital recieving chemo, they spotted I get a very low heart rate at night (about 40bpm) and this is also being checked out.
Even though this whole experience has completely upturned my life I remain positive. One thing I did before I went for my first round of chemo is raise some money for Cancer Research UK and awareness for germ cell and ovarian cancers by cutting my hair into a mohawk! http://30.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_ljn91zSu9R1qg643uo1_500.jpg I came to this website to try and meet other people in my situation and have people to talk to who can really relate to all this. I’m always up for a chat!
I also have a personal/cancer journey blog at http://www.cohenstr.tumblr.com