Alisha skydiving post chemo

Change The World

Name: Alisha Thomson

Date of diagnosis: 18th November 2016

Age at diagnosis: 27 years young

Country: Townsville, Australia

I am: A lot of things to a lot of people, but my favourite role is being an aunty to my beautiful nephew, Cohen. I grew up wanting to change the world. I became a doctor to help people, my dream was to finish my training and travel the world working where I went. When I drew my last breaths on this wonderful earth I wanted to be satisfied that my life had meant something, that I had made a difference in this world. What I never considered was that rather than make a difference through my role as a doctor that it might be because of a diagnosis of ovarian cancer.

The day I was diagnosed: I was leaving the house to go on a girls weekend away. I had been experiencing abdominal pain for month and although I had been to the GP a few times I had been dismissive of the severity of my own symptoms. Life was too busy to have abdominal pain, it was only when it forced me to have time off that I noticed the weight loss, the lack of appetite and the nausea. I immediately went back to the GP, I knew the red flags. The morning of the trip was a Friday I had a CT scan and planned to get the results the following week. As I went to get in the car I saw the missed call from the GP. I was filled with dread. I considered not calling back.
When I arrived at the GP’s office I was told that I had cancer. They didn’t know what type just that it was ‘extensive metastatic disease’. It took about 3 weeks to make the final diagnosis of stage 4 low grade ovarian cancer.

Oh, I should mention if you want to understand what kind of person I am. I still went on that girls weekend and I did have fun.

My ovarian cancer treatment: For two and a half years I was on a number of treatments, 3 different types of chemotherapy, bevacizumab and letrozole as well as surgery. I had a scare part way through the treatment where they found the cancer had spread to my heart, that was a very tough time. In April 2019 unexpectedly my PET scan showed the cancer was gone. Something my doctors and I never thought was possible. I don’t call it a miracle as it was actually a lot of hard work and took a lot of positive thinking. I will need medication for the rest of my life but that is a small price to pay.

How your donations would impact me: When I was diagnosed with low grade ovarian cancer the oncologist started me on chemotherapy. She told me at the time that it was unlikely that it would work as chemotherapy rarely worked for low grade. I was devastated why put me through the pain of chemotherapy if the chances of it working well were about 4%. Turns out I didn’t have any better options. I am just thankful that my cancer which always seems to do the unexpected, responded. Low grade ovarian cancer needs research so we have some treatments specific to this nightmarish disease. Ovarian cancer has high relapse rates and if that is to ever happen to me I would like better odds.

What I would say to every woman: Listen to your bodies, life is never to busy to look after yourself.

What I would say to another woman with low-grade serous ovarian cancer: Live life to the full, no matter what you think might be your outcome, find enjoyment in the present. Bucket lists are powerful.

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