Not going down without a fight

Name: Chelsea Vella

Date of diagnosis: November 2018 I was diagnosed with low grade serous ovarian cancer.

I am: A 40 year old Mum from the NSW Central Coast, Australia.
I have an amazing husband Waine and 2 beautiful kids Richie 13 and Billie 10.

The cancer was found: After experiencing about 18 months of different kinds of aches and pains in my abdomen area. 3 different GP’s had given me referrals to dieticians and nutritionists because I was overweight and wanted to lose weight but kept getting these “stitch” like pains. Finally my doctor sent me for a abdomen ultrasound. The results were gallstones, many gallstones in my gallbladder, and one actually blocking the neck so they thought that must be what was causing the pain. I got put on a waitlist to have my gallbladder taken out.

The first weekend of November I became really ill I thought I had food poisoning I started vomiting and I had really bad cramping. By Monday my stomach had bloated up to the size where I looked 9 months pregnant my husband rushed me to emergency.

I woke from surgery thinking my gallbladder had been removed and I would be ready to go home that later that day.
The doctor and phoned my husband and told him to come in straight away.

The worst day of my life was when the doctor looked me in the eye and told me that there was nothing that he could do, that I had ovarian cancer and that I should go home and look after my children and get all my things in order.
I went into complete shock. I told my husband to go home and get the kids ready for school take them to school and pretend like everything was normal.

I then called one of my best friends, she left work and came straight to the hospital. Then as the day went by slowly one by one my army of amazing friends and my parents and sister all turned up and ever since that day I never been to one appointment, chemo session, scan or results appointment alone. My Parents have been to every oncologist appointment, and my husband is the warm strong arms I fall into every night, he has stepped up with the kids, housework and cooking as well as working full time to keep the bills paid and food on the table.

After much searching and going to see different professors and gynecologists at different hospitals I was finally referred to the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. There I met with a team of amazing doctors and they started to give me a little hope.

We started chemotherapy Christmas Eve 2018.

Unfortunately my doctors have explained to me that surgery is not an option, so this now something i’m going to have to live with the rest of my life. I’m unsure how long the rest of my life will be, but at present we are having some good results with treatment. I have had no further cancer growth and even a little shrinkage of the tumor on the ovary. I hope I continue to go this way.

How your donations would impact me: I hope that one day I will be able to say I’m cancer free!!!

What I would say to someone else going through this: You know your body, if something doesn’t feel right don’t put up with it, ask for a second, third even forth opinion. Don’t go on google when you can’t sleep at 2am!! If you are feeling overwhelmed you can ask your friends and family to help “research” online and filter what you see. Cure Our Ovarian Cancer is a good place to start.

Postscript: Chelsea sadly passed away early March 2022