Your Name: Julia
Date of Diagnosis: September 2020
Age at Diagnosis: 34 years old
City: Montreal, Canada
Life before cancer: I’ve always viewed myself as an average girl, a girl with no real story to tell. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve lived a very nice life, and a life that suited me perfectly. I had a good job, a beautiful home, a stable relationship for close to ten years, and the same group of friends from childhood, but again, no real story to tell.
I’ve always loved working (sometimes a little too much!), going out for dinner, shopping for nice clothes, and was passionate about training. I ran daily, on top of maintaining my gym routine.
Sadly, my life has changed forever. And now, I do have a story to tell.
Despite the sadness of my story, there will be a silver lining.
The lead up to diagnosis:
Towards the latter part of August of this year, I started to experience abdominal pain and swelling. Staying true to myself, I was content with throwing back a few Tums and getting on with my day, being convinced that the discomfort would eventually pass. But the situation did not improve. Severe abdominal swelling ended up sending me to the emergency room.
After 4 days of countless tests and a false diagnosis, I received just about the worst news imaginable: I was diagnosed with a very advanced stage of ovarian cancer. To make things even more terrifying, it happens to be a rare form of ovarian cancer. Wait, what? Ovarian cancer? Me? How could this be? I exercise regularly and mainly nourish myself with fruit and vegetables.
So many questions, and sadly too few answers.
A changed life:
Just 36 hours after my diagnosis, I found myself lying on an operating table. And almost as fast as one has their engine oil changed, I now found myself with the better part of my reproductive system removed. And this was not all that was taken away. I also lost every single sense of normalcy in my life. Needless to say, my career, my life projects, my training and my body, poof gone! And just to be clear, the possibility of ever having my own children was also taken away.
Now I know this is alot to take in. And I’d be lying if I told you that the weight of all of this is not utterly crushing, that I don’t have moments of complete despair and that I don’t ask myself questions that a 30-some year old should never have to ask herself. That being said, I’d also be lying if I told you that I haven’t since had some of the most beautiful moments of my entire life, that I haven’t found a new appreciation for every single moment, moments that I may otherwise have never taken notice. Truth be told, I have more clarity than I have ever had and am starting to discover a new sense of purpose in life.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying this is easy. It’s not. Every day, I hope to wake up from this never-ending nightmare. But my 27.5 cm scar is a constant reminder that this is my new reality.
Joy in adversity
Oddly enough, cancer may have robbed me of many things, but not my joy of living (joie de vivre!). How you may ask? Because it is completely out of the question that I concede my happiness. It’s hard to explain, but I feel like I’ve discovered an entirely new strength in me. This new strength undoubtedly also comes from my support system: my husband, my family and the thousands of soldiers behind me. And funny enough, social media has been an immense help.
Social media has allowed me to connect with other women living through the same challenges as I am. It gives me HOPE, for a BEAUTIFUL LIFE and for medical breakthroughs that may one day lead to A CURE! I have HOPE. Being a girl who rarely shares anything through social media, why go public with such a personal and difficult story? Well for one, bearing all the weight of this type of situation on your own shoulders is not an easy task. Just as I write this post, I am already beginning to feel liberated. Secondly, I hope that through my story, others can find strength when they may need it most. And lastly, I’m hoping to be able to raise awareness on this disease they call the silent killer. So I plan on sharing my fight, and all the beautiful moments that will ensue. And trust me, there will be many of them!
Survival-mode is quite something. It feels like I’m slowly transforming into a lioness, fighting this b**** of a disease. So if you see a lioness in the distance, on top of the Mount-Royal, you’ll know it’s me:)
So cheers to the girl who now has a story to tell.
#lgsoc #lowgradeserous #ovariancancer #girlthathasastorytotell #warrior #thrivegang #hope #cancerfighter #ovariancancerawareness #healing