“The most challenging part is not being able to take care of my kids the way I want to,” she said. “I couldn’t even pick them up for 8 weeks after my surgery.”
“I used the term medical unicorn a lot,” she said. “I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I saw doctor after doctor. I wanted to give up. I always felt like they didn’t believe me, that I was making it up. No one would ever take me seriously.”
“The biggest challenge for me since being diagnosed would be the physical changes,” Kara said. “The scars, the menopause, the infertility. Knowing that in my group of friends at now 33 I’m the only one experiencing these changes while everyone else can still experience life as a normal middle-aged woman.
“I had already had IBS for years, but these were persistent changes that I knew were different for me,” she said.
Her doctors misdiagnosed it as a dermoid cyst. A blood test found a CA-125 level of 25, within the normal range of 0-35.
She saw her doctors twice. The second time she described lower abdominal pain and a frequent need to urinate, including at nighttime, which was new for her. Her request for a scan was denied.
“My hospital admission and diagnosis came just as Omicron had taken hold in New Zealand and there was a no visitors policy put on hospitals,” she said. “I struggled with being alone with the diagnosis after that until I was discharged on day four as it wasn’t the news I wanted to tell my husband and family over the phone.”
“As a young working mama, I never thought cancer would be part of my journey,” she said.
She had been experiencing increased urgency to urinate, pain in her lower abdomen and pelvis, fatigue, change in bowel habits, loss of appetite and breathlessness.
“I pray for more research to find a way to stop this demon in its tracks,” said Ann, who was told her cancer is terminal.“If we can save any ladies going through this horrible disease, we are winning,” she said. “Let’s stop this early.”
“Like the doctors, I thought ovarian cancer was only seen in older women not young women like me. We were all wrong and it must not continue to be discounted when women like me, no matter our age, present with symptoms.”