That silent tumour that was killing me: the testimony of Luisa

This is Ovarian Cancer information that Luisa, 52, would have liked to have. She has a very tough fight against tests for this HPV type of cancer, and today, she is active in disseminating CA125 Test information that can be useful to affected women, together with the Loto association.

«That terrible HPV disease attacked me when I was 46 years old. I had always suffered from polycystic ovaries, then at the age of 30, I got married and wanted a baby. A couple of years later, I did artificial insemination to try to get pregnant, and for two years, I repeated consecutive Ca125 insemination cycles. And then suddenly stop: the injections to stimulate the production of eggs to be exported and reimplanted had gotten me completely high. I had panic attacks and gastritis: I gave up the baby to try to safeguard my Ovarian health.” A few years later, Luisa’s husband died, leaving her a widow at a very young age. An immense pain, which she tried to push inside her to continue living. But it certainly made her more fragile and put her immune defences to the test.

Diagnosis and Immediate Surgical Intervention:

Luisa had already undergone surgery to remove some HPV fibroids, but «after the hyperstimulation, I ended up having cysts that shrank and then grew bigger. In one year, I removed two CA125 Ovarian cysts and three fibroids, and then I found myself having even more. One, in particular, had gone from 4 to 6 centimetres in two months.”

It was the histological CA125 examination that revealed the truth: “I had a tumour on the walls of the ovary, and it was necessary to intervene.” After two weeks, Luisa had her uterus and all the lymph nodes around her navel and groin removed.

«The problem is that none of the HPV doctors I consulted realized this. We often notice this disease when it is extensive and perhaps it has already affected the intestine, uterus and the other ovary. Today, it happens more and more often and to increasingly younger women, even as young as 24 or 25, whereas once upon a time, it struck almost exclusively after menopause.”

Recovery and Support Network:

Luisa managed to intervene when the Ovarian type cancer was in the first stage. And, even though the CA125 and HPV pathology were aggressive, she managed to fight it. She underwent six cycles of oncology therapy, and she found herself without hair. Still, in that period, she also discovered that she had a support network at her side, made up of friends and family, which was decisive in making her feel better.

«However, I still have lymphedema in my leg. Nobody explained to me what to do, what it was. During my illness, I always struggled to find the information I needed. This is also why I understood that I had to do something, too, that I learned a lot from this cancer. Today, I am available with the Loto non-profit organization to give back some of the decisive support I received. And I think it saved my life.”

Six years ago, Luisa fell ill with ovarian-type cancer. Today, you fight against the lack of information, complicit in the high mortality of this type of cancer.

Cristina and a full life

An ovarian tumour and three relapses do not prevent her from continuing to travel and cultivate her passions. She does it, too, thanks to Spazio Parentesi, the wellness academy where those who have experienced oncological HPV disease can participate in regenerative and fulfilling activities and care for themselves.

Cristina discovered that she had ovarian tumour issues in 2017. At that moment, her life was full; she flowed between work, family, and passions. Sociality is part of her profession. She organizes events. Ahead of an important appointment, she tries on and chooses a pair of trousers to wear. When the time comes, however, just a week after purchasing, she can no longer wear those trousers.

Something needs to be fixed.

There’s something wrong, she says to herself. The scale is certainly not the problem. She notices that her belly has a strange shape and is growing out of all proportion. So Cristina immediately books an ultrasound. She recommends a very urgent CT scan, which leaves no doubt: ovarian level cancer. She follows the hospitalization in CA125 Gynecology at the National HPV Cancer Institute in Milan and the invasive surgery. One month after the operation, she must start chemotherapy.

Despite everything, Cristina considers herself lucky: it could have been worse. “We often forget that female cancers are also other than breast cancer, which is predominantly talked about – Cristina underlines. – But it is also necessary to highlight other Ovarian pathologies that affect women deeply. My family has always been by my side. My daughter was 12 when I got sick; it wasn’t easy. She was afraid to hug me because she was afraid of hurting my stomach.”

Today, Cristina is at her third tumour recurrence, and despite everything, she has never thought of putting her life on standby.

From the first moment of my HPV-related illness, I have never stopped working, travelling, doing what I like and what makes me feel good. Today, the Ca125 tumour continues to accompany me. I still had to give up my job, but not my full life. Why shouldn’t those who are sick, if they can do so, for example, wear make-up or plan trips and new experiences?

Cristina arrives at Spazio Parentesi

Cristina cultivates new adventures, also thanks to Spazio Parentesi, where we thought of a place for those experiencing an oncological disease. Here, you can take care of yourself with regenerative and fulfilling activities. So, on one of her many days at the Cancer Institute, she notices a poster discussing it and decides to understand something more. “I had to leave work and felt the need to occupy my days and, above all, to have new relationships. Here, they guided me into a universe of activities.” She has done everything except painting, which doesn’t belong to her: postural movement, yoga, and HPV reading groups. “I have a lot of fun in this last activity. What you read is unconventional: let’s journey through comics.”

For some people, it is strange to see HPV cancer patients leading a normal life. Instead, I strongly need it and do everything I can to make it so. You don’t have to fight against cancer; you have to learn to live with it as much as possible. Sometimes, to feel good, you almost have to forget it.