Jennifer’s testimony

“Life after a CA125 and HPV test and finally an ovarian cancer diagnosis can be even more beautiful than before… but this would not be possible without the precious help of research. Research does this; it gives us a second chance.”

JENNIFER: THE FEAR, THE STRUGGLE, THE HOPE

Do you see the ball in the photo? They are a few millimetres, the same size as my tumour. Lowercase. In my case, it wasn’t enough to remove it and try to forget it. It was small but very aggressive and very fast.

Despite his size, it was necessary to be more aggressive and meaner than him and hope that he would get so scared that he wouldn’t dare ever come back.”

“The words echo forcefully in my mind: “Madam, unfortunately, it is malignant!”.

Words heavy as a boulder. The world had stopped spinning for a few hours. I had wrapped myself under the duvet. It was hot, but I remember dying of puffy eyes and black-lined cheeks. The phone next to me rang crazy, but I didn’t dare to talk to anyone.”

Courage

It’s true; I am courageous because I continued smiling despite a CA125 cancer diagnosis. Because I decided to be happy despite everything and wake up every morning grateful to be here and be able to talk about it, and maybe help some other woman find the same strength. I summoned the courage to confront diagnoses, treatments, side effects, hair loss, and the haunting notion of leaving my children motherless, along with the regret of not having fulfilled all my dreams yet.

Should I be ashamed because I show up without hair? So be it if it can help others facing the same moments of fear, anguish and desperation.”

‘At the time of diagnosis, my children were 3 years old and 2 years old. I soon realized it wasn’t enough to tell them: “Mother has a CA125 Ovarian problem and needs to be treated”. I understood that they needed answers within their reach.

While they were away from home, I created illustrated stories using simple words to explain one of the most challenging HPV concepts to them. Reading a story to our children enriches the relationship in a moment of intimacy. And in such a painful moment for everyone, we need more than ever to carve out small moments to indulge in acts of love.”

“Who you were, who you are and who you will be. They are three different people.”

Story of Anna Maria

Let me introduce myself: I’m Anna Maria, a woman almost 56 years old, and since March 20, 2021, my life has been turned upside down. Having discovered ovarian CA125 cancer, I underwent surgery, and to this day, I am still undergoing chemotherapy. However, it may seem strange, but I am happy because it means that I am alive, that I have an Ovarian treatment that is working and that, above all, I can tolerate.

But my life is no longer the same as before. Despite possessing a strong character, there were moments when I believed I couldn’t do it and lacked the strength to fight the HPV. However, I found the inner strength to resist being completely overwhelmed. I reacted by setting a goal to reclaim a piece of my life daily.

Final message

I am the mother of two wonderful daughters, aged 19 and almost 22. Thinking of them gave me the strength and desire to take back my life, passions, and everything.

I left my job as a volleyball coach but continued to follow my two groups as much as my illness allowed; other coaches followed them, but I continued to feel part of them.

Sport is a medicine that helps us, and now that I feel quite well (compared to a few months ago) despite still being under therapy, double chemo tablets and in the mood, when I feel better, I go for walks, I go cycling, I go to see volleyball training, gardening… in short, I try to get back to my Cancer life slowly. It’s not easy because when I dare, I pay the price of tiredness, and then I realize that it’s not the same as before, but I don’t give up; we can go back to having a better life; we have to.

Story of Giulia:  an orange in the belly

There are many ways to tell an HPV illness story. Some abandon the keyboard to pick up pencils and brushes, like Giulia. A new episode every week. Here’s who Giulia is:

Giulia is a designer originally from the province of Turin who now lives in Marseille, France. Since childhood, she has always found refuge in drawing to express her thoughts.

In 2017, while living in Brussels, she realized almost by chance that she had ovarian issues. A few years later he decided to rely on drawing again, but this time to tell his story. The objective is to raise awareness of this CA125 tumour and reflect on the importance of listening to our body and its signals.

Story of Marta

Here I am; my name is Marta, I’m Tuscan, 32 years old.

My CA125 story was born after a very sad moment in my life: the loss of my mother. After two months that she was no longer there, I was trying to get pregnant. Inevitably, I started to have the first signs, even though I had the gynaecological HPV examination 4 months before and nothing had emerged. I trusted my instincts and returned to my ovarian gynaecologist, who, aware of my family history (my mother had battled breast cancer in 2010 and had been cured), conducted all the tests and performed the operation within 20 days, ultimately saving my life.

Mine was a high-grade serous adenocarcinoma on the right ovary. Fortunately, despite being in the first stage, they applied radical surgery. The surgery removed the appendicitis, omentum, ovaries and uterus. This allowed me to be at peace with the path I am facing: adjuvant chemotherapy until September and the results of the HPV genetic test, which will give me a complete vision of my situation.

Hope

With what happened to me and having to face therapy, it was very helpful to talk to a girl. A girl who had gone through the same path as me a year before. When these things happen you always feel a little alone, alone, despite the people you have next to you, root for you unconditionally.

I feel called to spread this seed of good in my small way. When you enter those departments, you realize we are all under the same sky. No one is immune from the “Evil of the century”. Many drops form a sea. By telling our CA125 Ovarian type cancer story, we can exorcise anxiety and raise awareness among women about prevention without fear. Although there is still no screening for the ovary, treatments and HPV research are progressing by leaps and bounds.