The Christchurch mother says the diagnosis of ovarian cancer is heartbreaking, but finding that she has not been screened is unacceptable.
“If I had a lump in my breast, it wouldn’t take that long to make a diagnosis,” said Sarah Luxon, a 34-year-old woman who still mourns the loss of a child.
“I find it unfair.” I turned to my smudges, checked my breasts. Nobody tells you what to look out for in gynecological tumors. “
Luxon was diagnosed with fourth-stage ovarian cancer in 2021, after more than a year and a “huge effort” to persuade medical professionals to examine its symptoms.
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Initially, she allowed a number of digestive problems, such as bloating and unusual bowel movements, to go through uncontrolled and dismiss herself as an exaggerated reaction.
“It was all things that every woman probably has at one point,” she said.
Even though she found a lump in her pelvis, she tried to survive it, thinking it was a pregnancy-related hernia.
When the fatigue increased, she went to the doctor. After several visits, she felt she was “painful,” but she continued to stand up.
“Something was wrong … you know your body.”
She pushed hard to be sent for further testing. She asked for a copy of her medical records, hoping to find answers.
“Whatever the report said, I was always told that the best option was what I had,” she said.
She found a record of an ovarian tumor captured in a previous scan. “We forgot about it then because I just said, ‘Oh, I have polycystic ovary syndrome, so of course my ovaries are big.’
She now had five to 15 years to live and did not want anyone else with an uterus to end up in her position.
Kiwis die of ovarian cancer every 48 hours, and about 300 are diagnosed with cancer each year. This is statistically unusual.
“The problem is, there’s not enough research.” [on ovarian cancer] “so we know what drugs to give people to stop the progression of the disease,” Luxon said.
“I was really trying to get my head down next to the people in the chemotherapy room.” Some of them say, ‘Yeah, I got it, so I’ll do this, then this, and then I’ll finish.’
“I will be monitored for three months for the rest of my life, and if I am lucky, it will be 15 years or more.” If I’m unlucky, it’ll be five years or less. That’s a big difference in a child’s life. “
In his blog Joy in the Small Things, he discusses the “mess” of life in a state of grief. Processing cancer emotions while mourning the loss of a child, despite the support of friends and whānau, was a lonely journey, she said.
Her little daughter Mackenzie died in 2017 after only 13 days due to health.
“I never want anyone else to feel that way.” I want the message to be there somehow that I’m here and I like to talk. “
When she was no longer working, she could spend time with her tamarics – 2-year-old Willla and 7-year-old Hazel and a 19-year-old stepdaughter – with whom she could talk about her illness.
“I told her I had cancer … but as far as the prognosis is concerned, I don’t know how to explain it to a seven-year-old.” The oncologist can’t even explain it to me. “
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