This year on her 54th birthday, my beautiful mother Lisa was rushed to hospital and had emergency surgery, where they discovered she had stage 3c ovarian cancer. They performed a full hysterectomy and removed part of her liver and diaphragm where the cancer had spread to. She called it the universe delivering her the “great gift of resilience”.
The next step in treatment is usually chemotherapy to “mop up” the remaining cancer cells. But chemotherapy is rarely a success story for women with her stage of ovarian cancer, and in 90% of cases, the cancer comes back. By following the normal route of chemotherapy, Lisa was given a 39% chance of surviving the next 5 years, and much less of making it to the 10-year mark. For anybody who knows Lisa’s incredible lust for life, she refused to accept these odds.
Mum took on cancer like a challenge, researching it inside and out in the hope of finding a more sustainable treatment plan. She visited oncologists, Chinese herbal doctors, gene specialists and everything in between.
With her incredible spirit, she transformed every aspect of her life… juicing, cycling, yoga, organic anti-cancer diets (no sugar, no gluten, no dairy, no alcohol!) and that was just the beginning.
For 8 months she had managed to keep the cancer at bay through recommended supplements and high dose vitamin C injections, which has shown to reduce tumour growth effectively. This treatment is approved in the US mainstream medical system, but hasn’t reached Australian hospitals yet, so each weekly treatment leaves mum $600 out of pocket. With these accumulating medical bills, mum has been forced to cut down on some of her much-needed treatments.
This month we received the unfortunate news that her tumour marker is on the rise again, and with the discovery of two new growths, she now has to hit the cancer more aggressively. After paying $6000 to find out the genetic mutation of her cancer, the next chapter in mum’s story is to get her to a clinic on the Gold Coast that specialises in intensive gene therapy and IV treatments. The 6-week treatment plan is tailored to her specific genetic mutation (P53!) that is causing her cancer, however, it comes at a cost of $60,000.
It’s a tough figure to swallow but would be life changing for mum if she could afford these more advanced medical treatments. I’ve started this crowd funding page for anybody who can help Lisa in her fight against ovarian cancer.
Medical treatments should be a right not a luxury, but the reality is that my mum and her partner are still paying off hospital bills from the surgery in February. In school, society and in life, we are taught to solve problems on our own, and this year I have watched my mum and Steven fight tirelessly to keep themselves afloat.
Last week I was in Sydney when mum had a 3am dash to the emergency, the fourth one in two months. Scar tissue from her surgery caused a bowel blockage that lasted three days. Despite not being able to eat or drink in her condition, she came home smiling, adamant to cook dinner and fuss over everyone else...even going to yoga the very next day!
I am constantly in awe of mum's strength and ability to bounce back with a smile on her face. I know she will keep fighting to come out on top, but it would be incredible to see a community of wonderful people help carry her over this hurdle, the way she carries so many of us. I can assure you it will be one hell of a party when this is all over! Lisa style!