Cancer Reality

I am laying on the Sunshine Coast after my surfing lesson. Yes, learning to surf is on my bucket list. I can feel the warmth of the sun on my back I listen to the waves, I taste salt and I smile as I watch people walk by. I focus on the moment to stay positive, I reflect on the past and I try to make small future plans but mostly I try not to get lost in things outside of my control. I try and live in the present, mindfulness and staying active is what I attribute to the fact that other than having stage 4 cancer I would describe myself as healthy. I even amaze myself sometimes with my positivity and how much I love and enjoy my present life, cancer diagnosis and all. My life is not ruined, I find enjoyment and fun on a daily basis.

Yesterday a horrible thing happened, I don't know what the reality of the situation is, the truth will come out over the next few weeks and months. A girl who lives around the corner from me, who I have never met but have messaged her offering support has been accused of faking a ovarian cancer diagnosis for financial gain. As I said I don't know the truth, I don't know her motives and I have no right to comment on that. What I can say is how it affects me and how I imagine it feels to the thousands of women living with ovarian cancer and the millions of cancer warriors.

A friend sent me the link to the story yesterday. I cried. I am rarely emotional, a friend even said it is so rare to see me cry she would have been so surprised, she wouldn't have known what to do. Even though I had no reason, immediately I felt guilty for something, I felt that I had to defend myself and that I needed to justify or prove that I have cancer. I shouldn't have felt like this but when people fake cancer they contribute to a future that I hope never comes to fruition; where cancer warriors have to prove their cancer to receive support. That is a sad future. As I have recently been fundraising I was concerned how this affects all the people that work so hard to raise money for a future of improved treatments and more palatable statistics on prognosis. Ovarian cancer is one of the less publicised cancers that needs more awareness and more funding into research for treatments. W

e don't need headlines of fake cancer sowing seeds of doubt.

I hope that this very negative situation can be turned around and that the media and individuals use this to discuss the reality of ovarian cancer and increase much needed funding. I was unsure personally whether it is wrong to use this situation as an opportunity to spread awareness on my own reality. But sharing a real story of living and thriving with ovaian cancer is making lemonade from lemons.

I was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer in Nov 2016 at 27yo, I have always been open with friends and family about my story. In Sept 2018 I started fundraising for gynaecological cancer research through ANZGOG 's Save The Box campaign. The money goes to clinical trials in Australia for new ovarian cancer treatments that I may one day need. With the fundraising I found a more public voice and realised that telling my story is not just about fundraising but spreading awareness and contributing to a better future for all the women affected and unfortunately often killed by ovarian cancer. So together lets use the present moment to make some lemonade. Please support all the women affected by ovarian cancer by learning the facts, spreading the word by discussing the reality with friends and if able donating. Lets try and be positive.

Thanks, Alisha

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