Arlene's daughter Alyssa was 16 years old when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. A vigilant GP noticed a mass on her abdomen when she was suffering with a stomach virus and, after several operations, she is free of cancer without needing chemotherapy. Arlene wants to share her story to give hope to others fighting the disease.
"It all started when the whole house caught a nasty stomach virus. Almost all of us were sick with vomiting for a few days.
On the third day of vomiting I decided to take my daughter Alyssa to the doctor. While at the paediatrician the doctor noticed a mass in her abdomen. She told me I needed to make an appointment for an ultrasound.
When I couldn't get an appointment immediately I decided to take her to the ER where I work. The wonderful staff at mountainside hospital in Montclair New Jersey treated us well but unfortunately the doctors found a tumour by her ovary, which needed to be removed immediately.
She was transferred to another hospital. My poor baby went through a horrible recovery when the tumour was removed. She had to be cut open from top to bottom of her abdomen.
She suffered so much. As a mother it was the worst experience of my life, watching my beautiful daughter go through this and not being able to do anything but pray.
Two weeks later we received the results – she was diagnosed with stage 1A grade 2 ovarian cancer.
My world was turned upside down. One moment we celebrated her sweet 16, the next my daughter had cancer.
Alyssa had a partial hysterectomy and to make sure the cancer had not spread to her lymph nodes. She was just recovering from major surgery only to be told she now needed to be cut open again; this time lose an ovary and fallopian tube. Her recovery from her second surgery was worse than the first and my poor baby was suffering again.
But Alyssa is such a strong young woman. She recovered from these surgeries quickly.
When we got results back the news was great. Not only did the cancer not spread but it was isolated to just the tumour and since the tumour was removed she is now cancer free. She doesn't need to have chemotherapy and this nightmare is over. I want to share this story to give hope and support to all the women out there dealing with ovarian cancer. Don't give up."
Do you know the symptoms of ovarian cancer? Early diagnosis saves lives