Determined to speak up and share her story, Susanna has embarked on a warriorlike charge against ovarian cancer; raising awareness and much needed funds for research for the lesser known, yet most lethal, gynaecological cancer.
In March 2019, at age 42, Susanna was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer. Without any symptoms other than a lack of menstruation, which was wrongly attributed to stress, Susanna was shocked by the diagnosis; “ovarian cancer simply wasn’t expected, anticipated or even remotely contemplated,” she said.
On diagnosis, Susanna’s cancer was found on both ovaries, the lining of her abdomen, lymph nodes, liver and lungs. But, after five rounds of chemotherapy and a full hysterectomy, she is reacting positively to treatment, and is “pretty much clear”.
Still undergoing treatment, with her sixth round of chemotherapy to be followed by 12 rounds of targeted Avastin therapy, Susanna is not letting the disease stand in her way. Having just completed the 5km walk at Run Melbourne 2019 on July 28, Susanna successfully raised $2,024.00 for the OCRF.
“I participated in this event to raise funds and increase awareness for ovarian cancer research. We read so many stories about other gynaecological cancers like breast and cervical cancer, but few stories that alert people to the fact that there are no early detection tests for ovarian cancer, which is the ninth most common cancer in women in Australia.”
Susanna credits her ability to combat cancer to her amazingly supportive family, friends and work, but it’s clear that it is also because of her own tenacious spirit.
Although she admits to bad days where she has fought away negative thoughts and wanted to hide away from it all, particularly when hit with weight gain and hair loss from chemotherapy, Susanna finds the strength to persevere by reminding herself what really matters in the scheme of things.
“I need to cut myself some slack and just accept that nobody cares whether I am prim and perfect, and what matters most is authenticity. So, I have been doing my best to let go of the person who I think I am supposed to be and embrace who I am!”
Her outlook, determination and spirit are truly inspirational, and we look forward to hearing more of Susanna’s story in the future.