Amy Ryan

Who would have thought that so much could happen in 21 months!

Finally after three years of trying to have a baby, one round of IVF with a positive test then a miscarriage, my husband and I did it. We were going to have a baby all on our own. This was to be the start of something new for us. My pregnancy was just wonderful with no hiccups along the way. Then on the 29th April 2010 our beautiful son Jonty was born. Our dreams had finally come true. Little did we know that Jonty was to be a life saver in so many ways?

Due to Jonty being stuck I had to have an emergency c-section. I was told by the doctor that I had a 6cm cyst on my right ovary. Since I have had cysts before and endometriosis I thought nothing of it and was told to have a scan in 6 weeks’ time. The next six weeks went fast as all my energy was on Jonty so didn’t even give the scan a second thought until I was trying to change my health insurance and needed my results.

This is when the roller coaster began. I was told that the cyst had grown to 12cm in 6 weeks and that it would need to be removed. So off to my gynaecologist I went and was informed that I had grown something different and that was the reason why I still looked 6 months pregnant!

When Jonty was 14 weeks old I went to have my cyst removed and what was to be a simple operation ended up with my right ovary and fallopian tube removed as well as a 25cm cyst full of 1.5 litres of fluid. At this stage they were thinking that it was just a benign tumour as nothing had shown in my blood. However a day after I got home we got the call to come in, it was cancer!

The tests began to determine what type of cancer it was. This was to see if what they had removed was a secondary form or the primary source of cancer. Luck was on my side and it was primary cancer they had removed. They couldn’t be certain that it hadn’t spread as the tumour had ruptured as they removed it. I was sent to meet a wonderful gynaecological oncologist who told me it was ovarian cancer and my treatment would involve a radical hysterectomy, removal of my appendix, lymph nodes and chemo.

In an instant my life had changed! At 32 I had another major operation that would mean I couldn’t look after my baby without help, I could no longer have children, five and half months of chemo resulting in the loss of all my hair, eye lashes, major weight gain and no self-esteem! During this time I had major ups and downs but with the support of my husband, Jonty, family, friends and people I met along the way I made it! I had my last chemo on the 21st April 2011 and Jonty had his 1st birthday on the 29th April 2011.

It is now 21 months on and I am cancer free. I have a wonderful family and a wee man that makes me smile every day. If it wasn’t for Jonty they would not have found it so early and I may not have been here today. Cancer has changed my life and in a funny way it has made me a stronger and a better person. Now I look forward to giving back and helping others. My first attempt is to get fit and run the Triple Peaks in March with friends to raise money and awareness for ovarian cancer, so keep your chin up as you will have bad days but you will get there in the end. I DID!!!

(March 2012)