It was the scariest thing ever. I thought, "Who knows what this is? I’m going to die, at 21 years old."
At just 21 years old, Lydia was told she had a tumour the size of a cantaloupe, and it was tangled around one of her ovaries.
She had been diagnosed with teratoma – a type of germ cell cancer usually found in the reproductive organs of younger people.
“It was the scariest thing ever. I thought, ‘Who knows what this is? I’m going to die, at 21 years old,’” she said.
Lydia went through chemotherapy to remove the tumour, which was unfortunately completely entwined around her left ovary. “They couldn’t save it; they had to remove the whole ovary.”
Fortunately doctors were able to isolate and protect the right ovary; however, it would ultimately affect her ability to conceive in the future.
“Even when I was going for check-ups at 23 and 24, they were urging me to consider getting pregnant immediately, because it would prove difficult later on,” she said, “But I was still so young.”
Eight years on and while the mental and physical scars sometimes still bring pain, Lydia is positive about spreading awareness of less common or ‘forgotten’ cancers.
Today she yearns to experience more things and get a normal life back together and is now trying to have a baby with her long-term partner.
Lydia is forever grateful of and still supported by the medical teams and her loving family who helped her through chemotherapy and difficult times.
She says, “It’s important to have that support network…People need to know that there is help and treatment options and that they’re not alone.”