THE BLOG

I Was Told I Had Incurable Cancer at 30

29/12/2015 10:45 GMT | Updated 29/12/2016 10:12 GMT

I started with bowel problems just after Christmas in 2011 which went on for three weeks - I couldn't eat, or go to the toilet and I was being sick, constantly bringing up any food I ate.

I do amateur dramatics and was in a production of The Wizard of Oz that year but it all got so bad that I was rushed to hospital on the day of the opening performance. I had been sick that morning and my mum, Barbara, had to drive me to A and E.

I was absolutely gutted that I couldn't perform and felt like I had let everyone down.

Eventually the hospital took some blood tests and said they wanted to look into it further. At that point I wasn't too worried, just annoyed that I couldn't be in the show.

I had a CT scan which showed that I had a blockage in my bowel and that it might be Crohn's disease - they would need to operate.

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A day later the results were back and it wasn't good news. It was cancer. I was totally stunned and broke down in tears. We were all shell shocked - I never in my wildest dreams thought it would be cancer.

From that point everything kicked into action and I was quickly given an operation to remove the growth - they were confident that they had got most of it but wanted me to undergo chemotherapy for six months just in case, as it had spread to some of my lymph nodes.

It was then that they informed me that the chemo could affect my chances of having children. I was transferred to an IVF specialist hospital in Hammersmith to have my embryos stored as a precaution. It was an upsetting time, but my boyfriend Anthony was with me every step of the way.

In April 2012 I began chemotherapy. It was tough; I had to have treatment every other week for six months, which brought on side effects such as nausea and tiredness.

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But thankfully, following the treatment, I was given the all clear, which meant life could finally go back to normal.

In fact everything was fine until I went for a routine scan over a year later, in January 2014. My results were taking a while to come back so I called them, concerned that something had changed. A week later I was told they weren't happy with the scan - it was showing that my right ovary was larger than it should be.

Eventually, that May, I got the phone call I had been dreading; they told me that I had secondary cancer in my right ovary. It was devastating. I couldn't believe it. I felt healthier than ever and hadn't had any symptoms, so was completely in shock.

The cancer had spread to both ovaries and my peritoneum - I was told that at this stage it was treatable but not curable. Luckily my mum was there with me, but we both broke down. To be told you have incurable cancer at the age of 30 is a dreadful shock; my immediate thought was that I was going to die.

After a laparoscopy a couple of weeks later and a biopsy, they decided to operate.

I was admitted to hospital on 18th January 2015 and had the operation two days later - I still remember walking to theatre that morning; it felt like the film The Green Mile. They said the op was successful and that they had removed everything they could. I don't remember what I said when I woke up, but my dad told me afterwards that the first thing I asked was if it was all gone.

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When the results came back, it turned out the cancer had spread to my womb, rectum, large bowel, small bowel and pelvis - so the operation had been much more extensive than anticipated and they couldn't save my womb as they had hoped. I was finally discharged on 14th Feb.

Losing my womb means that I can't now have children naturally but as Anthony and I stored embryos when I was first diagnosed, in the future I could possibly use a surrogate - or adopt. It was hard for me to take in as I have always wanted children, but I know I am lucky to even be here.

My chemo finished in October this year and I still have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand I am happy that I can finally get on with life but I am also a little wary. The chemo was a safety net and now it's over I feel in limbo. However, I was able to concentrate on rehearsals for a Pantomime I was in this year - there was no way that I was going to let the cancer stop me from doing what I love.

2015 has been a year of highs and lows. There have been some really dark times, so much so that I didn't know if I could carry on, but my friends and family have got me through it. There were also some happy times like my brother getting married in August - I was so happy that I was there.

I now have a new job and some amazing things to look forward to in 2016. Cancer will not get the better of me.

Stevie is supporting Cancer Research UK's campaign to beat cancer sooner. Cancer is happening right now, and you can do something to help right now. Visit cruk.org