|Photo via Witchery|
I recently had the honour of speaking at the Witchery White Shirt Campaign Launch at the Roslyn Packer Theatre.
The campaign is a fashion based initiative by Witchery in support if the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation.
|Photo via Witchery|
The event was attended by the 2017 campaign ambassadors including Megan Irwin, Tahnee, Atkinson, Annabella Barber and Zoe Cross. Along with Australia's top media Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, , Elle, Marie Claire, Instyle, Sunday Life and style influers Yan Yan Chan, Nadia Fairfax, Nathan Joliffe and Kaitlyn Ham, as well as many others including members of the Witchery and OCRF teams.
I share my speech with you here....
Firstly massive thanks to the OCRF and Witchery for having me here to share my story today. The more we hear real stories from patients and survivors the greater the awareness will be.
I’m Letitia Linke 37 wife to Paul, and mum to Ollie 11 and Tommy 10. I live on a farming property 2 hrs from Adelaide.
In 2013 I went on a health kick and lost a large amount of weight through diet and exercise.
I felt some pain in my abdominal wall and felt a lump.
I went to two GPs who suspected I had a hernia and referred me to a reconstructive surgeon.
This surgeon sent me off for an MRI in which they noticed some unusual tissue, at this time they thought it to be endometriomas.
I was then referred to Gynaecologist who booked me in for a cleanup operation, on one of the worst cases of endometriosis she had ever seen.
Whilst in surgery she biopsied my ovaries.
A few days later I had a call from her to discuss my results.
I received the news that they had found ovarian cancer cells. I was aged 34.
A few days later I underwent a radical hysterectomy.
At this point I felt extremely grateful for having had my two boys at a young age.
During this surgery they removed the abdominal lumps I had felt. These turned out to be cancerous tumours.
What followed was 18 weeks of chemotherapy once a week in Adelaide.
Then another operation to remove yet another tumour.
5 weeks of 5 day a week radiotherapy in Adelaide. Then another operation to fix part of my bowel which had been obstructed by the cancer.
During this operation my doctor noticed some spots on my abdominal wall....
My cancer had relapsed.
I wasn’t surprised. I’d seen it happen to other patients and the percentage of relapse in Ovarian Cancer Patients is extremely high.
I then started another 6 months of monthly chemotherapy.
I am now still on maintenance chemotherapy once a month. My latest scans are good but I know that this can change at any time.
It’s chemo once a month and life as normal the rest of the time.
I feel extremely lucky that my cancer was found early enough to treat. Not everybody is so lucky.
There is a huge need for an early detection test for Ovarian Cancer. Pap smears do NOT detect it despite 50% of our population believing incorrectly that it does.
Before I was diagnosed I knew nothing about Ovarian Cancer.
The work I have been doing in my role as community ambassador for the OCRF has been both rewarding personally and a great positive focus to have whilst undergoing treatment.
The White Shirt Campaign has helped hugely to raise the profile of Ovarian Cancer Research in Australia whilst also raising the vital funds needed to develop an early detection test and more targeted successful treatments.
My heartfelt thanks to Witchery and the OCRF for their support of Ovarian Cancer Research.
During the WHITE SHIRT CAMPAIGN I will be wearing my white shirt proudly because until 3 years ago aged 34 diagnosed with ovarian cancer I had no idea of the signs and symptoms. I would like to raise awareness for this horrible disease, educate women to know their bodies and help fund research for an early detection test.
I will also wear it for my friends from the chemo room who have sadly lost their battle.... let’s all do our very best to help others win theirs!
You can get your white shirt here !
|With my bestie Sally photo via Witchery|