Mandie is in 2016 gediagnoseer met eierstokkanker. In Video 1 vertel sy ons van haar diagnose en behandeling.
Mandie was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2016. In Video 1 she tells us about her diagnosis and treatment.
Interview with Mandie Agrella
Diagnosis and Treatment
I’m Mandie Agrella and I’m 46 years old, almost 47. I work at the Bryanston Methodist Church and I do a bit of everything there. At the beginning of the year, around February, I was diagnosed with a teratoma adenocarcinoma. That’s the only word I know for it, although there must be an Afrikaans word for it, but that’s basically what I was diagnosed with.
What is ovarian cancer?
Ovarian cancer is a cancer of the cells of one or both ovaries. The ovaries are paired organs that are located on either side of the womb.
Ovarian Cancer Diagnosis
At the end of January I went to the gynaecologist because I had been experiencing intense pain for a very long time. He told me that I had large tumour and he said, “Maybe we should wait a bit, “, but I implored him to remove it because I had been in pain 24 hours a day, 7 day a week. He removed the tumour and one of my ovaries because the pathologist who was present during the operation said it was not cancerous, but of course they have to do a biopsy on everything. In the second week after the operation, when I went to have my stitches removed, I was told there was a bit of a problem as they had discovered cancer when they did the biopsy. The cancer was hiding in the tumour. It is an extremely rare form of cancer, there are about 30 documented cases so there is no histology in how to treat this type of cancer.
I was then referred to an oncologist but I could only see her four weeks later as she was extremely busy. I went to her and she said, “Pleased to meet you, I know about your case,” which doesn’t sound good, I actually started wondering how much time I actually have left. However, she was very helpful and she had so much compassion, I have really never had a doctor like that and I would never go to anyone else for a situation like this. She basically gave me three options, we could leave it because the cancer might have been removed with the tumour, or we could do further removal because it is a cancer that conceals itself, and it isn’t the kind of cancer that can be picked up by a scan. She said it might be so advanced that I only have three months to live but she can’t say because there is no history regarding this type of cancer. She had discussed it with a few people because she had my case with her for a while at that stage. So I asked her what she would do or suggest and she said she would want to know for sure, so remove certain things, check for cancer and then take it from there for possible chemo.
She said I could go for chemo but that I should remember that chemo also kills good cells and not just the bad cells. So my choices were, either I do nothing, or I go for chemo, or I have the operation. I told her I would like to know for sure and that I would go for the operation. That was on a Tuesday and on the Friday I was in hospital for the operation. Everything just worked out, the hospital and the approval from the medical aid. I told my gynaecologist that I have policy that could pay out, and when I went to the oncologist I also told her that I have a policy. She said we should first see what the situation is when we remove what needs to be removed and then we can fill everything in. She said, “Get the papers ready but at the moment the operation is the most important thing.” Within three days I was told that I would have to go for a second operation, after being off for six weeks after the first one. The tumour was on the ovary so the ovary had to be removed but then the other ovary also had to be removed because they didn’t know if it had spread to the other side. The gynaecologist had only removed the tumour and not the ovary.
The oncologist then removed both ovaries, as well as 32 lymph nodes. She removed the membrane that’s found around the stomach, because that is where something like this would hide, she removed my appendix and there was a portion of my colon that she had to work on because the appendix was attached to it. There were intestinal cells inside the teratoma and that’s where the cancer was located, so they checked my intestines as well to make sure that the cancer wasn’t hiding in there. After the operation she sent everything away and the lymph nodes turned out to be clean and the cancer had been removed so nothing had been left behind. As a precaution they do ask if you want to go for chemo and I thought to myself, “No, I am not planning on going for chemo.” I had started using natural remedies, I was taking turmeric pills, I was drinking beetroot juice, and I was trying all sorts of natural remedies. I told her that if we find something at the 4 month check-up then we can think about it but until then I’m going to follow this route.