A brave mum who thought she was pregnant after feeling 'something move' in her stomach has revealed how she was actually battling ovarian cancer after doctors found a MELON-SIZED tumour.
Mum-of-two Sirin Steele, from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, was lying in bed when she felt ‘something move’ in the pit of her stomach but had just learnt her mother-in-law had passed away from cancer so put the feeling down to grief.
But as the 36-year-old experienced another strange sensation she realised she also had the tell-tale signs of pregnancy – she was constantly tired, needed to urinate frequently, had a lingering backache and was always bloated and uncomfortable.
The electrical engineer visited her doctor the next morning but was horrified when her GP told her there was ‘something’ in her stomach but that it ‘definitely wasn’t a baby’ and sent her for an urgent ultrasound scan.
And after getting called into her doctor’s office the next day, the mum’s world came crashing down after she was told she had ovarian cancer – and that the mass growing inside of her was an aggressive tumour.
Sirin, who is mum to Kayla, six, and Ostin, four, said: “I was laying in bed with my husband, Bryce, who had just found out that his mother had passed away from cancer.
“It was a very sad time, and we were talking when I felt something move in my stomach.
“I thought it was weird but ignored it. But then I felt another thump, and a drop.
“It was such a strange sensation. I thought I could be pregnant, so I decided to go to go see my doctor the next morning.
“He did an exam, and just told me that there was something in there but that it was not a baby.
“He said I’d need to have an ultrasound straight away. That made me feel a bit worried, as I thought maybe it was more serious than what I had thought.
“As I was having the ultrasound, the sonographer and I were talking.
“But when I went to leave, he said it was nice to meet me and wished me good luck.
“I’d had plenty of ultrasounds, but no one ever wished me luck before. It didn’t sit well.
“My doctor called me in the next day. He looked me square in the eyes and told me I had cancer.
“I was in disbelief. I went off at him, calling him a liar. Then I calmed down and let him talk.
“After that, we jumped straight into action. It was such a blur.”
After having some blood tests and a CT scan, Sirin found out a few days later that she had a 13cm [5.1in] tumour growing inside of her.
The mum underwent surgery to remove it and was shocked after her surgeon told her the mass they removed was 20cm [7.8in] – meaning the aggressive tumour had grown an unbelievable 7cm [2.7in] in less than a week.
Sirin’s worst fears turned into reality after a biopsy on the mass revealed it was aggressive – and that there was a possibility she could die.
She said: “When my doctor told me the tumour was malignant, my whole world turned upside down.
“I had this weird experience. I usually have colourful imagination, but at that moment everything was black.
“I couldn’t think of tomorrow. I just kept thinking about dying.
“I thought about what my husband would do without me, and how my kids were going to cope growing up without a mother.
“I thought of all the pain my passing would have on my family. I thought about what I was going to leave behind and what kind of legacy I would leave.
“I realised in that moment that nothing else mattered except the way I made people feel, that was how I was going to be remembered.
“The doctor then came back into the room, and told me not to worry, that there was a chance I’d get through it once I have the treatments.
“At that point, I knew I had to survive. I was going to fight this thing with all the strength I had.”
Sirin’s ovarian cancer was stage two, grade three germ cell tumour – which accounts for just four per cent of all ovarian cancer cases in Australia.
Sirin had another surgery to remove all traces of the tumour and ensure that it has not spread, which luckily it did not.
The mum underwent intensive chemotherapy treatment over four months which involved four-hour treatments five days a week, with a fortnightly break between rounds.
After all the treatments, Sirin was told she was completely cancer-free in September 2016 – and now has check-ups every three months.
Sirin’s journey has seen her change career paths, and now the mum wants to work with ovarian cancer organisations so she can raise awareness and help others going through it.
She said: “It’s difficult to diagnose. Many women don’t know they have it until they’re in stage four and it’s too late.
“I was one of the lucky ones, and I know that my experience is my way to help other women who are going through it.
“But it’s so important to go to your doctor if you’re experiencing any of the symptoms, as a pap smear can’t detect ovarian cancer.
“If I had not done anything about my symptoms, the tumour would have ruptured and spread, and I would be dead.
“Women need to be advocates for their own health. If you notice anything wrong, get checked out. It could save your life.”
To read more about Sirin’s journey, visit www.inspird.com.au