September 3, 2023 | 10:21 a.m
Chloe Spetlanick is no stranger to stomachaches, as she is lactose and fructose intolerant.
But when the Melbourne woman was just 22, having recently started her master’s degree, her stomach ache began to point to something more serious.
As Victoria entered its first stage 4 lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic, Spetlanic was dealing with its own crisis – persistent pain in the side of her stomach.
As the situation worsened, her mother and sister recommended that they see a doctor, especially since he seemed to come from somewhere close to her ovaries.
What followed her 2020 doctor’s appointment was something the student could never have imagined.
Spetlanik was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
Sharp pains in her stomach were the only warning sign.
“I immediately had a fear that I was dying,” said Spetlanik. 7NEWS.
“I couldn’t stop crying during and after that conversation, and it sure took a long time for me to feel completely comfortable about remembering that whole experience and even admitting to myself that I had cancer.”
Spetlanic received a life-changing phone call from a doctor after undergoing a series of routine tests.
“This GP started talking about three very large cysts around her ovaries, but immediately followed up by saying she thought it was cancer,” she told the publication.
As this happened at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, her mother was not allowed to stay with her, or even visit her, in the hospital.
“With no family, friends, flowers or any gifts allowed, I found out I had stage 3 ovarian cancer,” Spetlanic said.
She had to put her family on speakerphone so they could hear the terrible news.
After the surgery, Spetlanic went through nearly three months of recovery, during which she had to learn to walk and stand with the help of a physiotherapist.
Now, after three years of ordeal, the young woman appears to have made a full recovery and her life is back to normal.
However, fear still lurks in the back of her mind, and she has to undergo frequent check-ups, which causes stress and fear.
Spetlanic urged women to listen to their bodies and seek help when “abnormalities arise, such as minor pain.”
According to the Cancer Council, the average age for an ovarian cancer diagnosis is 66 years.