Hello from Sara

My name is Sara Elkas and I am a 67 year old woman living with my same-sex partner of 22 years in Melbourne.  We have 9 grandchildren!  I was born in Israel and came to Australia in 1969.  I worked as an occupational therapist but retired in Dec 2014.


I was diagnosed with high grade serous stage 2b ovarian cancer in Oct 2013 not because I had the usual symptoms but as a result of a follow up investigation into a collapsed lung. I was referred to a gynaecological oncologist surgeon and had a debulking operation.  This was followed by 6 months of chemo.  Unfortunately the cancer recurred after 9 months.  At about  the same time I was diagnosed with the BRCA 1 gene mutation, an MRI showed very early breast cancer and in Jan 2015 I had a double mastectomy.  I underwent more chemo and was then put on the the targeted drug Olaparib on "compassionate grounds".  In early 2016 I had another recurrence and underwent surgery to remove 3 tumours - one was lodged in the bowel so I finished up with a stoma/colostomy bag.  I went through another 4 months of more chemo and also had minor surgery to remove hernia/scar tissue that was causing partial bowel obstruction.  My PET/CT scan in June were clear.  However around Sept-Oct the CA125 started rising and a CT scan showed spots on the liver.  My oncologist recommended a clinical trial with an immunotherapy-targeted drug.  I went through the screening tests and was about to have a liver biopsy when I had a phone call to say that I wasn't eligible because of having had breast cancer.


I saw the oncologist on 6th Dec and he said that because my CA125 has really gone up (451!) I needed to start chemo again.  I had the first session with 2 drugs that Friday and also had 2 units of blood as my haemoglobin was down.  The chemo session went ok and I felt quite well however by Monday I was not good at all and having "the shakes".  In the morning my temperature was 38.4 so we called the oncology nurses and they advised me to go to emergency.  I was admitted and treated with IV antibiotics.


I will have a chemo session on Friday 30th Dec and will see the oncologist in the New Year to review options. I am feeling pretty well at the moment probably because the oncologist put me on 1 daily Dexamethasone (steroid) but it sure affects my sleep!


I have done all my treatment through the private system and I find that communication/coordination is not very good.  Also interested in hearing from anyone else who has the BRCA 1/2 gene mutation.

Comments

  • Hi Sara


    I hope you are able to find some peace this holiday season and enjoy time with your family.


    Best wishes


    Rachel

  • Hi Sara, it sounds like you have been through a lot. I don't know if I have the BRACA genes. I hope your treatment goes well. All the best x

  • Hi Sara.


    I hope that you enjoyed a lovely Christmas with your family.


    I too carry a BRCA1 fault.


    My OC  was found on pathology following my risk reducing total hysterectomy aged 48 (Aug 2014).


     


     

  • Thanks for your reply Christine.  We celebrated Chanukah!


    Glad to hear that you have had a risk reducing total hysterectomy last year.  I wish I had also known my BRCA 1 status and been able to take preventative actions.


    Do you have a family history of breast/ovarian cancer?  In my case my mother died at 40 from what I was told was "stomach" cancer but I now suspect to be ovarian cancer.  It was very advanced when discovered.  I have contacted the hospital in Israel about medical records but unfortunately their records don't go back to her year of death (1955).


    Yesterday I had the first session of the 2nd cycle with carbo/gemcitabine and it went ok.


    Take care,


    Sara

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