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.