‘I am grateful my friends made me do that pregnancy test that day, otherwise I might have just kept passing it off or leaving it,’ she said.
‘There needs to be more awareness of the symptoms.
‘The doctor said I was lucky I took myself into the hospital that day because if I had left it any longer it would have been a totally different story.
‘It was very scary to hear that because you don’t expect it. They always say that you’re supposed to have symptoms like painful sex or bleeding and I had nothing like that.’
Josephine explained that her belly grew out of nowhere in a matter of weeks. She had lost weight in her face, arms, legs and yet the bump stayed.
She thought the other symptoms she was experiencing, such as back pain and bloatedness, were side effects to the strenuous boot camp.
But she still had some hopes it might be due to a surprise pregnancy.
‘My husband and I had been told that we couldn’t have children – we’d been through IVF.
‘I kept thinking, I wonder if I am? It would have been a miracle if I was.
‘Of course it came back negative. At the hospital, they took me in for a scan straight away and then took me into a room and told me that there was a mass in my pelvic area.
‘I was basically floored, because I went up on my own thinking they were going to tell me I had a bit of irritable bowel syndrome or something like that.
‘It was a massive shock.’
Doctors drained seven litres of ascites fluid from her stomach during her first biopsy, and another seven litres in her second.
But when doctors decided she needed to have a full hysterectomy, Josephine was so intent on getting better that she didn’t take the time to process what it would mean.
It was only three months later as she continued to recover that she broke down crying.
‘I don’t think it hit me until afterwards because I just got the tunnel vision of “I am not going to die”,’ she said. ‘Everyone else around me was devastated because you just don’t expect it.
‘They just took everything away – my cervix and everything away in one go. I have a lovely big scar now.
‘I was quite emotional. I just got it into my head I was going to be fine no matter what they threw at me. I would cope with it.’
Josephine has now been given the all-clear but still attends check-ups every six months to make sure the tumours do not return.
What are borderline ovarian tumours?
Borderline ovarian tumours are abnormal cells that form in the tissue covering the ovary. They are not cancer and are usually treated with surgery.
Symptoms include: pain or a feeling of pressure in the tummy area, a swollen abdomen, pain during or after sex, vaginal bleeding not related to your period.
Buildup of fluid in the abdomen is ascites. It is the buildup of fluid between the tissue layers between the organs, causing the abdomen to swell. It is can be caused by cancerous cells irritating the lining of the abdomen, or when the lymph glands become blocked and can’t drain properly.
Symptoms include back pain, constipation, bloating, abdominal pain, weakness, tiredness, breathlessness, needing to urinate more often, difficulty sitting or moving around, indigestion and clothes feeling tighter.
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