Simone Georgiou has kindly stepped forward to support Chris O’Brien Lifehouse as a patient ambassador. Here Simone shares her story:
I was married in November 2013.
Nine months later, I was diagnosed with bowel cancer. Just
over a year after walking down the aisle I have become the first patient to
have major surgery at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse and the first patient in the new Intensive
Bowel cancer, I have since found, is the second biggest
cancer killer in Australia. If you get it early enough, it’s so much more
curable. I think back, and if only I’d known the danger and the signs.
In my case, the signs were there. I first noticed warning
signals during my honeymoon in Mexico – but they were disguised because I had
managed to pick up a bowel parasite that was later treated successfully with
antibiotics when we got home.
Then I fell pregnant, and with pregnancy you have even more
changes with your bowel. But after I miscarried the problems continued. My GP
got me to have a check-up and, even knowing my family history, everyone was
saying: ‘Don’t worry, it’ll just be Crohn’s Disease or gastro or ulcers’.
When the diagnosis came, even my specialist was surprised,
given my age at 39.
Immediately, my husband and I began a round of IVF, and now
have three embryos frozen. We are waiting for the right time to be carried by a
surrogate who has selflessly offered. Obviously I now can’t carry a child. And it was overwhelming to have this offer.
It’s just so… so big.
So I am now through the first round of chemotherapy and
radiation therapy, and the removal of my entire large bowel and a full
hysterectomy to prevent any recurrence of the cancer.
Lying in my bed recuperating from surgery, I’ve had plenty
of time to think. I think how, if I hadn’t lost my baby, I would now be dead.
Sometimes good things can come from really bad things.
Going through this so young changes your outlook and
perspective on life
often hear people complain about their bad day at work or that they are unable
to lose some extra kilos, and it’s sad that they don’t know how lucky they are,
they have this amazing thing called ‘health’. I also used to take that for
granted, but never again. It’s the little things at the moment that make a big
So I’m looking at what I can do with my life that’s positive
and the way my story might help others.
I want to urge younger people to have a check-up if they have
a history of cancer in their family.
My grandfather and his siblings died from bowel cancer. My
father would have been a carrier of Lynch Syndrome, which predisposes carriers
to bowel cancer, but he died of melanoma. I always knew I would get cancer
because my family has cancer on both sides, but not so young. I thought I would
I want to do something to support other younger people who
get cancer. Under 50, it’s not something you expect. If there’s a way I can
make it a little bit easier, to make other people feel they’re not the only one
out there, I want to do something, even if it’s just saving one person from