“My friends and family would call me constantly to check in with me and help me to get healthy before the surgery. Lots of new information about something which I hadn’t even heard of before was just overwhelming me.”
Jasmine admits that she turned to a party lifestyle following the news of her diagnosis and she drank heavily as a coping mechanism. She had also finished university and had recently broken up with a boyfriend so she was enjoying the freedom which that brought.
Jasmine said: “At the time, I thought I was just celebrating what I had achieved but, looking back, I know that I was running away from being told that I had this thing growing in my head – I just wanted to forget about it. I wanted to live the same way that I would do otherwise by going out with my friends – after my diagnosis, sometimes that would mean going out four nights in one week.
“I also wanted people to leave me alone and stop asking me about it – when I was partying, people would treat me normally and we just had fun. The biggest struggle for me was that I felt like I was a rubber band being pulled in lots of different directions with people telling me what to do and the right way to do things. I knew and I still know that it was through love but it was hard to balance that between them and my own thoughts and feelings when none of us really knew much about cancer anyway! It would have been better to let the professionals suggest practical ways of helping me instead and for my loved ones to support me emotionally which is what I really needed from them.
“Throughout my life, I have always known what I was going to do next and what was coming up in my future. This was the first time when that couldn’t happen and it just became about getting through each day and having to be OK with that. I couldn’t plan anything anymore because I didn’t know what was coming and I didn’t like that at all.”
Jasmine’s family convinced her to stop going out as much as the date of her surgery got closer. She stopped drinking alcohol and started taking vitamin supplements. In the fortnight leading up to her surgery, Jasmine enjoyed trips away and days to the beach with her friends and a family picnic instead.
During this time, to safeguard her fertility through any treatment, Jasmine also had some eggs harvested which required regular self-administered hormone injections and a minor operation for removal. It was during an initial meeting to discuss this process, which she chose to attend on her own, that Jasmine had her first panic attack as the reality of her situation hit her.
She added: “I didn’t think that this would really phase me but the panic attack showed that it was all having an impact on me. I was acting really strong, because I thought that I was, but really I was struggling.
“Having my eggs harvested was the first big tick off the list of things I had to do to get this all over with. It made me feel more secure about my future if I did need chemotherapy or radiotherapy as I could hold on to a bit of control about what my life in the future may look like.”
Jasmine had a four-hour operation at the Memorial Hospital in Adelaide which successfully removed all of the tumour. Ahead of the operation, Jasmine had some of her long, blonde hair shaved off. She had a large bald patch across the top of her head afterwards which she uses decorative scarves to cover up as it has slowly grown back. She had also been losing some hair in the run-up to her diagnosis which she had also put down to stress.
Jasmine said: “I didn’t think of my hair loss as something too dramatic earlier than my prognosis – however I couldn’t work out methods to cease it, both. I even tried taking hair nutritional vitamins in case that helped nevertheless it didn’t. I simply didn’t need a lot to fall out that folks would begin to discover.
“So having some shaved off earlier than the operation was the half that I had been actually dreading – I like my hair and it’s such a giant a part of my id so the considered shedding it was actually upsetting. I bear in mind Mum brushing it for me while I used to be in ICU the day after the surgical procedure to ensure what I had left regarded nearly as good as I might need it to.”