Jenny was first diagnosed with Adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC) in 2002. This followed years of her cancer remaining undiagnosed despite Jenny seeing several doctors. Adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC) is a rare form of cancer that forms within secretory glands, most commonly the major and minor salivary glands of the head and neck. Since the cancer is very uncommon, it often goes undiagnosed for long periods of time. This can lead to complications in many cases.
Jenny’s symptoms consisted of altered vision and jaw pain. Her jaw pain lead to her getting three wisdom teeth removed. However, this didn’t cause the pain to go away. In hindsight, Jenny realised that the jaw pain was related to her ACC. After seeing several doctors, Jenny was finally referred to a specialist. The specialist performed a series of tests on her face and determined that one side of her face was not sitting properly. This was caused by a cancerous tumour.
After being diagnosed with ACC, Jenny began to research her disease on Google. However, this proved to be difficult due to sources being inaccurate or using overly medical terms. After leaving a few comments about her illness on various blogs, a member of Without a Ribbon referred her to our organisation. Jenny found it very helpful to talk to other people with similar forms of rare cancer. This helped her to understand and learn about her illness. Since joining Without a Ribbon, Jenny has been to several conferences. Conferences allow Warriors to meet, share stories provide a unique kind of support to each other.
According to Jenny, the most important thing about being part of the group is the ability to be open with others regarding her condition. This provides a level of support that friends and family can’t always offer. Jenny feels that talking about her cancer can upset her family and feels guilty for troubling them. However, with this group, that is not an issue because everyone is in a similar position.
Jenny is grateful for the friends she has been able to make through Without a Ribbon and the positive feelings associated with meeting fellow Warriors at conferences. She was kind enough to share a video about her diagnosis and experiences. You can view this video below
Without a Ribbon is an Australian non-profit organisation that provides support for those who suffer from rare cancers. If you want to support Warriors such as Jenny, click here to find out about ways you can help.