Lawyer mom is diagnosed with ovarian cancer…two years after having ovaries REMOVED

Christina was in her late thirties when she noticed something was wrong: a dull, cramping pain seemed to keep attacking the right side of her pelvis.

But the position of the discomfort was baffling. The agonizing cramps seemed to be coming from her right ovary – which was removed two years prior. 

Her lack of ovaries was a result of the hysterectomy she’d undergone to resolve debilitating period symptoms linked to a number of reproductive conditions.   

But the lawyer was no stranger to pain, having a history of gynecological health problems. So, she ‘just dealt with it.’

But months later, a procedure lasting almost 16 hours discovered a shock disease: stage 3 ovarian cancer.

Ovarian cancer is a rare form of the disease that develops in the ovaries, the female organs that produce eggs. It is often called a 'silent killer', as symptoms don't present until late stages of the disease.

Ovarian cancer is a rare form of the disease that develops in the ovaries, the female organs that produce eggs. It is often called a ‘silent killer’, as symptoms don’t present until late stages of the disease. 

Christina wrote for The Cut: ‘I was in surgery for another 10 hours after they told Mark [her husband] what they had found.

‘That’s how long it took them to remove it all. When I woke up, the surgeon came in to talk to me. “Do you want the good news or the bad news?” he asked.’

The bad news was that Christina had ovarian cancer that had spread to surrounding organs. The good news was the surgeons believed they had removed all of it. 

She wrote: ‘I could not f****** believe it. I started crying, asked for my mom and my husband, and then I passed out again.’ 

Her doctors discovered the disease had originated in a fraction of ovarian tissue that surgeons had failed to remove two years prior.


About 80 percent of ovarian cancer cases are diagnosed in the advanced stages of the disease.

 At the time of diagnosis, 60 percent of ovarian cancers will have already spread to other parts of the body, bringing the five-year survival rate down to 30 percent from 90 percent in the earliest stage. 

 It’s diagnosed so late because of its location in the pelvis, according to Dr Ronny Drapkin, an associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania, who’s been studying the disease for more than two decades.

‘The pelvis is like a bowl, so a tumor there can grow quite large before it actually becomes noticeable,’ Dr Drapkin told MailOnline.

The first symptoms to arise with ovarian cancer are gastrointestinal because tumors can start to press upward.

When a patient complains of gastrointestinal discomfort, doctors are more likely to focus on diet change and other causes than suggest an ovarian cancer screening.

Dr Drapkin said it’s usually not until after a patient endures persistent gastrointestinal symptoms that they will receive a screening that reveals the cancer.

‘Ovarian cancer is often said to be a silent killer because it doesn’t have early symptoms, when in fact it does have symptoms, they’re just very general and could be caused by other things,’ he said.

‘One of the things I tell women is that nobody knows your body as well as you do. If you feel something isn’t right, something’s probably not right.’


Christina’s diagnosis came just weeks before a surrogate was due to deliver her and her husband’s second daughter. 

The couple were unable to conceive due to Christina’s long history of reproductive issues, including endometriosis – where the lining of the uterus grows into other pelvic organs.

She also suffered with a condition called adenomyosis, which causes the lining of the uterus to grow into the muscle. 

The disease is said to impact one percent of US women and leads to heavy bleeding and agonizing pain. 

Some research has shown both conditions may lead to fertility complications and the ability to carry a pregnancy to full term.

For Christina and her husband Mark, these reproductive problems had made their quest for a family exceptionally difficult. 

Around 18 months before her devastating diagnosis, she’d given birth to a daughter, Sophie, who was born 18 weeks premature and only lived for two hours. 

Ovarian cancer is a rare form of the disease that develops in the ovaries, the organs that produce eggs. 

The American Cancer Society estimates 19,700 women will be diagnosed with the cancer and half of patients won’t survive more than five years. 

Many women have recently spoken publicly about their experience with the disease to warn others of the often-missed symptoms.

Katie Wylie, 33, from Perth, Australia, noticed a tingling pain in her left leg. While she wasn’t worried about her health, she still went to see a doctor.

After multiple tests, she was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer, with tumors growing on both her ovaries. 

And Dr Amy Fans shared her ovarian cancer story with her 45,000 followers on TikTok. 

At just 30 years old, she was experiencing slight weight gain and ‘relentless heartburn.’

When she finally went to a doctor, she too was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer.  

Christina’s disease had become so widespread, she wrote, it had caused bowel blockages, contributing to her intense pain.

In order to extract all of the disease, doctors had to remove portions of her bowel and bladder.

She needed to get nutrition via a PICC line, a tube inserted into a vein in the arm, and had to have an ostomy bag –  a plastic pouch attached to the outside of the body and connected to the colon that collects urine and stool – which remained for at least a year.

Because of her treatments, Christina was too sick to make it to Texas for the birth of her daughter, Lily.

She wrote for The Cut: ‘I knew it didn’t make sense to go to Dallas. Between the stress of traveling, dealing with the ostomy bag and the dressings on my incisions, the PICC line, I knew I couldn’t. That was a hard pill to swallow. It was hard for Mark [her husband], too.’ 

Dr Amy Fans shared her shock ovarian cancer story with her 45,000 followers to warn others of the little-known signs

Dr Amy Fans shared her shock ovarian cancer story with her 45,000 followers to warn others of the little-known signs

Kate Wylie, a 33-year-old, was also diagnosed with ovarian cancer and had to use an ostomy bag

As Kate Wylie underwent chemotherapy, her hair began to fall out

Kate Wylie, a 33-year-old, was also diagnosed with ovarian cancer and had to use an ostomy bag. As she underwent chemotherapy, her hair began to fall out

Following the surgery, Christina underwent several grueling rounds of chemotherapy to kill remaining cancer cells.

But the treatment left her too exhausted to care for her newborn and caused her hair to fall out. 

She said: ‘I wasn’t prepared for how emotional losing my hair would be,’ she said. ‘I’m one of those girls — hair, face, skin, I’m into all of that stuff. When my doctor told me I was going to lose my hair, eyelashes, and eyebrows, I lost it again. 

‘Like, you’ve taken my uterus, my ovaries, my tubes, and now you’re taking my hair and eyelashes? Everything that makes me a woman? What else can you take away?’

Christina wrote she was extremely sick in the first few months of Lily’s life, with her mom and husband doing much of the work.

She said: ‘The first year of her life I felt super guilty. I couldn’t be a fun mom because I was sick and I worried she wasn’t happy. Looking back, I know she was happy.’

Finally, a year after her surgery, she had the ostomy bag removed and ‘started feeling normal again.’

Christina added: ‘It was like day and night. By then I was also done with chemo, and started feeling normal again. That really changed things and helped me feel comfortable in my body again.

‘Lily and I grew closer and closer. The first time she said “Mama,” I was taking her on our first overnight trip together, to see a friend of mine. I was changing her diaper, and she looked up at me and said, “Mama!” I grabbed my phone to record it. That was a big bonding moment.’

However, in February 2024, Christina’s cancer returned.



She said: ‘I wasn’t feeling hot, so I kind of knew something was up. Lily, who is two now, did, too. She actually said one day, “Mommy is sick.” Literally out of nowhere. That hurt, hearing her say that.’

Soon after, Christina started chemotherapy again. Some days she feels better than others, but has ‘accepted I’m going to have lifelong issues with this’.

And she doesn’t like to broach the topic of prognosis with her doctor: ‘I guess I’ve just accepted it — that women live with it, and that I’m healthy otherwise and should focus on that. 

‘I don’t feel like I’m going to die soon. I can’t live that way, you know? There’s too much I want to do… and there’s so much I want to show Lily.

‘Sometimes I don’t know how Mark and I survived all of this. Things were very, very dark.

‘I think Lily has helped us heal a lot from the loss of our first child. 

‘She’s the light of our lives. And she makes me stay proactive about my own health, because I want to be here for her for as long as I can. We made her happen, and so we owe that to her.’


This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.