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Brooke's Survivor Story

My name is Brooke Monyelle and I'm 34 years old, from Beloit, WI. In late 2018, I started

having severe abdominal pain after work one evening. My husband wanted to take me to the ER but I had made an appointment with my general doctor for the next day so I was aiming to just go to that rather than the ER. Once I got to my doctor appointment, she immediately sent me over to the ER as she thought I was having appendicitis. At the ER I got a CT scan and they realized I had a large tumor by my large intestine. The ER admitted me overnight as they said I'd be having surgery right away in the morning.

Once my husband and I got to my hospital room a new set of doctors came in telling me that they re-looked at the scan and the tumor was a 13 cm Mass on my right ovary. It had grown that size under 2 months! My on/gyn did surgery that next day, the day before Thanksgiving. We found out within a few days that it was cancer but we're unsure yet the kind. It took 2 weeks or so for the 3 different health systems to agree on what kind of cancer I had. I was diagnosed with small cell carcinoma of the ovary, hypercalcemic type. It's a very rare and extremely aggressive kind of ovarian cancer. Fewer than 1,000 cases have ever been reported worldwide!

Once we knew what kind of cancer I had, my family started researching on what to do next. My twin sister Brittany found a Facebook group of other young woman with this type of cancer and they guided her to my oncologist. That night my husband was on the phone with my oncologist and we made an appointment to see him in Cincinnati that next week. My oncologist recommended a 6 type drug chemo, a couple surgeries, and finally a stem cell transplant. Local doctors weren't interested in doing the treatment plan of the doctor in Cincinnati, as they said the treatment plan was too hard...that it could be fatal but just the treatment but I knew I had to do the plan!

The treatment was very hard! I was hospitalized quite a few times throughout it, and was in the hospital for a month with stem cell. I look back at it now and I wouldn't change a thing. I feel so blessed to see another day each morning and I even more now try to enjoy each day and enjoy days with the people I love. I still am weak and recovering from stem cell in July but I am hoping to continue to 'get back to normal' soon. I now also want to inspire others with SCCOHT and ovarian cancer and teach other women on the symptoms of ovarian cancer! Education is so important!

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