A Queensland mum has revealed the heartbreaking reaction from her young daughters after telling them she has been diagnosed with cancer.
Melinda Ferszt, from the Gold Coast, had suffered hot flashes, blurry vision and fainting since she was 20 years old, and over the years had developed coping mechanisms to manage the episodes.
But three weeks ago, the 35-year-old had a particularly bad episode at work and a colleague told her she should have a blood test to check her thyroid.
After the test revealed abnormalities on her liver, Ms Ferszt was rushed in for further tests and a biopsy confirmed the devastating news.
“The surgeon sat me down and said the golf-ball sized tumour had covered the entire liver and they were unable to operate,” Ms Ferszt told Yahoo7.
“I asked if I was dying and how long I had and he told me I had two years.”
Not willing to accept there was nothing that could be done, the mother asked if she had any options and was told they would try chemotherapy until it “no longer works”.
Since the diagnosis just three weeks ago, the mother has had a stent put into her bowel and is on the chemotherapy drugs for three days each fortnight.
She said the hardest part has been breaking the news to her children Sophie, eight, and four-year-old Madeleine.
“It’s really hit home for Sophie. She’s really emotional and asking questions like: “You’re not going to leave me are you? Please don’t die mummy,”‘ Ms Ferszt said.
“I told her: ‘Mummy does have cancer but mummy is very strong and I’m not going to lose this battle,'” she said.
Ms Ferszt said Sophie has been fighting with her sister and crying for no reason since the devastating diagnosis.
“They need their mum,” she said. “I want to watch all their milestones – their first boyfriends, 18th birthday parties and their wedding.”
“As if I’m going to go down without a fight.”
Ms Ferszt hopes her story will encourage people to get routinely checked for abnormalities that could be more serious, even if they have never needed to see a doctor before.
“I was running and going to the gym four times a week before the diagnosis. I never get sick, not even a cold,” she said.
A work colleague started a GoFundMe page to raise money for potential overseas treatment and medical expenses.
Ms Ferszt said she has been blown away by the support received on the page in just 24 hours and the “beautiful messages” left by complete strangers.
“Let the fight begin,” she said.