Former Home And Away actress Tessa James has revealed she is in remission in an exclusive interview with Sunday Night.
The actress, who is best known for playing Nicole Franklin on Home and Away, was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma – a rare and potentially fatal blood cancer — in 2014.
After six months of chemotherapy, she will remain under observation but has been given the all-clear.
She told Sunday Night's PJ Madam about the six months of treatment she endured and her hope to still have a family in the future.
Tessa shaved her head during the chemo
'No one should have to go through that,' the 24-year-old said about her diagnosis.
In July 2013 Tessa was chasing her Hollywood dream in LA when she discovered a lump.
"It was big and it was right above my collar bone. Like I just immediately got this like ooh, that's not right."
Nate Myles married Tessa in 2011 before her diagnosis
Just 12 months earlier her father Steve James – a former AFL footballer - was diagnosed with a more lethal variant of the same cancer called non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
It was a devastating blow for Tessa's mum Charis.
"[I thought] Surely it couldn’t happen to both of them," she said.
"It was sort of like the innocence had gone out of our family really"
Tessa's dad suffers from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
The family had watched Steve go through the devastating effect of chemotherapy and knew what was in store for Tessa.
"It was devastating you know the like it's just something that you know I thought out of the whole family it's just happened to me that's fine but to happen to your baby girl and it was yeah it was tough"
Without aggressive treatment both forms of the disease are almost always fatal and Tessa began six months of chemo every two weeks.
Tessa married Gold Coast Titans Co-captain Nate Myles, 29, in 2011 and says his support got her through treatment which left her weak and sick.
Tessa's mum and sister were at each of her treatments
"She goes in there and she's you know she's Tessa, but she doesn't come out Tessa," Nate told Sunday Night.
"There wouldn't be many blokes in Australia that have watched their wives shave their head to zero and then razor it. It was pretty crazy she was amazing though she just took it on."
Tess and and Nate are also hoping to start a family of their own.
"It’s definitely made us better, made her better and made us as a whole really understand a lot more of where we I suppose, where we want to be later in life," Nate said.
Unfortunately, her father's prognosis is still uncertain.
"I’ve got one more treatment to go in August and then I go for scans in September. So you know hopefully, hopefully all good," Steve said.
"You know you realise how precious life is and at the same time try to keep moving forward."
Having been given the all-clear now, Tessa is living in the US to pursue her acting career.
"I have huge dreams probably too big I that's my dream to be in film and just to work I think just to be a working actress would be the ultimate would be amazing"
"You'd see actresses and they seemed to always go through hardships," Tessa said.
'I always thought, "Well I don't have a story. My life is great". Yeah, I have a story now.'