They’re the mother-daughter duo from Tweed Heads, who have had very similar lives.
Both falling pregnant at age 19 and then again at 21, Kim and Michelle’s similarities don’t end there.
The ladies have now opened up exclusively to New Idea about their similar health scares, having both suffered from ovarian cysts.
‘I’ve always had a history of cysts and I had a hysterectomy when I was 36 and, four years later, they found tumours on my ovaries,’ House Rules mum Kim, 59, reveals.
‘I went and had one removed and luckily it was benign, but three years later they found another. The left ovary had ruptured, and the tumour was attached to the right one, so they had to remove both ovaries.’
Her daughter Michelle also had the same issue, but thankfully not as intense.
‘I had an ovarian cyst too, but luckily it went away on its own about three years ago, so I didn’t need to have surgery,’ the 27-year-old recalled.
But, months after Michelle’s diagnosis, Kim found herself back in the operating room to get another tumour removed.
‘I was back in again, as I had a tumour on the pelvic wall,’ she says. Thankfully the tumour was benign again, but they weren’t able to remove it all, so she had to go back once more to get the rest of it removed.
‘It’s very painful, the tumour was so big it had impacted on a lot of my organs,’ Kim recalls.
‘I was very unwell. After the surgery, I was so swollen and puffy-faced, it looked like I had gone in for a facelift!’
During the show, Kim also confessed she had some more tumours that needed to be removed. She found being on the show a good distraction.
‘Funnily enough, I couldn’t feel any pain,’ Kim reveals.
For Kim, despite her constant health knocks, she remains extremely positive about her predicament and hasn’t let the condition get to her.
‘Over 20 years of going in and out of hospital – you don’t have a choice, you have to deal with it, but the hardest part is the unknown you have to cope with, and just hoping it won’t be anything serious. Luckily all my tumours have been benign, but it’s a bit of a pain waiting around to be told it’s not cancer.’
Her daughter Michelle is proud of her mother’s tenacity and strength, which has allowed Michelle to approach her own health setbacks in a similar way.
‘Mum’s a great role model. If she can get through it, so can I,’ she says.
‘I’m hoping I don’t have to go into surgery – you have to be brave – we were always praying that it’s nothing more serious.’
For Kim, managing her health issues is about living each day as it comes.
She hasn’t booked in the surgery to get her current tumours removed yet.
‘I know I’m my [own] worst enemy, I know I have one in my kidney and liver, and I need go get them removed. They’re both benign – so nothing to worry about – but I do need to get them removed,’ she reveals.
Michelle says she’s learnt a lot from the experience and is keen to pass on the message to other women.
‘Just have regular checks, have regular pap smears, don’t wait two years, do it every six months... if you leave things too late you can be in trouble. Listen to your gut. But don’t self-diagnose.
Especially if you have painful periods, you could have cysts that need to be removed, or more serious, cancer,’ she warns.
For the full story see this weeks issue of New Idea, on sale now!
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