Hello, my name is Ashley Henery and I am 16 years old and an active volunteer around Ajax and other communities, today I am going to tell my story about how my outlook on life changed almost 3 months ago. It all started on February 23rd, the agonizing, annoying lower abdominal pain I was experiencing. Despite experiencing this pain, I attended co-op because I figured it was just “regular cramps”. At co-op, it became difficult to stand and complete my tasks, it got so bad I started throwing up. But, I didn’t mention anything to my supervisor because I wanted to complete that day of co-op. When I left my placement, I immediately called my mom and updated her on how I was feeling, to which she responded, “go sign in for co-op and go to the hospital if you need to”. So, I went back to school thinking I was about to go about the rest of my day regularly. But, during the lunch period, I found myself laying down on the dirty floors of Ajax High without a care in the world for anything but relief. My friends noticed that this was very much unlike me and one contacted my mom with a text message entailing something along the lines of “Ashley is dying, and she won’t call you, please call her or come and get her” unknowing to me. Shortly after, I received a phone call from my mom demanding me to let my friend take me to the office and either let them call an ambulance or call her to get me. I opted for the second option. When my mom arrived, I still figured we were just going to go home and I would just sleep it off, but my mom looked at me like I was crazy and said, “we are not going anywhere but the hospital”. So, there we went and waited as per usual for a hospital visit. After waiting, I saw the doctor and she ordered some tests, one of which was an ultrasound. On the ultrasound, a large ovarian cyst was found between my ovaries, but, closer to my right. The next question was, “do we need to operate?”. To answer that question, the on-call gynecologist came to examine me and decided that they will operate because of the amount of pain I was in. I got prepared for surgery and off and out I was, soon enough I was in the recovery room where I was informed that the cyst was causing torsion on my ovary which means my ovary was starting to turn because of the cyst. Shortly after, the doctor came to check on me and I was good to go home. I went home, and while watching tv with my mom, I started having some pain in my stomach and upper abdomen area which I figured was gas pain resulting from the use of gas during surgery. But, as I proceeded to go up to my room to sleep on my dad’s back, my mom, from upstairs, saw me falling off and sliding down. She quickly told my dad and he turned around to grab me and sat me down on the stairs. My mom said, “that’s it, we’re going back to the hospital”. So, we did and after arriving, I saw a doctor again who ordered a chest x-ray that only showed a remainder of gas in the results and an ultrasound for later that day. At home, I had a rough time sleeping, for some reason I felt like I was drowning while laying down. The morning could not come any faster. After drinking minimal water, my belly was extremely distended. When we arrived back at the hospital for the ultrasound, the ultrasound technician kept talking to my mother and asking her so many questions – I guess to distract her from viewing the ultrasound screen. After completing the ultrasound, she told me to get dressed and she left the room. As soon as she left the room, my mom and I heard someone run down the hall. We figured it was a child but later found out that it was her. She met us outside of the room and insisted that we go back to the ER where a doctor would be waiting for us. Upon arrival back to the ER, the doctor motioned for us to follow her into acute care, along the way she mentioned that the ultrasound technician informed her that there’s free fluid everywhere in my belly. I figured it was just fluid like the kind of fluid you could have in your lungs. But, I later found out that I was bleeding internally. After that, everything happened so quickly, signing papers for blood transfusions – which I thankfully didn’t end up getting, to meeting the on-call gynecologist who informed me that I would have to undergo another surgery as the blood had reached up to my chest. The surgeon who performed my first surgery was called back to help complete the second surgery. Before entering the OR he told me that there may be a possibility that I would lose the ovary as it may be the source of the bleeding and he would rather save me than try to save my ovary. My heart sank. After the second surgery, my parents broke the news to me that they couldn’t save my ovary as it was basically dead…. My heart sank further until my nurse told me that she had a friend who had one ovary who had 6 kids. That made my day and whenever I feel down about the situation, I remember that comment and how God places people in your lives for a reason. So, I want to encourage you to look at the bright side of everything, as I tried and still try to do in my situation, if it wasn’t for my faith, I would not be as strong as I am standing in front of you. Thank you for listening.