During my teenage years I experienced a lot of stomach problems. In 1988 I was traveling in the US when a doctor visit led to the discovery of a 6cm x 9cm tumor in my stomach. I had a laporotomy at Panarama Community Hospital in Los Angeles, and was sent home to Sydney, Australia for my recovery. At the time, my diagnosis was leiomyoma with an uncertain malignant potential. Within three months, the tumor was back and had doubled in size and in pain. The next year I had a partial gastrectomy which removed the tumor and the top half of my stomach. This was a huge operation that nearly cost me my life.