-- Plus-size model Elly Mayday credits listening to her own instincts with saving her life from a devastating cancer diagnosis.
Mayday, 27, says she suffered extreme pain in her lower back and abdomen for two years. The pain was so severe she went to the emergency room multiple times.
According to the model, doctors sent her away with no diagnosis and pain killers, but Mayday’s determination to find answers ultimately saved her life.
“I was able to go into a CT scan and after I got the results from that, they couldn’t see my left ovary,” Mayday tells ABC News.
The CT scan revealed an ovarian cyst, according to Mayday. A biopsy determined she was suffering from a rare form of stage 3 ovarian cancer.
Mayday was 25-years-old at the time of her diagnosis, in June 2013. She started treatment immediately, undergoing a hysterectomy and three months of chemotherapy. She lost 60 pounds in the process.
The New Jersey resident kept modeling throughout her treatment, but says her focus was on a much bigger goal.
“When you are stripped down to absolutely nothing, to no hair, to scars, it didn’t matter if I had a career modeling after this, it just mattered if I was alive,” she says. “At some points I didn’t feel like myself.”
Mayday’s cancer is now in remission and she says she is trying to inspire women to recognize their inner beauty.
“It’s extremely important to trust your gut,” she said. “When you have confidence, you can take on the world and you can take on cancer.”