At 20 years old, Trina spent her Fourth of July like any other young adult: laughing with friends, eating great food and celebrating with fireworks. However, the next day her life turned upside down when stomach pain she’d been experiencing on and off suddenly became worse. Trina and her mom went to urgent care, which quickly turned into time at the emergency department. After a variety of tests were conducted, doctors discovered Trina had a tumor the size of a Nerf football, so large they couldn’t see either of her ovaries. Soon after, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
After some quick but intensive research on hospitals with viable treatment options, Trina and her family made their way to The Jim and Colleen Ryan Cancer and Blood Disorders Center at Children’s Minnesota. The organization’s focus on fertility preservation was of utmost importance to her and after doctors at Children’s told her they would do everything they could to look at options for preservation, Trina knew it was where she wanted to be.
She prepared for surgery to remove the tumor only five days after learning of her diagnosis. Shortly thereafter, Trina had a second procedure to place her port. Then her treatment began.
“I gave my tumor a nasty name, Harold, in the hopes that he won’t come back,” says Trina.
While she’s faced some challenges during treatment, such as getting a blood clot and painful mouth sores, Trina has kept a positive attitude and relies on her support team to keep her head up. Family, her collegiate soccer team at Gustavus Adolphus, her boyfriend and many other friends have made her hospital stays feel “more like home” by bringing meals, hanging out and laughing with her when she’s inpatient. Her mom spends quite a bit of time decorating the room with photos, strings of lights, and other touches from home as part of each hospital stay.
Teammates created “Team Trina/I Hate Harold” bracelets to show their support of Trina and provide a dose of encouragement along the way. Trina enjoyed a “Going Bald Party,” where family and friends gathered and Trina shaved the heads of her father, brother and others who wanted to join her without hair.
Today, she is three-fourths of the way through her treatment and is focused on getting better with the goal that someday, she’ll have children of her own. When Trina’s not at the hospital, she enjoys spending time with her friends, playing board and card games, and swinging in her hammock. She plans to return to school and soccer at Gustavus in the spring, but in the meantime, will keep doing what she can to kick Harold to the curb for good.
Children’s Minnesota accepts and treats patients older than 18 years old, just like Trina. Research shows that adolescents and young adults with pediatric cancers typically experience significantly better outcomes in pediatric facilities and using pediatric protocols. Through a generous donation from the Minnesota Wild Foundation, the Minneapolis hospital inpatient unit includes an adolescent and young adult lounge, complete with a large screen TV, movies and video gaming system, musical instruments, a treadmill, and other age-appropriate activities. Visit our Cancer and Blood Disorders Program page to learn more.