When plus-sized model Elly Mayday first landed in the emergency room with terrible lower back pain, she knew this wasn't regular back pain or a pulled muscle. But the doctors sent her home, advising her to take the prescribed medication and work on her weight. The same thing happened the second, third and fourth times she went back to the ER looking for help.
“They told me to work out my core,” Mayday explains in the video above. "Like, 'it's your fault. You don't feel good because you're overweight.'"
Finally, thanks to Mayday's persistence, the results of a CT scan revealed an ovarian cyst as the source of her back pain—but then she got the worst news of all: a biopsy revealed that she had a rare form of ovarian cancer, a low grade serous carcinoma, requiring immediate treatment, she explained in another interview with People.
"I felt really stupid, going into the emergency and someone’s just saying, 'What do you want us to do for you?'" she recounted in the video, which is part of StyleLikeU's "What's Underneath Project." "How dare you think I’m not aware of my body enough to tell you that there’s something wrong, and to go in there and say that something’s wrong?"
The pain started in the summer of 2013, and since getting her diagnosis, she’s undergone a hysterectomy, three months of chemotherapy, a nine-hour surgery to remove tumors, and a procedure this past August to take out another small mass. In the process, they had to remove her ovaries and fallopian tubes, and they were unable to save any of her eggs.
"People say, 'Oh well, thank god they caught it.' They didn’t catch it at all. I did," Mayday said. "If I had listened to them I would be dead. For sure."
Mayday continued to model throughout the ordeal, posing while bald from the chemotherapy. And though she’s doing better, she’s not ready to say she’s in remission. “I don’t refer to myself as [cancer-free],” she told People, but “I’m as good as I can be.”
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But even then, her troubles didn't end. During the course of chemotherapy, she lost around 60 pounds, putting her at a slim 120, and people started attacking her for being too thin. But she wasn’t going to let it bother her.
"People started saying, 'I’m not following you anymore,' or 'I see how it is, you get a little bit more famous and then you lose all the weight.' Like, are you f-cking kidding me?" Mayday said in the video. "I realized that your glow comes from within. I’ll always be me, no matter what, whatever weight I am. I just want to be healthy."
"My body has brought me through hell and back," she adds. "I would choose this body again, even if it had cancer. Cause it’s mine and I’m happy with it."
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