AURORA, Colo. -- It was during a winter break trip to Barbados that then 15-year-old Peyton Linafelter knew something was very wrong with her health.
“They did an ultrasound and told me that they were extremely large cysts, ovarian cysts and he said that I should go back to the United States,” Linafelter said.
Once she returned to the United States, Linafelter suffered weeks of weight loss and very little appetite, followed by a potentially deadly diagnosis that no child should ever have to hear.
“Started chemo right away, yeah she saw him on Monday, you had a liter of fluid drained off your lung on Tuesday, you had a port installed on Wednesday and then chemo started on Thursday,” said Tera Linafelter.
After trips to Children’s Hospital of Colorado and finally to the University of Colorado Hospital, Peyton was confirmed to have stage four ovarian cancer.
“We were all very surprised and actually didn’t believe it at first because it would be one of the youngest cases ever,” said Dr. Saketh Guntupalli, Gynecologic Oncologist with University of Colorado Hospital.
The diagnosis and positive biopsy results came on Peyton's 16th birthday. Her doctors said she is one of the youngest ever to receive this diagnosis.
“I'd say it was about the size of a grape fruit on both ovaries, so about probably the size of my fists was the size of the tumor that just invaded both of the ovaries and the uterus as well,” Dr. Guntupalli said. “She’s been our hero, she’s fought this with the strength that I think is more than most women four times her age and I think that says a lot for why she’s done how she’s done and how she’ll do in the future.”
Now, Peyton’s story is going prime time with a TV commercial campaign telling the stories of patients at UCHealth.
Peyton’s story will air during the 89th Academy Awards Sunday night on Denver7. You can also watch it below or click here.
It’s a story that Peyton wants other people to learn from with her words for women of all ages.
“If you're feeling bad or you feel like something is off, don't wait because I feel like I waited and it would have been better if I wouldn't have waited,” Linafelter said.
Dr. Guntupalli said today, Peyton is cancer free and in remission.