Cooking contestant’s shock cancer diagnosis
A television show dream has turned into a nightmare for one young contestant in Plate of Origin after she was diagnosed with a terminal illness before the show has even aired.
Chrys Hong, 30, had just wrapped up the main part of filming the competition when doctors gave her the shocking news she had stage four colon cancer.
The Sydney DJ - known as DJ Kitty Coda in nightclubs throughout Australia and Asia - had started experiencing stomach aches on set.
After initially putting the pain down to nerves or a change of diet but was eventually convinced by her sister to visit a GP.
"There were no symptoms besides the pain, which I had had since the middle of filming," Hong said.
"But the pain was just there all the time, it wasn't like an on and off thing."
Over the next month two GPs and a specialist all dismissed the symptoms as something minor, including one who brushed off a request from a radiologist to get scans on her abdomen.
Hong consulted a third GP, again at the urging of her sister, and this one did a full investigation and ordered multiple tests.
"The next day he called me back and said: 'This is really serious, we have to put you in the hospital'," she said.
"That night I was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer."
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The cancer had spread to Hong's bones, liver and lymphatic system. Doctors immediately started chemotherapy, with the liver their most serious concern, but she had to stop soon after.
"Because the spread is too much, they can't do surgery, so they had to do chemo," she said.
"I have already done three rounds but they said my body couldn't cope with it any more so now I'm starting a new targeted treatment, which is not as harsh as the chemo."
Despite the crushing diagnosis, Hong and her best friend Mandy continued on as Team China on the series that sees 10 teams of two, each representing the cuisine of their heritage, battle it out in front of former MasterChef judges Gary Mehigan and Matt Preston and MKR host Manu Feildel.
"Who said cancer patients can't cook," she said.
"I finished the show. I just feel like this is very important … I just don't want to give up yet."
And Hong isn't stopping there, promising her illness won't get in the way of her fulfilling her dreams.
"There might be a time limit on my lifetime now but I will do whatever I can to fit as much in," she said.
More importantly, the young foodie wants others in her age group to listen to their bodies and trust their instincts when it comes to their health.
"I really want to send a message that a lot of people feel that cancer is a word that really is far away from people of a young age like us but sometimes it's not," she said.
"I'm not saying that all GPs are bad, but there are some GPs who don't take responsibility like others. Always trust yourself and get a second opinion."
Originally published as Cooking contestant's shock cancer diagnosis