St Albans cancer survivor giving something back to charity
WHEN Carmela Cook was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of ovarian cancer last year, agonising thoughts about her future flooded her mind. The 36-year-old, who works as a supervisor at Marlborough School in St Albans, was left wondering if she would s
WHEN Carmela Cook was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of ovarian cancer last year, agonising thoughts about her future flooded her mind.
The 36-year-old, who works as a supervisor at Marlborough School in St Albans, was left wondering if she would see her son Rocco grow up, reach old age with her husband David and if her elderly parents would outlive her.
But a year on, she is now looking forward to a bright future after undergoing radical treatment which will have hopefully beaten the disease for good.
It was back in September 2008 that Carmela's world started falling apart - she constantly felt sick, started putting on weight and was extremely tired, continually thirsty and suffering from cravings.
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This naturally led her to believe that she was pregnant, but this was soon ruled out and her stomach continued to swell up.
An ultrasound later revealed a much more sinister cause for her symptoms - a tumour the size of a small melon on her ovary.
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It was small cell cancer of the ovary which is so rare that the Mount Vernon Hospital, where she was treated, only sees a case every two to three years.
She said: "I could tell by the look on the technician's face there was something far wrong. I was sent back to my doctors that day for the results and he was waiting for me when I arrived at the surgery."
Carmela was given the devastating news that she had cancer with David, a sales executive, and both were left in utter shock.
She continued: "I found it very hard to take the news that I had cancer. I don't drink or smoke. I knew I would have to tell my parents because they would see the change in me, not least of all losing my hair during treatment.
"I was given so much love and support from my family and my husband's family. At times like this you do find out who your true friends and family are - and I have got many."
Carmela, who lives in Hunton Bridge, underwent radical surgery including a full hysterectomy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
"Mine was a very aggressive cancer. It is so rare that my doctors believe there are only around 17 known cases throughout Europe. That makes me feel even more lucky."
She now wants to help others suffering at the hands of the devastating disease, especially since David's grandmother is now one of them.
Carmela is organising a ball at the Watford Hilton hotel in November to raise money for Cancer Research and hopes that more than 300 people will attend.
The charity's volunteer manager in Herts, Louise Selman, said: "I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to work with someone as positive and inspirational as Carmela."
Tickets for the Fight 4 Life Cancer Research Charity Ball go on sale this month and more information can be found at wwwfight4life.org.uk