Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Cancer Campaigns Ambassador Showcase – Suzanne Fernando

I pretty sure I may have mentioned how fabulous my fellow campaigns ambassadors are once or twice before! I’ve featured a few on this blog before. I’m trying to work my way through this incredible group of colleagues I have to showcase how amazing they are individually. Today I’m going to tell you about an absolute warrior of a lady!

Suzanne Fernando was diagnosed with cancer during what should have been one of the most exciting times of her life – whilst she was giving birth to her second child. Her father’s side of her family had experienced cancer so she instinctively knew something wasn’t right within herself. She knew treatment would have harmed the baby and Suzanne’s maternal instinct was in full force so she decided against telling anyone and kept her fear to herself.

 Suzanne felt very ill throughout her pregnancy, she was sick frequently, in lots of pain and unable to eat. This was a massive contrast to her first pregnancy. Suzanne would bleed every so often but the position of the tumour meant it wasn’t picked up by some reason. A doctor expressed concern that Suzanne was coming in so often and decided to do an excruciatingly painful internal examination which revealed a cervical tumour the size of a man’s fist blocking the baby’s arrival. It was biopsied and Suzanne was kept in hospital to await the results. The next day she was told the horrific news: she had cancer and was unable to have a vaginal birth. Baby Aaron was immediately delivered by caesarean and Suzanne began to haemorrhage before being able to hold her beautiful daughter. Her partner had to watch helplessly as doctors tried to save her. Suzanne had to undergo a hysterectomy and it was touch and go for a while.

Suzanne survived this ordeal but had to face months of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. After twenty intense courses of treatment, the cancer remained. Suzanne and her partner turned to holistic treatments such as Crystals, reflexology and hands on healing. This all seemed to help Suzanne massively and played a big part in her recovery and well being. She finally went into remission after a twenty four hour bombardment of radiation that went directly into her tumour. However, Suzanne has since had to face several operations, skin grafts, reconstructive surgery and still has to face ongoing surgeries.

Suzanne married her partner Kes in a beautiful, intimate ceremony in Scotland on the tenth anniversary of the day they met. Their gorgeous daughters were by their side. She has a lovely, happy family life that she is very grateful for. She has also built up her own business, is writing her first book and works alongside several cancer charities, including Cancer Research UK and Jo’s Trust. She became Scotland’s very first Cancer Campaigns Ambassador and works with the Scottish Government on issues surrounding cancer. She continuously raises funds and awareness and her main aim is to introduce Cervical Cancer Awareness Month to Scotland!

As I have mentioned before – cancer of the cervix is one of the only cancer’s that is PREVENTABLE. Regular smear tests will help doctors uncover any abnormal cells that may be at risk of developing into cancer. By finding them at this point, the doctor can get rid of them before cancer has a chance to develop. Please think about what poor Suzanne has been through and call your doctor to arrange your smear today. You can even contact me and have it done at the clinic I work at if you would like.

Suzanne is a fantastic woman and a real inspiration to me. She is very innovative and has some fabulous ideas. Her passion really comes through, as does her kindness and compassion. I am really passionate about encouraging women to have regular smear’s to try and prevent cervical cancer and I look forward to trying to find a way to work with Suzanne on this at some point in the very near future.

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