Casey Love was only in “a little pain” when the doctors suggested that she take her routine smear test.
But her life was turned upside down when it was discovered that the 25-year-old was suffering from cervical cancer.
Casey, of Darlington, went through 10 months of testing and anxiously awaited answers before the former manager of the House of Fraser was diagnosed with cancer and started treatment the day after her 26th birthday.
She told Teesside Live, “I had a partial hysterectomy surgery, but the tumor was too big to be removed and I went through chemotherapy and radiation therapy instead,” said Casey, who married her husband Jason in July .
“It was all a bit blurry, I just got up one morning and went to the hospital for treatment.
“At the end of my chemo I did internal radiation therapy and had to lie down for 48 hours straight, I had to eat lying down and the family could only visit at set times.
“That was probably the hardest part of all.
“On December 16, 2019, I got the all-clear, which was a really great early Christmas present for me and the whole family.”
Doctors originally diagnosed Casey with stage 1 cancer, but during surgery they found that it had spread to her lymph nodes, which meant it was classified as stage 3.
And the cancer and the grueling treatment mean Casey can’t get pregnant.
“They couldn’t wait for my treatment so I told them to get as many eggs as they could and Jason and I frozen two embryos. I can’t have children myself, but there is a 15% chance with a surrogate mother. “said Casey, a former Hummersknott School student.
“For about a year I was really struggling with it mentally, I got into a really dark place.
“I believe that everything in life happens for a reason and I believe that life is already planned for us.
“There will be a reason I can’t have children, but I’ve come to terms with it a lot more now.”
Add to: “[Throughout the treatment,] I stayed strong for my family, they kept asking me why I wasn’t crying.
“I think I gave them a front for a long time and pretended it was okay, I actually convinced myself that it was me.
“Going through the treatment was so difficult, it wasn’t until I finished that I thought and it hit me mentally.
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“Now I think it made me a kinder person, so I feel like cancer helped me become a better version of myself.”
Almost two years later, Casey prepares for a skydive to raise funds for Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust – a charity that has provided valuable support after being diagnosed.
And she also wants to draw attention to the importance of young women taking their cervical screening test when the appointment letter arrives – and advocates lowering the age of 25 years.
“If the doctors hadn’t suggested I have my swab, I would probably have postponed it, as so many women do,” Casey added.
“Now I’m trying to tell everyone how important it is. For me it was just the beginning of my journey, but just two minutes of discomfort is worth it, it really saves lives.
“As such a young age you don’t think it’s up to you. It made me live my life very differently now – it made me more spontaneous.
“I vowed to live my life completely differently, so I decided to do something completely outside of my comfort zone.
“My father David was a thrill in his day and did a skydive back then, which inspired me to do so.
“I hope I can inspire other people in a similar position that life after cancer can be good again.”
Friend James Philip has also run the Great North Run twice to raise funds for Casey’s select charity, raising more than £ 4,000.
And so far, more than £ 300 has been donated to Casey’s cause prior to her skydive on October 31st.
To donate, visit the Go Fund Me page.
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