“I’VE signed up to walk the mini-marathon for my sins!” says Burnfort woman Pamela Nodwell, 43.
“I’m doing the mini-marathon in aid of Cork ARC Cancer Support House, who helped in my job to get well again.”
It is upwards an onwards for Pamela since she overcame not one, but two, serious illnesses.
“I’ll be walking the 6km! But I’m really looking forward to the mini-marathon,” says Pamela, who works as an accountant with Crowleys DFA, Cork
“It is a great event that has a really fun atmosphere. I’m signed up!”
Pamela didn’t sign up though, for the rare condition, Cushing Disease, in 2016, which occurs when a noncancerous (benign tumour), called an adenoma, forms in the pituitary gland.
It is hard to imagine that less than two years later, Pamela got another massive shock, when she received a diagnosis of breast cancer.
“One tumour was benign; the other tumour was cancerous,” says Pamela.
“With Cushing Disease, I literally ballooned and put on loads of weight. The disease is very hard to diagnose. I got a major shock when it was finally diagnosed by my Endocrinologist, Dr O’Halloran.”
Pamela had contracted a potentially dangerous rare disease.
“If it goes undetected; it could kill you,” she says. “Dr O’Halloran operated on me to remove the tumour in my pituitary gland.”
Cushing Disease affects 10 to 15 people out of one million each year, affecting adults age 20 to 50. Women account for 70% of cases.
Pamela must have gone through the mill, living with Cushing Disease before it was diagnosed?
“It was like night and day, dealing with hormone issues,” says Pamela.
“I was always so well in myself, keeping active, playing basketball. I went up to 17 stone and I looked 10 years older!”
Pamela thought she was out of the woods after surgery, looking to the future, eager to get on with her life.
“I was diagnosed with breast cancer last September,” she says.
Again, the brave Burnfort woman rallied, this time with the shock diagnosis of breast cancer.
“I had chemotherapy treatment from October until March, followed by radiotherapy treatment lasting until mid-June,” says Pamela.
“I was very sick with the chemotherapy treatment, I had a lot of blood transfusions. CUH became my second home.”
Pamela, always the optimist, looks on the lighter side of life whenever she can.
“My sister’s wedding was coming up. I had a great make-up artist!”
While CUH became a familiar home to Pamela while she was being treated for her illness,Cork ARC Cancer Support House became her welcoming second home.
“It was great to go up there during and after my treatment in 2018 and 2019,” she adds.
“ARC helped me do the job I had to do to get well again.
“It was just a nice alternative to hospitals and all they entail; appointments, treatments, transfusions, follow ups. It is a shock to the system.” She found like-minded people who were willing to listen and to share.
“People have been through an awful lot and going to ARC House, you find a place where people understand what you are going through once you came through the doors.”
Pamela, feeling the love, was boosted by the warm embrace of ARC House.
“What I loved about ARC House was you meet others and you talk about your experiences with them.
“We swapped notes and we got support from each other.”
Cork ARC Cancer Support House had the remedy for Pamela to fully recover.
“The support, the therapies, the one-to-one counselling is so beneficial to so many people on a cancer journey.
“It was great to go up there when I was feeling enough again,” says Pamela.
With a renewed lease of life, she tried something new.
“I had done yoga before,” says Pamela. “And I tried Tai Chi at ARC House for the first time. I really liked it.”
She is a can-do person.
“If I can do anything that I can to support ARC House, then I will,” she says.
“The ongoing support and just being with people who understand a cancer journey, really helped me in my recovery.
“Cliffdale House was a home-from-home for me.
“Now, the new Cork ARC Cancer Support House can cater for more even people who need their services with the fabulous new building, Sarsfield House.
“Having cancer is a sensitive time for people, and talking in private is very important to them.
“ARC House can provide all these things to all the people seeking help”.
Pamela will have loads of support, taking part in The Echo Women’s Mini Marathon on Sunday, September, 22.
“Work are great for hosting charity events. And everyone there is behind me raising funds for Cork ARC Cancer Support House.”
Cork ARC has relocated to Sarsfield Road, Wilton, Cork. For more on its services see:www.corkcancersupport.ie
To register to take part in The Echo Women’s Mini Marathon on Sunday September 22, log onto https://theechominimarathon.ie/