DONNA Hannah’s dream of becoming a mum has been left shattered after she was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.
The 38-year-old will today undergo a radical hysterectomy to remove her uterus, cervix, ovaries and some pelvic nodes.
Donna will then have a series of tests to see if the mesonephric adenocarcinoma – a rare cancer that has affected just 30 people globally – has spread.
She then may face chemotherapy and radiotherapy sessions.
Donna, who lives in Oxclose, Washington, said: “I’d always thought I was born to have children and after years of trying this has come as a horrible shock.”
Despite being dealt the devastating blow, Donna said the news has come as a relief after battling years of health problems that medics now believe may have been related to the then undetected cancer.
In the coming months, as she fights against the disease, she is hoping to inspire other cancer sufferers with her story.
“Now I feel I was maybe never meant to have children. It just wasn’t to be,” she said.
“I feel instead, my purpose in life is to help other people who are struggling with their battle in any way I can.
“This is helping to keep me positive and I want people to know it is possible to stay positive through something like this.”
Two years ago, Donna discovered she had a blocked fallopian tube that led to a build up of liquid in her uterus.
In April, she was admitted to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead suffering from an infection in one of her tubes.
Medics told her she should have the tube taken out and in June she underwent the operation.
But just weeks ago, Donna was hospitalised when septicemia developed in her uterus.
Tests flagged up an abnormality and biopsies, and MRI scans, revealed the rare cancer, which usually affects the liver and kidneys, was in her cervix.
Donna, a civil servant, said: “I couldn’t believe it when they said I had cancer because I thought I was too young.
“But I feel lucky that I got septicemia otherwise we might not have known about it until much later.
“In a way, it feels like a relief because I’ve known for a long time that something wasn’t right.
“I’ve had to quickly get used to the fact that I’ll never be able to have children and that’s hard.
“But maybe if I had got pregnant it would have triggered a load more health problems, we just don’t know.”
Donna, who is in a long-term relationship, has already set about launching support groups and fund-raising for cancer charities.
“I’m determined this will give me a new lease of life that I can use to help others,” she said.
Donna has set up a Facebook group called Cancer’s not ageist... It effects everyone and is asking people to support her on there.