A grandmother is facing major facial surgery after a blockage in her nose turned out to be cancer.
Sheila Chadwick, 64, found out she had skin cancer after what she thought was a wart began to spread to cover her entire nose.
The ‘wart’ turned out to be squamous cell carcinoma, the second most common form of skin cancer.
Sheila, who lives in Bradford, West Yorkshire, with former warehouse worker David Chadwick, 64, her husband of 34 years, was sent for radiotherapy, due to concerns that her mild chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) diagnosis would cause life-threatening complications if she had surgery.
However, after 40 failed rounds of radiotherapy, the cancer persisted.
‘The therapy was difficult, but I tried to stay positive,’ she said.
‘Thankfully, it wasn’t painful.’
Eventually, when things were finally looking up, Sheila found out that the cancer had spread, and that surgery was the only option.
She said: ‘I didn’t have time to think about everything I was going through, I blocked it out –I had to try something.
‘I couldn’t just give up.
‘While there are still options available, I will take them.
‘I need to do it for my husband, my children and grandchildren.
‘Even though my family were shocked when they looked at me, I was grateful to be alive and cancer-free.’
After having to go back for more rounds and multiple surgeries, Sheila was left feeling angry and frustrated: ‘I feel so tired and exhausted,’ she said.
Determined to live, the mum-of-three and grandmother-of-four will now be getting face-changing – and life-saving – surgery to remove her nose, her top lip and part of her top gum, and will be given a ‘prosthetic face’ to wear.
The surgery will leave her unable to eat or drink on her own without a feeding tube and she worries that she won’t be able to cope ‘without a face.’
She says: ‘I don’t know if I want to see my grandchildren like this, as I don’t want to scare them.’
She adds that her nine-year-old grandson, Tyler, is too afraid to look at her: ‘It’s devastating, he will only give me a cuddle with his head down.’
But it’s her family that keeps her going, despite all of the turmoil.
Sheila said: ‘My family is everything, I want to be able to hug them.
‘I want to make memories with them.
‘I would have given up a long time ago without them.’
Sheila’s daughter Mel Irish, 34, is now raising money to buy her mum a special walk-in bath.
Recalling how Sheila held down three jobs to help pay for everything for her and her siblings when they were children, she is now determined to help the ‘most important person in the world’ at her most difficult time.
Mel, who lives in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, with her husband Richard Irish, 35, says: ‘I’m going to lose my mum at some point, but if I can make the time she’s got left more comfortable I will do whatever I need to do.
‘She’s my mum, you can’t put words to how important she is.
‘Seeing her go through something so devastating after all she’s sacrificed has broken me.
‘I wish I could help her. I wish I could take some pain away.’
David, Sheila’s husband of 34 years, says he is ‘heartbroken’
He said: ‘It’s been a very difficult time watching my wife of 34 years going through what she is going through and not being able to help her.
‘It’s been hard and emotional, but we will get through it together.’
You can donate to the family’s cause through GoFundMe.
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