A 21-year-old from Hyde being treated for a rare cancer is looking forward to a special family Christmas having finished her treatment just in time for festivities.
Valentina Sivori, aged 21, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in her neck, armpit and chest in September this year.
Following her diagnosis, Valentina was immediately referred to The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, a specialist cancer hospital in Manchester, to begin months of chemotherapy treatment.
The treatment has proven so successful, a recent scan has confirmed that no further treatment is necessary, so Valentina had her last of six sessions of fortnightly chemotherapy last week.
It means she is now able to relax and celebrate Christmas at home with her parents, sister and new puppy Pablo.
Valentina, who is studying history at York University, said: “The diagnosis was a huge shock as I didn’t have any of the usual symptoms of lymphoma, but I was referred to The Christie and I immediately knew I was in safe hands.”
She said: “I was immediately reassured by the team at The Christie. My first appointment, my mum came with me, but due to lockdown and the COVID restrictions, I had to attend the rest of the time on my own. The nurses and doctors were so caring and reassuring, I immediately felt better and I knew there was a plan to help me.”
Valentina underwent fertility treatment just in case the treatment affected her ability to have children, before starting chemotherapy.
Since then, Valentina has been attending The Christie for her treatment on a regular basis and was delighted to attend her final appointment last week. Her recent scan has confirmed the treatment has been successful and no further treatment is currently necessary.
“I was completely overwhelmed when they told me I didn’t need any more treatment. I’ve formed such a bond with the nurses because I had to attend on my own, but it has made me more confident and I’ve made friends talking to patients in a similar situation.”
She said: “I’m thrilled I’ve been able to have less treatment than I originally expected because it has gone so well. I’ve been fortunate not to have too many side effects. I’m now looking forward to putting my feet up and celebrating a small Christmas with my family to keep safe from COVID, before getting my life back on track next year.”
Valentina hopes to be able to return to university in September to continue her history studies having deferred her studies for a year.
She added: “2020 has certainly been a strange year for me and my family. Christmas will give me time to reflect, and spend time with my family and my new puppy Pablo. Most of all I’m looking forward to getting my life back on track and I couldn’t be more grateful to the team at The Christie for everything they have done for me.”
The teenage and young adult (TYA) service at The Christie is for 16-24 year olds who are diagnosed with cancer or leukaemia providing bespoke and age appropriate care for young people. Specialist staff including nurses, doctors and other health professionals provide cancer care specifically dedicated to the needs of young people from purpose-built facilities. These facilities are funded by The Christie charity and include everything from teen-friendly lounges, a gym, a music room and support services including body image support groups, and specially arranged social activities such as pizza nights and group outings.
The Christie NHS Foundation Trust was the first specialist trust to be rated as ‘Outstanding’ twice (in 2016 and 2018) by the health regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC). It referred to The Christie as ‘a leader in cancer care’ and ‘a pioneer in developing innovative solutions to cancer care.’ The CQC praised the Trust’s staff which it said ‘go the extra mile to meet the needs of patients and their families’ and that they were ‘exceptionally kind and caring.’ In 2017, the CQC rated The Christie as the best specialist trust in the country, and one of the top three trusts overall in England.