Patient with rare cervical cancer hopes for cure


By Isanella Patoir

Despite years of severe symptoms that doctors continuously misdiagnosed for kidney stones, hormonal imbalance and urinary tract infections (UTIs), Carol Dabie never imagined the possibility of having cancer.

A CT scan in November 2019 finally revealed a mass and a biopsy further revealed that the 39-year-old had Cervical Clear Cell Carcinoma, a rare and incurable type of cancer.

Vaginal bleeding is a common symptom, but because of the rarity of this type of cancer, it is often misdiagnosed.

After completing the majority of chemotherapy and radiation sessions, Dabie was beginning to think that everything would be fine but then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and her treatment was put on pause. While trying to find a safe home during these unprecedented times, the cancer spread into her lymphatic system.

“My hospital was overrun by COVID patients and had one of the highest deaths in New York so they had to keep us safe and put a pause on all of our treatment,” Dabie, a former media producer told the News Room during a recent interview.

Since her diagnosis, Dabie has been receiving life-saving treatment at various hospitals in the United States.

Unfortunately, Dabie’s kidneys were starting to fail and doctors inserted stents to help them function but the stents kept getting infected.

This resulted in Dabie being hospitalised during the first year of the pandemic.

“To treat the infections, I had to be hospitalised so during the entire pandemic, I was hospitalised in the midst of everything.

“Thankfully I was never tested positive,” Dabie said.

While it is intended to kill cancerous cells, chemo also affects normal healthy cells and it has taken a toll on Dabie.

“…it basically is killing my entire body, everything, good cells, bad cells, everything,” Dabie said.

After she did her radiation treatment, Dabie recalled that she spent months in adult diapers because she had no control of her bladder, bowel and stomach.

“It has been a struggle because the part of your body that is being radiated is the pelvic area and I already had bilateral kidney stents inside of me and the cancer did spread into my lymph nodes so they were radiating my thorax area, so it caused some effect to my stomach as well,” she explained.

Not long after, her diagnosis also took a toll on her mental health and therapy was recommended.


Just before her diagnosis, Dabie’s symptoms matched that of her mother’s. Her mother passed away in 1992 after suffering from similar symptoms but she was never diagnosed.

“I did not know of this until I got ill, my father started sharing the stories,” Dabie said.

Carol’s mother passed away in 1992 after suffering from similar symptoms but she was never diagnosed.

At the age of 13, Dabie started suffering from irregular periods. She would spend the majority of her life on hormonal treatment and she was told by doctors that when she is married everything would be normal.

“Basically, saying when I become sexually active I will be ok, but I didn’t understand the term then, but even in marriage it was more complicated with the symptoms,” Dabie told the News Room.

But even after she became sexually active her symptoms worsened and in the midst of all this, Dabie looked forward to the weeks and months when she would miss her period.

“Sometimes I didn’t get my period at all and to me, it was okay, because it was nice not bleeding for weeks and months so I didn’t go to the doctor,” Dabie explained.

Dabie, who is now divorced, also revealed that she suffered a miscarriage and at the time she did not know she was pregnant. She and her now ex-husband later tried conceiving but this proved futile.

Though miles away, her father and brothers continue to be her greatest supporters.


Her father sent her to the US where she was officially diagnosed after an urologist at the St Joseph Mercy Hospital told her that she may not have kidney stones.

“I was already in the advanced stage, the tumor was behind my uterus and spread to the cervix and both ovaries,” Dabie said.

Dabie got to the US just in time. While on the plane, she started bleeding and had to be rushed to the hospital upon landing.

Both of her ovaries and fallopian tubes were removed in December 2019. She almost lost one of her kidneys and had to undergo several surgeries to help her kidneys function properly.

When she arrived in the US, she initially stayed with family but after the pandemic began, one of the family members died from COVID-19 and she was taken out of the home and then kept at the hospital because she had nowhere else to go.

The hospital then became a high risk and Dabie was transferred to a clinic where she stayed for a few weeks but while there, she could not get access to her treatment and doctors made a decision for her to return to the hospital.

“Cancer was easier to deal with than all of these external factors and the pandemic was one of the reasons that really made it difficult for me,” Dabie, who is still adjusting to life with cancer, said.

During this time, Dabie ran out of money but a friend came to her rescue. She then began living with another family but the fear and threat of her contracting COVID-19 and spreading it was always there.

“It was very difficult for me – I collapsed at the laundromat, I threw up in the supermarket. This was when I was living on my own, even when I tried to cook the scent of everything…it was difficult, so the family stood with me for another few months, then I decided to go off on my own,” Dabie explained.

Dabie remains hopeful that one day she will be cancer-free. She has become a pillar of strength for women going through the same sickness.

“The cancer that I have – clear cell carcinoma – it is incurable, but it is treatable for however long my body can take so basically they are just extending my life, they do call me a medical miracle so I am hoping for better results.

“I can see that we are winding down to the end; I am in my third year of treatment – before it was weekly or monthly appointments.”

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