In Jan. 28 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal ReporterEditor's Note: This is the fifth in an American Cancer Society series, Faces of Cancer. In this story we profile Carol Delk, a survivor of cervical cancer. January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month.
Carol Delk has been cancer-free for nearly 11 years now and each day she counts as a blessing and a gift from God.
She was diagnosed with cervical cancer in April 1999 at the age of 27 after going to the doctor for a routine checkup. Her and some friends at Stephens' Pipe & Steel, where she worked at the time, had talked with one another about getting examined and Delk had realized it had been several years since her last appointment.
"I felt fine, I had no symptoms," Delk said. "I just decided I would go for a checkup."
Two weeks later Delk received a letter in the mail telling her she had abnormal cells and needed to do a follow-up visit and have a biopsy done.
She had her biopsy on a Wednesday and that Friday she received a call from her doctor at work. Unable to take the call, Delk returned the call on Saturday and received the bad news.
"You have cervical cancer," she said the doctor told her. The doctors told her she needed to come back in as soon as possible to see whether or not the cancer had spread to any of her organs.
She returned to the doctor on Monday morning and had some tests run. By the next Wednesday she learned the cancer was contained to her cervix and had not spread.
Two weeks later Delk had a complete hysterectomy.
"Thank goodness I didn't have to have any treatments," she said. "It was pretty much contained."
Delk then went for follow-ups every three months for a year which expanded to every six months.
"Now I'm just going yearly and so far everything has been clear and fine," she said. "They did tell me that if I had waited until I started having symptoms that I would have probably died in six months."
Delk said her cancer was found just in time. "When they first told me over the phone, I was shocked," she said.
"I guess my case is a little different," she said. "Over the course of three and half weeks I had my tests and had my surgery and now I feel fine."
She said she never thought of having cancer at her age but now realized that it can strike anyone at anytime.
"I had some bloodwork done a couple weeks ago and everything came back perfect," she said.
Delk, now an instructional assistant at Russell County High School, is now very familiar at the heartache that cancer can cause a family. She lost her father to prostate cancer, her grandmother to colon cancer and an uncle to lung cancer.
"As far as having cervical cancer, I was the first in my family," she said. After having her surgery to rid herself of the cancer she was off work for six weeks. She had nearly 30 staples at her incision and the initial days after the surgery were painful ones.
Delk is now married to David Delk and has two children, Jamison and Zachary Meece, who were just small children at the time of her ordeal.
When one of her children asked if she was going to die during those three and a half weeks, she said she knew she was going to fight the cancer all she could.
"We normally attend the Relay For Life every year," she said of the American Cancer Society's trademark event. "We support it and it helps so many people."
Delk wished to thank Terry and Pam Stephens and those at Stephens' Pipe & Steel for their generosity during her rough time, her husband, David, her children, her parents and the rest of her family.
She now attends Jamestown Christian Church and with the support of her church family, feels she can withstand any challenge.
"I have a new appreciation for life," she said. She ended by giving some advice for young women out there.
"Go get your checkups, do not put it off because you feel fine," she said. Delk can vouch for how it could save your life.