Kat Vitou's Story
Kat was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer in April 2015 and referred to The Royal Marsden. The mother-of-two became unwell while on holiday with suspected appendicitis, but a CT scan revealed that she had two tumours.
Kat said: “I was in complete shock when I found out that I had cancer. I drove home and just held my children because there was no way I was going to leave them. I remember phoning my parents to tell them and could hear my mother drop to the floor.”
She was told that she needed a full hysterectomy and underwent a seven-hour operation. She said: “Meeting my surgeon, Mr Des Barton, changed my life. I love all the nurses at The Royal Marsden and my Clinical Nurse Specialist, Emily Davies, is always there for me if I have any questions or if something is worrying me – they are all amazing.”
Kat had six rounds of chemotherapy and went into remission in October 2015. She took part in The Banham Marsden March in 2016, raising money to support The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.
She also allowed for her blood and tumour samples to be used in a research study led by Dr Susie Banerjee, a Consultant Medical Oncologist and Research Lead for the Gynaecology Unit at The Royal Marsden. Dr Banerjee’s work has been generously supported by the Lady Garden Foundation, through The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.
Kat added: “Research is really important so I’m happy that my samples were used in a study.”
In 2017 Kat had a small relapse, but thankfully that was treated with surgery and chemotherapy. Kat is now cancer free, and says she’ll always be grateful for the treatment she received at The Royal Marsden.
“Even though this has been the scariest journey of my whole life, I’m so thankful to have met all the amazing people through this hospital. From my surgeon Mr Des Barton and consultant Dr Susana Banerjee, to the nurses and even the man in the coffee shop - they are all doing a duty and I’m so truly grateful,” said Kat.
Following her illness, Kat has undergone a complete lifestyle and career change.
“I’ve used my experience to become a health and life coach, starting my own company Well+Life+Tribe and helping clients to lead a more balance life in the way that I learnt is so vital, following my cancer journey.
Working in wellness has been the perfect remedy to the void that was left after the trauma of my illness.
Now I am finding fulfilment in helping others in remission to deal with their new normal.”