Beauty And The Beast

All her life, Codie had had some­thing grow­ing in­side her...

Pick Me Up! - - OUR PICK ME UPS! - Codie Yau, 21, Mil­ton, Cam­bridgeshire

Fad­ing fast, I cud­dled up to my boyfriend, de­ter­mined to see the end of the movie. It was Fe­bru­ary last year, and my fella Charles, 24, had come over to my stu­dent flat in Southend for the evening to watch films.

Tun­ing into White Chicks, we were gripped – even though we should’ve been asleep hours be­fore! Still, even if it was the mid­dle of the night, we had to find out what hap­pened.

Brac­ing my­self for the next scene, I was sud­denly taken by sur­prise.

‘Aaargh!’ I yelped, feel­ing a jolt of pain shud­der through my ab­domen.

‘Are you OK?’ asked Charles. ‘I think I must have in­di­ges­tion,’ I splut­tered, winded by the in­tense pain.

Mys­tery ill­ness

I’d ex­pe­ri­enced some­thing sim­i­lar but milder a month ear­lier, when I’d been at home with my fam­ily, and had put it down to eat­ing a dodgy meal.

Now it was back, and the pain was on another level.

Try as I might to set­tle back into the movie, I was to­tally dis­tracted by the hor­ri­ble feel­ing be­tween my breasts and up­per stom­ach.

‘I’ve never felt any­thing like it,’ I moaned to Charles.

Soon, I was retch­ing and cry­ing, it was so bad.

‘You need to get checked out,’ said Charles, so we took a taxi to Southend Hos­pi­tal’s A&E.

As we ar­rived, I was fret­ting that I had some­thing re­ally se­ri­ous.

When the pain sub­sided slightly a few hours later, doc­tors pre­scribed antacid med­i­ca­tion, and sent me home.

‘What a re­lief,’ I told Charles, hav­ing con­vinced my­self I had some­thing ter­ri­ble, like can­cer.

But, the next night, the pain re­turned, even worse.

Charles took me back to A&E where, this time, as well as hav­ing blood tests, I was given an ul­tra­sound scan.

‘Oh my God, wow!’ said the sono­g­ra­pher.

What had he seen in­side me?

Then a doc­tor came in.

‘We’ve found a large cyst be­tween your liver and bowel duct,’ he said. ‘It’s around 5in long – the size of a 4-month-old foe­tus.’

The doc­tor ex­plained it was a type 1 B chole­dochal cyst– a swelling, widen­ing or di­la­tion of the bile ducts. They’re ex­tremely rare, af­fect­ing around one in 100,000 peo­ple.

More shock­ing still, I’d prob­a­bly had it since birth!

Still, the most im­por­tant news was that it wasn’t life-threat­en­ing.

‘I can’t be­lieve you’ve been liv­ing with this thing in­side you,’ said Charles, shocked.

When I phoned my mum Lai, 45, and dad Lup, 50, to tell them, they were hor­ri­fied – and quickly came to hos­pi­tal.

A large cyst... The size of a 4-mon­thold foe­tus

Surgery

‘My poor love, you look so poorly,’ re­marked Mum.

She was right. My strug­gling liver wasn’t clean­ing my blood prop­erly, re­sult­ing in jaun­dice.

Dis­charged three days later, I was re­ferred to the Royal Lon­don Hos­pi­tal in Whitechapel, where I was booked in for an op to re­move the cyst two months later.

Re­ally poorly, I had to stop uni and go back to live with my

fam­ily in Cam­bridgeshire.

Dur­ing my 10-day hos­pi­tal stay in April last year, I learned the medics are still mys­ti­fied by what causes chole­dochal cysts, although one the­ory is that the bile duct doesn’t form prop­erly dur­ing early preg­nancy.

Bounc­ing back

Told I’d never make a full re­cov­ery, seven months af­ter di­ag­no­sis, my con­fi­dence was at rock bot­tom.

Then I saw an ad­vert on so­cial me­dia for the Miss Cam­bridgeshire beauty pageant.

‘You have to en­ter,’ I squealed to my friend, Melissa, 21. ‘Only if you do, too,’ she said. But I’d lost two dress sizes since my ill­ness, and was now a scrawny size-4, with an 8in scar across my stom­ach. Who’d vote for me? But Melissa per­suaded me. And, sashay­ing down the cat­walk in May, I felt like a mil­lion dol­lars!

To my to­tal amaze­ment, I came se­cond!

‘Why are you sur­prised?’ asked Charles. ‘You’re the most beau­ti­ful woman I know!’

In June, I went on to win Miss Pop­u­lar­ity Eng­land, and qual­i­fied for Miss Eng­land! It was held in July – and, although I wasn’t placed, it was a spec­tac­u­lar event.

Com­pet­ing in pageants has given me a big con­fi­dence boost, and I’ve raised over £1,000 for Beauty With A Pur­pose.

I’m mostly fine now, although I do still have some bad days.

When I was ill, I could barely stand, let alone strut my stuff on the run­way.

But now I look every inch a cat­walk star!

Com­pet­ing in pageants has given me a con­fi­dence boost

Re­cov­er­ing af­ter the op My scar is 8in long

The scan shows my mon­ster ‘guest’!

i felt like a mil­lion dol­lars!

With Mum, win­ning Miss Pop­u­lar­ity

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