Pregnant with Breast Cancer

I think I jinxed myself. It seems the universe or the divine being who controls it thought I needed more challenges. It has been hard to comprehend all of the emotions, information, stress and anxiety of the last few months, so I feel the need to just let it all out in the best way I know how – this awesome blog! I hope that it will help others in a similar situation and bring them some solace.

Present: I’m sat in a beautiful pink recliner chair receiving chemo. 32 years and 8 months old, pregnant at 23 weeks. I’m the youngest one here. My gorgeous rock of a husband is sat across from me and I can tell that just as much as me, he wants this first session over and done with so at least we know what to expect…

So the big question: how the F**k did we end up here?!

As many of you will concur, we have had a fair amount of poop thrown at us in our 8 years of being together – from my near deaths from peritonitis 8 years ago to losing our little baby girl Rey on New Year’s Day last year, to moving continent and having to move back for health reasons…

My friends, here is a little bit of an insight into the madness that is our lives.

Rewind to January this year, we were blessed with a little nugget of awesomeness who will be joining us sometime around the end of August/beginning of September! We knew this nugget would throw a few spanner’s into our long term plans – we had only just decided at Christmas that we were going to apply for a US green card. Things unfolded in ways we did not expect – we couldn’t get it in the 6 months we originally thought,so it looked like we’d have to move back and then relocate again, once the green card had been approved. There is so much of America we still want to see and we barely scratched the surface in the year we were there!

At 8 weeks pregnant, we found a lump in my breast, but there was no immediate concern from the doctors. At 10 weeks I took the Counsyl genetics test to check for any abnormalities with the baby. The good news – she is perfectly fine and wonderful! The bad news is that markers flared up in my DNA pointing towards something less fun growing in me simultaneously. It could have been literally anything from polyps through to a 1/1000 chance of cancer, but the test didn’t provide a definitive answer as to what it was and where, which meant a lot more testing needed doing (X-rays, pet scans, MRI, Bloods etc…) We made the decision that we had to come back to the UK, which SUCKED but needed to happen.

And I am so glad we moved back. (We’ve been blessed with some lovely weather too!)

Doctors appointments, midwife appointments, followed by tests were all organised very quickly and we found out within 3 weeks of being back that I have triple negative grade 3 Invasive Ductal Breast Cancer. Before we sat down in that room we knew it wasn’t great news – we were introduced to the breast cancer care nurse (before being given the diagnosis?!) and there were a lot of people there.

The consultant did the best thing in this situation and told me straight up that you have breast cancer, but IT IS TREATABLE.

So here’s the plan – once every 3 weeks I will have a round of chemo for a total of 12 weeks. Our little girl will be born hopefully pretty normally and I get to play mum for a short while, and then we will work out what surgery options I have to have around October. This may then be followed by either a bit more chemo or radiotherapy, but as of yet we don’t know.

In the meantime, I will be keeping you all updated with my progress on this interesting twist in the road – It may not be the most fun of adventures, but if I am to believe everything happens for a reason, I will do my darnest to help others out of it at the same time and carry on dishing out that positivity instilled in me from Rey.

Mummy’s Star is a charity I’m using to help me through this. They provide support for expecting mums who have received a cancer diagnosis whilst pregnant, and they have been fab.

MacMillan have also been great support so far through this testing time, and I know they will be in the months to come!

I didn’t see the point of keeping my long hair if it’s just going to fall out and end up in the bin, so I’ve donated to Little Princesses Trust who have wigs made for kids going through cancer treatment and they currently need hair longer than 7 inches, so why not? If I can make a little girl mike through this, then it was well worth it.

React, adapt, breathe, take action. Life certainly is 90% how you react to situations and I will beat this, and come out even stronger than I could ever imagine.

The BEST Way to Wake Up…

…Is a video conversation with your best friend to learn that her scan results for cancer shows it’s gone! 
“All clear” are perhaps the two best words we had hoped to hear for quite a while. All I wanted to do is give her the biggest hug in the world, but unfortunately a whole ocean separates us at present! The last time I saw this gorgeous lady, was the most emotional goodbye for both Haydn and I, because we so desperately wanted to be there for her, Russ and the kids throughout the experience. When we lived in Bognor, the 60 mile drive was a pain, but at least it was doable – now that is not an option. 

In this generation with the dawn of Face Time, Messenger video, emoticons and gifs to get our messages across, this has made the distance much easier. 

I have been so inspired by Lindsay’s bravery, and strength, and ability to deal with the most horrid of situations. I especially, have learnt so much from her. It’s true! Life throws curve balls (sometimes several at you all at once – in different directions!). In the last year, seeing all the personal battles that us, and many of our friends have endured, I feel we are all so much stronger than we were! We survived the darkest of days and at the end of it all, can still laugh, still enjoy what we have, and look ahead to a brighter future.

It’s easy to look back negatively and question why certain things happen to certain people: 

The “why me?”

“Why us?”

“WHY NOT THEM?”. 

Is it because we are strong enough to cope in tough situations? Perhaps in the face of adversity, some of us are more equipped emotionally than others. Maybe those we consider “lucky” who don’t endure it are possibly incapable of dealing with a rubbish deck of cards, so don’t get dealt them. Maybe we are being tested…. who knows right? 

I’ve learnt NONE of these questions provide answers and IT DOESN’T MATTER. What matters is although we can’t always prevent situations we are put into, INSTEAD we can respond in ways that then determine our outcomes.

Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.

Accepting and overcoming these challenges we face, makes us appreciate the good that follows. But it is exhausting. It takes everything out of you and can wear you down to the ground. BUT you must just get on with it. When Lindsay and I spoke about initial reactions you have, it’s hard because you have to just get through it. For her it was making sure she survived so she could be here for her gorgeous family. You just have to keep going forward and push through.

She knew it was going to be a challenge, fuck it, a full on mountain to conquer but she showed super resilience and emotional strength to push through. I can’t imagine the constant pain she went through during chemo. For sure, Lindsay is probably the strongest woman I know! 

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

We love you Lindsay! Xxx