'I got cancer young and pregnant'
Faye was diagnosed at just 20 weeks pregnant with her second child. In Faye's case she'd had a mammogram due to family history when micro-calcifications (small calcium deposits that look like white specks) were found, but she then discovered she was also pregnant. She was diagnosed with Triple Positive Breast Cancer.
This is her story…
'I had no symptoms for my primary diagnosis and had it not been for the mammogram I would have been completely oblivious. Unfortunately, after a year a scan showed lesions in my brain and I had 10 tumours. For my secondary diagnosis I'd had a continuous headaches for 10 days and pain at the back of my head. I've had a lumpectomy and node biopsy at 28 and 30 weeks pregnant before starting chemotherapy at 31 weeks. I was induced at 38 weeks and had a healthy baby girl. I then carried on with chemotherapy for another 5 months, had a double mastectomy and my nodes removed, followed by radiotherapy. I have since had further reconstruction surgery and have had my ovaries removed. For my secondary cancer, I've had whole brain radiotherapy and a special targeted drug to try to reduce the tumours. I will found out at my next scan in a few weeks time if it’s worked.
My diagnosis has had a massive impact on my work and family life. I am no longer working due to the effects of chemotherapy and treatments. My husband took shared parental leave to look after our daughter when she was first born. Both my girls are doing well and are having fun in nursery, but they certainly keep us on our toes!
Due to the chemotherapy I knew that I would not be able to breastfeed. I accepted this, but wanted to give my newborn some donor colustrum (the first form of milk produced by the mammary glands immediately following the delivery of the newborn). After trying to find out about donor milk and colustrum, I was told by the midwife that my baby was not entitled to it as she wasn't ill or in need of neonatal intensive care.
Mummy’s Star knew some more about donor milk and entitlements. Straight away the support was there. Emails and phone calls between Mummy’s Star and the hospital ensured that my baby had the donor colustrum when she was born. This is something that I will be eternally grateful for as I didn’t know who else to turn to and she would not have had it otherwise.
My advice to mums in this situation is not to let the doctors or other medical staff dismiss your thoughts. You know your body and it is possible to get cancer young and pregnant.
Mummy’s Star is so important in supporting women who are going through so much and for being their advocate around the country.'