"It was Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, stage 3, and I would need chemotherapy and radiotherapy. It wasn’t how I expected to spend my maternity leave!"
Steph was diagnosed with Hyperemesis during pregnancy, and post-natal depression afterwards. When she found a lump in her neck a couple of weeks after birth, she never guessed it was cancer.
This is her story...
I fell pregnant in March 2018 and got married shortly after on the 5th April. During my pregnancy, I started to lose weight quickly as I was being constantly sick. I was diagnosed with Hyperemesis and was admitted to hospital for anti-sickness treatment. Due to being really tired all the time, I had to stop working early before my maternity leave. Aoife arrived, a healthy baby, on the 6th December. One week after having her I was diagnosed with post-natal depression; I was very withdrawn, tired and still losing weight.
Driving home with husband from my parents' house one night, I felt a lump on the left side of my neck. I didn’t really think anything of it, as I was very run down.
Over the the following weeks, I went to the doctors as it kept swelling and became painful when I swallowed. The doctor eventually referred me to Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) where I was sent for a CT scan and needle biopsy. I waited two weeks for the results which came back as lymphoma. I had to have a biopsy, under anaesthetic, to find out which type of lymphoma this was. The surgery landed on our first wedding anniversary!
Within a week, I was sent to haematology where I was told it was Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and that I needed to have a PET scan to stage it. The scan revealed it was stage 3 and that I would need chemotherapy and radiotherapy. This was a lot to take in!
Aoife was only 8 weeks old. When chemo started, my husband brought Aoife to every session with me so I could still spend time with her. It wasn’t how I expected to spend my maternity leave.
I was put in touch with Mummy's Star by a friend who was a midwife, and their support has been invaluable. The financial support, the online forum, and catch ups have been brilliant. They made me realise that I wasn’t on my own and there were other people going through the same things.
My older daughter had just turned 4 when I was diagnosed and found it hard. Mummy's Star advised me on different charities that could support older children and some that offered play therapy to help her understand. I was finally given the all clear after 8 months of chemo and radiotherapy and I'm still in remission now.
I can’t thank Mummy's Star enough for all the support they have given to myself and my family, through what was a challenging time.
Steph has made a video of photos and memories of her Lymphoma Journey. Click here to watch it here.