Vicky’s Story – Cancer and Pregnancy Awareness Week

11407024_10152918042573837_1202757731679245192_nTuesday 28th October 2014, I was admitted to hospital after my health began to decline further. I was 18 weeks pregnant with my second baby. I had taken myself to a&e the day before but was sent home without really being examined. The next day I had to call myself an ambulance as I had started to be violently sick. I had already been signed off sick for a couple of weeks with severe anaemia which was picked up in my booking appointment.

Since having my first baby 16 months previous I never felt like my body never got back to normal. After hearing how you’re never the same after having a baby I just thought this is the way I am now. I was always tired, I had a lot of trouble going the toilet and began having abdominal pains on my left side. After having a really good pregnancy and birth I just thought typical that my body was taking a very long time to get back to normal. I had a few visits to the Drs but always came home with some sort of laxatives and was told I was probably really constipated and I needed to retrain my body again. I stopped going the Doctors in the end as I assumed I wasn’t giving myself time to get back to normal. The pain gradually began to increase and I was soon taking paracetamol every four hours. Nights became a cycle of waking up in pain, taking painkillers and waiting for them to kick in so I could go back to sleep, until they wore off. I was losing weight very gradually but having put on four stone with my first pregnancy I was actually quite pleased with this. I put it down to breastfeeding and having a new baby to look after. Being a new mum seemed to be a great diet plan!

July 2014 my maternity came to an end and I returned to work. I definitely didn’t feel refreshed and ready to start back. I was exhausted, in pain and felt rubbish. Again I just thought this is my new, busier life now and I just needed to get used to the changes. I was struggling though!

August 2014 I found out I was expecting again, no wonder I felt so run down! Bloods were taken on my booking 11541057_10152928920583837_511613731_nappointment and it came to light I was severely anaemic. That would explain the dizziness! I was reluctant to start iron tablets because they can cause constipation and I certainly didn’t want to make things worse but I was strongly advised to take them as the levels were so low and continue within laxatives to balance things out. A couple of weeks went by and I felt I was getting worse. I decided to go back to the Drs as I was now getting worried that the amount of paracetamol I was taking wasn’t doing me or the baby any good. I was told I shouldn’t be taking more than the stated dose and I explained that after a few hours the pain was escalating and I couldn’t go without pain relief for much longer. Again I was sent home with more laxatives and signed off work for two weeks and was told to take them continuously for 6 weeks and no investigations would be done whilst I was pregnant. Two weeks passed and I returned to the Drs feeling pretty fed up now. I saw a different gp this time and he signed me off work for 6 weeks and sent me home with the same advice of retraining my body.

The next coming weeks I continued to decline. I was still losing weight, still in pain, exhausted! I went off most foods and drink. I could only face bland food and water to drink. My apatite declined and I started vomiting every few days. This then escalated quite rapidly. I starred vomiting more frequently and on Monday 27th October I tried to get i to the Drs again only to be seen by a nurse drop in clinic as there was no appointments. She didn’t have an answer as to why I was vomiting and made me an appointment to see the Dr the next day but sent me to a drop in to have bloods taken. I returned home deflated and weak. I reluctantly agreed to go a&e. After a four hour weight and I tummy examination I was told as I had an outpatient appointment coming up to see the surgical team (I had been stressing to my obs and gynae consultant that my tummy pains were unbearable and didn’t want them getting worse now I was pregnant and she referred me for an appointment in the early weeks of my pregnancy) that I should just wait for that to come around.

11356298_10152928921623837_2110631129_nTuesday 28th October I was looking after Maia on my own for the day. I was sick in the morning after having a glass of orange juice and taking my iron tablets. I thought, great, that’s that out of the way for the day. After lunch I took Maia upstairs for her nap and I put her down in her cot I knew I was going to throw up again. I ran to the bathroom and I was violently sick. It was horrible! I climbed into bed and started trembling uncontrollably. I felt scared now. I phoned Joeie in a panic and he told me to call an ambulance and he would come home straight away. Luckily they both arrived at the same time as I couldn’t get down the stairs. Maia woke with noise. I was checked over and told I’d be going to the hospital. As the escorted me down the stairs I felt in was going to be sick and and ran into the kitchen and there up in the sink. We sat in the ambulance for ages as they were monitoring me to get my obs up to ok levels before we set off. I’ve never been in an ambulance before let alone blue lighted. Arriving at the hospital I was sick again and the ambulance crew insisted it was kept for the Drs to see as they suspected it was part undigested food. I sat in majors for hours, I was examined and the baby was monitored. I knew none of this was anything to do with the baby but it was nice to hear her heartbeat. I was transferred to the surgical assessment ward and after a review by the team and a tummy examination I was told they couldn’t feel anything suspicious and didn’t think it was a surgical issue. They discharged me from their care and put me under the obs and gynae team and sent me to the obs and gynae ward. I was prescribed anti sickness and suppositories! Neither worked! I was awake and in pain for most of the night as no pain killers had been prescribed so I had to wait for the Drs to come and prescribe them. The next morning I was sick again so was told I had to be nil by mouth and the surgical team would be called again to review! I was seen by the surgical and gastro teams. I knew the gastro team as I work on the gastro ward so I was comfortable and able to speak to them freely. I was told that I should wait until the baby was born and if I was still in pain they could examine me better. In the mean time I was told to continue with the laxatives as I was probably constipated! I really wasn’t but everyone seemed to keep telling me I was! The days passed and I was on a continuos loop of eating and being sick and taking laxatives. Everytime I was sick I was put back on nil by mouth and the surgical teams were called to review me! I had an ultrasound which came back ok and nothing abnormal.  I was on constant drips to keep my fluids up. Everyday I felt worse than the day before. I was seen by so many different Drs from the surgical teams who all examined me and insisted it wasn’t a surgical matter. The obs and gynae Drs didn’t know what to do with me. They monitored the baby and all was fine there. I was slowly deteriorating. I was basically nil by mouth constantly as every time I ate I was sick. I was constantly on drips but my veins were getting worse and kept collapsing. A cannula wasn’t even lasting 12 hours. Getting bloods was becoming painful! I was prescribed so many different laxatives it was ridicules. There was no way I could have anything left in me as I’d not eaten and kept anything down for almost a week! One surgical team suggested that the vomiting was due to the iron I was on so to prove it wasn’t that the obs and gynae Drs took me off the iron. Every time I was sick samples were taken to show the surgical teams.

One day I was reviewed by a reg on his own. He suggested maybe I had a kink in my intestine and that was why I was being sick. As I’d not been eating for days now it should have hopefully sorted itself out and I should try eating again. If I was sick again he wanted to put an nasal gastric tube in me to stop me vomiting. If I was sick he wanted to see it for himself and told the Drs to call him back if I was. I tried eating and I was again very sick, he came back and he was the first surgical Dr to agree with the obs and gynae that it was part digested food. He said I needed the ng putting in right away. I had no idea how horrific getting the tube in would be. I had to take a mouthful of water and whilst I swallowed it he would feed it through my nose, down my throat and into my stomach! It was horrendous! I had to sit perfectly still and upright. He couldn’t get it past the top of my nose so it took a few attempts to get it in. I was vomiting the whole time but couldn’t move from my seated position. After all that it wasn’t even working. It was supposed to draw up stuff from my stomach instead of me being sick but I didn’t work and I carried on being sick. The nurse would come and aspirate it every four hours but they had a lot of difficulty drawing the syringe back so wouldn’t continue. I was becoming so weak now I couldn’t even lift my head off the pillow at times. One thing happened that made me realise I wasn’t well. My mum had come to see me to tell me that she had just passed my other half in the hospital corridor with our 16 month old. She said he was taking her down to a&e as the nursery was concerned about her temp. I wanted to go down but couldn’t even face getting off the bed. I was devastated. I cried with the bit of energy I had in me. I needed to be with my baby and I was a useless mess. Joeies brought her in to see me for a minute on his way home, she had been diagnosed with tonsillitis. I couldn’t physically lift my head. I wanted to hug and kiss her but being ill it wasn’t good for any of us.

I was sent for an Mri which came back clear. My surgical outpatient appointment came round and the sister suggested I attend just so I could be  reviewed by another Dr. I was examined and told to my relief that the ng tube could be removed and I should start eating again and hopefully my body should kickstart into functioning again! I was so pleased. I could wait to eat again but was told to have a small amount to start with. I returned to the ward and was seen by the gastro team again who agreed with the surgical team but wanted me to have eaten and kept it down before they removed the tube. The next day I was looking forward to breakfast, although I could only manage a yoghurt! I ate lunch which was a bit of soup,and a bread roll and another yoghurt. I felt like I’d eaten a Christmas dinner and fell asleep straight after! I didn’t feel great during the day but presumed as I’d not eaten for so long it was going to take some getting used to again. I had tea which was a bit of a pie and potato and custard for pudding. I felt awful but I was determined not to be sick so I could go home! Up until I was admitted I was still breastfeeding Maia and had never been away from her for more than 8 hours! I wanted to go home so badly now I was focused on it! Later that evening I was given a supplement drink. This tipped me over the edge. Within the hour I knew I was going to be sick again so tried to go sleep so my tummy could settle. It didn’t work. The nurse was doing her meds and I cried out that I was going to be sick. She passed my a sick bowl just in time but had to run off to get a bed pan as I quickly filled it! I felt defeated. I wasn’t supposed to be sick. I was supposed to be eating and feeling better so I could go home! I had been told a couple of days before that as I was so ill my body was stating to go into starvation mode and it was vital to start getting some nutrients into me. I would need to move wards and be put on a special drip called TPN which is a highly calorific, nutritional bag of everything a body needed to function.

The next day, Friday 7th November, the gastro team came to see me again and see how I got I the day before. The consultant said my bloods still weren’t right but didn’t know why. I pointed out that I’d not actually been the toilet for a few days now but having not kept and food down I wasn’t surprised. As they left I overheard him saying he wanted the Mri looked at again. I had been told I needed to move wards and have a cannula put in my upper arm called a pic line so the TPN drip could go up. I was to wait for a bed but I would be going that night as it needed to be made up before the weekend. A couple of hours later the consultant returned! You ever see a Dr twice in one day! Working the hospital means you know too much sometimes. He sat in my chair and touched my hand and explained he needed to have a talk and would I be able to get my partner in! It’s bad news isn’t it? I asked. He said we’ll discuss it all once Joeie was here. He came and the consultant was called back. His whole team (who I knew from my ward that I worked with) and the nurse who was looking after me came to my bed and the curtain was drawn. I briefly looked round but focused on the consultant who sat at the end of my bed. Joeie sat next to me. What came next blew our world apart.

The consultant said the Mri had been looked at again and they had found a large tumour in my large bowel. Some of the conversation goes a bit fuzzy now but he started talking about my bowel ‘communicating’ with my stomach. For a minute I thought it was a good thing. Of course they should be communicating, they need to work together! What he meant was the tumour was so big it had grown outside of my bowel and grown into my stomach! It looked advanced and aggressive. Two words you never want to hear after you’ve been told your have cancerous tumour. I needed surgery as soon as possible. He said he needed to scope me but would wait until Monday so I had time to process the information or he could put me on the end of his list that day. I said to put me on for the end of the day, what’s the point in waiting now. The surgeon who I had seen at the outpatient appointment then turned up and confirmed I needed surgery. I couldn’t believe it. All this time I can honestly say cancer never entered my mind. At worst I thought maybe I had an ulcer. I had been so reassured that up to this point that It wasn’t anything serious because and ultra sound and an Mri scan and numerous examinations had come back with nothing. No news was kinda good news. I couldn’t process it. Why had so many Drs missed it if it was so big. Everyone left and me and Joeie cried and cried. We were too young to be dealing with this. I’m 33, we have a 16 month old and I’m 20 weeks pregnant.

I was taken for my scope. I wasn’t allowed any sedation because of the baby. It was uncomfortable and became painful as it went on. I actually found it interesting as I could see everything on the screen. Then he finally found it. He was completely honest with me the whole time and said it was very big. It had completely blocked my entire bowel so nothing was able to get through, hence the horrendous sickness. He said I’d probably had it for 10 years maybe! He requested the surgeon come back and take a look. He came down. They exchanged a few words and asked the consultant to come to his office afterwards to discuss the findings, He patted me on the shoulder and said he would see me soon. I was so scared! Back on the ward, I had gone to the toilet and upon my return my mum was sat in my chair by the bed. She wasn’t due for another hour or so. I had to tell her what I knew. I didn’t seem real. I was talking about somebody else, so it felt. She left and I began having terrible pains from the scope. I had to have strong painkillers and as they kicked in I was told the ward I was being transferred to needed me up so they could prep me for the drip. I was so out of it, I was transferred on the bed. They put me in a bay with 5 other ladies. It was getting late and I was exhausted, tearful, shocked and scared. I was being monitored every four hours. I hated waking up because everything that had happened over the last 12 hours suffocated me and I just cried uncontrollably.

The next day, Saturday 8th November, another surgical consultant and his team came to my bed side. He said he had 11426815_10152928922058837_1206421972_nsome big things to discuss with me and thought I should get someone in to sit with me. I explained my partner was in work that morning and he told me work needed to take a back seat as what was going on here was serious. He said he could talk to me now if I wanted and I said yes. I maybe should have waited but I wanted to know what he knew.

He started by saying the tumour was extremely big and the operation was as big as an operation could be. It needed to be done as a matter of urgency. If I didn’t have done it was going to kill me. He said this diagnosis was extremely rare and it was a 1 in 1million case. The fact I was only 33 with bowel cancer, an large advanced tumour, the spread into my stomach, being pregnant. Everything was stacked against me! He said unfortunately as the operation was so huge the baby would not survive! It was also risky to have the operation as I was so weak but there was no time to try and build my strength up beforehand. The risk wasn’t as great as not having it but trying to save my life was what was needed to be done. I was told I had to forget about the baby as her life was ‘doomed’ and concentrate on me. He also thought it may have spread to my pancreas, spleen and possible the linings of my insides. He said there was three likely outcomes.

  1. They would remove everything and the operation be successful.
  2. They could only remove part of the tumour in which case I would be given palliative treatment with a prognosis of 12/18 months to live!
  3. They would open me up and not be able to do anything.

I asked which was likely of the three and he said it looks like the second option!

I couldn’t take it in. This had snowballed immensely in the past 18 hours. 24 hours earlier no one knew what was wrong with me and now I’m being told me life and my baby’s life were in danger. I said I couldn’t tell my family all this and he said he would come back and talk to us all. What about Maia? Shes still a baby, she’s my baby. She needed me and my heart ached for her. What about me and Joeie? We were just starting out a family even though we had been together for a very long time. We were too young for this to be happening to us. My poor innocent baby growing inside me. She was kicking and letting me know she was there. I couldn’t just forget about her! I was told I needed an urgent C.T and would be going for it later that day. It was explained again that normally C.Ts are avoided in pregnancy but it wasn’t the baby’s life they were trying to save. I had no choice and I hated that i was now knowingly putting my baby’s life at risk. I was seen by the obs and gynae consultant who also backed up everything the surgeon had said and said it was tragic but there was nothing that could be done as I was only 20 weeks pregnant. If it wasn’t so urgent for me to have the surgery and I could have waited a week they would have strongly suggested I have a termination! If we both made it out of surgery they said my body would probably miscarry anyway. I asked what would happen as I’d be recovering from surgery. They said I’d be heavily sedated and they would just let nature take it cause and let my baby go. I had a vision of being in and out of consciousness unable to move  because of the surgery and in labour! I was also told if by some miracle she made it that far then she wouldn’t survive the effects of chemotherapy. Obs and gynea said maybe if I made it to 24 weeks then they could look at delivering before I started chemo but even then her chances were slim. Surgery was scheduled for Monday morning. Two surgical teams would be doing the operation. In the mean time further tests and the TPN would be out on to try and increase my strength as much as possible before Monday.

11541097_10152928922828837_1561034820_nAfter everybody had left the sister came to me and said an escalation bay at the bottom of the ward was free and they were going to move me there so I had could have privacy and open visiting. Talking to the staff on the ward I cried and they cried with me. It started to feel like I was talking about someone else. This is something you hear about happening to other people. Joeie came down and I told him all I knew. I couldn’t wait for the consultant to come back. They moved me to the bay and the nurse said she Joeie was more than welcome to stay the night with me. We thought I should get in touch with some of my closet friends. I made a few phone calls and asked that they come in so i could tell them. If anything happened it wasn’t right that I never got to see them and talk to them one last time. Joeie left to collect some things to stay overnight. His parents are going stay at our house and look after Maia for the night and the next day they would bring her in so I could spend the some time with her. She not seen me for a while and with the strange environment she was hesitant around me. She knew something was different, I was different. It upset me. She soon warmed . She was still ill herself. She as getting over tonsillitis still. Both thinking along the same lines I said I wanted to make a video incase anything happened so he was also bringing in my camcorder. How I was going to do this, I didn’t know. Where do you start? I asked for some paper envelopes too so I could write letters.

I was taken for a C.T. Waiting to go in and the baby was kicking like mad. It broke my heart that she was so active inside me. Back in the ward the TPN was put up and shortly after my friends arrived. Telling them was so surreal. I made my friends cry. You don’t see friends cry very often. We talked for a couple of hours then it was time to say goodbye. They made me a little bit more positive about things. They told me I would wake up from the operation and it put me in a better mindset. Joeie came back and the carers pushed a bed up next to mine. We were just like an old married couple lay side by side. We spent the next coupe of hours talking, hugging, crying. We made a list of things I was going to talk about in my video to Maia. Things about me. Likes, dislikes, things I’d done, memories of happier times, boys! We went to bed but didn’t sleep great. I hated waking up because I’d just cry again. We hug as best we could because of my drips and fall asleep again.

The next day, Sunday 9th November, mum and her husband came to the and so the consultant could go through what he had told me the day before. He also explained that part of my pancreas might also have to be my pancreas removed and the consequences of that. I’d also be fitted with a bag on the side of my tummy because of the surgery to my bowel. He went through the my consent for surgery and again the potential risks. He said I’d probably got to ITU after surgery too. I said I didn’t care what the recovery was as long as I had a recovery. I begged him to do all he could as if anything happened to me Maia would be too young to remember me, too young to remember wanting me when she wanted cuddles. She grow up with other people telling her what her mum was like. She’d had no memories of her own. Later more friends came to see me as well as my half brother. I had visitors practically all day. Joeie had left to go and collect Maia. All the time I’d been in hospital she’s started to crawl so it was nice to be able to see her practicing her new skill. I was trying to squeeze every last moment with her. We sat on my bed playing and cuddling. The time came for her to go and she got upset. She still wasn’t better from her tonsillitis and and she just wanted her mummy cuddles. It broke my heart letting her go but she needed her rest too. She was crying and clinging to me and in the end I had to ask my mum to just take her as it was upsetting us both. My mum came back up and gave me a final hug and kiss. I never got time to make the video but I was also being positive that I’d be able to make it after the operation.

Monday 10th November, surgery day! I was woken early to prepare as I was first in the list. The other surgeon came to see me and I again begged him to do everything possible to let my baby have her mum. I said if you think you’ve done all you can do a little more just to be sure you’ve got it! The anesthetist came to see me and went through everything. The ward manager asked if she could come into theatre with me to see part of the operation. Mum, my sister arrived and we just waited. At 10am the porter arrived. This was it. I got onto my bed and was wheeled to the theatre doors. I became so overwhelmed now and the baby started kicking and it broke my heart. I saw one of my friends come out of the theatre doors as she worked there. I was wheeled in and into the anaesthetic room. There was so many people in there. I kissed Joeie before I went to sleep. I looked at the clock and it was just before 10.30.

I was woken by the anaesthetist being told the operation went well and I was doing ok. It was about 3.15. I woke up boiling hot, I was insulated by a bear hugger so that was taken off straight away. My friend was by my side as she was allowed to see me in recovery. I was taken to ITU and Joeie came to see me. He asked if I’d seen a Dr yet to see how it went and i said no. He’d actually been called by the consultant after surgery and was told the results. They cut it all out, all of it, gone! The baby was still alive also. Later in ITU the surgeons came to see me and I thanked them for getting me through it  and for the first time I saw them smile. I was constantly coming in and out of consciousness. I was in pain but i was on a lot of painkillers. Then I had a pain that wasn’t in my stomach. It felt like a period pain. It went away then came back. I thought this is it. My body was letting my baby go. I lay there still drifting in and out of consciousness the pain starting and stoping then it stopped and never came back. At that time I remember thinking she staying with me. If she can get through this she can get through anything. We’d stick together, we needed each other!

I’d had 70% of my bowel and 30% of my stomach removed. They said the tumour was the size of a small football/rugby ball! I had another tube coming out of my nose. This was a feeding tube and the next day they started to feed me through it. 24 hours after being in ITU they were ready to allow me back onto the ward. I arrived back and I was in a bay with 5 ladies, some had dementia so it was a lively bay. Later that night felt sick again and called the nurse. I threw up all the feed that had been fed into my stomach. I also brought up part of the tube and it coiled at the back of my mouth. It was making me gag just because I could feel it. A Dr was called and they said I needed to go for an emergency X-ray to see how far out of my stomach the tube had come. I was taken down and it was explained that the baby was again at risk because of where they needed to X-ray. They put a protective coat on my lower part of my body to try and protect her as much as possible. The X-ray showed the tube had moved but was still in a good place. Back in the ward they Dr tried to push the tube back down but it was making me gag too much. I tried swallowing it down but nothing worked and they said I’d have to put up with it until morning when my consultant could decide what to do with it. I didn’t sleep because it was so uncomfortable. The next day my consultant came round and immediately pulled the tube out saying it wasn’t needed anymore. I was glad as I didn’t want to go through another experience of having a tube fed down into my stomach. They moved me into my own room and put a sign in the door saying ‘do not disturb’ so I could get some decent rest. You certainly don’t get any rest when you’re in hospital especially when you’re really ill!  Constant monitoring, drips being changed, cannulas being inserted as because the last one crashed. lots of people from various specialities visiting and checking on me as well as family.

Speaking with the consultants we had discussed how the bowel cancer could be genetic as my dad had it and unfortunately died from it when it returned. His mum mum also died from it. I was told I would be referred to genetics so it could be investigated.

I spent a further 3 weeks in hospital.  There were a few ups and downs to my recovery. I was put back on the TPN drip. As well as constantly being hooked up with various other drips as I wasn’t eating and still being sick occasionally. It wasn’t like before though, thankfully. My veins were shocking. Getting blood and putting in cannulas were so painful. At one point I needed to have a drip put up urgently and as my arms were no good they even looked into putting it in my foot, luckily they didn’t but it went very painfully into my hand

I was told that what they had removed had been examined and they had found another small tumour on the opposite side to the large one. They didn’t know if it was also cancerous as yet.

I left hospital on Friday 28th November. I felt so out of places a funny way. Everything had changed but still the same. Everything had moved on and I was 5 weeks behind. I had to fit in with Maias new bedtime routine as it was different and didn’t involve me anymore.

Two weeks later I met the oncologist who told me I’d need 6 months of chemotherapy. I’d have I.v ever two weeks followed by another one in tablet form for 9 days starting the day after the I.v for 12 cycles. It was ok for me to have it whilst pregnant. The baby may suffer some if the side effects that I get like pins and needles, numbness to the hands and feet but there was no way of really testing it. She may also have a growth slow but assured me obs and gynea will monitor this and make any decisions as we go along. I started chemo in the 12th December. Two days before my birthday and 25 weeks pregnant. The side effects aren’t terrible. I get a lot of tiredness, neuropathy -pins and needles, cramps to my hand. I can’t drink anything that isn’t warm as it aggravates the nerves in my throat. I can’t touch anything that isn’t warm. I can’t hang washing out, touch door handles, put washing up away. Go outside without gloves and scarf. Nausea. The first few days after the I.v I’m fit for nothing. I can’t fasten my coat or do buttons and press studs. Picking things up and gripping items makes my hands cramp up. I’m so drained.

I had five rounds whilst I was pregnant my last one was on Friday 13th February 2015. I had been getting regular scans 11350115_10152929031468837_1385063400_non the baby and her growth had started to slow so it was decided they would deliver at 36 weeks. Thursday 5th March I went in for a planned section. I’d pushed for a section as I really didn’t have the energy for a natural delivery. At 11.06 my beautiful, miracle, baby girl was born. Jessica Joy weighed 4lb 14oz and was just perfect. She wasn’t maintaining her heat so I wasn’t allowed to do skin to skin. I also had to be 4 weeks clear from the I.v and I was only three so insane allowed to breastfeed her either. She spent some time under the heat lamps in recovery then we moved the ward. She was again struggling to maintain her temp and was making some noises so they suspected she may have an infection so the decision was made to take her to NICU. I cried at her being parted from me already. I was stuck in bed because of the epidural. Lucky her temp stabilised and her bloods came back ok. She soon returned to me. We had two nights in hospital and I was allowed home on the Saturday. My oncologist said I needed time to get over the section but I should look into starting treatment back up after 2/3 weeks. Two weeks after Jessica was born I arranged to commence treatment again. No point in hanging around. Some of the side effects felt different than when I was pregnant. The nausea isn’t as bad but the tiredness has increased and I feel more wiped out. I have my last treatment on Friday 19 June 2015.

Unfortunately my cancer journey doesn’t end there. I found out the tumour they found was another primary cancer, which means I will have to have the rest of my bowel out as it means it will likely come back again. It was also in one of my lymph nodes. In January I was seen by a genetic counsellor and with further investigation she suspected I may have a genetic gene mutation called Lynch syndrome or Hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer or HNPPCC for short. It’s a possible diagnosis if two next step relatives have had bowel cancer, having bowel cancer in your 20’s. (I probably did but I didn’t know it) it’s a genetic condition which I have a 50% chance of inheriting which mean the bowel cancer wouldn’t have been a coincidence. May 22nd I found out I do have the mutation. It’s a defect in a chromosome pair which means if a cancer appears then it won’t do its job and fight it off. Apart from bowel cancer it also means I have increased risk of cancers developing in other areas. The next highest risk to me is endometrial and ovarian cancer. I’ve been advised to have a full hysterectomy as a preventative measure if I’ve had my last child and I should think about having it done when I have the operation to remove my bowel which will probably take place at the end of the year.

I’m scared to finish chemo as I feel at the moment the cancers being kept at bay. For the rest my life I’ll have constant scans, bloods, scopes every few months checking it hasn’t returned

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