Written by Samantha Lade, DonateToday

'My fears are around my children': Diagnosed with cancer during pregnancy, this young mum is now fighting her way through Christmas

'My fears are around my children': Diagnosed with cancer during pregnancy, this young mum is now fighting her way through Christmas

Written by Samantha Lade for DonateToday

PUBLISHED: 19:52, 20th Dec 2017 | UPDATED: 15:35, 20th Feb 2018

Amy was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma whilst pregnant with son Finley (both pictured)

After falling ill whilst pregnant with her second son, Amy was referred to the GP for an X-Ray. Sadly, the news she received would change her world. But help from family, friends, and Mummy's Star are helping her battle through this Christmas.

Something's Not Right

Welcoming their first son, Arthur, to the world, Amy and her husband Andy were overjoyed. 

After taking a year of maternity leave, Amy was further elated to find out she was in fact pregnant with their second child. 

But soon after, she fell ill, and found herself making repeated visits to see her GP.

‘I was eventually referred for a chest X-Ray and it very quickly became apparent that it wasn’t normal,’ recalls Amy, who was 24 weeks pregnant at the time. ‘I was then told that I had lymphoma.

‘That night I went home and watched my son sleep. I just wondered how on earth I was going to do it all.’ 

An Apprehensive Birth

After her diagnosis, Amy says that things escalated very rapidly. 

After one round of chemotherapy a fortnight later, her son Finley was born prematurely roughly four weeks later – at just 31 weeks old. 

Amy’s utmost concern was, of course, her unborn son’s safety during the chemotherapy she was receiving.

Pictured (L-R): Finley, Andy, Amy and baby Finley

‘It was the first time in the whole process that I felt real fear, because I didn’t know how he would be, or if he would be well after all the poison during chemotherapy.’

Cancer diagnoses in pregnancy have a reported incidence of roughly 1 per 1000 maternities worldwide (about 600-700 cases a year in the UK).

- MBRAACE Report 2016

Fortunately, Finley was born a happy and healthy baby – ‘he came out shouting, and he’s okay’ says Amy.

But for Amy, there was still a huge battle to be fought. Beginning her next round of chemotherapy, she was told the unimaginable: her cancer wasn’t responding to treatment. It was more upset for Amy and her family.

Bravery at Christmas

Amy’s hope was that she’d be putting 2017 behind her by this point. Instead, she’s facing the next stage of treatment: inpatient chemotherapy.

‘I’ll be in for five days and each time I’ll be away from the children and away from my husband in the run up to Christmas.’

‘I’m coping with the next phase the best as I can, because I have to,’ she explains. ‘The hardest thing for me at the moment is watching my family go through the pain of more knock-backs.'

Amy also worries about how enjoyable her sons' upcoming Christmas will be.

‘Christmas is usually a noisy time full of people and laughter in my home. It’ll be much more subdued this year, which is going to be difficult for all of us.’

A Guiding Light

'I worry I won't get to teach them all the things I want to teach them in life' - Amy (pictured)

If there’s one thing Amy's grateful for, it’s the fantastic support she’s had this year. But whilst her family's support has been unwavering, from time to time, Amy has found there has been only one other place to turn to.

‘There have been times where I’ve felt quite lonely – even isolated. Finding Mummy’s Star was brilliant for me, because it made me feel more normal.

As the UK’s only charity supporting mums diagnosed with cancer in pregnancy or within a year of birth, Mummy's Star has been a lifeline to Amy's wellbeing.

The organisation have been able to offer Amy home visits, as well as putting her in contact with other mums experiencing similar situations and giving her specialised support when she needs it most.

They also help mothers afford vital counselling sessions during their treatment, as well as childcare during hospital appointments, amongst other things.

"Finding Mummy's Star made me feel more normal."

- Amy

‘I was accepted and comforted by talking to other women that had been through the same thing’ says Amy, who hopes to be back home by Christmas. 

Whilst she continues to fight on, armed with the gift of support from Mummy's Star's, her sons are always at the forefront of her mind. ‘I worry I’m not going to be here to see them grow up, or that they’re not going to remember me because they’re so small.’

But with a brave face, Amy stands defiant – for her boys more than anyone else. ‘I’m here now, doing all I can now. We’ve still got options. And I can still be cured.’