Please let me have the chance to fight, says mum desperate to see her baby boy grow up
A woman from Ipswich who finally became a mother following IVF treatment has described the heartbreaking moment she was diagnosed with terminal cancer and her fears for her young son.
Karen Lane, 50, of Lotus Close, who worked as an NHS mental health nurse in Suffolk for 25 years, was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in October 2017, when son Taylon was just two and a half.
She said: "When I got diagnosed I remember thinking: 'Please let me have the chance to fight.' I was devastated,
"How do you look at the child you have wanted so long and think I may not be here for his sixth birthday or to see him go to big school?"
After receiving the news, Ms Lane underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy to reduce the size of the tumour before having life-changing surgery to remove part of her oesophagus.
She recovered well after the surgery and her consultant decided, as they had managed to remove the tumour and more of the surrounding tissue than expected, she did not need supplementary chemotherapy treatment to make sure the cancer had gone.
However, her first post-op exam then revealed she had an isolated lesion on her liver, measuring around 8mm. A further scan revealed the cancer had returned.
A plan was set out to burn away the lesion using radio frequency ablation (RFA) and in August 2018, she was told there was no further spread and the RFA of the lesion could be completed.
"I felt I had been thrown another lifeline and was so relieved," she said.
However this was short-lived as just a day later, she was told by her consultant that this was a mistake and that her cancer had in fact returned. "I cannot describe how my world shattered that evening," she said. "I'm just glad my baby boy was not with me to witness my collapse."
She was then told her first round of treatment had not been as successful as first thought and that a standard second line of treatment would only haver a 10% of working, would not cure her and would bring terrible side effects. She declined the treatment,
After another round of tests, Ms Lane underwent RFA treatment against medical advice but was told the lesion, which had grown from 8mm to 30mm, may not be fully removed.
She said: "Sadly, by then I was totally unable to meet my beautiful precious son's needs.
"How does that make a mother feel when I had longed for him for years?"
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Ms Lane began researching potential cancer treatment online, looking into anything that could prolong her life and give her extra time until a cure was found.
She said: "Cancer is one thing but the one I have got is a completely different ball game.
"I soon realised that at stage four I was not going to be cured but there is management of cancer and that is where I am today.
"I said from the beginning I had to view this like a fire in a field and snuff out each outbreak as they develop.
"My goal is to win each battle as it arises until the treatments or delivery methods that I know are on the horizon are available to boost my fight so eventually I may win the war.
"The cancer pathway feels like a conveyor belt, it feels like you go along the pathway regardless of your circumstances.
"Not only do I have the worry about my son, which is massive, I have also got to worry about cancer. "In five years the landscape will be so different.
"It would be an injustice to my son if mummy did not try everything to keep fighting and maintain hope and motivation.
"I know my prognosis is not great but we have never been so close to a new generation of personalised treatments so surely this cannot be dismissed."
MS Lane has written a letter to the hospital trust's chief executive making him aware of her cancer journey.
A spokesman for the East Suffolk and North Essex Foundation Trust, which runs Ipswich Hospital, said: "Nick Hulme, our chief executive has personally responded to Ms Lane and thanked her for her insight and suggestions.
"What is most important to us is what can we do to support Ms Lane immediately.
"A senior clinician is carrying out a thorough review of Ms Lane's care so that we can learn from any potential errors we have made in the past."
Ms Lane has set up a fundraising page to raise money for private cancer treatment at the Royal Marsden Hospital.
For more information visit her Go Fund me page here