A mother who woke up and could not move her toes put it down to her pregnancy but later received a giant diagnosis.
Laura Elizabeth Mahon, de St. Helena, was 20 weeks pregnant at the time and said she “didn’t think too much about it”. But she later received the giant news that she had an incurable brain tumor.
The 29-year-old said: “I didn’t think too much about it, I was pregnant and tired. But things got worse the next day and I could no longer move my right leg and struggled to walk.
“Over the next week, I couldn’t feel much of my right leg.” When Laura visited her doctor, they told her they believed her baby was pressing against a nerve and sent her to The Walton Center for an MR scan of her back.
Her results came back clear, but doctors decided to send Laura for another MRI scan on her brain to make sure everything was in order. Laura said: “I was told the gigantic news that I had a brain tumor. They told me it had been more likely to be there for years and years and was now starting to grow.
“It was such a shock, I’m only 29 years old and I didn’t think anything like that could happen to me. I was so focused on the baby, but I got worse. ”
Doctors told Laura that this was a very unique case and they wanted to check on her before deciding what to do. But when she became extremely ill at 27 weeks pregnant, Laura and her husband Danny, 28, made the difficult decision to bring their baby daughter into the world at 30 weeks.
Laura said: “I couldn’t walk properly, I was sick, and I was so tired. After many heartbreaking conversations, Danny and I made the most difficult decision of our lives and decided to bring our daughter into the world in 30 weeks.
“At my scheduled Caesarean section, the midwifery team put me under general anesthesia so that I was completely relaxed. They didn’t want to put any pressure on my brain because of the risk of causing further complications.”
Sienna Grace Laura Mahon was born at Warrington Hospital on November 30 last year, weighing just 3.4 pounds. Sienna was taken to the newborn ward and placed in an incubator, but after suffering a collapsed lung she was transferred to Royal Oldham Hospital to receive more specialist care.
Laura said: “I got out Warrington Hospital, although I wasn’t good enough because I wanted to be with Sienna.
“Danny and I followed her to Oldham, where she was put in an incubator for a week. We did not allow any visitors due to COVID restrictions. We really wanted our family to be with us, so it was very stressful for both of us. “
On December 9, Laura had an MR scan that revealed that the tumor had almost doubled in size and she was told it was now inoperable because it was on her motor cortex, and it would not be safe to remove.
Laura said: “They could only do a biopsy, but they could only get rid of about 20% of it. I was devastated because I got my hopes up. It was yet another failure, bad news besides bad news.”
After receiving the results of her biopsy on December 22, Laura was told the gigantic news that she had only two years to live. Due to her prediction, Laura and Danny, who got engaged in April last year, decided to get married on January 6th.
They recorded Sienna’s birth the next day, and on January 8 she had her baptism in a chapel at Warrington Hospital, where staff organized a party with food and gifts. Laura began a six-week course of chemotherapy and radiation therapy the following week and on January 17, Sienna left a hospital weighing five pounds.
Laura said: “Danny and I were preparing for the worst. We knew deeply what it was going to be like, but the 29-year-old was told that you had a non-functioning stage 4 brain cancer and that I was only two years old. Something you can never prepare for. Hearing it out loud was a moment we will never forget.
“It felt so surreal as if I had lived two separate lives. Things all looked good, as if we were a happy family, then I would remember how poor I am. But it’s so special to have Sienna with us, it’s like what we originally envisioned. . “
In early April, an MR scan showed that Laura’s brain tumor had stabilized, and had even shrunk slightly. She said: “It was such a big relief, and it was so nice to hear something positive.
“Right now, we’re trying to go out and do nice things to create memories together, but I have to take each day as it comes. It’s hard sometimes and I just break down and cry. But Sienna’s lungs have repaired and she is fine now.
“I see others with GBM who manage to live longer, so I cling to the idea that I might be one of those people. I fight as hard as I can and I stay strong for my family.”
Brain tumors kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer however, historically, only 1% of the national expenditure on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease. Brain Tumor Research is the only national charity in the UK individually focused on finding a cure for brain tumors by campaigning to increase national investment in research to £ 35m a year. There is also a fundraiser to create a sustainable network of brain tumor research centers in the UK.
Matthew Price, community development director at Brain Tumor Research, said: “We truly thank Laura for working with us because only with the support of people like her can we advance our research on brain tumors and improve the outcome. this terrible disease.
“Unlike many other cancers, brain tumors are indistinguishable. They can affect anyone at any time. Too little is known about the causes and therefore increasing investment in research is essential.”
Brain Tumor Research is funding sustainable research in dedicated centers in the UK. It is also campaigning for the Government and the larger cancer charities to invest more in research into brain tumors to accelerate new therapies for patients and, ultimately, to find a cure.