A mother has made the painful decision to delay cancer treatment when she discovers it could harm a already born fetus – and it’s well explained.
Ellie Whittaker, 21, from Bolsover, Chesterfield, was diagnosed with Stage Two Hodgkin Lymphoma in October 2019 when she was 16 weeks pregnant, now eight months pregnant with her daughter Connie Marriott.
Having had a miscarriage before, Ellie is determined to continue the pregnancy – despite being advised to have an abortion.
Medics told her it’s not safe when she’s undergoing chemotherapy while she’s expecting – because the treatment could harm her unborn baby.
But instead of ending her little daughter, Ellie decided to continue with her pregnancy and have children before starting chemotherapy – giving the disease a chance to develop and worsen.
Her daughter, Connie, arrived at a cesarean section on March 18, 2020, weighing 6lbs 12oz, in Jessops Wing, Sheffield, and a week later, Ellie’s cancer had progressed to stage three. .
Ellie underwent 12 chemotherapy and she finally had a complete physical exam two weeks after her last scan in October 2020.
The mother of a child did not have many symptoms but a lump in the neck and felt ‘exhausted’.
Ellie, a full-time mother, said: “There’s no chance on this planet that I plan to abort.
‘I pushed the cancer out of my mind and focused on Connie – I couldn’t wait to be a mother.
‘One week after giving birth, I had a scan and found out that the disease had changed to stage three.
‘I’ve lived with it for so long, it’s strange that it’s finally gone – I can’t believe it. I have no regrets about my decision and I will make the same choice again. ”
After suffering a miscarriage in April 2019, Ellie began to feel truly depressed and infected with the virus.
When a tumor appeared in her neck, she went to her general practitioner and had tests in July 2019.
Around the same time Ellie and her fiancé Kieran Marriott, 22, a scaffolding curator, discovered they were expecting another baby.
She said: ‘I didn’t know I was pregnant but losing the baby made us realize we were ready to start a family.
‘I was very exhausted and had a chest infection – I think it was stress and recently lost my grandfather.
‘I was so sleepy, I accidentally overslept during a meeting when I was working for the post office.
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‘When the tumor came out, the doctor thought it was tonsillitis but I knew it was something else.’
After going back and forth with the general practitioner the following month, Ellie was finally transferred to the Royal Chesterfield Hospital, Derbyshire, in August 2019 for a CT scan and subsequent tumor biopsy.
In October 2019, when Ellie was 16 weeks pregnant, she was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma by the Macmillan Cancer Unit.
An MRI scan confirmed this was stage two and Ellie had the option of delaying treatment or aborting the fetus.
“I don’t have any symptoms other than being tired – I can’t believe it,” Ellie said.
‘My doctor advised me to have an abortion because cancer treatment could cause problems for the baby. There’s no way I was going to give up on her so I chose to postpone. ”
Ellie was referred to Hallamshire Royal Hospital, Sheffield, where she was scanned every two weeks until she underwent a planned cesarean delivery at week 37.
Doctors planned to start treating Ellie at 27 weeks but decided she was well enough to wait until after delivery.
“They only took care of a pregnant woman with Hodgkin Lymphoma,” she said.
“But I tried not to think about it – I wanted my pregnancy to be as normal as possible.”
Ellie gave birth to Connie on March 18, 2020, weighed 6lbs 12oz and she started treatment almost immediately afterward.
She said: ‘I tried to spend as much time as possible with Connie before I started. I remember crying and thinking that I won’t be able to be with her.
‘I know that chemotherapy will come at a cost.
“But when they scanned me, the cancer had progressed to stage three – it had spread to my stomach and spleen.”
During her fourth chemotherapy, Ellie underwent a CT scan and found she was responding well to treatment and could drop one of the medications she was taking.
The mother of one underwent 12 fatigue chemotherapy and ended September 2020
Ellie underwent a final PET scan in October 2020 and the doctors announced the good news that there is no sign of cancer and it is unlikely to recur.
Ellie is grateful for the support she has received from Dad Connie, Kieran, and her parents, Debbie and John.
She said: ‘People have supported me in many ways.
‘I had to wait two weeks for the results from my last scan.
‘I’m glad it’s gone and I can focus on being a mother.
‘Kieran is amazing and takes care of Connie whenever I have a hospital appointment.
‘Connie was a wonderful kid – she started teething and tried to sit up. She was the quietest kid and slept all night. I won’t change her for the world. ”