Woman told her brain cancer treatment could prevent her from having children over moon to be new mom
By Josie Adnitt via SWNS
An airline worker told her brain cancer treatment could prevent natural conception is "over the moon" to be a new mom.
Samantha Toomey, 31, discovered she had a tumor after suffering a stroke while on the phone to her boyfriend Tom Lawler, 31.
Years of treatment followed - during which time she was told that her chances of having conceiving naturally would be impacted.
But, after beginning to freeze embryos, the couple get some amazing news in April last year - that they had conceived without artificial help.
Samantha then gave birth to baby Billie in December - and will be marrying Tom next month after their wedding was delayed due to COVID-19.
She said: "It’ll be such a special day – having originally planned to marry in August 2020, we’ve postponed the wedding several times.
“But as they say, everything happens for a reason, and the fact that Billie will be there with us will make it extra magical and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
"I still have MRI scans every three months and I always feel anxious in the run up to scans but I try not to let it get to me.
"Life is too short to spend it worrying and I've a lot to be happy about."
Samantha, from Northampton, England, had a suspected stroke in 2017.
Following a call to NHS 111, she was taken to Northampton General Hospital and, after spending a couple of nights on December 24, she was given a more detailed MRI scan - and the shocking results showed she had a grade 2 brain tumour.
On July 15, 2018, Samantha underwent an awake craniotomy, where up to 95 percent of her tumor was removed.
But, tragically, a histology report revealed the tumour was in fact a grade 3 astrocytoma - which would require six and a half weeks of radiotherapy to treat.
Samantha, who works in HR for easyJet, said: "When Tom called me, he was shocked to hear that my words were all jumbled.
"I could tell that I wasn’t making sense but I didn’t know why and Tom couldn’t work out what I was talking about – he thought I may have been drunk which definitely wasn’t the case.
"I was taken to the hospital and doctors did a CT scan to investigate the possible cause.
"I was admitted to the stroke ward for a couple of nights but I couldn’t believe I’d had a stroke.
"I knew there was a possibility that it could have been a stroke but being so young it didn’t sit right in my mind, I felt like my instinct knew there was more to it.
"On Christmas Eve, I was given a more detailed MRI scan and was diagnosed with a brain tumor – I suspected it wasn’t a stroke but a brain tumor had never crossed my mind.
"When the doctor delivered the news, I passed out with shock.
“In January 2018, I was told the mass inside my head looked like a grade 2 tumor which the doctors would attempt to remove during an awake craniotomy.
“I wasn't scared when I went in for the operation, even though I knew the risks were significant at no point did I think anything would go wrong.
"However, finding out the tumor was a grade 3 astrocytoma wasn't the result I was hoping for and meant I would need further treatment."
After successfully completing her radiotherapy treatment, in November 2018 Samantha and proposition manager Tom visited Paris.
There, he got down on one knee and proposed to his delighted wife-to-be.
The couple knew they wanted to be parents one day, but were told by doctors the cancer treatment would impact Samantha’s ability to conceive naturally.
On their return from Paris, to prepare for Samantha’s next phase of treatment – 13 weeks of Temozolomide chemotherapy – the couple began the process of freezing embryos.
But, incredibly, in April 2021, the couple discovered they had conceived naturally and were expecting a baby girl.
And on December 16, 2021, Samantha gave birth to their daughter Billie via planned caesarean.
Due to the risks of pressure on the brain during childbirth, they didn’t want to take the risk on a natural delivery.
"We'd always talked about having a family, so when the doctor mentioned that my cancer treatment could reduce our chances of having a baby, we were very keen to increase the possibility of getting pregnant," she said.
"Incredibly, the fertility treatment resulted in 18 embryos being frozen from 47 eggs, which we were told was a fantastic result.
"I went ahead with the chemotherapy, coping relatively well throughout, and I finished chemo in February 2020.
"In January 2021, we were ready to think about using the embryos but we were advised to try naturally before attempting IVF.
"Just two months after we began trying to conceive, we were thrilled to find out we were expecting our first baby.
"We were over the moon but also in shock, it was a huge surprise for it to happen so quickly."
Samantha’s treatment finally came to an end in February 2020 and her scans have remained stable ever since.
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