Lifestyle

Breast cancer pushed me into an early menopause but I was still able to have my miracle baby

Here, Lindy explains her shock at discovering she was pregnant – after going through the menopause.

“As my doctor told me that the blood test I’d just had showed I was pregnant, I gasped in shock. It wasn’t that I didn’t want another baby – I did, desperately – but I thought that chance had long gone.

I hadn’t had a period in two years after I went through an early menopause, which was triggered by cancer treatment. And as the doctor gave me an ultrasound to prove to me that I really was expecting, my eyes welled up with happy tears.

Getting pregnant again wasn’t something I thought would happen after I was diagnosed with cancer in September 2014, just one week after the birth of my son Cooper, my first child with my now husband Steve. I was just 39.

A couple of weeks before Cooper was born I’d noticed a lump on my right breast and mentioned it to the midwife, thinking it was a blocked milk duct.

After Cooper arrived, she referred me for an ultrasound and a biopsy, which revealed I had Stage 1 breast cancer. Luckily, it hadn’t spread to my lymph nodes, but I still burst into tears as I stared at Cooper’s tiny face.

All I’d ever wanted was a baby, and now I was faced with the fact I might not be able to watch him grow up. When I told Steve the news, he held me tightly, but we knew we had to power through as a family.

After my diagnosis, it was all systems go and I was booked in for a mastectomy just 10 days later. I had already decided to feed Cooper with formula so I didn’t dwell on the fact I couldn’t breastfeed.

I was in a huge amount of pain after the op and couldn’t even pick him up for a cuddle, which was devastating. I then underwent four months of gruelling chemotherapy, which made my hair fall out in huge clumps.

Steve had to return to work after taking two weeks off to take care of me, but my mum Jenifer, 72, helped look after Cooper when I was too tired and weak to do anything during the weeks I had to have chemo.

My oncologist explained that I would probably be pushed into an early menopause by the treatment, which meant that it would be pretty much impossible for me to have another baby.

Disappointment and anger ripped through me. Cooper was my world, but I had hoped to give him a sibling one day.

Sadly, the doctor was right. At 40, when Cooper was just five months old, my periods stopped. I started experiencing menopausal symptoms such as hot and cold flushes, sore feet and night sweats.

Every month I hoped I’d have a period, but it never happened. Steve and I spoiled Cooper rotten, buying him toys and showering him with attention, as we thought he would be our only child.

In September 2015, when Cooper had just turned one, Steve and I got married. I was full of joy to have made it to my wedding day after such a tough year.

I’d had a baby, cancer, the menopause and a wedding all in 12 months. It was overwhelming, but I had to laugh at the drama of it all.

By July 2017 I began to feel exhausted and was terrified that the cancer had returned. I went to my GP, who did a blood test, and while I waited for the results, I couldn’t help but fear the worst.

When he finally called with an update a week later I was prepared to hear the C word again, so I was absolutely astonished to discover that the fatigue I’d been experiencing was because I was pregnant.

When Steve got home from work that day he screamed with joy at the news – neither of us could believe I was carrying a child.

Because the doctors had been so sure we wouldn’t be able to have babies, Steve and I had been having sex without contraception.

Doctors said that it was miraculous I got pregnant, but they believed that the menopause – a process that can last years – hadn’t fully completed despite the fact I no longer had periods.

On February 20, 2018, aged 42, I gave birth to our little princess, Jasmine Miracle. Now 18 months old, she’s a vibrant little girl with the biggest brown eyes I have ever seen.

I’m now cancer-free, though I have an annual scan to keep an eye on everything. Jasmine completes us and makes our family whole. I feel like the luckiest woman in the world.”