This series of Blogs will be travelling through the journey of where Hello Sunny began. It will cover pregnancy, my first 2 years of being a mum, my cancer journey & all the mountains in between.
Please be kind, this isn't an easy thing to write about but I want to share this story with everyone for a couple of reasons.
1. Cancer affects a lot of lives, but my brain would usually turn to the thought of old people, like grandparents or extended relatives, not a 28YO with a new born. So, bringing awareness & hopefully my story may help someone in their journey.
2. It’s a form of healing for me. I carried a lot of emotions & still do. Oddly enough, I felt so embarrassed or maybe a better word is uncomfortable about the status. So this is me regaining control over my world & being ok with being vulnerable.....So here we go.
2017 was the year that Hello Sunny was going to make its entrance into the world. The goal was to work from home with Hello Sunny, after having my daughter Summer Rae & smash all the mum goals.
I was working like a crazy person, doing my normal 9-5 & dedicating about 5 hours a night, plus weekends to build my business. Also, did I mention, I was also pregnant?! It was a crazy move, investing all of my savings, whilst being pregnant, but i believed in Hello Sunny & I believed in myself.
Don't get me wrong it wasn't easy. I was so sick through my pregnancy. For eight & a half months, I was vomiting & was nauseous all day. (It was later said that a side effect of the cancer was nausea & vomiting, but I didn't find out about the cancer until after I had my daughter).
I used to take these tablets morning & night. They were the strongest anti-nausea tablets I could get. They were so annoying to get though! I was only able to get a 4-day supply of these little nausea tables at a time. Talk about a pain in the ass, having to go to the GP every 3-4 days to get a new script. ridiculous.
So it’s safe to say pregnancy was tough, I was super tired, but I was driven & excited with what we were creating & the future I was building for my family.
Hello Sunny was full steam ahead, all of our products were perfected for launch, the trial reviews were so positive & inspiring, plus our launch was on the horizon. It was so surreal, everything I had hoped for was just falling into place, a family of my own on the way, a product I believe in now coming to life.... Nothing could stop me....
Firstly I have to snap backwards, to move forwards in the story. Most people ask, 'how did you find out you had cancer? Did you know when you were pregnant? what were the signs?'. Firstly, I didn't know at all about the cancer while I was pregnant. Thank God for that! (there are some women who have to go through chemo while they have babies in their bellies. That’s actually heart breaking).
My baby bump wasn't really visible until about 7 months. But I was walking like a big Mumma from about 5 months. I would actually waddle. The only way to describe the feeling, was the inside of my lower leg felt weak. I had a deep pain in the top of my shin, just below my right knee cap & the pain radiated outwards from that spot.
The pain was so bad & I was having issues walking. I went to see a myotherapist & osteopath weekly. I spoke to my mid wives & even went to the emergency room the night before I went into labour, because the pain in my leg was so bad. Everyone told me it was pregnancy sciatica, which is the baby weight pushing down onto a nerve. I was told once I have my baby, it will just go away.
Summer was born on the 21st of November 2017, after a forty-two & a half hour labour... Yep that’s right 42.5 hours. I had an epidural 36 hours into my labour (thank God). Just in case you don't know, the epidural cuts all feeling from about the ribs down.
The pain was finally gone from my leg. I woke up the following day & still all good, no pain in my leg. I was really surprised & relieved because this had really been effecting everyday life & I honestly didn't believe it was sciatica. But it was gone, I could walk pain free & my baby girl was here.
3 days after the epidural, my leg started hurting again. We were home from the hospital, Summer was perfect but this pain was back. I was actually hobbling around again, my foot just touching the ground was too painful. A lump was raising up. It took over the whole front of my shin & the inner side of my calf muscle. I had no idea what was happening & even though I knew it wasn't normal, I just kept telling myself it was the sciatica. because what else could it be?
Summer was 7 days old & I am needing a fix, it’s actually affecting me being able to care for my baby. I knew of an amazing oustio, Matt from Ascot Vale osteopathy. My though was to go see him, he will crack my back & this sciatica will finally go away..
He had a look at my leg & said 'You need to go & get an X-Ray & ultrasound immediately. push for your doctors to give you one, this isn't right'. Wtf does that even mean? So i did what he told me to and went straight to my doctor.
After an X-ray & ultrasound, I was waiting in my DR's office. Waiting to hear what pill or cream I had to buy to get rid of this pain. I remember clear as day, I was feeding Summer at the time, she was 9 days old & my heart was full just holding her.
My doctor. had this look on her face that is still burnt into my memory. The look in her eyes, almost like a glazed teary look. Her eyebrows were closer together vs normal and she had lines of concern across her forehead. 'We need to start immediate testing for cancer. Your shin bone has thinned completely, like an old brown leaf with holes in it.'
The only words that came out was 'Is there something wrong with my baby'. I had tears in my eyes, with this sunken feeling in my gut that I had hurt my baby. I looked down at Summer, scanning over her to find anything that could be wrong. She immediately clarified that there was nothing wrong with Summer. I felt at peace & like a weight lifted.
She continued "You will need to stop walking immediately & go straight onto crutches, the weight of walking could break your shin & there is also a growth, which is the visible lump'...
I didn't walk again for 7 months.