This story is about my friend Kirsty. She lives with metastatic Pheochromocytoma, a type of Neuroendocrine Tumour (NET) of the adrenal glands – (read more here). She has an amazing blog that is not just for Pheochromocytomas or even just for Neuroendocrine Cancer patients and supporters because she has not let her condition stop her from doing normal and amazing stuff. The challenges she has faced and still facing, are very similar to many cancer patients. Kirsty is actually one of the moderators in my private Facebook group, she found me and put herself forward to help out. My group international in composition working 24/7, so her location in New Zealand was perfect, filling in the North America/Europe normal ‘sleepy’ time around 3am – 7am UK time.
In 2012, Kirsty moved from UK to New Zealand (i.e. to the other side of the world) because of her as yet undiagnosed illness. There she got married to James and had a baby boy (Hugo). You can read about her diagnosis and treatment in her blog which is also linked below. But that is only part of her amazing story. After baby Hugo was born, Kirsty and James had to face a massive moral dilemma during her ongoing treatment, taking a decision to terminate a second pregnancy due to the massive risks of the therapy she was to further endure. That’s tough. And it was also tough to try again later but this tough decision produced a second baby boy. Read Kirsty’s message posted below alongside her ‘bump’ at 35 weeks. You will be very pleased to hear Charlie was born via Caesarean section (due to Kirsty’s previous major abdominal surgeries) with no complications at 12:55 on 4th February 2020 weighing a very healthy 4.3kg (around 9.5lbs).
‘Cancer and pregnancy’ is a frequently discussed topic in cancer patient forums, and I’ve seen it quite a few times in my own private group. With NETs, the issues can be further complicated by the associated hereditary syndromes and connections. Moreover, those who understand Pheochromocytomas will know that that tumour type can often oversecrete metanephrines which can have a serious effect on pregnancy so there was an additional and considerable element of risk above normal pregnancy issues. The great news is that these issues didn’t surface, and her post-pregnancy MRI scan shows no evidence of further metastasis.
I offer you this post, not only to those who are worried about being able to have a child due to NETs but also as a means of inspiring anyone with long-term cancer to try to lead a normal life as much as possible.
January 2023. So sorry to hear that Kirsty will be standing down from her role as a moderator in my private group but so happy when I found out the reason why. Kirsty is going back to full time teaching in February having been offered a new entrant team leader role. Congratulations Kirsty!
Finally, I’m sure you will all join me in wishing James, Kirsty, and baby boys Hugo and Charlie, the very best wishes going forward. Thanks for allowing us to hear your story Kirsty!
Please read Kirsty’s blog – click here
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