“Fight until you have no more fight to give and then fight some more.”
Gemma was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2004 but now she has defeated cancer and lives a happy life with her family.
“I was diagnosed in 2004 at 23wks pregnant. The doctors told me they had no others cases of someone as young as me, I was 24 years old. I had been in a lot of pain and feeling tired all the time. Thought it was due to the pregnancy. I was sick, morning till night. But then I suddenly couldn’t pee and when I finally managed to, it was just blood.”
“My husband took me to the doctor, they thought I had a water infection, then they feared something was wrong with the baby. I had an ultrasound and they found a mass the size of a grapefruit on my right kidney. They told me I should consider having the baby straight away so I could be operated on. I refused.
The doctors were worried but helped me ease my pain with morphine until my unborn child reached 33wks, then I had a cesarean. My baby had to go to premature baby unit, I couldn’t be with her. They gave me a week to recover then they removed my kidney and tumor. They had to remove a rib as the tumor was so large, they punctured my diaphragm in the process. They took my adrenal gland out as the cancer had spread to it but was otherwise contained.
I was in intensive care for a few days. Everybody there were so caring. My baby and I both had withdrawals from the morphine I had been on which gave me severe colic for weeks. My baby grew big and strong and so did I. We were both allowed home after a couple of weeks, just in time for Christmas. Only then when a doctor came to check up on me at home did they say I had had cancer. I was in shock. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about it all and worry it may come back. But I am so grateful for the amazing doctors and nurses saving my daughter and I.”
Motivation to fight cancer
“My Family and Daughter. I knew I had to get well to be there for them. I hated the thought of my husband having to raise our baby alone.”
The biggest hindrance
“After my operation when my left shoulder had been damaged during the operation as I had been rolled on to it for an hour in an awkward position. Took a couple of days for my arm to work.”
Message to other fighters
“Keep fighting through it all. I remember passing blood clots and the pain was intense so I sang songs on the loo. Stay strong but allow yourself to cry. Don’t hide your tears to protect family, it’s amazing how strong they become too.”