Doctors blamed my unborn baby for leg pain but now I’m facing a death sentence at 30 | The Sun
BEING pregnant is hard going, and takes a huge toll on your body.
So when Laura Elizabeth Mahon woke up at home and couldn't feel her toes, she put it down to being tired.
But the next day she was unable to move her right leg and was struggling to walk.
Laura, who was 29 at the time and 20 weeks pregnant, booked in to see her GP who thought her baby was just pressing against a nerve.
However, an MRI scan revealed that she had a glioblastoma, a tumour that often has a survival time of just 12-18 months.
The mum has now praised hit BBC show Eastenders for running a storyline which saw major character Lola Pearce reveal her own diagnosis.
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Doctors told Laura, who lives in St Helens, Merseyside, that the tumour had been there for years and had now started growing.
She said: "It was such a shock. I was only 29 and didn't think something like this could happen to me."
Due to the illness, Laura and her husband Danny, 29, had to make the tough decision to bring their daughter Sienna into the world at just 30 weeks.
She weighed just 3.4lbs at birth on November 30 and was placed in an incubator and later developed a collapsed lung.
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The little girl had to receive specialised care and despite being unwell with her illness, mum Laura discharged herself to be with her.
But on December 9, another MRI scan revealed that Laura's tumour had doubled in size.
She was told it could not be operated on due to how close it was to be motor cortex.
Then on December 22, the mum was given the results of her biopsy.
She said: "Being told at 29 years old that you have inoperable stage 4 brain cancer and just two years to live is something you can never prepare yourself for.
"Hearing that said out loud was a moment I'll never forget."
Now, Laura has recently completed six months of chemotherapy with her most recent MRI scan revealing the tumour had shrunk.
She is now looking forward to celebrating her daughter's first birthday and is hoping to raise awareness of the illness – alongside charity Brain Tumour Research.
What is a glioblastoma and what are the most typical symptoms of brain tumours in young people?
GLIOBLASTOMA is a cancerous brain tumour that are fast-growing and very likely to spread.
They belong to a type of brain tumour called gliomas, which grow from a type of brain cell called a glial cell.
They are grade four, meaning they are an aggressive growing tumour.
There is nothing you can do to prevent developing this type of brain tumour, the cause of which is not known.
Typically, patients are operated on to remove as much of the tumour as possible, before chemo and radiotherapy.
But, glioblastoma are hard to treat because they have threadlike tendrils that extend into other parts of the brain making it difficult to remove all of the growth.
Unfortunately, this type of brain tumour are so aggressive they often prove resistant to treatment.
The most typical symptoms of brain tumours in children and young people include:
Persistent or recurring vomiting
• Persistent or recurring headaches
• Balance/co-ordination or walking problems
• Blurred or double vision
• Abnormal eye movements or head position
• Fits or seizures
• Behavioural changes, especially tiredness
• Delayed puberty in teenagers
"I see others with GBMs who manage to live longer, so I am clinging to the idea that I might be one of those people.
"I'm fighting as hard as I can and I'm staying strong for my family," she said.
Laura added that it's 'sad' to watch the storyline on Eastenders, as it brings memories flooding back of her ordeal.
She added: "It all came flooding back when Lola was told she had a brain tumour, how it was such a massive shock, and then the sitting in hospital and waiting for results.
"Danielle Harold plays the role so well, it's scarily accurate. I talk about the storyline with my husband, Danny, and my parents.
"My mum got upset while watching it, but it's so important to raise awareness because people don't understand how quickly brain tumours change people's lives."
Sue Castle-Smith, Head of PR and Communications at the charity, said they were grateful to EastEnders for helping to raise awareness of brain tumours.
"Lola's story is all too familiar to thousands of families; brain tumours are indiscriminate and can affect anyone at any age, they kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer."
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"Increased awareness is vital as we campaign for the Government and the larger cancer charities to invest more to improve outcomes for patients and, ultimately, to find a cure."
Brain Tumour Research is calling on the Government and larger cancer charities to invest more on research into brain tumours to speed up new treatment.
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