Here, Lindy McGahey, 44, tells the story in her own words.
M￼y heart swelled as I cuddled my newborn baby boy, Cooper.
You’re perfect, I thought, counting all his fingers and toes for the hundredth time.
I’d just given birth to my first child at the age of 39.
Being an older mum, I’d been extra vigilant of every little kick or pregnancy symptom during the past nine months.
So, after having Cooper via caesarean, I asked my midwife for advice on something bothering me.
‘I’ve got this big lump on my right breast,’ I explained.
She carefully inspected my boob, which I’d just been using to feed Cooper.
‘It might be nothing,’ she said. ‘But you should have an ultrasound.’
When that confirmed there was a lump, I was booked in for a biopsy.
My darling son was only a week old when my doctor rang me. The breast tissue taken during my biopsy had tested positive for cancer.
It was a category-one aggressive breast cancer, but luckily it hadn’t spread to my lymph nodes yet.
The emotional tightrope I’d already been walking as a new mum seemed to snap.
How could I have cancer? I burst into tears as I stared at Cooper’s little face.
When my fiancé Steve, then 36, came home, I delivered the painful news.
‘I can’t lose you,’ he said. ‘You’ve just had our baby!’
I might not see my little boy grow up... I realised. It was an impossible thought.
After the diagnosis, it was all systems go to treat my cancer. I was booked in for a single mastectomy only 10 days later.
Then, I had to face four months of chemotherapy.
Luckily, my mum Jenifer was able to come and stay to help look after Cooper when it left me sickly.
Because I was still healing from the mastectomy, I struggled to take care of my little bub too.
One day, I watched on wistfully as Cooper played in his cot. I want to hold him, I thought desperately.
Bending down to scoop him up, I cried out as pain seared through my chest.
Mum rushed into the room. ‘You can’t pick him up Lindy!’ she said, taking Cooper from me.
Hot, frustrated tears rolled down my face.
‘But I just want to cuddle my baby,’ I told Mum. Her expression softened.‘I know,’ she said, as
I clasped onto Cooper’s tiny hand.
After my diagnosis, I spoke to different doctors and specialists. One thing had been weighing on my mind.
‘Will I be able to fall pregnant ever again?’ I asked an oncologist.
He looked at my chart, noting my age.
‘I’m afraid the chemo is going to push you into early menopause,’ he said.
Disappointment and anger ripped through me as I held back tears.
Cooper was my world, but I wanted to give him a sibling.
Sadly, the doctor was right. At the age of 40, I stopped getting my periods. I started feeling hot and cold flushes, had sore feet and night sweats.
Every month like clockwork I hoped I’d start menstruating again, but it never happened.
‘It looks like Cooper’s going to be an only child,’ I told Steve sadly.
Knowing that, we spoilt him rotten. And when Cooper was one, Steve and I got married.
‘I’ve had a baby, cancer, menopause and a wedding all in one year!’ I laughed.
Two months later, I booked myself in for a preventative mastectomy on my other breast.
After recovering, I noticed I was feeling a bit flat and lifeless. My body felt exhausted and I had no energy to run around after Cooper. Could I be sick again? I worried.
I headed to the doctor for a blood test and while I waited for the results my mind went to the worst. When he finally rang a week later, I was prepared to hear the C-word again.
‘You’re pregnant,’ he said. ‘No!’ I gasped.
By now I hadn’t had a period in over two years.
I still didn’t believe him until he scanned my belly and turned the screen to face me. There was a tiny, speck sitting in my womb. I was pregnant!
In a blur of disbelief, I almost danced home.
When Steve returned from work, I pounced as soon as he walked through the door.
‘The blood test results came back... guess what?’ I said, poker-faced.
Steve’s expression fell, then he held me in a bear hug.
‘We’ll get through this, just like last time,’ he said.
As he held me close, I whispered in his ear, ‘No, I’m pregnant.’ Steve was like a deer in headlights!
We both couldn’t believe I was carrying a child, especially two years into early menopause.
From then on, I had a dream pregnancy. Doctors said it was miraculous, but in rare cases it can happen. My GP was so sure I wouldn’t fall pregnant, we had stopped using contraception altogether. I found out early on that our miracle bub was a girl.My two kids were going to be the perfect pigeon pair!
Last year, at the age of 42, I gave birth to a little princess, who we named Jasmine. I can’t believe how lucky I am.
Now one, she’s a vibrant little girl with the biggest brown eyes you’ll ever see.
Jasmine completes us and makes our family whole.
Read more in this week's issue of that's life, on sale now.
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