13 July 2018

Aspiring doctor has healthy baby and aces exams while battling cervical cancer

An aspiring doctor diagnosed with cervical cancer at the age of 19 refused chemotherapy to save her unborn baby.

An aspiring doctor diagnosed with cervical cancer at the age of 19 refused chemotherapy to save her unborn baby.

The biomedical science student, Abbie Colvin (20) from Lancashire in England, spent a year being treated with antibiotics for cystitis as she was experiencing bleeding during intercourse.

But when she went to the doctors with her boyfriend Oakley Buchanan (21) for sexual health screening in September 2016, tests revealed there was a serious problem with her cervix.

“I found out when I went for a sexual health screening, they saw something was wrong with my cervix and they sent me for a colposcopy straight away,” Abbie said.

In January 2017 the second-year student, who studies at Manchester Metropolitan University, received the devastating news that she had cervical cancer and was ‘heartbroken’ when doctors told her she’d eventually need a hysterectomy.

“My relationship with Oakley was quite new at the time. We’d only been together for a couple of months so the diagnosis was quite heavy information to be given. It was quite a numb feeling,” she said.

After accepting she’d never have a baby, Abbie went in for laser treatment to target cancer cells on her cervix in April 2017 – but a precautionary urine test revealed she was already pregnant.

“It was just so unexpected. I know I’d had these symptoms but at first, the doctors just thought it was cystitis and they kept giving me antibiotics.

“I found out I was pregnant when I went for laser treatment on my cervix. Luckily they did a urine test before the treatment started,” Abbie said.

Despite being offered chemotherapy during her pregnancy, Abbie wasn't willing to take any risks as she knew this may be her only chance to carry her own baby.

“I spoke to the doctors and explained that unless it was going to kill me, if I had the opportunity, then I was going to have this baby.

“They said if I chose to keep the baby they’d support me and they’d do all of my treatment after [the baby was born],” she added.

“Miracle baby” Oscar Buchanan was born on December 2017.

Two weeks after giving birth, Abbie started three gruelling rounds of chemotherapy – which she fought through while completing her exams.

“The hospital actually wanted to start my chemotherapy treatment at 35 weeks and I said ‘no’ because it’s poison. I wasn’t going to put poison in my body when there’s a little baby in there,” she said.

And now the inspirational young mom, in her final round of chemo, is deservedly rejoicing in raising a happy little boy and getting a first class while battling cancer all at the same time.

“When Oscar was born it was literally magical – like a miracle. And in the seven months since I’ve raised a seriously happy and healthy baby, had three rounds of chemo and still got a first. Not to blow my own trumpet but I’m proud.”

While her university offered Abbie 52 weeks off, she refused to let the pressures of being a first-time mom fighting cancer get in her way.

Abbie continued attending lectures and completed all her assignments and exams to achieve top marks.

Determined to pursue her dreams of becoming a doctor, Abbie has now transferred onto a seven-year course which includes a PHD in medicine.

Her treatment so far has involved chemotherapy but if her next scans aren’t clear, the mom will undergo a hysterectomy on July 16.

“I’m undergoing really intensive chemotherapy now. It’s for three weeks and its three days a week. It started two weeks ago.

“I didn’t lose my hair the first time around but this time I have – I’ve got no hair.”

“I’m booked in to have a hysterectomy provisionally. If my next scan doesn’t come back clear I’ll have the surgery. If I’m not able to have any more children I don’t mind because I have Oscar – I’ve got my baby.”

“Battling cancer at such a young age has made me open to anything. There’s no point in sitting there worrying about things that are insignificant and silly things like washing up or little arguments,” she said.

After being blessed with such an amazing baby boy through this difficult time, Abbie says she’s more motivated than ever.

She wants other young women who are battling cervical cancer to never give up and to always keep a positive mental attitude.

Even though smear tests for under 25-year-olds aren’t available, Abbie said that if you think something is wrong with your body to ‘stick at it’ and keep pushing for a diagnosis.

“For other women battling cervical cancer, you can never give up,” Abbie said.

“You know your own body and you need to keep pushing for a diagnosis. It’s really nice to be able to share my story and get it out there for other women, especially people who are too young for a smear.”

“It’s scary. If I hadn’t kept going to the doctors and gone for sexual health screening, I still wouldn’t know I had cancer. That one test saved my life.”

Source: Magazine Features