There is nothing more precious to a woman than becoming a mother – a baby to be cared for and cherished, to be showered with all the love of a mother’s heart, and to be accompanied on the journey to adulthood. Although the first hours, days, months, and years together are full of challenges, they are still an invaluable treasure, not only for the parents but also for the little newcomer, even if this joy is overshadowed by a series of failures and a terrible illness.
Mark and Roxanne Hollamby were excited to finally hold Lara, their “miracle baby,” in their arms after losing four babies. For Roxanne, the happiness was unsurpassed, as her dream of becoming a mother had finally come true. She was not able to enjoy the true joys of being blessed with a child for long, however, because her doctors informed her shortly after giving birth that she had cancer and one of the rare, rapid types of the ᴅɪsᴇᴀsᴇ, which practically counted her days.
“Being separated from the best thing that ever happened to me is the worst. There was this perfect baby next to me, and I just look at his face, and he is a complete miracle,” said the new mother when she found out what fate awaited her. Roxanne’s ᴄᴀɴᴄᴇʀ started in the uterus and is related to the abnormal pregnancy. “It is possible that some of the tissue left over from baby Lara or from a previous pregnancy has become ᴄᴀɴᴄᴇʀᴏᴜs,” said the 37-year-old husband.
Roxanne, 40, had a total of four failed pregnancies before Lara and had been living with an autoimmune ᴅɪsᴇᴀsᴇ for the past 20 years. According to him, his chronic pain masked the early signs of cancer, so he only consulted a doctor when he had severe palpitations.
The woman’s best friend, also 40-year-old Laura Oxley, is doing everything she can to support Roxanne, who now needs any financial help to cover the costs of ᴛʀᴇᴀᴛᴍᴇɴᴛs and childcare. The mother-to-be is going through a very hard and difficult period when, in addition to chemotherapy and other ᴛʀᴇᴀᴛᴍᴇɴᴛs, she also has to stay away from her child.
When she went to the doctor because of her ᴘᴀʟᴘɪᴛᴀᴛɪᴏɴs, it turned out that she had a high level of the HCG ʜᴏʀᴍᴏɴᴇ, which indicates pregnancy. However, the ultrasound showed that both of Roxanne’s ᴏᴠᴀʀɪᴇs were full of ᴄᴀɴᴄᴇʀᴏᴜs ᴛᴜᴍᴏʀs. Further examinations revealed that the ᴅɪsᴇᴀsᴇ had spread to the woman’s ᴀʙᴅᴏᴍɪɴᴀʟ ᴄᴀᴠɪᴛʏ and ʟᴜɴɢs; her ʟᴀʀɢᴇsᴛ ᴛᴜᴍᴏʀ was 18 centimeters.
“With a chronic illness, you can get anything under the sun, and I was getting regular abdominal pain. So I just thought, ‘oh, stomach pain,’ but now I can see it – I can feel the lump,” Roxanne explained.
After mapping the mother’s health, her doctors gave her and her family the most terrible news: her illness is fatal. However, even in this hellish situation, Roxanne could only think of her loved ones: “I felt so guilty that I was going to leave my husband, my daughter, and my family. “She and her husband are true soul mates, and they can’t imagine what they would do without each other, especially Mark, whose care for Lara is also at the top of his list.
The man is currently taking care of his little girl with the help of family members while Roxanne is in the hospital, but it is difficult for them to stay on top of the situation. The father said it was like they were living in “parallel,” adding, “I don’t feel like I’m really involved in life at the moment; I’m just trying to juggle looking after Lara and supporting Roxanne.”
Despite the fact that the expectant mother’s body reacted badly to the chemo and the treatment had to be stopped for a while, which of course led to new complications, the doctors still encourage the family that there is a chance of recovery. However, Roxanne’s enthusiasm for life is significantly reduced by having to be so far away from the person whose arrival she wanted more than anything.
“Being away from Lara is the hardest thing for me. It’s hard to keep the will to live if I don’t see him every day. As soon as I see her smile, I think I can do it. I’ll find a way to get through it. But then, when I’m away from him for maybe more than a day, I lose hope. It’s a huge struggle,” said the sick mother-to-be, whose friend is worried about her mental health.
“I thought I would be a very tangible attachment-style mom, and as soon as she was born, I knew I never wanted anything else in my life; I’m a very family-oriented girl,” added Roxanne. “I can’t be a practical mother because I can’t do much even when I’m at home now, so it’s painful,” said the expectant mother, who also missed her daughter’s first Christmas due to the treatments.
He wants nothing more than for this ordeal to end and to finally be with his family, “to appreciate the love and presence of the people who mean everything to me. They are the reason that I am able to go through this nightmare; if it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t want to continue because it is so, so brutal,” said Roxanne.
At the same time, she also hopes that her story will raise awareness and motivate those who have until now made excuses not to treat their unusual symptoms. “If it seems really unusual, don’t assume it’s part of our chronic illness. It might be something that would be much more deadly,” advises the expectant mother.