“I was diagnosed with cervical cancer when I was pregnant - and almost died before I got a chance to hold my new-born baby.

The nightmare began when doctors discovered a tumour the size of a tennis ball blocking little Aaron's arrival. They immediately delivered him by C-section - but I haemorrhaged.

My bed sheets were soaked in blood and doctors couldn't stop the bleeding.

As my life slipped away, doctors warned my partner to expect the worst as he stood helpless with our baby in his arms. He was left praying for a miracle - and fortunately for us, those prayers were answered.

Irvine Times:

My instincts told me all was not well. But what choices did I have? Treatment at that time would have damaged my baby. I didn't want to face that, so I retreated into myself and kept my fears secret.

After months of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and brachytherapy, I was on the road to some sort of recovery. I sailed through a trouble-free pregnancy with Jordan who was diagnosed with Autism at the age of three, just at the same time I was diagnosed with cancer.

Pregnant with Jordan, Kes and I trekked India and the pregnancy was wonderful. I felt so well throughout the pregnancy, mind you I was always relatively fit and healthy having spent a few years as a military policewoman in Her Majesty's Services.

This time I thought, well no two pregnancies are the same. I was dragging myself through the pregnancy. I couldn't wait for it to be over.

Irvine Times:

Every now and then I'd start bleeding and end up in hospital for the umpteenth time. I've got a rare blood group - O negative - so whenever I would take a bleed I'd have injections to stop the baby's blood being poisoned.

This time the doctors were concerned and examined me further. The pain was unbearable. There was a growth the size of a man's fist in my cervix. I had a biopsy and had to stay in hospital for the results.

That night was awful, I was missing Jordan terribly and she wasn't coping well at all without me. The next day they told me I had cervical cancer, I was in shock.

I was rushed into theatre for an emergency C-section. My baby was perfect I was so relieved. But when I was in the recovery ward, my partner noticed that my bed was suddenly saturated in blood. The room was suddenly filled with nurses, but by then I was slipping in and out of consciousness.

I vaguely remember nurses wrapping me up in silver foil. They were wrapping themselves around me too, trying to raise my body temp. I was rushed back into theatre, and, after about three hours, the doctor told Kes he was sorry but he couldn't stop the bleeding.

He asked Kes to sign a form permitting them to give me a hysterectomy or I’d die on the table.

Irvine Times:

I spent the festive period in hospital as Kes looked after the girls at home. When I eventually did go home, I was really worried about all the time I’d been apart from my girls, I hadn't had a proper chance to bond with my Aaron. A bed was made up for me in the living room, where I remained breastfeeding Aaron for a few weeks before starting chemotherapy and radiation treatment.

Sadly, despite an intensive course the tumor was still there and I was gravely ill.  I was then offered brachytherapy where they would bombard me with radiation using long metal rods directly onto the tumour, it was my last hope.

It was ghastly. I couldn't move for 24 hours but in time the tumour would eventually shrink.

To be honest, I think it was the nurses and doctors who kept me sane, I will be thankful to Ayrshire Central Hospital for eternity.  As the tumour shrunk, I was still ill, but very happy.

Irvine Times:

Sadly along with the tumour, other organs had also been damaged and I needed more surgeries to repair them.  I had ignored the little voice in my head which told me something was seriously wrong. Like many people, I didn't want to hear I had cancer because I knew that any treatment would seriously damage or kill my unborn baby.

Today though, I have two beautiful grown-up daughters, a wonderful husband and a future.  My daughter Aaron will celebrate her 20th birthday at Christmas which will be an amazing milestone for us all.

I've since had to cope with more operations, skin grafts, scars, reconstructive surgery, early menopause at 26, autism diagnosis, long term radiation damage, arthritis, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, pneumonia, a motorbike accident and continue to cope with various mental health issues but I believe with a strong family behind me and wonderful friends I have the strength to deal with anything else that comes my way.

Irvine Times:

You can call me a survivor, but I'd rather be known as a cancer ‘thriver’.

I’ve had some rough and painful times throughout the years but lot’s of good times too, for now I'll continue to support various charities and enjoy spending more time with my family and friends since the lockdown restrictions.

Appreciating what's on our doorstep, like our gorgeous beaches, countryside and enjoying the beauty that is all around us just makes my life complete.”