Anna of Wadebridge, Cornwall wanted to publish her real life story about her life risking decision to fall pregnant. Photo-features managed to place her feature in The Sun newspaper. Read her health story below.
LOVINGLY watching three-year-old Harvey play, Anna Hadwick looks like any other mum.
But devoted Anna is a ticking time bomb.
With a cancerous mass on her fallopian tubes, doctors have warned that she needs to have the tumour removed – and fast.
Yet Anna, 24, has cancelled the potentially lifesaving operation and says she won’t have it until she can give Harvey a little brother or sister.
Because removing the tumour would destroy any chance of her having another baby.
It’s a sacrifice she’s not prepared to make – unless she can raise enough funds to harvest eggs to be used for IVF later.
But NHS treatment is not available for women like Anna who already have a child by an ex. To pay for her eggs to be harvested would cost £3,000 – money she simply doesn’t have.
Full-time mum Anna, from Wadebridge, Cornwall, says: “To save my life they want to destroy all my dreams of having more children. I just can’t bring myself to give in to it.
Risking it … Anna with her new partner Danny
“The thought that me and my new partner will never have a baby of our own or that my child will never have a sibling is devastating.
“I can’t agree to that. I’m risking my life for my baby dream but I’ll keep cancelling the operation until I’ve raised enough to save my eggs or life won’t feel worth living anyway.”
Anna first started feeling unwell after giving birth to Harvey in May 2007. She says: “I’d been suffering from cramp-like pains since the birth.
“At first I assumed it was just my body getting back to normal after giving birth and my midwife agreed.”
Only, as the months passed, the pains got worse.
Anna says: “They became stronger, like sharp period pains.
“My stomach would bloat up like a football, I’d feel sick. My stomach began to take over my life.’
“I often experienced sharp pains during sex. Sometimes they were so bad I’d cry and we’d have to stop.
“My tummy swelled afterwards and I would be in so much agony that I could hardly walk. I was scared.”
In spring 2008, Anna went to see her GP. There were no obvious problems but he arranged for her to go for a scan in nearby Bodmin.
Close … Anna, Harvey and Danny
She says: “By then I’d split up with my old partner so painful sex was no longer a problem but I wanted to know what was causing the pain.”
The scan showed Anna had fluid around her left ovary and fallopian tube but docs were unsure why.
She was referred to Truro Hospital for a laparoscopy – an operation performed through a small incision in the stomach with the aid of a camera – to help diagnose the condition.
It revealed Anna had a large cancerous mass on her fallopian tube.
She says: “I was devastated. What would happen to Harvey if something happened to me? It didn’t bear thinking about.”
The type of cancer – cystic peritoneal mesothelioma – is so rare that there have been only 20 other known cases in Britain. Anna’s mass is benign but doctors have no idea how quickly it could change.
With so few previous cases to learn from, they suggested the only safe option to get rid of the tumours was removing the ovaries and fallopian tubes.
If they acted immediately, they might be able to get away without having to perform a full hysterectomy, they told Anna.
She says: “I think they expected me to sign on the dotted line there and then. But I couldn’t. There were far too many things to consider, like having more children for a start.”
One of three herself, Anna had always wanted lots of children. She says: “People might not agree but I can’t imagine life with no hope for another child. A big family is all I’ve ever wanted.
“Then I had an idea. I inquired about having IVF in the future only to be told that I wouldn’t be eligible as I already had a child.”
Only child … Anna holds Harvey – but hopes for more kids
As a single mum on benefits it looked impossible to raise the cash.
In autumn 2008 she and her then boyfriend split up, but in December last year she met and fell in love with Danny, a 25-year-old gardener.
“Things moved fast,” says Anna. “I was wary about telling Danny I had cancer in case it put him off but it had the opposite effect.”
The couple decided to start trying for a baby straight away but the longed-for blue line on the test kit never appeared.
Docs then set a date to remove her tumour – for Tuesday of this week – but Anna cancelled the op.
She says now: “If they told me I’d die if I didn’t have the operation immediately then obviously then things might be different.
“I’ve got Harvey to think about and he needs a mum.
“But my cancer is so rare it’s hard to get answers. It could be years before it becomes malignant or it might not. Yes, it’s a risk but it’s one I’m prepared to take.
“When little Harvey is running around after his brothers and sisters, he’ll thank me.”