New mom Rebekah Gibbs battles grade-3 breast cancer

04/23/2008 at 10:02 AM ET

55f7ac26f0b80d4861408af9d0ca54d2Former Casualty star Rebekah Gibbs is currently facing an uphill battle against her body. While a fight with cancer can be devastating for any woman, Rebekah’s situation is compounded by her status as a new mother. The 35-year-old UK actress gave birth to daughter Gigi on January 30th, and not long after received her diagnosis — the lump in her chest that she’d noticed during her seventh month was grade-3 breast cancer; a high level which is more likely to grow and spread.

Rebekah is writing about her experience for The Mirror. She underwent surgery on Wednesday, April 16th. Here is a selection from her first diary.

By the time you read this, I will be lying on an operating table as surgeons try to cut out a lump from my breast. It’sa fairly small lump really, about the size of a walnut, but it is doinga great job of trying to screw up my life at the moment. It was only last week that I got the final diagnosis — grade three breast cancer.

Shedidn’t use the word aggressive, but I know that it is. I don’t need tolook up statistics on the internet to know I may not make it. I’ve never even had an operation before today. And I’m scared.

It seems incredible now that only 11 weeks ago I was in [the] hospital giving birth to my first baby, Gigi. Then it was a moment of total joy. This time as I pack my bag to go in it’s with a different set of emotions.

Continue reading for the rest of the entry.

I can’t bear the thoughtthat I might not be around as Gigi grows up. She’s only 11 weeks old –she needs me for God’s sake. Ialready know instinctively what she needs. I know when she cries orjust wants a hug. I know what she likes and what she doesn’t. If I’mnot here who will smile at her in the morning? I can’t imagine hergrowing up without me — the thought of it is what makes me break downcrying.

I have absolutely got to getthrough this. When I was pregnant, I packed up boxes of photos,keepsakes and memories as a legacy for my unborn baby, I wanted to havemy things in order. I just didn’t imagine I’d need to do it so soon.

Duringthe operation, the lump, which is below my armpit on the side of myleft breast, will be removed. The surgeons will also remove lymphglands and do tests to see if the cancer has spread.

I first felt the lump when I was seven months pregnant back in November. Whenyou’re pregnant, you are obsessed with your body and know it inside out,so lying in bed I was immediately concerned when I felt a lump.

Iwent to see my general physician, who at the time reassured me she didn’t think it wasanything to worry about, but that I should keep a close eye on it. I’mnot cross she didn’t pick up on it straight away. It was her job tocalm a heavily pregnant and hormonal woman. Then I noticed it was stillthere. I went back and again my GP reassured me. Pregnancy does strange things to your body. It was probably just a lump or bump.

The funny thing is deep down my gut instinct told me it was breast cancer. But I allowed my more practical mind to take over. I was so young it seemed unlikely, and I had becoming a mum to worry about.

On January 30th, Gigi was born. It was the happiest day of my life. Butas I nursed her in the night and breastfed her, I could still feel thelump. It was still there and I was sure it was bigger.

Itwas my fiancé Ashley who kept on pushing me for a second opinion.This time, my GP didn’t hesitate and I was immediately referred fortests.

Whenthe diagnosis finally came, I just felt numb. My consultant was talkingabout booking me in for surgery and that I’d need to stay in hospitalfor three days. All I could think about was ‘Shall I get a babysitterfor Gigi?’ and ‘What’ll Ash do for his dinner?’

Ido feel weak at times and the temptation is there to roll up into alittle ball in a darkened room and refuse to get dressed. But I can’t. Iwill get up every morning and give Gigi her bottle (sadly I can’tbreastfeed any more) and I will cuddle her when she cries in thenight. I need to be her mum.

Myemotions change by the minute. Sometimes I’m sad and cry but othertimes I laugh. Sometimes I tell myself, ‘It’s only little. It’s alittle lump and soon it’ll be gone.’ Then other times I’m distraught. Therehave been real feelings of anger too. It makes me angry that I have todo this when Gigi needs her mother. Why did it have to happen now?

I was the healthiest person I knew; I go to the gym all the time and my diet is rich with vegetables, fruit, fish and water. My grandmother had breast cancer in her 80s, but I’m only 35! Why have I got it? I don’t want to be on this journey, but I am.

Sowhen I’m out of hospital I’m going to go for lovely walks with my babyand only then will I start to think about the next step of the journey — chemotherapy.

In the meantime I’m going to spend every precious moment I can with Ash and Gigi. I’m going to get up, shower and dress every day — and put my lipgloss on. No matter what, I’m painting on a smile.

Source: The Mirror

FILED UNDER: Babies , News

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Showing 28 comments

Shannon on

Oh, that was just heartbreaking…and courageous! I’m currently pregnant with my third and just the other day the thought of breast cancer came into my mind…and I for some reason became certain I would have it some day (my mom is a survivor). And I just prayed it would be long off for my children’s sake. I don’t know where the thought came from or why it was so certain, but it frightened me…and reading this is scary, but comforting, for Rebekah is so strong!

Rebekah will be in my daily prayers as will all women who fight this terrible monster. Women are so strong…we can go through the unthinkable and still have our loved ones first in our hearts and thoughts. Let’s take today to celebrate each other!

aurora on

That is heart wrenching. I hope only wonderful and blessed thoughts for her. Be well and and take care.

Kate on

I’ve met Rebekah on a few occasions personally. She lives local to me in England. She’s absolutly lovely & so friendly. I hope she fights this & can spend many happy years with her beautiful daughter.

Natalee on

This brings tears to my eyes. My thoughts and hopes are with her to beat this terrible disease.

Alexa on

Oh no that is so sad. I watched her all the time on the tv, she was my favourite character. It’s so heartbreaking to think that she’s dealing with this just after having a baby. I pray that she is able to make a full recovery and see her daughter grow up.

adrienne lott on

we will keep her in our prayers. be of good courage! i was diagnosed with DCIS at age 33 and underwent a double mastectomy a month later. i’m a 4 month survivor of breast cancer. although both grandmothers passed away from inflammatory breast cancer and a great aunt and 2nd cousin survived breast cancer, i did not inherit the gene. my doctor told me 1 in 7 women will develop some form of breast cancer in their lifetime. EARLY DETECTION IS THE BEST PROTECTION. i know it–and the grace of God–saved my life.

Amber on

This post immediately reminded me of a Dutch actress called Guusje Nederhorst who first had a really difficult time getting pregnant and then a couple of days after she gave birth to her first child (in June 2003) she was diagnosed with breastcancer. Unfortunately, it didn’t end well and she lost her battle with cancer, leaving behind her husband and her 6-month-old baby boy Dean :s. (http://www.dodenzijnnietstil.nl/clubs/clubstek/clubstek.asp?clubid=4000)

I truly hope that Rebekah will be better again soon, so she can be there to see her precious little girl grow up.

Lesley on

I’m so sorry for this poor girl. I had a lung cancer scare myself at Christmastime, and the thought you can’t get out of your mind is how you don’t want to leave your children and how much they still need you. It must be on her mind constantly. I hope and pray that she has a complete recovery and gets to see that beautiful baby grow up to adulthood.

Kitty on

My prayers are with you. Stay strong !!!!!

SJ on

Heartbreaking. Truly.

Sending lots of love and well wishes to this brave girl and to all survivors and women here who are going through their own personal battle.

Bugs on

She’s definetely in my prayers. This is truly heartbreaking for anyone to go through this!

anita on

good luck, you can do it

jenny on

I think this story is truly every mom’s nightmare. I really didn’t contemplate my mortality until after I had my son. Then, I actually found it such an overwhelming thought that it would consume me at times. Life is precious and short and those facts are compounded when you are with your young children. That being said, I hope her story ends well.

Kat on

I really feel for Rebekah and hope that she manages to beat this. Her story reminds me a lot of Holby City (Casualty’s sister show – Rebekah starred in Casualty) actress Amanda Mealing. She was diagnosed with breast cancer just after the birth of her second son.

Baby Gigi is absolutely beautiful!

Maria on

I wish all the best for her. She’ll definitely be in my thoughts. I hope the surgery was a success!

Natalie on

God BLess you and your baby. Be strong do not give up!!!!!!

Jennifer on

I lost my mom to breast cancer. Its so hard not to have mom there for your wedding, your first born, just to talk to. This is a long hard battle. May God bless you and you family and FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT!!!! Give that precious baby all your love and fight for her!!!

Brianne on

my first little girl was born just 2 weeks before her Gigi. I couldn’t imagine going through what she is at this point in my life. Reading this brought tears to my eyes. my thoughts and prayers are with you… fight!

Starlet on

She will be in my prayers. Sadly I’ve seen several women get very aggressive types of cancer in pregnancy.
What a wonderfully courageous woman, I will be praying for her, her partner and their baby girl.

ekaterina on

how heartbreaking- to loose out on her babymoon and have to fight for her life-
my heart goes out to her and her family-

Jennifer on

Rebekah, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Your daughter is absolutely beautiful, and so are you. I’m sorry you must go through this, but remember, NEVER give up. Even on your darkest days… keep the fight. My Aunt survived stage 4 cancer… so I truly believe it doesn’t matter what stage you have… it doesn’t mean the worst.
I only wish you the very best, and to get much better and mend up quickly. We are all rooting for you!!! Many warm hugs to you!!

nb on

G-d bless you & your family Rebekah. There is a web of prayer and positive thought supporting you & your family. You will make it!

Sarah on

That’s so sad. 11 weeks is so young. I hope hope hope she gets better and quickly for her baby. Gosh, that’s so sad

Mousie on

I had breast cancer 10 years ago, when I was 37 – no family history, and our sons were not teenagers yet.

I worry so much about lumpectomies – I couldn’t wait to just have the mastectomy and get that out of my body. Reconstruction is so well-done nowadays, although chemo is hell.

I send her all my good wishes – my biggest fear was not being able to finish raising the boys.

mary on

That just plain SUCKS. I cannot imagine. She is in my prayers! In my book a walnut is not small lump. Please don’t beat yourself up. When women are so hard on themselves it truly makes me feel sad. I just want to wrap my arms around someone in that position and tell them it will be okay.

Rosy J on

Prayers and good wishes in abundance for her and her loved one especially her beautiful baby girl.

Sheri on

So terribly upsetting. I don’t know who this actress is ~ but she is in my prayers!! God still does perform miracles. I had a cancer scare a few years ago with a very rare “molar pregnancy” (a weird, rare pregnancy that causes cancer). I lost the baby and they didn’t know if I would have cancer or not for one full year! Thank God it didn’t turn into cancer ~ but I wasn’t able to conceive afterwards and we have no children. My heart goes out to her … may God heal her so she can raise and enjoy her beautiful baby girl.

Claire on

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