New mom Rebekah Gibbs battles grade-3 breast cancer
Former 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.
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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