A mother-of-three is warning other women about a ‘weird’ symptom she noticed just weeks away from giving birth that led to her being diagnosed with an aggressive cancer.
At 32-weeks pregnant, Kate Grainger discovered her colostrum – the first milk produced when pregnant – was pink instead of yellow.
Working as a teacher in Newman, a Western Australian town with no birthing facilities, Ms Grainger decided to travel with her family: Leo, three, and Iris, two, and husband Joel just over 1,400kms to Busselton, in south-west WA, to be with her in-laws.
It was there that she would be diagnosed with grade 3 triple negative breast cancer after mentioning the discoloured colostrum to her obstetrician, just 14 days away from giving birth to her third child.
Baby Heath was born healthy on February 25, however Ms Grainger’s cancer had spread across her breast and into a lymph node.
Mother of three, Kate Grainger (pictured with family), was just weeks away from giving birth to her third child, Heath, when she was diagnosed with a rare breast cancer
The young mum was wheeled straight from the pregnancy ward to the cancer ward for scans and treatment.
Ms Grainger paid little thought to the miscoloured colostrum at the time, assuming that it was a pregnancy quirk.
‘I didn’t think anything of it. I was like, ‘Oh pregnancy boobs, weird things happen’,’ Ms Grainger told 7Life.
‘Boobs are always lumpy during pregnancy so I really didn’t think anything of it.
However, the diagnosis would send her and her family into a tailspin.
‘Nothing they could say would reassure me that it was okay,’ Ms Grainger said.
‘It was just pure fear, pure terror and shock and horror.
‘I worried myself so much that I’d actually gone into the hospital and asked them to sedate me because I was so upset.
‘My husband and I were trying to cling onto the positives.’
She says that her husband, Joel, and three children have helped her traverse serious mental health struggles while they’re 1,400kms away from home for treatment (pictured, Joel and family)
Grade 3 triple negative breast cancer is a more aggressive form of cancer that usually occurs at a younger age.
It also has poorer clinical outcomes and higher relapse rates and much lower chances of survival.
While the family had to tackle the devastating news, Ms Grainger was informed that she would have to give birth via C-section.
‘We had to put the cancer in a little box and get into baby mode,’ Ms Grainger said.
‘It was the most beautiful experience.
‘It was my third caesarean and by far the best.
‘It felt like my body had gone to the stars and back – it was just euphoric.’
After the healthy birth of Heath and healing from the C-section, Ms Grainger started chemotherapy and was told she might need a potential double-mastectomy.
All of this was occurring while the family stays in Busselton, 1400km away from home, and having to tackle mental health issues following the diagnosis.
Ms Grainger was diagnosed with grade 3 triple negative breast cancer which is aggressive and hard to treat, she is currently receiving chemotherapy and might need a double mastectomy
‘While in the hospital between the time of being diagnosed and starting treatment – I would just wake up in the morning and I’d feel paralysed,’ she recalls.
‘I couldn’t speak, just total fear. And my husband’s been really good at bringing me back to the now.
‘Sometimes I just need a tight squeeze and he’s just really calming and sits with me and talks through everything with me.
‘I really want an eternity with them and my husband.
‘Everything about them (her family) just means so much to me, every giggle, every smile, every cuddle.’
A GoFundMe for Ms Grainger and her family has soared past $65,000 and approaches it’s ever-growing $70,000 goal with over 760 donations.
‘There is just kindness wherever we turn. People are just incredible.’
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