New mum counts her bless­ings with baby Lena af­ter en­dur­ing can­cer treat­ment through preg­nancy

Sunday Territorian - - FRONT PAGE - NATASHA EMECK

DAR­WIN mum Fanny McKenzie was seven months into her first preg­nancy when she re­alised some­thing wasn’t quite right.

Her knee be­gan to swell and be­came more and more painful the larger her belly grew.

“I was strug­gling to carry my­self around with the pain, to the point where I al­most couldn’t climb the stairs in our house,” she said.

Her hus­band Alex ended up tak­ing her to see five dif­fer­ent GPs who all told the cou­ple that it was prob­a­bly a cyst and to wait un­til af­ter the baby was born. De­ter­mined to in­ves­ti­gate fur­ther, she had an MRI scan with­out con­trast.

The re­sults changed her life for­ever.

“I was told that I had a stage two syn­ovial sar­coma, a rare soft tis­sue can­cer sit­ting be­hind my right knee,” Mrs McKenzie said.

“It was al­most 6cm long. I had to ask the doctor to repeat it a few times, I just couldn’t be­lieve it.”

The ex­pect­ing mum was ad­vised she had to start ag­gres­sive chemo­ther­apy straight away in Ade­laide. FANNY MCKENZIE

But af­ter the first cy­cle of treat­ment, her pla­centa was dam­aged and doc­tors had to in­duce the child’s birth.

“I wasn’t due for an­other six weeks and was ter­ri­fied that maybe the chemo did hurt her,” she said.

She started hav­ing con­trac­tions, and then with­out warn­ing, the baby’s heart rate dropped and the doc­tors de­cided to per­form an emer­gency C-sec­tion.

Mrs McKenzie was given a spinal epidu­ral and was con­scious the whole time.

“They lifted the baby out and she was wasn’t breath­ing,” she said.

“It was like time stopped. It took eight min­utes of oxy­gen for her to breathe on her own.

“I just cried. I was so over­whelmed. I re­mem­ber think­ing: she’s been through so much al­ready, and this is just the first day of her life.”

De­spite be­ing born un­der­weight at only 1.8kg her baby, Lena Coco McKenzie, was safe and un­touched by the chemo.

Now, af­ter five months of treat­ment, Mrs McKenzie is look­ing for­ward to spend­ing her first Mother’s Day with her new family at home in Dar­win.

With more treat­ment ahead she said that she hopes through shar­ing her story, she can help raise money for the Can­cer Coun­cil to sup­port other fam­i­lies like her own.

“It took eight min­utes of oxy­gen for her to breathe on her own”

New mumm Fanny McKenzie will cel­e­brate her first Mother’s Day with baby Lena af­ter un­der­go­ing chemo­ther­apy in the fi­nalal stages of preg­napreg­nancy Picture: : KERI MEGELUS

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