A pregnant woman who delayed treatment for bowel cancer to give her baby the best chance of survival has been told she won’t see her daughter grow up.
Sarah Brook, 32, was at 25 weeks when she discovered she had a tumour and that pregnancy hormones were accelerating the growth of the disease.
The graphic designer, from Islington, made the agonising decision to refuse cancer drugs for two weeks before having Polly Jean via caesarean section.
My miracle: Sarah Brook with her daughter Polly Jean who was born at 27weeks
Polly Jean, who weighed just 2lbs at birth, thankfully survived, but now her mother is coming to terms with the fact she won’t have long to spend with her child.
She said: ‘I just want to be a mother to my baby girl and continue to be a wife and best friend to my husband for as long as possible. I can’t think in terms of a future beyond that.’
Polly Jean is now four weeks old and despite a few complications is getting stronger every day.
Mrs Brook told The Evening Standard: ‘I knew that having a baby would be a life-changing event but even I couldn’t contemplate quite how much.
‘The feeling when I first saw her was just complete love and amazement.’
Sarah, pictured with her husband Ben on her wedding day in 2006 (right) discovered she had bowel cancer when she was 25 weeks pregnant
Ms Brook has just started a rigorous bout of chemotherapy but said the treatment is designed to ease her discomfort and keep her alive as long as possible.
The cancer has now spread to her pancreas, intestines, lungs and up to her neck.
Poignant: Polly Jean survived but may not remember her mother if Sarah’s cancer progresses
Doctors say there are only 25 reported cases worldwide of people with this level of secondary tumours.
A former pupil at City of London School for Girls and graduate of the University of Brighton, she moved to Australia with husband Ben, 35, after they married in 2006.
She now spends most of her days at the Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, either having cancer treatment or seeing her baby, who will be kept in the neo-natal intensive care unit for the next few months.
‘It’s not been easy to get my head around the idea that doctors talk in terms of treatment rather than cure,’ she said.
situation has been incredibly difficult for my husband as he may need
to come to terms with how life will be without me, and how he will raise
Polly as a single father.’
family have flown over from the UK to be with her and a fundraising
effort has been set up by her friends to take the burden off the family
so they can give Polly the best start in life.
Brook said: ‘There is no prognosis at this stage. I will be living with
cancer for the rest of my life, and at this stage there is no answer as
to how long that life will be.’