Happy Mother’s Day Felicity and to all the mums out there. “My five gorgeous children and support from Peace of Mind Foundation, are the reason I’m still alive. I was diagnosed with GBM stage 4 brain cancer when I was pregnant with my youngest of five, Jesse who is now two. We were living and working in the Northern Territory in a remote indigenous community supporting the locals.” Felicity, aged 35, shares her heart-warming story of hope, love and support, with us.
That was in May 2017. Diagnosis is terribly isolating, it meant Felicity was unable to drive, she lost her job as a midwife and nurse, she lost her home and she lost her ability to travel to amazing far-away places. If all that wasn’t enough, her marriage ended and she became a single mother of 5. All of this whilst fighting terminal brain cancer!
“At 32 weeks pregnant, I’d forget friends’ names or I’d forget what was going on, or get all muffled. At first, I thought I had early dementia. Then I had to have an Iron infusion, and developed terrible headaches.
“I went to a friend who is a GP and understandably, she just thought it was due to pregnancy. I decided to see a junior doctor, he found a breast lump and sent me to Darwin for a scan.
“I went all alone. The breast ultrasound was clear. Then I had an MRI. Suddenly, I was very scared because they put me in a wheelchair and didn’t allow me out and I received no information for hours. Finally, at 9pm, I was told the bad news. It was a tumour in the brain, of 5.5cms. They were very concerned for me and my baby.
“I was flown to Flinders Hospital, SA. My husband and the kids came, they were all very upset and crying. It was an unbelievably traumatic time for all of us.
“A week later they gave me a General Anaesthetic Caesarean due to the increased Intra Cranial pressure. I was very upset that I wouldn’t see my baby for hours.
“The nurses were amazing, they always brought baby Jesse to me from the 3rd floor to the 5th floor so I could cuddle him.
“Two weeks after Jesse’s birth, I had major, 10-hour, brain surgery. My diagnose was GBM stage 4, not something anyone would want to hear; ‘that you are dying’. It was devastating and I was screaming and screaming.
“I started on radiation and chemotherapy but three months later, I underwent another surgery.
“I was told there was nothing much more that could be done. Luckily, I realised I could have multiple oncologist opinions.
“Another treatment was an out-of-pocket $35,000 Avastin treatment. It kept the tumour stable. Then I was given the option of another trial, its first time to be used on humans.
“But luckily it worked well with me and I am stable.
“I can have up to 4 or 5 kids snuggling up with me. I know that the majority of people with my type of brain cancer, don’t survive but I’m determined, and right now my kids and support I receive from Peace of Mind are the best medicine for me.
“I’ve been supported by the Peace of Mind Foundation throughout this journey. They have become like family to me. It means so much to me, being able to attend the brain cancer retreats and see the smiles on the faces of my children and all the families. My take home from this family retreat is that I have to keep going, keep fighting. I feel the love and strength of this Peace of Mind Brain Cancer community and am so grateful.” https://www.peaceofmindfoundation.org.au/ need your donations to continue supporting families like Felicity’s. With their annual fundraising events cancelled they need your support more than ever.
Why does Felicity feature on Humans in Geelong? Peace of Mind was founded by an amazing, determined Geelong mum, @becpicone and most of its dedicated volunteers are from our region. I’m proud to be part of the Peace of Mind family of volunteers.
Story: Jacqui Bennett. Photo: Louisa Jones Photography