First time mum given year to live after pregnancy symptoms turned out to be cancer
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A first-time mum was given a year to live after symptoms she had during pregnancy turned out to be cancer.
During her pregnancy, Jennaca Russ, 37, from Oklahoma, US, started experiencing blood in her stool and anaemia in her second trimester.
Jennaca was a nurse herself, so she knew when she started developing the symptoms, something wasn't right.
So she decided to book a doctors appointment, where she was reassured that her symptoms were caused by the pregnancy.
But Jennaca was not convinced, so booked a colonoscopy - a test that takes a closer look inside your bowels.
That appointment was booked for 21 November 2022, just over a month after giving birth to her first child - August Russ - on 4 October 2022.
But after she had given birth, Jennaca's symptoms had disappeared, with the former nurse feeling she no longer needed the appointment.
But it was her mum that convinced her to go to the colonoscopy where she received the devastating news that she had colon cancer and had a 10 percent chance of survival.
She said: "It was a pretty dark day for us, I got the news two or three days before Thanksgiving."
"Initially they thought I would be stage one or two but the next day I had a CT where we found out it had spread to my liver."
Jennaca added: "It was devastating, speaking to my doctor and he told me I had a year to live.
"After Thanksgiving, I had an appointment with an oncologist who changed my prognosis.
"He said I have years but it will be a long fight as the survival rate is poor. I have a 10 percent chance that I will live for five years."
"I contacted my doctors throughout my whole pregnancy and they said wait until the baby has been born.
"As my pregnancy went on I kept getting concerned about the bleeding and I reached out to a doctor and was put in for a colonoscopy."
The mum added: "I had a gut feeling it was something more than that."
But the new mum wanted to defy the odds, so she scheduled an appointment at the MD Anderson Cancer Centre, Houston, Texas in December 2022.
Jennaca said: "The doctors there said that my cancer is surgical and they believe they can remove my liver tumours.
"I have my colon cancer surgery at the end of February, they said the cure rate is about 40 percent which is light years ahead of what I was told before.
"Doctors are still deciding when I will have my liver surgery."
Before surgery later this month, Jennaca has gone through four rounds of chemotherapy to help shrink the tumours.
But Jennaca has lost her job as a nurse due to her illness, so a GoFundMe page has been set up to help cover the cost for her cancer treatment.
Since being up, the fundraiser has amassed $29,598 of the $50,000 target.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, contact Macmillan’s Cancer Support Line on 0808 808 00 00, 8am–8pm seven days a week