By Josh Saunders
A mother who risked her life to give birth is set to spend her first Christmas with her miracle baby after finishing treatment for deadly breast cancer.
Vikki Jackson, 33, from Desborough, Northamptonshire, was 21-weeks into her pregnancy when she discovered a hard, non-moveable lump in her left breast.
She was devastated after test results revealed she had grade three triple negative ductal carcinoma – a dangerous mutation affecting 20% of breast cancer patients.
Doctors offered her a termination but determined to give her baby a chance at life, she stalled treatment at her own expense.
She underwent a mastectomy this April, at 25 weeks pregnant, from which it was revealed that the cancer had spread needing treatment immediately.
To try to ensure both Vikki and her baby George would survive, Vikki had a c-section eight weeks early followed by surgery to remove her lymph nodes.
The mum-of-three would go onto chemotherapy and then radiotherapy which she finished this week (NOV 18) ending her treatment.
Now she’s determined to make as many memories as she can this Christmas with her six-month-old miracle baby and family, fearing that if the cancer returns it could be her last.
Vikki, a paediatric nurse, said: “I feel like the luckiest woman alive and very emotional when I think about the battles we have faced together.
“We will always share a special bond as we went through the toughest time together.
“He was with me every step of the way, even when he was inside me.
“This Christmas is extremely special as we have our family, out miracle baby and I’m alive which is a miracle in itself.
“I feel incredibly grateful and will be enjoying every moment of our family Christmas this year.
“My perspective on life has changed drastically and I just want to live every day as if it’s my last and embrace life.
“This is George’s first Christmas, so I want to make memories as if the cancer returns, we don’t know what the future holds for us and I would worry that I may not be here for the next Christmas.”
Vikki discovered a lump in her breast, initially she was unconcerned having found normal lumps in the past, but something compelled her to see a GP.
A week later while having a scan and biopsy, she believes nurses knew it was cancer.
Vikki said: “The nurse had seen the scan and said to me, ‘Have you got a name for your baby yet?’
“I said ‘no’ and she said, ‘Oh that’s good then, as you become attached when you have a name’, I remember thinking it was a strange thing to say.”
Vikki’s “world fell apart” after being diagnosed with grade three Triple Negative breast cancer – the category at the highest risk.
It affects one in five women battling breast cancer, predominantly affecting black woman and the over 40s.
Vikki terminate the pregnancy and start treatment immediately or have surgery and wait her baby had grown to a safe weight, which would put her at greater risk.
She said: “Because I was pregnant, if I had a mastectomy it would buy the baby some time inside to grow and get stronger and they are getting rid of the cancer.
“Because of the pregnancy I couldn’t have the usual tests to see if It had spread to the lymph nodes or around my body.
“I just had to wait until after I had the baby. I had to live with not knowing whether I was going to die soon or live to see my children grow up.”
Vikki’s family “broke into a million pieces” upon revealing the news, but she continued to fight, having her left breast removed at 25 weeks pregnant.
On the day she was due to be induced, Vikki kissed goodbye to her children, not knowing if she or her baby would survive being born eight weeks early.
She said: “It felt like a whirl wind and a real mix of emotions, I was excited about our baby being born but also had a sense of dread as I was so frightened that he might die.
“I felt that if he died it would be my fault as he was being delivered early to save my life.
“I carried on regardless as there was no choice. Survival was the only option.”
While her son George William was taken to neonatal intensive care to be ventilated, Vikki was having over 30 lymph nodes removed.
Recovering in hospital it was found that only one of the nodes had cancer and the rest were clear.
Vikki would still need chemotherapy and radiotherapy but was relieved both she and her son had survived.
She added: “We had two glorious weeks at home with our family where we enjoyed having visitors and showing off our baby.
“But always in the back of my mind was it will end soon, and it did.”
During the treatment George suffered with a dangerously high temperature and rigors, which would be diagnosed as viral meningitis.
Vikki said: “The doctors said he was septic and very quickly they worked hard to stabilise him.
“The oncologist and breast cancer nurses tried to tell me that because I had no immune system I couldn’t be with George.
“I obviously told them that I wouldn’t be leaving him and I’d take my chances.
“I took my chances and luckily for us I didn’t pick up any bugs. They delayed my next chemo by a week to give us both a chance to recover.”
Thankfully George recovered, and now mum Vikki has just completed her last radiotherapy treatment, believes it’s a miracle they are both here.
She will still be tested to ensure the cancer has not returned, as well as planning breast reconstruction and a potentially preventative second mastectomy.
But for now, Vikki is grateful to be home for Christmas with husband Matthew and her children Lily, Rohan and new arrival George.
She said: “I feel incredibly lucky! If I hadn’t found the lump when I did then it would have definitely been a different story.”