Cancer survivor reveals joy of motherhood after being told she could not give birth
PUBLISHED: 17:30 01 July 2019 | UPDATED: 09:01 02 July 2019
A Norfolk mother has revealed the remarkable journey which saw her told cancer treatment would end her chances of having a baby - only to give birth after a revolutionary new treatment.
Sofia Garner and Daniel Jones had begun building a life together when, in early 2017, Ms Garner was told she had stage four cancer and would not be able to have children.
In late 2016, Ms Garner, 25, from Watton, had started getting out of breath completing everyday tasks such as walking up the stairs.
She went to her doctor who originally said it was a chest infection.
But when the problem persisted she was rushed to Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. After tests, she was diagnosed with stage four non-hodgkin's lymphoma, cancer of a major organ, in January 2017.
Ms Garner said: "I got to the stage that I couldn't actually walk up the stairs without getting out of breath, sitting half-way and not being able to catch my breath and struggled to get out of the bath.
"I wasn't really that surprised [when I was diagnosed] as it had got to the point that I knew there was something really wrong with me. It sounds strange but it was a relief that I knew what was wrong and what we could do about it."
Mr Jones, 28, added: "She had been very poorly throughout 2016 and it came to a point where she had had enough.
"We didn't know anything at the time but the staff knew what was wrong straight away and sat us down."
Ms Garner was kept in hospital for three weeks while tests and scans were completed. Treatment also started with blood transfusions as Ms Garner's weight had fallen to just five stone.
Mr Jones, a mason at H Brett and Son, said: "It was awful. It was extremely scary. I was constantly asking the doctors every day if there was any news.
"It had been incredibly stressful leading up to Sofia being in hospital as we knew something was wrong.
"I didn't know what was going to happen, what the outcome would be. You hear it from other people and you see it on TV but you never think it is going to hit you, or someone that you love.
"Having it happen to someone you love is almost as hard as having it yourself."
Ms Garner returned to their home in Blenheim Grange, and tried to return to normal life which she says helped her through the treatment, never doubting she was not going to get better.
But doctors said she would not be able to have children.
"Due to the extremely high dosage chemotherapy, the doctors said it would also kill off all living cells and I wouldn't be able to have children," Ms Garner added.
"But you can't do anything about it with such a serious illness."
Then staff at the NNUH offered a new hormone therapy treatment that would shut down her ovaries and protect her egg cells.
It was unknown if it would work but now the couple have a healthy baby, two-month-old Reuben.
"I never believed it until I saw him," Ms Garner added, "we never knew what sort of complications we could have had but for him to be so healthy it is such a good feeling."
Mr Jones said: "We have had some ups and some downs at Norfolk and Norwich with the high of having Reuben there, but there has also been the journey we had with Sofia."
"It is amazing to have Reuben in our lives," Ms Garner added, "I can't really believe that he is here and that he is mine, it's very surreal.
"I do feel very lucky to have him. For anyone who has gone through it, is going through it or about to go through it, hearing other people's stories kept me going and gave me hope."