Mum diagnosed with brain tumour whilst pregnant now faces fight for life
- Credit: Brain Tumour Research
A 33-year-old woman was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour while pregnant with twins.
Now her mum is undergoing a charity challenge to try and raise money for research into her daughter's condition.
Kylie Weatherby, who grew up in Thetford, was 36 weeks pregnant when she woke up feeling unwell in May 2021.
She rushed to the bathroom where she was violently sick and collapsed on the floor having a seizure.
The then 32-year-old thought she may have had pre-eclampsia - a condition her mum had suffered from during two of her pregnancies - but a scan revealed that she had a brain tumour.
Despite her condition, doctors allowed Mrs Weatherby to continue with her pregnancy until May 28 when she delivered her babies, Luca and Malena, at 37 weeks by caesarean section.
Ten days later she was taken to hospital by ambulance after complaining of severe head pain and rushed into surgery after her brain had become so swollen that it was squashing her tumour and causing it to bleed.
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Severe swelling meant it was not immediately possible to rebuild her skull so Mrs Weatherby was sent home wearing a helmet to protect her exposed brain until the operation could be completed on July 1.
It was the day before that final surgery that Mrs Weatherby then found out she had a grade 4 glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), an aggressive and fast-growing form of brain cancer.
The mother-of-two, who moved to Alabama, in 2012 after marrying an American serviceman she met whilst working as a housekeeper at RAF Lakenheath, went on to have chemotherapy and radiotherapy and on October 18.
Following her treatment, she was told that the cancer cells were no longer detectable and she showed no evidence of disease.
The 33-year-old is now being monitored with three-monthly scans and planning to move back to the UK to be closer to family.
Her mum, Barbara Hollands, is preparing to take part in the Brain Tumour Research charity’s 10,000 Steps a Day in February Challenge - inspired by her youngest daughter’s brain tumour battle.
Ms Hollands, a mum-of-three from Thetford, who works as a nursing assistant at West Suffolk Hospital, said: “They were honest and straight with her and said they didn’t know how long she had but they did get everything out that they could see, but obviously these tumours have tentacles you can’t see which is the worry.”
She added: “Quite honestly, you wouldn’t look at her and think she’s as poorly as she is, except when she gets tired but she’s got seven-month-old twins. She’s had no seizures since her operation and has got such positivity.
“I don’t know where she gets her strength from because I’m a wreck but I’m looking forward to her coming home permanently. I wish it could be sooner but in four months’ time they should be here and I think Nanny’s going to be a bit emotional.”
The 59-year-old suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a lung condition that causes difficulty breathing, but she is determined to complete it.
Ms Hollands will be adding to her step count with the help of her French Bulldog, Ryka.
She added: “This is the first fundraiser I’ve ever taken part in but I think I’ll be able to do it.
“The most important thing is to raise money for research because it’s only with continuous research that things will improve and it might only take something small to help those affected live that extra few years.
“I’m hoping I’m not going to lose Kylie but I also have to face the possibility I might have two babies to bring up at some point but by doing this challenge I could help fund a breakthrough that could stop this disease from taking her away from me.”
Charlie Allsebrook, community development manager for Brain Tumour Research, said: “We’re really pleased to hear about Kylie’s latest results and welcome the support of her mum, Barbara, in helping us to raise the funds needed to research better treatment options and outcomes for brain tumour patients and, ultimately, find a cure."
To donate, visit Barbara’s fundraising page www.facebook.com/donate/347915033393552/.