A pregnant woman who found a pea-sized lump on her face two days before giving birth has just months to live, after being diagnosed with inoperable cancer.
Teacher Kate Geraghty, 34, noticed swelling under her left ear when she went into labor at the hospital.
Doctors initially reassured Geraghty that the lump was likely a raised gland caused by gestational diabetes, which she had suffered from throughout her pregnancy.
She had an induced C-section on December 18 last year at Leicester Royal Infirmary and gave birth to 8-lbs., 10-oz. daughter Ivy and went home days later.
But two weeks later, she and partner Paul Dhillon, 35, of Leicester, were alarmed after the lump had a doubled in size, and urgently rushed back to the doctors.
After having two weeks of blood tests, X-rays, MRI and CT scans, Geraghty was diagnosed with high grade metastatic Mucoepidermoid Carcinoma – a rare cancer of the glands.
She underwent five hours of surgery at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester, where the lump and 40 cancerous lymph nodes were removed.
But tragically, because the tumor was so large, it was impossible to remove all the cancerous cells.
Geraghty, a keen kick boxer, was referred to University Hospital Coventry for radiotherapy, but on April 5 doctors discovered two more lumps.
She and Dhillon, also a teacher, were given the devastating news that the cancer had spread, rendering it inoperable, and meaning Geraghty has just months to live.
The new mom’s family launched an appeal to raise funds to pay for her to go to Germany for immmunotherapy treatment to give her a few more precious months with Ivy.
“After the incredible high of becoming parents to our incredible daughter Ivy, we have received such devastating news,” Geraghty said. “The whole of Ivy’s short life has been filled with my frequent hospital visits, tests and surgery – not to mention the constant fear and uncertainty whilst also trying to bond with our new baby.”
“I want to try anything possible to give me more time with Paul, Ivy and all of my loved ones,” she said. “We feel humbled by everyone’s reaction and can’t thank people enough for their support. We are absolutely desperate to raise at least £100,000 as quickly as possible, potentially to travel abroad and begin the immunotherapy treatment.”
“Every donation will help to give us a chance for extra time together as a family and see Ivy grow up,” she said. “We have been completely overwhelmed with all the donations, love and support from everyone. We read every single message of support on the page.”
Geraghty’s sister Becca Storer, 37, launched the Just Giving page on Friday to raise £100,000 for treatment. Incredibly, more than £40,000 has already been pledged.
“It’s been absolutely devastating,” Storer said, of the diagnosis. “Kate and Paul have been looking forward to being parents for years now, and it has been blighted by this horrible news.”
“Obviously when she first found the lump, she was concerned, but thought it was nothing to worry about,” Storer said. “She was sick anyway, and just assumed that it was a result of that. It was a really difficult birth, and obviously after that she had all the joys of being a mom to take her mind off the lump, and Christmas and News Year’s distracted her too.”
“We went out for lunch about three months after Ivy was born, and I noticed that it had got bigger,” she said. “It started out being the size of a pea but by the time she was diagnosed it had grown into the size of a golf ball. I was just honest with her, and told her that she needed to get it checked out.”
“That was when she got the devastating news, and from there it’s been one thing after the other,” Storer said. “It should have been a really happy year, and instead it’s been full of tests, operations and bad news. When she was told that it was inoperable and terminal, it was just the most utterly devastating news that you could imagine.”
“Ivy is such a beautiful little girl, and Kate is the most wonderful mom you could imagine,” she said. “It’s devastating to think how little time they will have together. Initially she was told that she only had a few months left, but from our research, it seems like this immmunotherapy treatment could prolong her life.”
“We’ve heard of past cases where people have been given an extra year or two as a result of it, and we’re hoping that it can be the same for Kate,” Storer said. “The goal right now is to give her enough time so that she can see Ivy’s first birthday, and create those happy memories with her before she goes.”
“I created the Just Giving page for my sister, who has gone from achieving all of her dreams to living her worst nightmare in the space of four short, terrifying months,” Storer said. “This was supposed to be Kate’s year. Instead she’s facing the battle of a lifetime to fight a very aggressive form of cancer.”
“Kate is anything but defeatist and messaged me soon after her appointment to ask that we start helping her look for options for immunotherapy,” she said. “I am completely in awe at Kate’s strength and determination, but we are now literally fighting for her life and we need help.”
“Kate and Paul have been so strong, but they need help to prolong her life as much as possible and to let her be a mother to her little girl,” Storer said.