|Alix with one of her children|
Please see Alix's story below:
Hi, my name is Alix Manders and I am the mummy to three wonderful and beautiful boys. My world was turned upside down in November 2014, I was 22 weeks pregnant with my third child and I just knew that something wasn't right. I felt very unwell with pain under my left rib and my ever expanding tummy was already the size of a 40 week pregnancy, so I went to my maternity unit. All of the doctors were baffled with what was wrong, however an ultrasound and an emergency MRI confirmed that I had a huge mass in my left ovary which had grown so big it was now under my left rib. After my obstetrician performed emergency surgery to remove it, she and a colorectal surgeon came and gave me the devastating news that they had also found a tumour on my colon and that I had cancer.
Whilst recovering from surgery, I suffered a blood clot in my arm - being pregnant, having surgery and having cancer had increased the risk of this. I then was referred to and seen by the oncology team. They told me I had stage 4 colon cancer as it had spread to my liver and ovaries, but because I was pregnant, I could not have treatment straight away. The doctors decided that my little boy would be delivered by C-Section at 30 weeks - this was necessary because the cancer was spreading at a fast pace to other organs. My beautiful son, Finley, was delivered healthy and after spending five weeks in SCUBU, he was eagerly welcomed home by his over-excited brothers! A week after Finley's birth, I began my 12 rounds of gruelling chemotherapy. This was a joyful, but physically draining time for me - having to care for two energetic children, stay with and care for Finley in hospital and endure chemotherapy all at the same time! My family were an incredible help and gave me the support and strength I needed. A CT scan and an MRI showed I had responded well to the chemotherapy and the tumours had shrunk - we were over the moon with this news. I was also told I was suitable for surgeries to remove the tumours, giving me further hope that I would win this battle.
In December 2015 I had a liver resection. It took me a month to recover from this operation and in February 2016, I then had cytoreductive surgery to remove the tumour from my colon and the surrounding lymph nodes and they stripped off the lining of my peritoneum. I also had hot chemotherapy directly in my abdomen to hopefully get rid of any cancer cells left behind. Recovery was hard and slow. I spent 7 long months in and out of hospital. In the last few months I was allowed home in the days, but had to return for treatment and care every night. I moved into my mum's house with my kids, as I needed help to take care of them. Daily life was hard - school runs, after school activities and the usual chores were all too much on my own. However, with the help and support of my family I carried on. When I returned to hospital for an appointment, a CT scan picked up tumours that were still on my liver, so I had to endure more chemo. I was also offered more surgery or radiotherapy which was promising and yet again gave me further hope!
Devastatingly, a PET scan then showed I also had areas of cancer on the peritoneum (lining of my abdomen) which had never been seen before on previous scans. Five weeks ago, I was told there is nothing more they can do to cure me on the NHS. One kind Doctor told me my only chance is immunotherapy, but there is a huge private cost which I could never raise alone. So here I am - I am not ready to give up and I am not ready to leave behind my three loving boys and the most amazing mum and family I could ever wish for. So please... I really need your help. Thank you xxx
Donations can be made directly at : https://www.youcaring.com/alixmanders-756620
Additionally, during the Year of Mercy, Mr George, the headteacher at St Hugh of Lincoln, wrote a weekly reflection for the school newsletter on different aspects of mercy. Good feedback was received from a number of parents and Mr George decided to take the best of them and put them together into a book. Bishop Richard has written a foreword and the 24 page book was recently published.
Copies of the Year of Mercy book are on sale now from Mr George at St Hugh of Lincoln at £4.00 a copy. He can be contacted on 01483 480441 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The Year of Mercy book is also available at the Bookshop at DABCEC in Crawley. All proceeds from the sale of these books will go to the medical fund for Alix.