Friday 6th September 2019
North East and Cumbria
After finding out Grace was pregnant, we were so excited. We began planning ahead and looking forward to what the future would bring.
At the start of 2018, Joe and Grace were full of nervous excitement, getting ready for their first child. It was Grace's first pregnancy and neither of them knew what to expect. When Grace felt unwell and started being sick most days, they assumed it was a normal part of pregnancy. Though doctors warned Grace she might miscarry, her eight-week midwife appointment showed that everything was fine.
However, at their 12 week scan, Joe and Grace received the heartbreaking news that Grace wasn't going to have a baby.
They were told it was either a molar pregnancy or Gestational Trophoblastic Disease (GTD) and would require surgery to remove.
"It was a massive shock when we found out," said Grace. "We were getting prepared to have a baby and thinking about how our lives would change. Both of us were really upset."
Grace had surgery in March 2018 and doctors continued to monitor her hormone levels with weekly blood tests to check they were returning to a normal level below 2. Before her surgery, Grace's levels were 280,000.
In September, when Grace's levels stuck around 200, she went for scans on our unit in Sheffield, where doctors discovered that Grace had cancer.
Grace began chemotherapy on our unit, travelling down to Sheffield every fortnight. "The Teenage Cancer Trust unit was so lovely and bright," said Grace. "It was so different from the other hospital wards, which seemed really daunting." Joe could stay over with Grace during her chemo and the unit was full of distractions to help them through the tough time.
The people who work on the unit were absolutely brilliant and they try so hard to make the best out of a bad situation.
Grace initially kept working during chemo, but she struggled with fatigue when she changed to a higher dose. She was also neutropenic, which meant she didn't have enough white blood cells and had to stay indoors to avoid infections. However, Grace's hormones eventually returned to normal and she finished chemotherapy in February 2019.
"We can't try for a baby again for a year," said Grace. "We would like to have a baby but this experience has put me off a little because I know there's a chance this could happen again."
Throughout Grace's treatment, the couple saw how Teenage Cancer Trust staff supported everyone on the unit. "They honestly couldn't do more, they're always welcoming and put you at ease," said Joe.
They also met countless other people going through their own cancer treatment, and it's because of them that Joe joined Team Legend for the 2019 Great North Run.
"I feel really emotional about him doing it because it's such a good cause and we've seen Teenage Cancer Trust help so many people along the way," said Grace. "He wants to do it as fast as he can but I think as long as he finishes it then he's fine!"
Registration is now open to join #TeamLegend for the 2020 Great North Run.
Joe saw the importance of our work firsthand, but you don't need to have to run with us. If you join our team, you'll help young people like Grace get the support and care they need while going through cancer treatment.