Pregnant mum's shocking breast cancer diagnosis
ROLLING over in bed, Sandi Cooper felt a lump and knew something was wrong.
She was 23 weeks pregnant at the time and breast cancer was the furtherest thing from her mind.
"None of were expecting that. I just kind of rolled over in my sleep one night and felt a lump and within a week I had been diagnosed and sent to Brisbane. I started having chemo pretty much within a week," she said.
The time that followed was a mix of emotions for Sandi and her young family - husband Grant and their two children, Taj, 7, and Bree 4 - as they dealt with the diagnosis at a time when they should have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the newest kid on their block.
"It was a bit scary ... the first weekend after we found out we were all a bit shocked. It comes in waves and you get quite upset and think, 'oh no'. But I guess we were confident the doctors knew what they were doing," she said.
The five-centimetre stage two tumour was fast growing and aggressive, which Sandi said was quite common for women who were pregnant because of the change in hormones.
Doctors gave her the option of having surgery or beginning chemotherapy and she opted for the chemo, travelling to Brisbane for treatment.
Husband Grant has been very supportive, taking time off from his job as a linesman with Ergon to be with her.
Thankfully, the side effects didn't see her bed-ridden.
"I've been really lucky in that I haven't had any nausea, just tiredness and you get a yucky metallic taste in your mouth. Nothing really tastes as nice as it used to," she said.
At the end of August, Sandi had her last round of treatment to give the drugs time to leave her body and on September 20 and at 36 weeks, she gave birth to a beautiful baby boy via caesarean weighing almost 3kg.
And to her surprise, he arrived with a head full of hair.
"It's bizarre that I've got none and he's got a head full of it. It just proves that they're very protected in there," she joked.
She hasn't been able to breastfeed but it pales in significance to cradling a healthy baby.
Sandi has been given two precious weeks bonding with her newborn, but today starts a 12-week round of chemo that will finish on December 22, just in time for Christmas.
Then in January she will undergo a lumpectomy in what will hopefully be the final hurdle in her cancer battle.
She has been buoyed by tests so far that have revealed the chemo has significantly reduced the size of the tumour and doctor's hopes that by Christmas it will have almost completely vanished.
For his part, baby Dane has been kind to his mother.
"He is such a good little baby, he is sleeping really well, I hardly hear a noise out of him," she said.