A mother of three is warning other women about a “strange” symptom she noticed within weeks of giving birth that led to her being diagnosed with an aggressive cancer.
At 32 weeks pregnant, Kate Grainger discovered that her colostrum, the first milk produced during pregnancy, was pink instead of yellow.
Working as a teacher in Newman, a western Australian town with no birthing facilities, Ms Grainger decided to travel with her family: Leo, three, and Iris, two, and her husband Joel, just over 1,400km to Busselton, in southwestern Washington. be with her in-laws.
It was there that she would be diagnosed with grade 3 triple negative breast cancer after mentioning discolored colostrum to her obstetrician, just 14 days after giving birth to her third child.
Baby Heath was born healthy on February 25, however, Ms. Grainger’s cancer had spread through her breast and into a lymph node.
Kate Grainger, a mother of three (pictured with family), was just weeks away from giving birth to her third child, Heath, when she was diagnosed with rare breast cancer.
The young mother was wheeled directly from the pregnancy ward to the cancer ward for examination and treatment.
Ms. Grainger paid little attention to the discolored colostrum at the time, assuming it was a quirk of the pregnancy.
‘I didn’t think anything of it. I was like, ‘Oh, pregnancy boobs, weird things happen,'” Ms Grainger said. 7Life.
“Breasts are always lumpy during pregnancy, so I didn’t really think anything of it.
However, the diagnosis would send her and her family into a tailspin.
“Nothing they could say would reassure me that she was okay,” Ms Grainger said.
“It was pure fear, pure terror, shock and horror.
“I got so worried that I actually went to the hospital and asked them to sedate me because I was so upset.
“My husband and I were trying to hold on to the positives.”
She says her husband, Joel, and their three children have helped her through serious mental health issues while they are 1,400km away from home for treatment (Joel and his family pictured)
Grade 3 triple negative breast cancer is a more aggressive form of cancer that usually occurs at a younger age.
It also has poorer clinical outcomes and higher relapse rates and much lower chances of survival.
While the family had to face the devastating news, Ms. Grainger was informed that she would have to give birth by caesarean section.
“We had to put the cancer in a little box and go into baby mode,” Ms Grainger said.
‘It was the most beautiful experience.
‘It was my third C-section and by far my best.
“I felt like my body had gone to the stars and back, I was elated.”
After Heath’s healthy birth and healing from the C-section, Ms. Grainger began chemotherapy and was told she might need a potential double mastectomy.
All of this was taking place while the family is staying in Busselton, 1,400km from home, and dealing with mental health issues following the diagnosis.
Ms. Grainger was diagnosed with grade 3 triple negative breast cancer, which is aggressive and difficult to treat. She is currently undergoing chemotherapy and may need a double mastectomy.
“While I was in the hospital, between the time of diagnosis and the start of treatment, I would wake up in the morning and feel paralyzed,” she recalls.
‘I couldn’t speak, just total fear. And my husband has been very good at bringing me back to now.
“Sometimes I just need a big squeeze and he’s really calming and sits with me and talks through everything with me.
‘I really want an eternity with them and my husband.
“Everything about them (his family) means so much to me, every giggle, every smile, every hug.”
TO GoFundMe for Mrs. Grainger and her family it surpassed $65,000 and is nearing its steadily growing goal of $70,000 with more than 760 donations.
‘There is kindness everywhere we go. The people are just amazing.