A mother diagnosed her harrowing experience with cancer just five days before giving birth to her first child.
Alycia Arapis, from Melbourne, was 37 weeks pregnant in April 2018 when she had a creepy dream that she had a lump in her chest.
Alarmed, but without any noticeable lump, the 31-year-old decided to tell her doctor during a check-up a week later.
Alycia Arapis (photo), 31, from Melbourne, was 37 weeks pregnant awaiting the birth of her daughter in April 2018, when she had a creepy dream that she had a lump in her breast
A physical examination discovered a small lump in the chest and another in a lymph node at the top of her left rib cage, and an ultrasound was taken quickly.
A few days later, when she was 38 and a half weeks pregnant, a biopsy was taken from each.
But Mrs. Arapis could never have imagined the whirlwind that was about to unravel.
On May 5, six or seven days before her expected due date, she received an early morning after a call from her midwife asking her to come in with her husband.
& # 39; She set me down and broke the news that the hump in my rib returned positively as a Non Hodgkin lymphoma, & # 39; she told Daily Mail Australia.
I was completely in shock. I was very numb
& # 39; I was completely in shock. I was very numb. It was a very strange feeling. & # 39;
Doctors tried to keep her calm because stress or anxiety could cause health effects for her baby.
& # 39; The baby was getting a bit upset in my stomach. Then I had to tell the news to my family.
& # 39; I thought how am I supposed to tell my family and friends? & # 39;
Mrs Arapis (photo) with baby Sofia was told that the localized Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, for which she had no previous symptoms or family history, had been found in stage one
With just a few days until Mrs Arapis gave birth, the doctors decided it was best to wait before taking action against the cancer.
& # 39; I was lucky to have a full term in office, & # 39; she said. & # 39; The plan was to give birth and start chemo right away & # 39 ;.
On May 10, Alycia and Marinos Arapis welcomed daughter Sofia to the world.
Mrs. Arapis told Daily Mail Australia that she was lucky to have a & # 39; really great & # 39; birth and delivery.
The joy had only just arrived before her difficult journey came into view.
The week Sofia was born, Mrs. Arapis had a CT scan, a PET scan and a bone marrow test to determine the severity of the cancer.
Ms. Arapis was told that the localized Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, for which she had no previous symptoms or family history, had been found in stage one.
& # 39; I'm just so lucky, & # 39; she said.
Mrs Arapis (photo) was told that the localized non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, for which she had no previous symptoms or family history, was found in stage one shortly after the birth.
& # 39; It just happened that this lady had found it, & # 39; she said.
& # 39; Once she pointed it out to me, I felt it. It wasn't huge. It was about one to two centimeters. & # 39;
Doctors weighed whether the new mother should be treated with both chemotherapy and radiation.
With the chances of radiation therapy risk & # 39; s for later development of breast cancer, doctors opted against it.
Two weeks after the birth she started chemotherapy.
Before she was diagnosed, Mrs. Arapis, a fitness and food enthusiast, made sure she didn't use any chemical products.
When she heard that she would have to undergo chemical treatment, she was panicked by a narcotic condition.
Although Mr. Arapis (left) and Mrs. Arapis (right) came to terms with the prospect of having no more children, doctors offered her hormonal treatment that could potentially protect her from reproductive harm through chemotherapy.
& # 39; When she told me that the only option was to get chemotherapy, as soon as I heard those words, panic broke in, & # 39; she told Daily Mail Australia.
& # 39; Having chemo was something I couldn't think of. & # 39;
The mother chose to go through the public health care system at the Olivia Newton John Hospital in Heidelberg.
She chose the facility because she had applied there years earlier and applied makeup to cancer survivors through the & # 39; look good, feel good & # 39 ;.
After she was diagnosed, but before she gave birth, Mrs. Arapis received another shocking blow.
With the amount of chemotherapy she would need to fight the aggressive cancer, chances are she would not get pregnant anymore.
Women diagnosed with cancer before birth are given the opportunity to have eggs removed for later use, but as Mrs Arapis expected at the time, the option was denied.
Although the couple came to terms with the prospect, doctors offered her hormonal treatment that could potentially protect her from reproductive harm through chemotherapy.
While adapting to life with a newborn, Mrs. Arapis (photo) continued the treatment for four months
Zoladex, an injection, was given in her stomach once a month before each chemotherapy treatment.
The hormones had their own effects – making them feel depressed.
& # 39; I felt it had put me in a dark place. Hormonal I did not feel myself.
& # 39; My husband came for the first (chemotherapy) treatment and my mother-in-law came with me the second time.
& # 39; I just went to the rest. I have to help me digest everything. & # 39;
While adapting to life with a newborn, Mrs. Arapis continued treatment for four months.
In the second treatment, the lump could no longer be detected by scans.
On September 11, 2018, Mrs. Arapis had her last chemotherapy session.
Two months later, on November 14, she received triumphant news – the cancer was now clear.
Although she remained extremely positive during the trial, Ms. Arapis shared with Daily Mail Australia that there were enough moments to balance parenthood and a fight against cancer came as a tough one.
& # 39; I was getting sicker & # 39 ;, she said.
On September 11, 2018, Alycia (right), pictured with husband Marinos (right) and daughter Sofia, had her last chemotherapy session and she was released from cancer months later on November 14,
& # 39; I lost my hair after the first session, shaving off the rest.
& # 39; It just fell out, everywhere … on my baby. It was horrible. I loved my hair, it was huge for me, but (when I decided to shave it) I was all set. & # 39;
& # 39; But my husband made me feel so good about it. He has just been my life saver & # 39 ;, she added.
& # 39; There were days (after chemotherapy only) that I couldn't pick her up. & # 39;
Breastfeeding was also excluded if she received chemical treatment.
She was the first mother to feel deeply guilty in the early stages.
& # 39; That was something that I really wanted to do. & # 39;
& # 39; The start was tough & # 39 ;, she said.
& # 39; I had to forgive myself that I could not breastfeed. & # 39;
Mrs. Arapis posted inspirational words (photo) in a Melbourne mother's group on Facebook in July
Since the life-changing event, Mrs. Arapis has developed an extra special appreciation for the simple things in life.
In July she shared an inspiring post on the Melbourne mother's Facebook page encouraging others to cherish the moment.
& # 39; I have learned that life is very precious and that time spent now is very precious. Family, friends, and support is huge.
& # 39; It was the only thing that saved me. & # 39;
& # 39; (I learned that) releasing control is important. Such a thing cannot happen on paper. Divine faith and timing is something I really believe in & # 39 ;, she told Daily Mail Australia.
She added that without the support of her family and faith it helped her to overcome her hardship.
& # 39; I had my really dark days, I'm not going to pretend. I cannot say otherwise. & # 39;
& # 39; I constantly check my body. I have become paranoid. & # 39;
& # 39; I pray every day. I am very spiritual. I started praying again and my faith. That has really been a big change for me. & # 39;
& # 39; It was the only thing that saved me. & # 39;
& # 39; (I was lucky that my in-laws, my friends, my family were all great. & # 39;
The effects of hormonal treatment have since shown signs that Mrs. Arapis may have more children later.
Mrs Arapis said that since the whirlwind events of 2018, she has sought to enjoy the precious moments, such as spending time with Sofia, now 15 months old.
Nu 32, a self-proclaimed creative, Mrs. Arapis used art (photo) to process her chemotherapy, often painting while she was being treated
Nu 32, a self-proclaimed creative, Mrs. Arapis has used art to process her chemotherapy.
She often took art supplies to paint while she was being treated, and said it gave her a therapeutic output, which she shares with others through her Instagram page, the_creativemum.
She advised other people who are confronted with chemotherapy to take the step to shave their heads early and to be OK without feeling good.
& # 39; Only time to process what is happening is very important & # 39 ;, & # 39; she said.
& # 39; It's okay to have your whole day or dark times. Let them come through. Do not block them. Be at that moment. Have as much quality time as possible with yourself.
According to the Leukemia Foundation, approximately 5,000 people are diagnosed with lymphoma each year, making it the sixth most common cancer in Australia.
Of those cases, 85 percent are among the 30 non-Hodgkin lymphoma subtypes.
In most cases of people diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, there is no history and the causes are still unclear.
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