A MOTHER whose cancer symptoms were dismissed as “pregnancy changes” completed an ultramarathon.
Emma Tagliavini, 35, was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer last summer after giving birth to their son George seven months earlier.
She had previously noticed a lump in her breast in the early months of her pregnancy, but it was thought to be likely pregnancy-related.
Emma told The Argus: “When the diagnosis was made our son George was seven months old and my cancer had already spread to most of my bones and liver.
“It was devastating. Fortunately, I responded well to my initial chemotherapy and the treatment I continue to receive is keeping my cancer stable.”
Emma from Hove is a pediatric nurse at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Brighton and is now working part-time again.
She said: “The bittersweet silver lining to our situation is that we now feel everything so deeply and don’t take anything for granted.
“I am very keen to make the most of this period of stability to raise funds and awareness, particularly for breast cancer in pregnancy.
“Breast cancer in pregnancy is difficult to diagnose because of all the hormonal changes that take place at this point.
“So it’s so important that you get help from your GP if you notice changes, and back up yourself if lumps don’t clear up.”
Emma and her husband Tom, 39, who also works at the Royal Alex, have now completed a 100km ultramarathon to raise money for a cancer charity.
Emma said: “The charity we are raising money for is called Make 2nds Count.
“You help fund important research into the treatment of secondary breast cancer.
“This is when the cancer has spread to other parts of the body and is also known as stage four or advanced.
“These treatments are literally lifelines for me and women in my position who will be in treatment for the rest of our lives.
“Research will keep us alive longer. We deserve the chance to spend more time with our loved ones.”
The couple took part in the Race to the Stones ultramarathon along the ancient ridge path to the Avebury stone circle in Wiltshire.
Emma gave up running when she was diagnosed with cancer in her spine.
She and Tom completed the route as a two-day trek, a major challenge as fatigue is one of the main side effects of Emma’s treatment.
Emma said: “The heat this weekend made it incredibly challenging but we took it one step at a time when we needed to and got there.
“I want people to look at their little things and come back if they’re still worried.
“When my story makes people live richer, less stressed lives, that makes me so happy.”
https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/20279899.hove-mum-incurable-cancer-completes-ultramarathon-hike/?ref=rss Mom with terminal cancer finishes ultramarathon hike