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Mum diagnosed with incurable cancer during her miracle pregnancy releases shocking photos of its harrowing effects – admitting she is GLAD her young children won’t remember her

A MUM who was diagnosed with incurable cancer during pregnancy has released shocking photos of its disfiguring effects – admitting she is glad her young children will not remember her like this.

Former RAF air traffic controller, Kim Debling, 34, has been left virtually unrecognisable after red lumps ravaged her face, following the devastating discovery that the rare disease she battled during her first pregnancy has returned

 

 

Left feeling like a “monster” by stage four Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma (CTCL) – a rare type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma – she candidly revealed she does not want her children, Rose, one, and Harvey, six months, to get to know her.

Kim, of Basingstoke, Hampshire, who has months left to live unless she can have a stem cell transplant, said: “I know Rose and Harvey won’t remember me, and that’s a good thing.

 

 

“No Disney character ever became a hero without losing a parent, but in a way, I don’t want the kids to get to know me, so I can save them the terrible loss.

“I wonder what my children will think of me, and what conclusions they will draw about me when I am gone. But I still want to be the best mum I can ever be, no matter how long I have left.”

 

 

 

 

 

Desperate to become parents, Kim and her RAF pilot husband Steve, 32, whom she met on an air base and married in December 2012, began trying for a baby soon after their wedding day.

But after a year and a half with no success, the pair, who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, were referred for IVF on the NHS.

 

 

Amazingly, after just one round, Kim fell pregnant in November 2015.

But in May 2016, when she was 24 weeks pregnant, doctors broke the news that she actually had cancer.

She recalled: “When I heard the word ‘lymphoma’ I was completely devastated.

“They told me I had a rare type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that affects the skin, where the symptoms are a raised, rash or itchy patches of skin, lumps on the skin and swollen lymph nodes.

“My only saving grace was that it was stage one, meaning it wasn’t aggressive, so they could treat the skin directly with light treatments.”

After that, Kim had ultraviolet B treatment, which involves standing in a sunbed-style booth, at Basingstoke’s hospital.

Having a session two times a week, she kept going until two weeks before Rose arrived on August 27 2016 at Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey.

Following the birth, the new mum then had 40 sessions of PUVA treatment – another form of ultraviolet light therapy – which she was confident had been successful.

 

When Rose was born it was the most incredible moment. She was a gorgeous girl and I felt so positive about the future,” she smiled.

“I knew the cancer could spread and come back, but I really felt I had got away with it.”

In a bid to ensure she was treated as thoroughly as possible, Kim began a course of radiotherapy in February 2017.

But soon after her last session, she fell pregnant again – this time naturally.

 

“We’d always wanted a big family and children close together in age, so I could not have been happier when I found out I was expecting Harvey,” she smiled.

Tragically, though, Kim’s elation was short-lived, as the day after she’d taken the positive pregnancy test, she felt an alarming lump in her groin.

 

Sent for an ultrasound and biopsy straight away, in July 2017, she was told, at 16 weeks pregnant, that the cancer had returned, had spread to her lymph nodes and was not curable.

“Me and Steve were new parents. We had another one on the way. Our new life together should have been just beginning,” she said.

“The idea of leaving him as a single dad crushed me. He deserves someone to love and he deserves to be loved.

“It’s not what any of us had planned for our lives. I wanted to be a proud parent with Steve, see our kids grow up – not leave him to do it all alone.

 

I never considered terminating the pregnancy as I was desperate to meet my second child. I was never told my pregnancy hormones would definitely accelerate the cancer, though in hindsight it may have been the case.”

In the wake of her diagnosis, Kim was warned she only has months left to live if a stem cell transplant, where her damaged blood cells are replaced with healthy ones, does not work and more than five years if it does.

Her radiotherapy put on hold, she started an 18-week course of CHOP chemotherapy, which is used to treat non-Hodgkin lymphoma and is suitable for pregnant patients – only stopping for the birth of Harvey on October 31 last year, again at Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital.

She recalled: “It was gruelling. Not only was I pregnant but I had the toxic chemo drugs going through my body, leaving me weaker and weaker.

“But when I had Harvey, I actually forgot all about the disease.

“In that moment I was a mum again, not a woman with cancer. I felt on top of the world.”

Soon after the birth, Kim’s treatment regime resumed, meaning she was unable to breastfeed her baby boy.

Currently undergoing radiotherapy, she will begin chemotherapy next week in the hope that will make her well enough for a stem cell transplant, for which a match has already been found.

 

A few weeks ago, scores of angry red lumps began to spring up all over her face and body, but thankfully, they have since shrunk following targeted radiotherapy to her face.

 

 

Reflecting on her bittersweet story, brave Kim, who has set up a business called Kestrel Design, which covers branding and graphics, as well as documenting her cancer journey online, continued: “Without a stem cell transplant I could have just months left to live, and with it up to five years, but I am trying to remain positive.

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