Bride discovers she has cancer on her WEDDING DAY – and she had thought the tumour was a baby on the wayKept the news secret on her big day to avoid ruining the event for her friends and familyLucy Duffy now responding well to chemotherapy and hopes to try for a baby again soon
12:53 GMT, 17 October 2012
A bride has told of the devastating moment she was told she had cancer on her dream wedding day.
The 'baby' she thought she was pregnant with turned out to be a tumour – and bride to be Lucy Duffy from Leeds was told it was cancerous hours before making her vows.
But despite the bombshell news, Lucy and her fianc Chris vowed to go ahead with their ceremony – keeping the cancer a secret from their guests.
Tragic news: Lucy Duffy on her wedding day with husband Chris, just hours after being told that what she thought was a growing baby bump was actually a cancerous tumour
Tinged with sadness: Despite bravely going ahead with the wedding and keeping the cancer a secret from guests, the day was a challenge for Lucy, who admitted she collapsed sobbing when the party had ended
Poignantly they promised to love each other in sickness and in health and now Lucy is responding so well to chemotherapy that the couple hope to try for a baby again soon.
Lucy said: 'We had spent two years planning our dream wedding. I never expected anything to go wrong, I certainly never expected to hear the word cancer on the morning of my wedding.
'We kept it from our guests because we wanted our wedding to remain a happy day. We wanted people to have a good time.'
The nightmare started when Lucy and Chris started trying for a baby ahead of their wedding. They hoped she would conceive quickly so they could share their joy during the speeches on the big day.
Naturally they were delighted when just weeks later a test showed Lucy had fallen pregnant.
'I was over the moon. We couldn't believe how lucky we had been to fall pregnant so quickly.'
Shock: On the morning of the wedding the consultant rang to say Lucy had experienced a full molar pregnancy. 'I knew straight away it meant cancer. First I'd lost our wedding baby and then I was being told I had cancer on our wedding day'
Brave: 'We had spent two years planning our dream wedding. We kept the cancer news from our guests because we wanted our wedding to remain a happy day. We wanted people to have a good time,' says Lucy
The pregnancy appeared to be
progressing well, but a few weeks before the wedding Lucy experienced
severe morning sickness and tiredness.
When she noticed light bleeding she called the pregnancy unit who assured her all the symptoms were normal.
WHAT IS A MOLAR PREGNANCY
A molar pregnancy like the one experienced by Lucy happens when a non-viable egg implants itself into the womb and begins to grow.
It happens when a sperm, or more than one sperm, meets an egg during fertlisation, but the sperm and egg cannot support a normal pregnancy.
The cells mutate instead of multiplying normally and the placenta forms into cysts.
Occasionally the mutated tissues grows into the muscle layer of the uterus – an invasive mole. In rare cases like Lucy's this can become cancerous and require medical treatment.
'I started to relax and think of names. I imagined how wonderful our wedding day would be sharing our special news.
But after a heavier bleed at six weeks she went to hospital for a scan to check their baby was OK.
She says: ' I knew something was wrong when the sonographer said he needed a second opinion.
Finally a consultant looked at the screen and said ' I'm sorry but there is no baby.'
'I thought he meant I'd had a miscarriage. But then he explained there were dark shadows in my womb that showed I'd had a molar pregnancy.'
Lucy had never heard of a molar pregnancy before. The consultant explained that at the moment of fertilisation something had gone wrong and two sperm had entered the egg instead of one, resulting in a mass of cells growing in the womb instead of a baby.
The cells had stuck to the lining of the womb and were at risk of multiplying. Lucy would need an operation to remove them.
The condition had raised her hormones, which explained why she had suffered severe sickness and tiredness, like most pregnant women.
Devoted: Lucy and Chris in Las Vegas where they got engaged
'I was devastated. I couldn't believe that there had never been a baby. We'd been thinking of names for a child which had never existed.' The wedding was just two weeks away.
Back home bewildered Lucy researched her condition on line and was shocked to read that in rare cases the cells can turn cancerous and spread around the body in what is known as a full molar pregnancy.
The following week she underwent surgery to remove the tumour, which was to be analysed.
'The wedding was a week away and mum and Chris suggested postponing but I didn't want all our planning to go to waste.'
On the morning of the wedding on 16 September last year Lucy had just finished decorating the tables when the consultant rang and confirmed she had experienced a full molar pregnancy.
Lucy and Chris were given the all clear to go on their honeymoon – and Lucy started chemo on their return. Now a year later tests show the cancer is under control
'I knew straight away it meant cancer. First I'd lost our wedding baby and then I was being told I had cancer on our wedding day. I was shaking.'
'The room looked stunning and the ceremony was just hours away. I vowed not to break down and to get on with the day and Chris said he would support me whatever I decided.'
Hours later nobody would have known the importance behind the vows when they pledged to love each other in sickness and in health.'
Lucy says: ' It was very emotional, obviously the vows meant so much.'
But she says there were thankfully fleeting moments of joy where she was able to forget about the cancer.
When the party had finished she collapsed sobbing in her grooms arms. 'It was partly because we'd had such a wonderful day, but party I was terrified about having cancer.'
She was given the all clear for their honeymoon in Mexico and back home started blood tests to measure the hormone changes that would indicate if the cancer had spread.
Unfortunately they showed Lucy did need to start chemotherapy.
Now a year after diagnosis, blood tests show Lucy's hormones have dipped to their lowest yet and doctors are hopeful they will continue to fall giving her the all clear soon.
It will be another six months before she can try for a baby again.
'I've learned early on that not everything in married life goes to plan. Being told I had cancer on our wedding day was the hardest possible start, but now I know we can come through anything.'