A heartbroken mum has revealed she has terminal cancer – three years after welcoming her miracle son via IVF.
Jenna Loughran, 37, from Coventry, was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer after finding a lump on her breast in the shower in December 2020, despite having no family history of the condition.
While she went through various treatments, by May of this year she was told her cancer had returned and that it is terminal.
Now Jenna is doing her best to make memories with her son Theo in the time she has left.
Jenna Loughran, 37, from Coventry with adorable three-year-old Theo in April of this year enjoying the start of Spring. She was told a month later that despite various rounds of treatments, her breast cancer had returned
Theo, who has just turned three – is described by his mum as ‘clever and special’ and finds it ‘cruel’ she won’t be able to see him grow up
Jenna after undergoing a single mascectomy in between 14 months of treatment including chemotherapy and radiotherapy
Jenna, who had struggled to conceive, went through two rounds of IVF and was thrilled to give birth to a healthy little boy.
After her diagnosis, Jenna underwent 15 rounds of IV chemotherapy, three weeks of radiotherapy, six months of oral chemotherapy and a single mastectomy with full node clearance.
In February of this year, she finished her active treatment, but was told a few months later that the cancer had come back.
She said: ‘With triple-negative breast cancer there was always a high risk of recurrence and spreads.
The pair exploring nature together. Jenna’s focus is on making memories with Theo to last a lifetime
Pretty in pink – from hair to outfit, Jenna looks smart in a pale pink suit and silver strappy sandals while Theo beams at her side
‘It’s the most aggressive form of breast cancer, with the least amount of treatment options available.
‘I just hoped I would have had more time before it came back.’
Jenna had started to make plans for her and Theo’s future after February and was even hoping to become a teaching assistant, however a routine scan in March showed that the cancer had returned to two lymph nodes in her chest.
Now, her focus is on making memories with Theo to last a lifetime – with the help of generous online donors.
Jenna, after chemotherapy, holding a bunch of flowers
Jenna has tried to stay positive throughout the ordeal, and wants to make memories with her son that will ‘last a lifetime’
‘I was absolutely devasted when I got the diagnosis,’ Jenna, a former legal secretary, said.
‘I don’t know how long I’ve got left and I’ve got a little boy, he’s just turned three.
‘I just want to be able to do as much as I can with him and make some memories.
‘Everyone kept saying to me that I should set up a GoFundMe page and I put it off for a while because it made me feel awkward and I didn’t want to have to ask.
‘But in the end, I just wanted to make memories with Theo and I didn’t see any other way I could do it.’
The page has raised more than her £5,000 target, with donors touched by the tear-jerking story.
Proud Jenna, with her newborn son Theo at a Coventry hospital
Jenna still manages to rock a leaopord print headscarf during treatment
Theo and Jenna enjoying some sand play in the sun
On the page, Jenna wrote ‘My son has just turned three-years-old. He is my world. After a battle with infertility and two rounds of IVF it is so cruel that I won’t be around to see him grow up.
‘My heart breaks for him. I want him to remember me and the times we spent together.
‘I want him to be proud of his mummy and know I did everything I could to be around for as long as I can.
Brave – Jenna after surgery, where she had one breast removed and countless rounds of Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy
After two rounds of IVF Jenna’s ‘miracle baby’ Theo was born – pictured here as a newborn getting a kiss from his mum
Quality time at the park between the mother and son from Coventry
Smile! Theo and Jenna indulge in some rock painting, while Theo gives a cheeky grin
WHAT IS TRIPLE NEGATIVE BREAST CANCER?
Triple negative breast cancer is a form of the disease that does not have receptors for the hormones oestrogen or progesterone, or the protein HER2.
This makes it trickier to treat due to the tumour not responding to these hormonal or protein therapies.
Triple negative breast cancer makes up around 10-to-20 per cent of all forms of the disease.
It tends to be more aggressive than other breast tumours, with patients having a worse prognosis.
The condition is more common in those under 40 and black women.
It is diagnosed via a sample of the cancerous cells.
Symptoms are similar to other forms of breast cancer.
These can include:
- Lump or thickening in the breast
- Change in the size, shape or feel of the breast
- Dimpling of the skin
- Change in the shape of the nipple
- Rash or blood-stained discharge coming from the nipple
- Swelling in the armpit
Treatment usually involves surgery, chemo and radiotherapy.
Chemo may be given first to shrink the tumour before a patient goes under the knife.
It may also be given after the operation to prevent the disease returning.
‘I really want to make as many memories for Theo as I can but as I’m not working this is very difficult.
‘I spend a lot of money going back and forth to the hospital and on supplements to try and keep me as healthy and active as possible.
‘Any possible trials, alternative therapies, I want to be able to explore.
‘I have a lifetime of memories still to make.’
With the money raised, Jenna is hoping that she and Theo can go on adventures together such as a Christmas away in Centre Parcs and a trip to CBeebies Land.
Jenna has also booked a trip to Majorca this September which will be Theo’s very first holiday.
Jenna said ‘Theo is so clever, he’s a character and a comedian, he is my little best mate.’
She says the response to the fundraising page has been ‘overwhelming’ and never thought ‘in a million years’ that so many people would donate.
As well as raising funds for her adventures with Theo, Jenna also wants to raise awareness about checking your lumps and bumps.
She said ‘I have no history of breast cancer in the family at all, I was fit and healthy, there was no reason to think the lumps were anything other than cysts.
‘I just want people to be more body aware, just go to the doctors if you feel like something is wrong and get checked out.
‘And finally, don’t leave it to the last minute to make memories with the ones you love.’