Melbourne mum diagnosed with cervical and bone marrow cancer after giving birth to IVF baby
A young mother has suffered another crushing blow weeks after being told she had cervical cancer when her baby girl was just 10 days old.
Taylor Johnston and her husband Jesse, both 29, were over the moon when they welcomed daughter Billie into the world on May 19 after a three and a half year struggle to conceive and several rounds of IVF.
The Melbourne couple’s world came crashing down days later when Taylor was diagnosed with cervical cancer.
But more devastating news was to come that left Mrs. Johnston’s future uncertain and left her in a desperate fight for her life.
PET scans recently revealed she also has a rare bone marrow cancer that has spread, with doctors unable to find where the cancer grew from.
Ms Johnston has been forced to spend weeks in hospital away from her baby daughter as she begins a grueling first round of chemotherapy, and it will be at least another two weeks before she can finally go home.
Taylor Johnston welcomed Billie Mae into the world after a 25-hour labor and C-section
Taylor and husband Jesse (pictured together) were excited to conceive after three and a half years of trying to conceive
“Hair is such a rare case that doctors have not found the primary cancer,” her husband told Daily Mail Australia.
“We had to stop waiting for tests and just start treatment because we don’t know how much time we have.”
He’s taken time off from work to take care of Billie and his wife.
While cervical cancer can be effectively treated if detected early, many bone marrow cancers are aggressive and incurable.
Due to the rare nature of Mrs. Johnston’s cancer, doctors are unable to give a prognosis about her chances of survival until 4-5 months of chemotherapy.
Ms. Johnston had no idea anything was going on during her pregnancy until the midwife noticed polyps (protruding tissue growth) on her cervix during the 25-hour labour.
She needed an emergency c-section and blood transfusion.
The results of the biopsy brought devastating news 10 days later.
“It was hard news to accept,” recalled Mr. Johnston.
“Having a newborn was hard enough, let alone cancer. We went through many shocks in the first days, which turned into emotions.’
The shock diagnosis was followed by weeks of extensive hospital appointments, MRIs, PET scans and the dreaded unknown until tests revealed worse news last week.
Taylor was diagnosed with cervical cancer when baby Billie was 10 days old
Taylor (pictured in the hospital) recently found out she also has a rare form of bone marrow cancer
Mrs. Johnston remains in hospital as she begins chemotherapy.
“Taylor is devastated about being separated from Billie and feels like she’s missing out on that connection,” said Mr. Johnston.
“I’m not working right now because I’m taking care of Billie and preparing for when Taylor comes home, when I’m taking care of both of them at the same time.”
“The only positive thing is that Billie has gotten into a routine.”
The family is stuck in limbo until they find out how the cancer is responding to chemotherapy.
“It would almost be easier if we knew what the outlook was,” Johnston said.
Despite weeks of obscurity ahead, the Johnstons try to stay positive.
“It was overwhelming and a struggle with a lot to handle, but Taylor has always had a positive attitude,” her husband said.
“Although it is extremely difficult, we can only stay positive and keep our fingers crossed for the best.”
“All that’s left now is to hope that Taylor’s body is responding to the chemo. We would really like her to live a healthy life or at least give her as much time as possible.’
Jesse and Taylor Johnston (pictured on their wedding day in March 2022) have been together for 12 years
Taylor Johnston finds it hard to be separated from her miracle baby Billie
Ms Johnston wanted to share her story to encourage other women to get regular checkups and see a doctor if something doesn’t feel right.
The couple tried to conceive naturally for two and a half years before undergoing several rounds of IVF.
‘It was a great moment to find out we were expecting because it had been a huge journey to get there,’ said Mr Johnston.
“Taylor had a really good pregnancy. She had morning sickness in the first trimester. The second was cruisy and there were no signs of anything wrong in the last few months.’
“Taylor has been good with her Pap smears, so we were shocked that nothing was picked up.”
Taylor and Jesse Johnston were excited about the future until their world was turned upside down six weeks ago
Jesse has taken time off from work to care for his wife and baby daughter Billie (pictured)
Mr. Johnston’s sister, Lani, has one online fundraiser to help the family through the challenging months ahead.
‘Jesse can’t work. Taylor can’t be the mother she wants to be to her newborn. She cannot have her baby by her side at night while undergoing chemotherapy. Every mother’s worst nightmare,” the page reads.
“This family needs you. They need your help and support. It’s time we help and give back to these two who have given so many of us in our community.”
The family is grateful for the overwhelming support received with nearly $45,000 already raised.
“We knew our friends would have our back, but having complete strangers back us up was amazing,” Johnson said.
His sister added, “The support has helped keep Taylor’s spirits up.”
Brave Taylor (pictured in hospital) is sore and bruised after her first round of chemotherapy this week
Taylor and Jesse Johnston (pictured) try to stay positive despite her uncertain future