We wish to raise funds to seek alternative private medical treatment and further explore research trials in the hope that there is more that can be done for my sister. These funds will also contribute to giving Brooke the opportunity to make amazing memories with her partner, family and friends, including ticking things off her bucket list and making her bedroom a sanctuary space in which she can relax and recover from her ongoing treatment.
We would greatly appreciate it if you could take a minute out of your day to read my sister’s story below, and if you are able to help in anyway, however big or small we will be forever grateful - thank you in advance!
In September 2019 Brooke found a small lump at the top of her thigh. She was worried so sought medical advice from her GP and was advised it was of no significant concern. Despite Brooke‘s worries and with the lump increasing in size, she struggled to get an appointment and when she finally did, no-one made a referral for her to get a second opinion.
By January 2020, Brooke was in pain and the lump was affecting her ability to walk. She contacted the doctors wanting things to be further explored but as usual and disappointingly was advised there were no upcoming appointments available. Due to her ongoing discomfort, Brooke decided to attend the out of hours clinic in Nuneaton. Upon examination by a doctor, she was told she required an urgent referral within a week for her leg to be examined and was referred to the Royal Orthopedic Hospital in Birmingham. In February 2020 Brooke went on to have several scans and a biopsy with a diagnosis of Myxoid Liposarcoma, a very rare and aggressive form of cancer. This was devastating, heartbreaking news however my sister was so determined to beat it.
The treatment plan was a course of radiotherapy, commencing 25th March 2020 to shrink the tumour, followed by surgery to remove it. Two days prior to this the UK went into lockdown due to the COVID-19 outbreak, meaning the majority of cancer operations and treatments were cancelled. This significantly affected the treatment plan for Brooke meaning she had to have the operation to remove the tumor first and then radiotherapy, however this resulted in a lengthier more intense operation.
Brooke’s operation was initially scheduled for the 7th April 2020 however was cancelled again due to the impact of the pandemic. Due to Brooke’s concerns that the tumour had drastically grown in size, she requested another MRI scan and her fears were confirmed. She finally had surgery on 15th April 2020 and due to COVID-19, Brooke had to have a spinal anaesthetic however could not be put under a full general anaesthetic and instead had to face the daunting four-hour operation awake.
Following removal of the tumour, and prior to her course of radiotherapy, Brooke attended hospital three times a week to undergo a course of hormonal treatment to enable egg preservation, as the radiotherapy treatment could make her infertile. Through hormonal therapy she had her eggs removed and frozen.
For her course of radiotherapy Brooke attended the QE Hospital, Birmingham, five days a week for six weeks and we were all over the moon when Brooke was declared NED (No Evidence of Disease). However, there had been no further MRI scans to confirm this, only chest x-rays every three months. This is how the medical professionals monitor this type of cancer as it more commonly returns in the lungs or as soft tissue sarcomas in the body which the patient is advised to monitor themselves as ongoing MRI scans are not offered.
In February 2021, Brooke developed pain in her back and returned to the Royal Orthopedic Hospital querying this. She had an x-ray which did not identify any problems however on 9th March 2021, Brooke found a lump on her neck. She returned to the hospital for an MRI scan which confirmed it was Myxoid Liposarcoma; she was advised a full body MRI and biopsy was required. Whilst waiting for these appointments Brooke found another lump in her back which prompted her to call the hospital. She wished to ask for her full body MRI to be brought forward due to concerns there were more throughout her body, instead she was frustratingly advised that her MRI had not been scheduled due to an admin error and the next appointment available was not for a further two weeks, this significantly delaying treatment again which caused us more anxiety, stress, upset and worry.
On the 9th April 2021 Brooke returned to the hospital to discuss her test results. We were all petrified, holding on to the hope of some better news. Devastatingly, my sister was told the cancer had spread to her bones, stomach, and other parts of her body; the cancer was terminal and could not be removed by operation. We could not believe it and were all in utter shock. She had been told in September 2020 she was cancer free. Did they miss something? Why didn’t anything show up on previous scans? She was advised the only option was to go into hospital for chemotherapy for three days every three weeks for up to six rounds of treatment with the aim of managing the growth and shrinking the tumours.
Deciding whether to pursue with the chemotherapy was a difficult decision for my sister with her understanding of the dreadful effects of treatment, including likely loss of her beautiful hair. However, with this being the only option, and with her inspirational courage and determination to keep fighting, she reluctantly agreed and started her treatment on the 23rd April 2021.
The past twenty months has been an emotional roller coaster for us all, speaking on behalf of Brooke, her partner, myself and our family. We all have utmost hope that my sister will get through this difficult period in her life; she is determined, strong and adored by so many. She is the strongest person I know and remarkably continues to hold a smile on her face despite the physical pain, discomfort, and emotional distress.
We are hugely appreciative of the support her partner, friends and family continue to provide and once again, thank you for reading Brooke’s story.
We’re asking if you’re able to help in any way and your support will be greatly appreciated.
“Cancer may have started the fight, but my sister will finish it!”
- Abi Robinson
- Sarah Pass
- Helen Bell
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