Mother With Terminal Bowel Cancer Makes Cards For Her Son Marking Every Big Occasion
Rowena Darby has terminal bowel cancer and knows time with her husband Phil and three-year-old son Freddie is limited.
Anxious to make sure Freddie knows how very much his mother loves him, Rowena has written a series of cards marking every special occasion she can think of including birthdays, Christmas, first day at school, graduation and even a wedding card.
She has also set up an email account so Freddie can access it when he is old enough, printed a series of special quotations and even explained to her little boy that his teddy bear holds special significance.
'I've told Freddie that his teddy bear has a hotline to Mummy for when I'm not there,' says Rowena (33) who lives in Bolton, Lancashire, with Freddie and husband Phil (34).
“I know a lot of people in my situation create a bucket list but I just want to be a mum and do normal stuff with my son. There is nowhere I want to go, I just want to have a normal life with no regrets," Rowena told The Bolton News.
“Every cancer is different so my doctor said he would not be surprised if I was here next year, but he would be if I was here the year after. It’s progressing reasonably slowly at the moment, thankfully.”
During her pregnancy with Freddie, Rowena noticed she was passing blood but doctors said it was normal and pregnancy related.
'I don't blame them. It's rare for a young woman to have bowel cancer and there's no history of it in my family. But if I'd known then what I know now, I'd have asked for more tests.'
Rowena with the cards she has made for her son Freddie
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After Freddie's birth, Rowena experienced constant abdominal pain. She had a colonoscopy and more scans and in June 2011, a week before her son's first birthday, she was told she had cancer.
She began chemotherapy and radiotherapy but was rushed to hospital in Januray 2012 with bowel cramps. Doctors then discovered that the cancer had spread to her ovaries.
The mother-of-one then had a full hysterectomy, she also had her bowels and lining of her stomach removed.
Tragically, four months later Rowena was given the devastating news that the cancer had spread to her liver and lungs and that it was terminal.
The 33-year-old has undergone 27 rounds of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and multiple operations and is doing everything she can to prolong her life.
'Lots of people with a terminal illness talk about quality of life over quantity, but I couldn't disagree more,' she says. 'Every hour that I get to spend with Freddie is one extra precious hour. I treasure every one.'
Images via The Daily Mail and The Bolton News