Couple launch campaign for IVF treatment after cancer operation leaves South Yorkshire woman infertile

A woman from Rotherham is trying to raise enough funds for her to have the baby she has always dreamed of, after botched surgery to remove a cancerous tumour left her infertile.

By Danielle Andrews
Sunday, 22nd March 2020, 8:00 am
Updated Friday, 27th March 2020, 10:11 am

Janeane Hodgson, 42, who is originally from Rotherham but now lives in Nottingham, was first diagnosed with rectal cancer in 2015.

After seeing six different doctors, over the course of three years, she was repeatedly told her symptoms were down to irritable bowl syndrome (IBS).

Janeane said: “I woke up every morning and looked pregnant. I was very active and went to the gym regularly and even had a personal trainer, so I looked after myself.

Janeane Hodgson and her partner, Dom

“I saw three GPs in Rotherham, who told me I had IBS because I had no symptoms other than my swollen stomach.

“My stomach was absolutely solid – I worked at a MAC Cosmetics counter at the time, and we had a running joke about how many pairs of shapewear I had to wear, but I knew something was wrong.

“I did what the doctors told me and changed my diet, and ended up going back six months later, to tell them my stomach was constantly this swollen.

“I was just told sorry, it sounds like IBS.”

Janeane knew something was wrong, but says she never thought it could be cancer at the time.

After seeing three doctors in Rotherham, Janeane moved to Nottingham with her partner, Dom.

She saw two more doctors who diagnosed her, yet again, with IBS, despite thinking she may be pregnant at one stage.

“I got really upset, as I couldn’t face another doctor telling me it was IBS. I was sent for an ultrasound scan of my stomach that showed everything except my bowel, and wasn’t offered an endoscopy or colonoscopy.

“The scan showed that there was nothing wrong with my reproductive system or other organs, so they told me again that my symptoms were down to IBS. If I’d have listened to them, I’d be dead.”

After the fifth diagnosis, Janeane was encouraged by Dom to see a doctor one last time, and to refuse to leave until they took her symptoms seriously.

“I saw a wonderful doctor, and told him that if he sent me away, I don’t know what I would do. I was sent for a colonoscopy and endoscopy, which showed a tumour in my rectum and a lesion in my stomach.

“It was strange when I was finally diagnosed with cancer. In a way, I felt validated, that I wasn’t going mad.”

Three weeks after the terrible news, Janeane was rushed into Queen’s Medical Centre for surgery to remove the tumour.

“It was a whirlwind,” added Janeane. “You don’t get the chance to come to terms with having cancer, and then you are told that you need open bowel surgery, and may need a colostomy bag.

“I was a manager at MAC for 12 and a half years, so image was always a huge part of my job. Strangely, I was more upset about needing a colostomy bag than having cancer.”

Janeane had open bowel surgery to remove the tumour and lesion, and had part of her bowel removed.

While recovering from the op, Janeane ended up in intensive care, as stitches in her bowel had come apart and waste was leaking into her bloodstream.

She ended up back in surgery, where the surgeon had to clean the waste from her organs, and put them back inside her. She was also fitted with a colostomy bag, which she was told would be removed after six months.

After six months, Janeane underwent what was meant to be simple keyhole surgery to remove her colostomy bag.

However, the surgery that was supposed to take two hours ended up taking seven, when the surgeon found that her insides were ‘carnage’, after being put back inside her.

“The surgeon had to push across my insides to get to where he needed to be. My bladder was punctured, my Fallopian tubes were wrapped around my uterus and my ovaries were not where they should be.

“The surgeon told me that I would have a colostomy bag for the rest of my life, and I wouldn’t be able to conceive.

“With the cancer, I was strong about it. It gave me motivation to not let it beat me, but to be told I couldn’t conceive when I’ve always wanted a baby was the biggest blow I could have had.”

Janeane and Dom decided to try IVF, but were denied NHS funding as Dom has a daughter from a previous relationship.

They funded three rounds of IVF to no avail, as the procedure was made more difficult by Janeane’s organs not being where they should be following her operations.

She added: “I feel cheated, we’ve spent £17,000 on an impossible dream. There’s less than a 10 per cent chance that I would fall pregnant. I’d have more chance of winning the lottery.”

After exploring the possibility of a surrogate, Janeane and Dom decided to try and fundraise the £20,000 they would need to cover the legal and medical costs.

“I’m a strong person and this is by far the worst thing that could happen. This is our last chance to have the child we have always wanted, and there’s so much pressure.”

Janeane was reluctant to set up a GoFundMe page at first, as she has worked hard for everything all her life, but believes this is her last chance, and wouldn't want previous efforts to go to waste.

Queen’s Medical Centre has been contacted for comment.