New parents’ tragic double diagnosis
IN SEPTEMBER 2016, young couple Martin and Samantha Boatman were excitedly preparing for the birth of their second child when tragedy struck.
Mrs Boatman, 32, began experiencing stomach cramps so painful they took her breath away - and she also started to pass blood.
Despite the troubling symptoms, she turned down a colonoscopy due to the slight risk it posed to her baby, and because she was preoccupied by her husband's own worrying health problems.
Mr Boatman, 34, had recently been plagued by headaches so severe they made him vomit, and he also had trouble walking.
After a hospital test, a specialist delivered the shocking news - the young dad had seven brain tumours, and was unlikely to live to see the arrival of his daughter, who was due in just seven weeks.
And the news got worse, after it was discovered the fit, non-smoker's cancer had spread to his lung, liver and bones.
Mr Boatman, a former sailor, made a will and framed photos of himself for his children, preparing for the worst.
But miraculously, he lived to see his daughter Esme born on November 12, 2016.
However, as the family rallied around Mr Boatman and settled in to life with a new baby, they were then dealt another crushing blow.
Just six weeks after giving birth, Mrs Boatman was diagnosed with rapidly advancing, stage T3 bowel cancer.
The UK couple, who are also parents to four-year-old Michael, told The Mirror it had been a terrifying time.
"Martin was beside himself. The only thing keeping him going was the thought that if he died I'd still be here for our kids. I knew I had to fight for my life," Mrs Boatman told the publication.
"I clung to the fact that on my notes my oncologist had written: 'Curable'."
Mrs Boatman had surgery in February 2017 followed by six months of chemotherapy to treat the cancer, which had also spread to her lymph nodes.
Thankfully, Mrs Boatman is now winning the fight against the devastating disease.
But although her husband survived his initial grim outlook and has been able to watch his children grow, the future is not so positive, as his lung cancer is incurable.
"One day his cancer will find a way to outsmart the drugs," Mrs Boatman said of her husband's illness.
"He might have five good years or it might all go downhill tomorrow.
"We try not to live in a constant state of dread."
She said they had both learned to appreciate life more despite their cruel diagnoses.
"Even though our situation is bleak, we're grateful for every day we have left together," Mrs Boatman told The Mirror.
"When one of us has a wobble, the other is strong.
"We make light of the situation, cracking jokes about who's got it worse. Humour is our way through these muddy waters."
The Boatmans support Cancer Research UK. To donate visit www.cancerresearchuk.org