Just weeks after her baby son was born, Hannah Toohill made a heartbreaking decision.
The mum-of-two had been diagnosed with an incurable blood cancer after giving birth to little Fraser 11 weeks early.
Believing she only had months to live, the 29-year-old made the tough decision that it would be better if he never got to know her.
Convinced it was the best thing to do, Hannah kept her distance for the first few months of Fraser's life while she also went through gruelling treatment.
Desperate to spend more time with her son it was only when she realised it would prolong her life that she changed her mind, reports the Daily Record.
Amazingly, one year on, Hannah has marked Fraser's first birthday and the first anniversary of her multiple myeloma cancer diagnosis.
Now she wants her experience to inspire others with incurable cancer not to give up on living life.
Hannah, from Dingwall, Easter Ross, said: “When I was first diagnosed, I couldn’t get my head around the fact the type of cancer I had was incurable.
"I loved Fraser so much, I wanted to be with him. But I didn’t want to bond with him because I thought that if I was going to die, then it would kinder on him if he hadn’t got to know me.
“I thought the right thing was to spend time with my daughter Catherine, who knew me already and would have memories with me. So while my husband spent time with Fraser every day, I hardly ever went to the hospital to visit him.
“My mindset only started to change when I realised the treatment I was receiving was working and I was actually doing OK.
“Now I can’t get enough of Fraser – we have such a wonderful relationship. He’s such a mummy’s boy.”
Hannah was diagnosed with multiple myeloma last October, three weeks after giving birth prematurely to Fraser.
Hannah said: “Myeloma was never something any of my pregnancy team would have looked for. I was told it was almost unheard of in someone my age, and that while the condition could be treated, there was no cure.
“The consultant told me, ‘Please don’t Google ’. But I did and, from what I read, I was sure I had just months to live.”
Hannah started four months of chemotherapy before being sent 170 miles from home to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow for a stem cell transplant.
She said: “Most people are kept in hospital for 14 days after a stem cell transplant but I was in for five weeks, as I didn’t recover quickly enough – probably because my body hadn’t had time to recover from pregnancy before my cancer treatment began.
“Catherine came down to visit a few times but I didn’t see Fraser at all.”
When Hannah was finally allowed home, her recovery came on in “leaps and bounds”.
As she grew mentally and physically stronger, she started to spend more time helping to care for both her children.
Twelve months on from her diagnosis, Hannah’s cancer is in remission, and while she knows it will return one day, she doesn’t dwell on her illness.
Hannah, who plans to return to work next year, said: “The treatment I’ve had has worked so well there is no sign of cancer in my blood.
My cancer is asleep and while I know it will wake up again one day, no one knows when that will be.
“It could be in six months or in six years – there is no way to predict. I just have to hope that, in the meantime, scientists will find a cure.
"I don’t waste a lot of time thinking about my illness – it doesn’t often cross my mind that I have cancer.
“Instead, I’m enjoying living my life, doing as much with my children as I possibly can. I know how precious life is and I don’t intend to waste a minute.”
Hannah is grateful for all the support she has received including from her family, friends and medical staff who helped care for Fraser for the first 10 weeks of his life.
She has also received support from the charity Myeloma UK, which provides information and support to anyone affected by the disease and helps funds research towards finding new treatments and a possible cure.
Hannah added: “I’ve learned you can live life even when you are diagnosed with a cancer that currently has no cure. My advice to others is keep positive.”
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