Mum given death sentence in pregnancy, fights for memories

NYRIE Contor should be in the prime of her life.

At 42, Nyrie is a mother of three year old boy/girl twins and an eight year old son, she has been married to husband Wayde for 13 years, is a primary school art teacher in Mackay, passionate artist, nature lover, and is surrounded by a fiercely loyal group of friends and a close knit family.

In what should be a happy, normal life, this seemingly perfect scenario for Nyrie has become anything but.

Her world has been turned upside down in the worst possible way, now Nyrie and her family are fighting to lengthen her life and create beautiful memories with her family.

Unfortunately Nyrie has recently been diagnosed with secondary (stage 4) breast cancer which has spread to her bones.

Secondary or metastatic breast cancer, as it is also known, is an incurable terminal condition.

Nyrie Contor with her children Hudson, Brinn and Asher Photo Tony Martin / Daily Mercury
Nyrie Contor with her children Hudson, Brinn and Asher Photo Tony Martin / Daily Mercury Tony Martin

Pain in Nyrie's right hip and sternum earlier this year have now been confirmed as metastatic disease. MRI and PET scans have revealed that her left hip is also affected by the cancer.

There are spots all through her pelvic bones and ribs, all vertebrae from her lower neck down and her right shoulder, scapula and femur are also affected. Consequently Nyrie has been suffering ongoing bone pain from the spread of her disease.

This aggressive form of metastatic cancer evolved from Nyrie's original battle with primary breast cancer in August 2012.

Nyrie was initially diagnosed with stage 3 invasive ductal carcinoma whilst 28 weeks pregnant with twins. She had her first surgery at 29 weeks pregnant which involved removal of the tumour and all lymph nodes from the surrounding area.

Twins Asher Lee and Brynn Lee were delivered early by caesarean section at 32 weeks.

At that time Nyrie had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed in an effort to stop the spread of the hormone positive cancer. This in turn speared her into early menopause at just 38 years of age!

The twins were born healthy and well but spent the first six weeks of their lives in the neonatal ward at Mackay Base Hospital. Nyrie started her intensive cancer treatment just three weeks after they were born beginning with chemotherapy, two more breast surgeries and followed by six weeks of radiation and then hormone blocking therapy.

Following Nyrie's most recent diagnosis, her doctors have recommended a full right hip replacement given the now very fragile state of her ball joint and femur.

The spread of the tumour in the bone is extensive hence this major surgery. In time, Nyrie will receive radiation on the other hip and other bones not already previously radiated.

This will help to stop the growth of the cancer and ease some of the intense pain. As a part of her current treatment plan Nyrie takes a new hormone blocking therapy drug daily and has as bone strengthening injections monthly at the local oncology ward.

Although the cancer in Nyrie's sternum is viewed as inoperable, there has been some initial success in other patients using 3D printed metal bones.

Nyrie's treatment will now be ongoing for the rest of her life and there will be more chemotherapy down the track. She hopes now though to get the most out of every day and to live for as long as possible.

She will now have to undergo regular tests every three months including nuclear bone scans, CT scans and MRI scans. She will also undergo a PET scan every six to twelve months to check for any regression or progression of the cancer.

The PET scans are not fully covered for breast cancer patients under Medicare and they are also unavailable in Nyrie's home town of Mackay.

Her priorities are now spending time with her children, family and friends.

A GoFundMe page and PayPal Donate have been established to raise dollars for her ongoing medical expenses and treatment to keep the cancer under control.

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