A DEVASTATED couple had to put their lives on hold when a shock cancer diagnosis forced them to cancel their wedding.

Leanne Barker, 32, had experienced issues with constant colds, flu and infections, but was always reassured that the problem was not serious.

After experiencing lengthy sinus infections and viruses, she was finally admitted for an ultrasound scan.

The scan revealed a thyroid tumour, and Leanne was admitted for biopsies.

Across four hours in theatre, surgeons discovered further tumours and removed eight lymph nodes.

After further tests, doctors established seven out of the eight nodes were cancerous.

During a further round of surgery, the rest of her thyroid was removed, along with lymph nodes and surrounding tissue.

Leanne said: “They also removed one of my parathyroid glands, which controls the vitamin D and calcium intake to your body.

“Each surgery can take around eight weeks to recover from and I had two not very far apart from one another.

“My immune system is very suppressed at the moment so I can’t be around a lot of people, children or anyone that may be sick.”

The biggest blow came when consultants informed Leanne she would not be strong enough to go through with her plans to marry her partner Scott, 33.

The wedding was originally planned for July 27.

She said: “Our entire lives were put on hold. We had to postpone our wedding until July next year.

www.gazette-news.co.uk Monday September 9, 2019 Gazette 7 “We couldn’t move out and with needing radioactive iodine treatment it also meant any plans to start a family are also on hold.”

Leanne hopes to raise awareness of the symptoms of thyroid cancer to encourage others to seek treatment.

“The first symptoms were my swollen neck, difficulty swallowing and a feeling of having a lump in my throat,” she said.

“I know how lucky I am to be able to be treated and how I understand so many others don’t get that chance which is why I want to raise awareness and do what I can to help others.

“After losing a thyroid your whole body changes and your mind too.

“It changes your emotions, your memory, your reflexes, concentration, energy and so many things.

“It is very difficult to find acceptance that you won’t ever be the same again.

“It’s like you are grieving for your old self - adapting every part of yourself and your life to accommodate your new body.”

She added: “My parents have been so supportive and they have done more than I could ever ask for, cancelling holidays because of my surgeries.”