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Rachel333

Woman with terminal cancer refused treatment and an abortion to give birth

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Rachel333

http://www.insideedition.com/headlines/25411-mom-who-refused-cancer-treatment-due-to-pregnancy-dies-just-three-days-after-giving-birth

I'm seeing a lot of people praise this woman, but I just find it really sad.

Quote

DeKleyn reportedly qualified to be in a University of Michigan clinical trial for her cancer that doctors said might have extended her life another 10 to 20 years, however, she and her husband declined because they are Christians and wanted to give their child a chance to live.

"We’re pro-life,” Nick DeKlyen, Carrie’s husband, told the Detroit Free Press. "Under no circumstance do we believe you should take a child's life. She sacrificed her life for the child.”

She could have had 10-20 more years with her husband and FIVE young children, but they decided it was more important not to get an abortion. She went into a coma in July and died this month three days after her baby was delivered at 24 weeks gestation.

I do realize this would have been a very difficult decision either way, but it bothers me to see people saying that this was the only moral decision for her to make.

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smittykins

And they named the baby "Life Lynn."

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VixenToast

My Aunt was just diagnosed with Glioblastoma last week. 5 tumors all inoperable. Not a good prognosis either way. In the best circumstances she has maybe 2 years max. And this is just for my aunt. 

I would have chosen to live for my other children, but that's just me.

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Rachel333

Yeah, I don't know all the details of this case and didn't want to say that she definitely should have chosen treatment because I know it's not always that simple. My concern is the way her family is turning her into an anti-abortion poster child. I remember having talks about abortion when I was younger where all the teenage girls would say how they would happily die rather than have an abortion, and they would cite stories like this.

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Aine

Agreed, @chaotic life - I'm 100% pro-choice but I would have made the same decision as this woman if I had been diagnosed with glioblastoma. My 5 hypothetical children would not need to see me go through experimental treatments that would likely change my personality, my ability to interact with them, and make me incredibly sick. Glioblastoma is terminal, the only question is ever how long you have at this point. Yes, one person will one day be the person on a research trial to make it- but if I were pregnant and could bring my child into this Earth, giving my children and husband another sibling/child and me avoid both the child AND myself dying- I would. If it were me, I'd leave that miracle person on a trial to be someone who isn't pregnant. 

From experience, watching someone die of brain cancer is often horrific. They often are not the person they once were by the end. Sometimes...it happening quickly, like in glioblastoma, could be a blessing :( 

3 minutes ago, VixenToast said:

My Aunt was just diagnosed with Glioblastoma last week. 5 tumors all inoperable. Not a good prognosis either way. In the best circumstances she has maybe 2 years max. And this is just for my aunt. 

I would have chosen to live for my other children, but that's just me.

I'm so sorry about your Aunt, @VixenToast

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chaotic life

His wife just died and left him a widower to raise six children, one of whom is a micropreemie and has a long road ahead of her before she gets to come home. And there wasn't a damn thing he could do about it nor did he have time to prepare for this. He's looking for sense and purpose and is likely too numb to scream and get angry yet.

I would have kept the baby and not cause I am pro-life but because I would cling to something good out of the horror and someone who would not die with me.

He needs a pass to be as angry and reeling and everything else he needs to be right now. It's okay to build her up as a hero to her babies. A memory is a poor substitute for a momma, at least make that memory larger than life for them.

But the media and researchers should be more honest in their reporting.

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Aine
3 minutes ago, chaotic life said:

His wife just died and left him a widower to raise six children, one of whom is a micropreemie and has a long road ahead of her before she gets to come home. And there wasn't a damn thing he could do about it nor did he have time to prepare for this. He's looking for sense and purpose and is likely too numb to scream and get angry yet.

I would have kept the baby and not cause I am pro-life but because I would cling to something good out of the horror and someone who would not die with me.

He needs a pass to be as angry and reeling and everything else he needs to be right now. It's okay to build her up as a hero to her babies. A memory is a poor substitute for a momma, at least make that memory larger than life for them.

But the media and researchers should be more honest in their reporting.

I agree with all of this. Very well said.

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VixenToast

You make a great point about losing both mom and child instead of just mom. I can respect that. Just seeing what they give to my aunt to contain her pain and pressure, I think I'd chicken out. Likely no morphine for the pregnant :/

fuck cancer. It sucks. 

Thank you @Aine my family have accepted it and so has she. She is getting 14 radiation treatments, no chemo (not great for brain cancer) and she has all of our support. Her 6 sisters visit her almost everyday, not to mention all but one grandchild (the other lives in Dallas). She is well loved. My other Aunt went to visit her today. I sent a picture my 6yr old drew for her. The hardest part is knowing she might lose her memory. She is 64 and isn't a spring chicken, but 64 still seems too young!

all in all, I don't like that they are turning this into a pro-life thing. The mom made a CHOICE. And while I may not have made the same choice, I respect her decision. I want to smack the shit out of Dad for naming her Life. Like omfg :snooty:

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Cleopatra7
6 minutes ago, chaotic life said:


But the media and researchers should be more honest in their reporting.

The media is unable to discuss religion or science in an honest manner and certainly can't do both at the same time.

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Aine

Also, I want to add that apart of being pro-choice is respecting a woman's choice no matter what it is. If she had chosen to terminate, it definitely sucks that it would not have got the same publicity because I think that decision is equally brave and heart-breaking. 

But she made her choice, likely with the knowledge that her husband has the support (social and financial) to support the kids. As people who are pro-choice, we should be 100% supportive of her making the decision that SHE believed was right for her family. 

But I don't agree with the media giving it so much attention when they don't do the opposite (i.e. a mother terminating a much wanted pregnancy because of a cancer diagnosis).

4 minutes ago, VixenToast said:

all in all, I don't like that they are turning this into a pro-life thing. The mom made a CHOICE. And while I may not have made the same choice, I respect her decision. I want to smack the shit out of Dad for naming her Life. Like omfg :snooty:

I agree with this. Besides everything else...who wants to go through life being called Life?! Especially when it's a constant reminder of your mother who you never met :( 

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Rachel333

It does change things if she didn't actually have much of a chance at having her life extended. It's not like predicting how much time someone has left is an exact science anyway. I know I've certainly heard a lot of stories that went something along the lines of "The doctors said she only had a month left, but they chose to trust God instead of the doctors and she lived 10 more years." I find that frustrating because doctors are typically just giving their best guess, not a guarantee. And in this case if the 10-20 years figure was just an extremely remote possibility then it is irresponsible of the media to treat it as fact, and I should have been more skeptical of it as well.

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Nikedagain?
9 minutes ago, Aine said:

Also, I want to add that apart of being pro-choice is respecting a woman's choice no matter what it is

This! So much to say about this. Glioblastoma is a mean mother. We knew a baby died not long after diagnosis. 

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chaotic life

Again, average life expectancy from the point of diagnosis is six months. Five year survival rate is 10%. There is brain cancer and then there is glioblastoma. There are very few cancers as aggressive and deadly as glioblastoma.

Truthfully, my background is hospice. Like any good hospice nurse, glioblastoma is one of those things I have an exit plan for. Pregnancy would seriously complicate that plan. It's the only circumstance I would not execute that plan. I know of no hospice nurses who don't hold such a plan for things like glioblastoma. It's a death sentence, and as someone pointed out, it's not a pretty way to die. There are only so many steroids you can give someone to try to keep the brain swelling down.

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Rachel333

The idea of finding something good, like a new life, in the midst of tragedy reminded me of a piece I read earlier this year of a couple whose baby was diagnosed with anencephaly and they chose to continue the pregnancy rather than terminate so they could donate the baby's organs and give more babies a chance at life. https://medium.com/@royceyoung/we-spent-months-bracing-and-preparing-for-the-death-of-our-daughter-79f357dd254d It's a horrible situation and it didn't turn out like they expected, but they were still able to find some meaning in their tragedy.

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Aine
40 minutes ago, Rachel333 said:

It does change things if she didn't actually have much of a chance at having her life extended. It's not like predicting how much time someone has left is an exact science anyway. I know I've certainly heard a lot of stories that went something along the lines of "The doctors said she only had a month left, but they chose to trust God instead of the doctors and she lived 10 more years." I find that frustrating because doctors are typically just giving their best guess, not a guarantee. And in this case if the 10-20 years figure was just an extremely remote possibility then it is irresponsible of the media to treat it as fact, and I should have been more skeptical of it as well.

Only 5% survive 5-years. With every cancer (I currently work in the psych department of a pediatric oncology hospital), you're usually looking at 5-year survival rates. 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4530825/

What I find crazy is when John McCain was diagnosed with glioblastoma recently, the media was reporting the realistic survival rates. 12-15 months with treatment is the usual. To be fair, it is usually a type of cancer more commonly diagnosed in older adults (65+) and I'm not sure whether that means a better or worse prognosis for glioblastoma in younger people. Depending on the cancer type, being diagnosed younger or older can lead to a more optimistic prognosis (or at least a longer survival time). To my knowledge, it's not what will kill you once you're diagnosed with glioblastoma but more when it will kill you :( 

Edited by Aine

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Rachel333
3 minutes ago, Aine said:

Only 5% survive 5-years. With every cancer (I currently work in the psych department of a pediatric oncology hospital), you're usually looking at 5-year survival rates. 

Right, I actually remember now discussing that statistic in my neuroscience course last year.

I think one of the most horrible cancers I learned about has got to be DIPG, which not only affects children but has a 0% survival rate. It's just so unfair that such a thing can exist.

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Aine
8 minutes ago, chaotic life said:

It's a death sentence, and as someone pointed out, it's not a pretty way to die. There are only so many steroids you can give someone to try to keep the brain swelling down.

I lost my Aunt to brain cancer (not glioblastoma) 14 years ago. She was in remission for 6 years after her first diagnosis that was treated first go successfully and then fought for 5 years when she relapsed. I'm the kid of a single father, so she was like a mother to me and she lived with us (my Dad, grandparents and me) throughout it. She was only 36 when she died. She wasn't herself anymore by the end. It affected her frontal lobe and that meant she could be aggressive, she could be cruel, she was hyper-sexual, she couldn't modulate her voice anymore or stop any kind of impulse she had. She also lost a lot of memories, like dementia as it spread to other lobes. They described her tumor like "a firework" by the end. With each surgery, we got more time but we also lost bits of her as she became increasingly impaired. She couldn't walk properly anymore, and had other physical impairments too.

She was in a lot of pain all the time by the end. It seemed that morphine barely hit the surface. She begged for euthanasia long before she died but it wasn't legal and we couldn't get her to anywhere that it was. It was a slow slow slow death that took all her dignity and tortured her. I wouldn't wish it on anyone ever.

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chaotic life

Your experience is precisely why I am always aggressive with brain tumors. By the time hospice is present with most brain tumors, the goal is to keep the patient comfortable and to minimize the memories that will haunt the family afterward.

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Aine
Just now, Rachel333 said:

Right, I actually remember now discussing that statistic in my neuroscience course last year.

I think one of the most horrible cancers I learned about has got to be DIPG, which not only affects children but has a 0% survival rate. It's just so unfair that such a thing can exist.

Yes...I deal with DIPG in my job with some regularity. Even though it's incredibly rare, I work at a very well-known hospital for childhood cancer so we see it more than most hospitals. It's gut-wrenching.

What drives me insane is that only ~4% of government funding for cancer research goes into childhood cancer and I think (this from memory) about 2% of public cancer donations are directed towards pediatric cancer. It's really sad.

3 minutes ago, chaotic life said:

Your experience is precisely why I am always aggressive with brain tumors. By the time hospice is present with most brain tumors, the goal is to keep the patient comfortable and to minimize the memories that will haunt the family afterward.

I'm thankful for that. I wish that it had been our experience, especially for my Aunt. I think things may have been handled a bit differently these days...but it was honestly horrific and I hate that they are my last memories of her and that they were so drawn out.

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divadivine
11 minutes ago, Rachel333 said:

Right, I actually remember now discussing that statistic in my neuroscience course last year.

I think one of the most horrible cancers I learned about has got to be DIPG, which not only affects children but has a 0% survival rate. It's just so unfair that such a thing can exist.

DIPG is awful. Lauren Hill was the young lady with DIPG who brought a lot of awareness to the disease. She lived just over a year after her diagnosis. 

http://www.theindychannel.com/news/local-news/indiana-teen-lauren-hill-dies-of-brain-cancer

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MayMay1123

When I taught preschool in my other life, I had a 3 year old student. He had a baby sister...and a dad. Mom died of cancer very shortly after the baby was born. I don't know if she could have had more time, or even been saved, if she didn't choose to carry the baby, but it's possible. Sweet, sweet child, but so sad, so haunted. He rarely smiled...I told him that I didn't have a mom either and I think that actually helped him in a small way, he was surprised that someone else didn't have a mom, we bonded over that :) I heard dad remarried a few years later and lost touch, as I did with most of my families, but I never forgot him. 

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adidas

Disclaimer - I'm pro choice, and would have chosen the same as the mother in this case. 

Is it too late to change the title? I think it's a bit harsh. She didn't choose death over an abortion, she was going to die (likely within a short time frame) whether she had the abortion or not.

Her body, her choice. IMO.

I really appreciate the input of those with expertise weighing in here, showing that the media has been totally irresponsible with their reporting of this case. Sensationalism for profit over this tragic case is just wrong. 

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Tangy Bee

No matter what decision was made, it takes courage to go thru it either route. She had to be scared. I honestly can't say what I would have done.

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feministxtian

I lost a dear friend to GBM last year. From diagnosis to death was about 14 months. She lived long enough to see her first grandchild born. I think that this woman did what she could...she was TERMINAL...she gave her child a chance at life. Sometimes you're just dealt the shitty hand.

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