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Rachel333

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

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jozina

I'd do exactly the same as chaotic life. I wouldn't choose anything but palliation with glioblastoma and if I was pregnant I'd keep the baby, hoping desperately that some good could end up coming from it. Even had it been five-ten years, I'd be hard struck picking between that and another human life, so I'd find it very hard to pick between difficult treatment with an uncertain outcome and an abortion.

I also agree that pro-choice includes woman choosing to not have an abortion when it'd be a no-brainer for you. I'm uncomfortable judging a woman for keeping a pregnancy if I'd be uncomfortable with someone judging her choice to have an abortion.

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Rachel333
36 minutes ago, adidas said:

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.

True, and I certainly wouldn't have a problem with a mod changing the title (I can't do it anymore), but that is how her family and friends are describing the situation. They're saying that she gave up her life for this baby.

Like I tried to convey in my original post, this would be a difficult decision either way and it's not so much that I disagree with her decision (especially now that I'm more informed), it's that it's being portrayed by some as the only moral decision she could have made.

It's interesting since a lot of Christians I know are actually very judgmental of people who don't try absolutely every cancer treatment available regardless of the quality of life it offers, but when a woman is pregnant then they completely switch and it's expected that she will not seek treatment if it means ending the pregnancy.

On the "Cure 4 Carrie" facebook page they shared another story of a woman choosing to continue a pregnancy rather than seek treatment for cancer.

Quote

I just learned of Carrie and her selfless choice, and wanted to share with you.

In 1971, even before Roe V. Wade, my Mother made a very similar choice. She found out almost simultaneously that she was pregnant and that she had Hodgkins Lymphoma. She chose not to undergo treatment, for doing so would endanger my life. I was born premature in March of 1972 and she entered heaven later that year in December.

My mother had given her life to Christ only a few years prior, and that made all the difference.

On her tombstone is written Philippians 1:21
"For me to live is Christ and to die is gain"

She was only 26 when she died.

I'm 45 now, and cannot begin to say how grateful I am for her choice. Her legacy lives on, as my children are now 18 & 16 and have a tangible love for Jesus.

 

Edited by Rachel333

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adidas
4 minutes ago, Rachel333 said:

True, and I certainly wouldn't have a problem with a mod changing the title (I can't do it anymore), but that is how her family and friends are describing the situation. They're saying that she gave up her life for this baby.

My apologies. I didn't realise the family were behind it - I thought it was media sensationalsm. 

On one hand - people take comfort in crazy things during their grief. And perhaps she asked for it to be shared this way.

On the other hand - she didn't give up her life for the baby. She was terminal whether she had the abortion or not. 

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Soulhuntress

Glioblastoma is brutal and even with the best treatments you are buying time.  Leaving baby #6 behind is a legacy and better than going through treatments you know won't work and will be financially and emotionally crippling to your family.   Dad has tons of local support and so do the kiddos.    She chose to die quickly rather than try for a year to slow the damn tumor down.  Heartbreaking situation.  

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Rachel333
9 minutes ago, adidas said:

My apologies. I didn't realise the family were behind it - I thought it was media sensationalsm. 

On one hand - people take comfort in crazy things during their grief. And perhaps she asked for it to be shared this way.

On the other hand - she didn't give up her life for the baby. She was terminal whether she had the abortion or not. 

They're giving interviews with pro-life groups too, like with this video.

They have a GoFundMe and knowing what their hospital bills could be like, I don't blame them at all for going public with the story if it helps get donations. I also can understand how framing it that way could help those closest to her to cope with the situation. It is frustrating though to see so many other people using this story to promote their anti-abortion agenda and say that it would be selfish if a woman made a different choice in that situation.

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FakePigtails

It makes me very uncomfortable when people present refusing chemo as the only moral option or the clearly better option for pregnant women. I had to have the "save me or the baby" talk with my husband while pregnant and we both had no hesitation about saving me if only one of us could live. I've seen others in online (read: anonymous) discussions of those situations say the same, but it seems very taboo to admit in real life. I respect those who feel otherwise, of course. It's just that the general way the issue is treated makes it seem that choosing my life would have me labeled a murderer or poor mother in some circles, and I don't think that's right.

Of course, here the woman was going to die either way but it's getting presented as the above dichotomy. I feel terrible for the family and hope they find peace.

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Aine
22 minutes ago, Rachel333 said:

They're giving interviews with pro-life groups too, like with this video.

They have a GoFundMe and knowing what their hospital bills could be like, I don't blame them at all for going public with the story if it helps get donations. I also can understand how framing it that way could help those closest to her to cope with the situation. It is frustrating though to see so many other people using this story to promote their anti-abortion agenda and say that it would be selfish if a woman made a different choice in that situation.

I completely agree with how frustrating it is that it's being turned into a pro-life situation. If she had been diagnosed with something with a high cure rate like early Hodgkin's Lymphoma, who knows what she would have done. She may have had the baby and still got a cure and then they could have still turned this into a "God's miracle". 

This family was probably going to turn any outcome, bar both the baby and mother dying, into a pro-life thing. Even though that upsets me, I can't be angry at the family because I know I'd want to make whatever meaning I could out of the situation if that meaning fit with my belief system. I don't think they can be judged for doing that- they're grieving and this narrative fits with their Christian beliefs. We don't really know what they would have done if the diagnosis was more "both you and baby WILL die before the end of the pregnancy if you don't get treatment" or "you have a high chance of survival long-term if you have treatment immediately and terminate"...they unfortunately were not her options. I'm just more angry at the media for promoting it. 

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smittykins

Plus Life Lynn was born at 24 weeks.  Not all babies born that early survive(I honestly hope she does).

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Rachel333
9 minutes ago, FakePigtails said:

It makes me very uncomfortable when people present refusing chemo as the only moral option or the clearly better option for pregnant women. I had to have the "save me or the baby" talk with my husband while pregnant and we both had no hesitation about saving me if only one of us could live. I've seen others in online (read: anonymous) discussions of those situations say the same, but it seems very taboo to admit in real life. I respect those who feel otherwise, of course. It's just that the general way the issue is treated makes it seem that choosing my life would have me labeled a murderer or poor mother in some circles, and I don't think that's right.

Of course, here the woman was going to die either way but it's getting presented as the above dichotomy. I feel terrible for the family and hope they find peace.

In my high school Bible study group we discussed this issue and all of the other girls said that they would die rather than abort, but I thought it over and said that I might choose to abort if it meant that I would live, and that if it were my own mother I would want her to live. I still considered myself pro-life at the time but thought the issue was more complex. I really regretted admitting that because the other girls thought I was awful for saying that, even though the issue was just hypothetical for all of us. It was a really unpleasant experience for me and I always think of that now whenever that issue comes up.

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EmiGirl

It just goes to prove these people aren't pro "life," they're pro fetus.

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PennySycamore

@VixenToast,  I am so sorry about your aunt.  My sister was diagnosed with glioblastoma just before last Thanksgiving. She's had surgery at Duke, chemo and radiation and is now wearing an experimental Optune device on her head.  Right now, her condition seems to be stable.  I hope it continues to be that way.  I desperately want my sister to be one of those who beat the odds.  Please feel free to PM me anytime you need to talk.  :hug: 

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HarryPotterFan
2 hours ago, MayMay1123 said:

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. 

I once worked with a 4 year-old whose mother had terminal cancer. Her dad wasn't in the picture, and she and her mom lived with her aunt. I think the family tried to hide it from her to protect her, but you could tell she knew her mom was really sick. Just by things she said, and she just looked sad. I still think of her every so often, and I hope she's doing well. And I hope the kids of the mother in this thread are able to cope with their loss. I can't imagine what it must be like to lose a parent at such a young age

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Anonymousguest

I have a friend whose sister died in a similar situation. She had been in remission for breast cancer for 2yrs when it returned, she was very young, only 25 when DX'd. She was a single mom of one little girl, about 5 i think. The day she was supposed to start chemo they did a pregnancy test and she learned she was pregnant. The Drs pushed really hard for her to have an abortion, saying that she was facing certain death if she waited (like they wanted her to do it that day, and we're not happy that she left that day without staying chemo) She decided to wait until the second trimester to start chemo, when it is believed to be safer for the baby. The baby was born early and very small but healthy. Mom finished the chemo and it appeared to be successful her daughter was 2 when she learned she had brain cancer, and she died a few months later. 

The pressure she had to abort was immense, and when the cancer returned in her brain they told her she might have lived longer if she had started the chemo earlier, but she never waivered in her belief that she chose correctly choosing her baby over herself. It might not be what everyone would choose, but it was her choice. 

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snickerz

Charity Jertberg (Richard-Charity Jertberg on FB) found out she had breast cancer while they were missionaries in Madagascar. They returned to the US for treatment, but then she found out she was pregnant with #5. She refused to abort so she could be treated. She died April 4, just 3 weeks after the baby was born. A look at FB shows me that the mourning period is apparently over. She's only been dead 5 months, and Richard appears to be in the process of replacing her with a newer/healthier model.

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Joyleaf

We don't know if her glioblastoma was of a certain kind that would have made her a perfect candidate for whatever experimental treatment they had in mind for her and that therefore her survival chance would have been better than average, but considering how fast she died I very much doubt it.

The wife of my father's best friend was in remission for cancer for many years when it returned (I don't know in which form exactly, this was in the 90s) while she was pregnant with their second child. IIRC she was somewhere between 16 or 18 weeks along at that point.
The husband was very afraid of her dying and wanted her to abort. She refused and wanted to carry the baby to term. They had huge fights over it. I remember him crying a lot and her sitting there stonefaced and silent.
The baby was delivered at 36 weeks and she started treatment after that. She survived.
But the marriage was damaged after this. They went to therapy together but each of them couldn't forgive the other. She couldn't forgive him for asking to abort their baby and he couldn't forgive her for not putting him and their other daughter over the baby and putting him through what he says was the most horrible period of his life. They separated many years later.

 

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EowynW
13 hours ago, FakePigtails said:

It makes me very uncomfortable when people present refusing chemo as the only moral option or the clearly better option for pregnant women. I had to have the "save me or the baby" talk with my husband while pregnant and we both had no hesitation about saving me if only one of us could live. I've seen others in online (read: anonymous) discussions of those situations say the same, but it seems very taboo to admit in real life. I respect those who feel otherwise, of course. It's just that the general way the issue is treated makes it seem that choosing my life would have me labeled a murderer or poor mother in some circles, and I don't think that's right.

Of course, here the woman was going to die either way but it's getting presented as the above dichotomy. I feel terrible for the family and hope they find peace.

I had that extract same talk with my husband. We both come from rabid pro life families and I needed this set in stone should something like this ever happen. I'm even tempted to put it in writing. 

This was one of the biggest things that shook me up while leaving fundiedom. Over on Matt Walsh's Facebook page, his followers were ruthlessly attacking a mother of 5 who chose to save herself over the baby. The things they said were horrible. These were preachers, "good Christians" & "Jesus lovers" saying these things to her. And it suddenly hit me, that these exact kinds of people, "[email protected]/ people" would do the same to me should I ever have to make that choice. These people literally would want ME to DIE. It was a hugely eye opening experience and it was also the day I became pro choice. 

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Mela99

Everyone else said it already, but there's no way she would have survived years with a glioblastoma. We lost my 17 year old cousin to glioblastoma. She was young, healthy, had the top hospital in PA - and it bought her 11 months. 

Honestly, my only mild snark on this situation is that they named the kid "Life". Maybe "Liv" would have been cuter and more palatable but I won't begrudge them that. 

I'm in Michigan so this story has been all over the place from the beginning. I feel terrible for them. 

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FluffySnowball
16 hours 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.

Unrelated to the he case we are discussing here... but my heart good out to your aunt and your family. A cancer diagnosis is tough when you have a fighting chance... with a prognosis like this, your family must be devastated... I wish you lot of strength 

Edited by FluffySnowball

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jerkit

I'm not going to judge anyone who has to make such a horrible decision, but it's definitely not what I would choose

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Justmurrayed

My initial reaction as I'm 10 weeks pregnant is that she's selfish. She's leaving 5 other babies who will have memories of her for her one baby. Am I an asshole? Possibly. But if it for me I would abort and fight for my life because those babies that are living are going to have to live with that their entire life. That's selfish to me. 

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dairyfreelife
17 hours ago, HarryPotterFan said:

I once worked with a 4 year-old whose mother had terminal cancer. Her dad wasn't in the picture, and she and her mom lived with her aunt. I think the family tried to hide it from her to protect her, but you could tell she knew her mom was really sick. Just by things she said, and she just looked sad. I still think of her every so often, and I hope she's doing well. And I hope the kids of the mother in this thread are able to cope with their loss. I can't imagine what it must be like to lose a parent at such a young age

Same when I worked in a daycare. There was a little girl, about 3 and she had a baby brother about 5 months when their mom was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer. They were doing treatment, but it was just to buy more time. Even though she didn't know what was going on, you could tell she knew mom was not well. She used to be more happy and after, she lost that sparkle and seemed more sad and forlorn. Kids know more than we think. I worry for all the kids who lose a parent young. 

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Tigerchild74
21 hours ago, chaotic life said:



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.

 

In addition, if this couple had chosen to abort, who knows if they would have been made total pariahs or shunned by their religious community, which many people base most of their social support on, only to have her die anyway in short order.  People have stayed with the church and made significant life choices under far less duress than this family is facing. 

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Lurky

The thing that gives me pause is that she went into a coma since July, so the baby wasn't just very premature, but had been gestating in what was essentially an incubator, and during the Marlise Muñoz case, I think there was medical evidence that there could be major issues as a result for the baby, especially if there has been brain death, like in Muñoz's case, as even on life support, the body starts decomposing. 

I can't tell whether DeKlyn was counted as brain dead, or being kept on life support in her coma, or if she was capable of breathing independently etc, but the fact she died a few days after giving birth seems to be an indication she was on life support. 

So this isn't as simple as "mother refuses treatment for the sake of her baby, then dies", which I can understand - it looks like it's that she may have effectively died earlier, but was kept on life support so her baby could be born.

(Wiki says this kind of treatment is hugely expensive - this from the pregnant-after-brain-death article, but I imagine it's the same for all coma patients)

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chaotic life

I absolutely imagine she was brain dead prior the birth of the baby, which is undoubtably why baby was pulled as soon as she stopped growing.

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