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I Have Cancer But Please, Don’t Kill My Baby to Save Me

October 30, AD2016
CS_Pregnancy5_Pixabay
Contrary to popular reporting, Breast Cancer does not necessarily mean a death sentence for baby or mother. The truth of the matter is that both can safely live. If you are not aware of this aspect of oncological medicine, it might surprise you to know that this scientific fact is not news at all. Mothers with a cancer diagnosis have been successfully and safely treated for decades – and at no danger to their unborn children.

As we come to the end of October as Breast Cancer Awareness month, we should focus on a perpetuated lie which becomes deadly for either mother or child. Cancer organizations, as well as ill-informed physicians, too frequently convince women that an abortion is necessary – to save the life of the mother, should she be diagnosed during pregnancy. According to their recommendation, she otherwise risks her own life in an unnecessary bid to save her baby – leaving a child without a mother.

Why Women Are Left Uninformed?

Why is this scenario so common? Why do mothers feel driven to decide between their own lives and the lives of their unborn children? One reason is obvious. Abortion is a lucrative business. If women can be pushed into subscribing to unsubstantiated fear, there is money to be made – millions of dollars, annually for abortion giant Planned Parenthood.

The reason doctors fail to inform their patients is a bit more cryptic. Perhaps it has to do with keeping patients in their hometown medical facilities. Personal experience has taught us that doctors often prefer local treatment to referral to out-of-town specialists. An obvious conclusion could then be discerned as a desire to keep ‘business’ at home.

The Truth of Cancer Treatment during Pregnancy

Cancer treatment facilities such as MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX have an astounding success rate of healthy births to cancer stricken mothers. Somehow the news just isn’t getting out into the population at large. Although there are numerous medical journals, success stories, and peer contacts, too many doctors still seem to be in the dark. Whether or not this is a matter of willful ignorance or lack of training, remains an unknown.

Breast Cancer While Pregnant Gets Personal

At twenty weeks pregnant, our daughter was diagnosed with BRCA1 breast cancer – a particularly destructive form present in our family genetics. With dire past maternal outcomes – death within weeks or up to five years –aggressive treatment was in order to save her life. There was no time to lose. Aborting her unborn daughter was an inconceivable option.

Unfortunately, our daughter was given limited options. In consultation with local doctors, it was implied that she had two choices. The first was to terminate (read kill her child through abortion) and then aggressively treat her BRCA1 cancer. The second implication was that she could wait out her pregnancy, at great physical harm to her own health. As a molecular biologist with a gift for research, however, neither answer was satisfactory. Since she was able to access and read medical journals, our daughter did her own research. As a result, she found her answer in Houston, TX.

Making an Educated Decision

Armed with the knowledge of a third, much more palatable choice, a trip to Houston resulted in a chemotherapy regimen, to begin immediately. Two weeks before birth, further treatment was postponed to ready her body for childbirth. Her 8+ lb. healthy daughter was born on Thanksgiving Day and scored a perfect 10 on her Apgar test. The miracle of life, confirmed she had made the correct, pro-life decision.

Sharing the Pro-Life News

Part of our gratitude for finding such a positive outcome to a frightening scenario finds us proclaiming the good news to everyone we meet. Mothers, nurses, and even doctors are often amazed that they have never heard about this decades old treatment option.  The goal of sharing this life-affirming option is a catalyst for an annual sharing of the facts. Please consider passing the word along – a life may be hanging in the balance, even as you read these words.

Amid all of the superficiality of pink month –  pink football teams, toilet paper, blenders, and every other imaginable product of commerce – lies an undeniable fact. The PINK lulls the masses into misguided, yet enthusiastic support for death. Yes, death. What they don’t tell you, these opportunistic marketers, is that it’s all about the money – even if it’s blood money. As an eleven year survivor, I have earned the right to make these distinctions and comments.

Cancer Awareness Run Amok

  • Breast cancer is certainly not the only cancer affecting a huge population. There are others just as devastating, warranting ‘awareness’, moral treatments, and a cure. While it’s not a competition, why discount childhood cancer, for example, because it hasn’t been as artfully marketed?
  • The answer is that these other cancers are at a disadvantage because the powers that be can’t make sexist sound bites about them. No, ‘save the Ta-tas’, ‘save the Boobies’ and playing games about the color of ones’ bras is so much more titillating (see what I did there?).
  • The ‘awareness’ organizations have lots of overhead, pay huge salaries, and spend enormous amounts of the funds collected as donations on marketing. They don’t even play nice with each other, jockeying around for the big bucks. One year Susan G Komen even tried to co-opt the color pink and sued smaller organizations for using the word ‘cure’ in their slogans!
  • The American Cancer Society and Komen are also supporters of embryonic stem cell research. This research kills tiny human beings – containing the complete package of humanity including an eternal soul – and yet has given us no viable treatments or cures. Unlike ethical adult stem cell research, with many success stories, the attraction for the Frankensteiniam use of embryos comes down to money. You see, adult stem cells can’t be patented – they already belong to you. But embryonic cell lines created in a lab present a high dollar wager and promise government grants galore.
  • An even more unholy alliance comes with bedfellows, Komen and abortion giant Planned Parenthood. Although PP does not a single mammogram, they are given large sums of funding from Komen every year. PP where abortion represents 94% of all prenatal ‘services’.

Save the Babies, Save the Victims

I’m not here to denigrate the good intentions of others; my intention is to steer those giving hearts into an ethical direction. There are cancer victims galore out here – all sorts of cancers. Why not consider giving directly to a victim, attending fundraisers, sending prayers and cards of encouragement, cooking meals, helping with children, or cleaning houses of those affected? The opportunities are as countless as the victims of this horrific disease. Further, there are moral organizations worthy of your funds and support: The Polycarp Research Institute (TPRI), the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute, and the National Breast Cancer Foundation® offer such opportunities.

All in all, people are kind and generous. They innocently fall into the commercial trapping of the PINK crowd. My aim is to steer them and their good will into a direction worthy of their charity. God bless them for their kindness! My daughter and I have been lifted up by many.

Photography: See our Photographers page.

About the Author:

Birgit is a 50-something cradle Catholic who is passionate about the pro-life movement. She has been married to her Catholic convert husband, Rick, for 40 years. They have four children and nine living grandchildren (all age twelve and under). Their frequent visits eliminate any fear of an empty nest! Birgit can also be found on her personal blog Designs By Birgit and Facebook fan page Designs By Birgit, where she shares the pro-life memes she creates.

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  • Karen

    I’m glad for your family that your daughter that she had a good result. Please note that she was exceptionally educated and privileged in that she could travel to Houston and live there for weeks obtaining extremely expensive treatment. This is impossible for most women in her position. Until you support policies that make this treatment available for all women in all circumstances, you are not really pro-life; you are pro-forced-birth, and pro killing women.

    • Kimberly

      “Pro-forced-birth”? “Pro killing women”? You’re not a serious commenter. You’re a pro-abortion troll. This blogger is trying to get the word out that there are treatment options available for pregnant cancer patients and you are trying to stop her. That is unconscionable but right in line with what I’ve seen Planned Parenthood comment section hijackers doing with stories like this for years. So predictable. Here’s a news flash for ya. As more women become educated about their options, fewer women choose abortion and eventually Planned Parenthood’s reason d’etre won’t exist any more, nor will obviously self-serving comments like yours.

    • Birgit Atherton Jones

      Thank you!

    • Birgit Atherton Jones

      Our daughter is far from priviledged. She comes from a middle class family and still lives paycheck to paycheck with her own family. MD Anderson takes insurance (and offers financing) – from anyone across the country. We drove the 15 hours each time she went – once with the transmission going out on their vehicle. She also received some assistance for travel expenses from fund raisers and our local parish.

      Educated? Yes, she studied her heart out to obtain scholarships because we made it clear to all of our children that they would be responsible for their own higher education. One son went into the military, the other to the electrician’s union, and our daughter went to a state college where she tutored in a work/study program.

      Pro-life we are, as killing a baby is never the acceptable solution to anything. Had she not found a suitable treatment, our daughter would have forgone treatment until the baby was born.

      Research can be done without a degree – who doesn’t have internet these days? This article is but one way that any woman, of any means can find the ethical answer. I made it clear in my sharing this personal story that our aim is to enable women to make an educated decision – the answers are available for the asking.

      As for my support of policies, where exactly are you getting the fuel for your accusations? I support policies that allow women to make ethical choices while supporting them with facts and all the help they need – from pregnancy through the life of her child and beyond. The policies that are the most helpful allow women to help themselves by being armed with truth.

    • Karen

      What exactly are the policies you support that would make this available to all women? Your daughter had insurance. Do you support universal health insurance so no one has to decide between cancer treatment and bankruptcy? (And please don’t insult my intelligence with the “they can get charity from church” lie. Some churches have that kind of money but most don’t.) Beyond that, you reacted as though being told you have a privilege is an insult. It is not. Privileges are good things, and I at least believe everyone should have these. What specific policies do you endorse that will ensure that other women in the same position as your daughter have the same options?

    • Birgit Atherton Jones

      Let me ask you a question. Exactly what is your problem with a mother’s choice of keeping the baby whether ‘priviledged’ or not? This article comes from the perspective of a personal experience. To hijack the conversation into thinly veiled controversy comes across as disingenuous. You seem to be asking these questions in a manner one might expect a candidate for office to be asked. That is hardly appropriate here.

    • Karen

      I don’t have a problem with this, but I want you to recognize that poor women don’t have the same chance your daughter did.

    • Micha_Elyi

      I’m not impressed by ‘concern trolling’.

    • Karen

      You present this entirely as a matter of personal experience. You are aware that the Catholic Church teaches that abortion should never be legal and that Catholic bishops routinely tell people to vote against any politician who does not support banning abortion? In that context, any discussion of abortion is political and anyone who discusses is obligated to state his or her policy preferences. You obviously believe abortion should be banned. Do you think the law should require women who have serious diseases to continue their pregnancies regardless of the effect that will have on their health? If so, then you are also obligated to explain how you will make it so that they can continue their pregnancies with the least harm to their lives. If you think that the law should force women to continue pregnancies in all circumstances and without any consideration of the women’s own personal situation, I can reasonably characterize your position as pro-forced-birth.

    • BiologyBrain

      I don’t think the author is the one that used ‘privilege’ as an insult–you did by saying her daughter was only able to make the choice for life because of that privilege. The implication being that privilege is shameful because not everyone shares in that privilege. Sharing this story is an encouragement for women of all walks of life. As this type of treatment gets more attention, it will be possible for more women to use this treatment. It doesn’t matter whether you have great finances or not, making the trip to save your life is always possible. As the author mentioned, the young woman in her story lived paycheck to paycheck and had to use fundraiser money as well as financing in order to obtain her treatment. Anyone can do this. Teaching hospitals like MD Anderson always have financing and sometimes even write-off hospital stays. Areas that have a many nationally known hospitals also typically have free lodging available for those undergoing treatment. Those same areas usually have free transportation to and from the hospital and lodging. Getting to the hospital can also be done without incurring high expense through Angel Flights and other philanthropic transportation means. Those are the specific ‘policies’ that the author is promoting that and the sincere hope that all women will one day be given true options instead of forced into abortion to ‘save’ their lives at the cost of their unborn child. Why are you so hostile to this idea? What does it say that you seem to think that poor women don’t have an equal chance? Your hostility in the face of an inspirational story is puzzling to say the least. By promoting a story like this, the author is helping spread the word that treatment for cancer is not a death sentence to the unborn. The more people that read it and share means the more people that will demand this as an option instead of only abortion to ‘save’ the mother’s life or risking the mother’s life by forgoing treatment. By demanding ethical and pro-life treatment women can be empowered to really get the treatment they need. By trying to discourage spreading of this means of treatment you are condemning more ‘unprivileged’ women to abortion or their own deaths.

    • Karen

      Poor women DO NOT have an equal chance to use this. Even if the costs of the treatment itself are covered, there are other costs that are not. What about women who don’t get paid medical leave? Hourly workers don’t get paid if they aren’t at work, so the women undergoing this treatment will have no income for the entire duration of the treatment and afterward. Who pays for her rent at home while this goes on?

    • Kimberly

      Maybe you should volunteer your time in fundraising activities to help poor women. You seem very passionate about advocating for them to have abortion in hard cases and make clear that their cases are hard because of their poverty. You should channel that energy in a positive pro-life direction instead of passively advocating for the killing of poor children. I promise you that if you do start volunteering to help poor women choose life for their children instead of death that you will be a happier and less angry person. (This I know from experience so I’m not just bloviating.)

    • Karen

      Which does not answer my question at all.

      Furthermore, I specifically noted that private charity makes no real difference here. My donations will make at most a tiny difference for one person. If you want this to be standard procedure you need to enact formal policies so that no woman has to agonize about the decision. That none of you ever do that makes me think that making women miserable is the point.

    • Kimberly

      You are the one making women miserable when all you offer them is death for their children. You can’t hide from that.

    • Karen

      So the only thing that possibly matters is the pregnancy? Women aren’t allowed to care for, say, their other children? You perfectly illustrate the Catholic idea that women are nothing more than incubators.

    • Kimberly

      And you perfectly illustrate my first observation about you, that you are a pro-abortion troll sent to blog sites like this to obfuscate pro-life information with anti-Catholic rhetoric. And with that I conclude that our “conversation” has ended. Good luck with your trolling.

    • Micha_Elyi

      Alas, Karen, you perfectly illustrate the Statist idea that women are nothing.* To Statists, the State is everything; the individual is nothing. For example, you objectified ‘poor women’; you used them as mere instruments of your concern trolling, they seem to mean nothing to you as individual people.

      * Statists treat men as less than nothing. Feminist statists call that ‘equality’.

    • Guy McClung

      Haven’t I heard some one or somones shouting to the heavens you cannot impose your morality on me via legislation?

    • Micha_Elyi

      IME, poor women have extra chances to use such extraordinary services with all the extra subsidies and attention routinely given to those who represent themselves as ‘poor’.

    • BiologyBrain

      By the way, I am one of those ‘privileged’ to have a story like this. As the primary breadwinner, our livelihood was threatened severely since I could no longer work. In fact, my husband and I went bankrupt as a result of this loss of wages. I even ended up losing my job a few years after my treatment because the complications of my surgeries. To this day–7 years after my diagnosis–we are still struggling to rob Peter to pay Paul. However, that is better than my husband being a single father or killing my unborn child. I would sacrifice anything to save my children (born or unborn) including money. I continually urge others to at least make 1 trip to a well-respected cancer center. One consultation does not cost that much. Most of the time, the consultation results in orders for chemotherapy and/or surgeries to be done in the patient’s home town–thereby limiting the outlay of money for transportation and lodging in a distant city. By a few making the trip, more doctors are learning about this option and offering it to their new patients. By spreading the word, more people are learning to ask their doctor’s about this option, thereby educating the doctors to save more lives.

    • Kimberly

      That is an awesome witness. May God bless you and your family.

    • Guy McClung

      Karen, please google CANCER GOD’S GIFT on this site about my Karen and the lunacy and torture of much that masquerades as “modern medicine.” You have nailed it: “extremely expensive treatment.”

  • Gus

    Wonderful article Birgit. The more light that gets shined on the Amer. Cancer Society and Susan G. Komen the better.

    • Birgit Atherton Jones

      Thank you for the encouragement.