We Made It: Surviving Cancer, Together

At the author's request, this story has been published anonymously.



It was 1997 and I was about a year into my first marriage. Yes, I say first marriage because over the next 20 years I will have had a divorce, another marriage, and yet another divorce. As you can see I am not that great at making important decisions and my choices haven’t always been top notch, but that’s a story for a different time.


I’m writing here about the ONE choice I’ll never regret and the one decision I know was right.


Around three months into my pregnancy I noticed a nodule on my neck. I really didn’t think much of it. But I finally went to the doctor and had a biopsy. It came back as papillary thyroid cancer. I had no idea what that meant, I just knew I was terrified. The first surgeon explained to me that this type of cancer was really not that bad, and, in fact, it was very treatable.


The only problem? My pregnancy. There wasn't a lot of research at that time about the safety of continuing a pregnancy with a cancer diagnosis. Initially he recommended to terminate because he could almost guarantee I would be cured if they could address the cancer aggressively.


Here I was actually justified in having an abortion because essentially, my own life was at risk.

I went to see another doctor. I wanted another opinion. Again, I told him my diagnosis and asked some questions. In my naïve brain I thought, “Wow, this seems like a really sweet guy, I know he’ll side with me and tell me to have the baby. To pray and know that everything would work out fine.”


But that’s not what happened and for the second time I was told that terminating my pregnancy was the best case scenario “for my health.”


After all, I was young and would surely have more babies. I would surely have another chance at raising that big family I dreamed of.


These were my circumstances. This was the moment my life would change.


Here I was actually justified in having an abortion because essentially, my own life was at risk.


By the grace of a God, somehow I knew wholeheartedly that aborting my child would not be the answer to my cancer, nor cure me of any problems.

This is the reason I hear pro-choice advocates cry out so often. The life of the mother. I find this so incredibly perplexing because even as a young person, newly married and pregnant for the first time, it never crossed my mind that one day I may have to choose whether to kill my child to save myself. What a troubling thought!


My own mother, who has since passed away, asked me to think about it. Just think about it. I had to see it from her point of view, because in essence, she was trying to save her own child. She didn’t want to lose me. She must have been very scared because my mom was the ultimate pro-life advocate. She taught me early on, so all I could think of was that my baby had a beating heart. I knew very well from a speech I had given back in the eighth grade at only 11 or 12 years old. I knew all about abortion. I couldn’t deny it. I had already seen the photos, I had already seen the horrors of abortion. The thought of it made me nauseous. By the grace of a God, somehow I knew wholeheartedly that aborting my child would not be the answer to my cancer, nor cure me of any problems. Inherently I knew it would only cause unspeakable pain, regret and agony. I knew I would miss my child.


I physically felt homesick for my unborn child!


So with my tiny baby inside and full support from my family, I said no to abortion and had my thyroid completely removed.


I then waited until he was born to have further treatment. It was a long wait.


My heart breaks for every woman out there facing this choice and my heart bleeds for their unborn children.

Unable to breastfeed because of the radiation I would receive, and like so many mothers who cannot breastfeed for various reasons, I bottle-fed my son. He was absolutely fine and absolutely healthy. I would later go on to have nearly a dozen surgeries and a series of radioactive treatments. I’m happy to say I am now five years into remission. The treatments and traumatic experiences caused various health problems; teeth problems, decay, dry mouth, low energy, depression, severe anxiety and panic attacks, to name a few. But those issues fade into the distance. What feels like yesterday is now two decades later and this precious gift from God, my beloved little boy turned 21 years old. He’s studying psychology in college and plays the bass, but most importantly...


He is alive!


We made it. Thank God.


For each beating heart, I believe there is a divine purpose.


And as it turns out, it was the only pregnancy I was able to carry. I would never have another child.


God truly has a plan.


My heart breaks for every woman out there facing this choice and my heart bleeds for their unborn children.


There is hope and there is help. Please reach out, please know that someone somewhere wants that child...


Maybe it’s you.

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