Joy turned to sorrow and confusion for Kansas NICU nurse Stacey Johnson in 2016. After learning she was pregnant with her second child and being ecstatic over the news, Stacey was soon given horrible, life-altering news that no one is ready to hear.
It all started when Stacey found a troubling lump on her breast. She immediately talked to her obstetrician, who sent her for extensive testing. Unfortunately, the tests discovered that Stacey had cancer. This of course was devastating news, and put a damper on Stacey’s pregnancy elation.
Since Stacey was still early in her pregnancy at only 11 weeks gestation, the experts around her advised her to consider an abortion so they could start cancer treatments immediately.
“If a woman is found to have breast cancer early in her pregnancy and needs chemotherapy right away, she may be advised to think about ending her pregnancy,” the American Cancer Society recommends.
No one could blame Stacey in this specific situation for looking out for herself and ending her pregnancy in order to start chemotherapy. After all, Stacey had another child to consider. However, before she did anything rash, Stacey thankfully had the presence of mind to seek another opinion, this time in Lauren Nye — an oncologist with The University of Kansas Cancer Center. She told Stacey there was no need to sacrifice her child’s life in order to have chemotherapy.
“Women can safely undergo chemotherapy and surgery during the second trimester,” Dr. Nye said.
This became Stacey and her doctor’s plan of action. She underwent chemotherapy and a single mastectomy, all while pregnant. Of course, she was closely monitored by her doctors throughout the process.
Stacey’s team of doctors kept a close eye on her progress all throughout her pregnancy.
“I had ultrasounds every 10 days during chemotherapy to monitor the baby’s growth and blood flow,” she said. “They tailored my treatment plan with two patients in mind: me and my baby.”
In May 2017, Stacey gave birth to a healthy baby boy named William. After his birth, she continued her treatment, which included more chemotherapy and radiation. She is currently cancer free and is scheduled for a breast reconstruction once all her treatments are completed. In addition, little William, the baby who some say shouldn’t have been carried to term, recently celebrated his first birthday.
“As moms, you do anything for your kids,” Stacey said. “Well, I’m going to do anything for him too.”
While it certainly wasn’t an ideal set up to endure chemotherapy while pregnant, Stacey believes her cancer would not have been discovered if she hadn’t been pregnant. Therefore, in a way, she believes her child saved her life.
Dr. Nye says, “I think that more awareness can be raised that breast cancer can be treated during a pregnancy and that a woman can focus on being a mom and still maintain her pregnancy.”
Stacey’s inspirational and educational story should encourage all believers to get second opinions when given potentially devastating instructions. Imagine if Stacey had listened to her first doctor instead of seeking out counsel from someone else, how different her story might look today. In addition to Stacey’s story, famous examples, like Pam Tebow, Tim Tebow’s mom, who courageously chose the life of her child despite her doctor’s dire warnings against allowing her pregnancy to progress, should encourage all Christians to consider abortion advice.
Believers should always consider children a blessing and therefore, significantly question anyone who implies their lives are disposable. After all, as it says in Psalm 127:3 “Lo, children are a heritage of the Lord, and the fruit of the womb is His reward.”
~ 1776 Christian