Pregnant, with Cancer

I saw this article today, about a woman who was diagnosed with cancer when she was 11 weeks pregnant.  This doesn’t have too much to do with HG. Maybe gives some perspective to things.

I did think it was interesting how it talked about how women have to reconcile the fact that they need to take a lot of drugs while pregnant, when you have been told all your life, you will give up coffee, lunch meat and eat organic while you are pregnant.  It’s hard to reconcile. It was for me anyway.  Even this last round, every time I had to swallow the zofran pill, preemptively, I had to really force myself. I kept thinking, maybe I don’t really need it…Maybe it will harm the baby.  But that is simply not true.  It doesn’t, and in any event the benefit outweighs the risk.

Just as in this case of the young woman in the article.

It also made me think of doctors who don’t want to give any medicine to a pregnant woman, or take x-rays for that matter. This woman is getting chemo during pregnancy, and it is most probable that her baby will be just fine and healthy.

Women diagnosed with cancer are often directed or encourage to terminate their pregnancies, so maybe this is a little HG related.  Abandonment of women as patients is happening here.  Yes, ultimetly that decision should be between a woman and her doctor, but I truly believe that if you are really supporting and treating the whole woman, then the medical community along with others, should be tryng to find a way to treat the patient and protect her baby. Both of them, hand in hand, soul in soul.

This entry was posted in Medical Treatment, Perception of Medical Community, supporting a woman through an HG pregnancy, theraputic termination, Treatment, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Pregnant, with Cancer

  1. Diana says:

    I agree. Telling a mama with cancer to abort is patient abandonment (same is true for HG). Not ethical behavior from a doctor at ALL. Doctors need to see the mother-baby as a dyad and treat them both as clients, not pit them against each other. This happened to the friend-of-a-friend; she was found to have advanced cancer and was advised to abort. She refused, but what an awful way to have to deal with one’s doctor when one is pregnant and having to deal with cancer and end-of-life issues as well!

    I agree completely with the “drugs while pregnant” issue. Because I’m so involved in the natural birth community, I see that there a LOT – the “all drugs are evil, and if you take any drugs while pregnant, you are a BAD MOTHER!” theme. In fact, I came across an article like that recently from a blog I otherwise really like. I tried to write (calmly and kindly) and say that “yes, drugs should be avoided, but when the mother and/or the baby’s LIFE is at stake, we simply have to compromise,” but it fell on deaf ears. She stuck with the “if you have severe pregnancy nausea, you need to make changes to your diet” premise. I was so upset that I couldn’t continue trying, and I haven’t been back to her blog since. A serious weakness in the natural birth realm.

    But anyhow, thank you for posting!!

  2. S.M. says:

    So true. I also was involved with a natural birth community and had to ditch them because they were so ignorant and judgmental about hg. They believed it was a mental problem with the woman and that all she needed was hypnosis to cure hg symptoms. I tried to educate them and they verbally attacked me. I am also concerned that there is little social support for hger’s. One of the reasons I was forced to terminate is because I had no health insurance, and did not qualify for state medical aid. My hg was extreme and I knew that without access to hospitalization I could definitely die. There were no viable options for me. At the same time, there are people holding up anti-abortion signs at the clinic. What the should be fighting for is womens access to medical care.

  3. Ashli says:

    S.M. First let me say how deeply sorry I am for your loss. It saddens me greatly. Been there, done that. Re: the anti-abortion folks, I agree. But also, I have a dear friend who was at a clinic to abort her baby in the 20th week (not for health issues) and she was able to avoid the abortion because an anti-abortion activist was able to provide the support that her boyfriend would not. For me, HG and abortion opened my eyes to the way abortion is used to abandon women with health problems. Instead of treating us, they just get rid of us. It’s easier for them, and they don’t have to live with it.
    I was also surprised to begin to see how abortion is used to abandon women who aren’t sick but who are in other situations like my aforementioned friend. I do have to say, I’m glad those anti-abortion activists were at the clinic that day, because the baby whose life was in question is just about the neatest kid on the planet. I was recently helping her with her math, and I can’t imagine the world without her in it.
    @Islands: When I was heavy into research I found many articles (they were just there in the journals–wasn’t looking for them) in which women would be kinda far along in their pregnancies (like 24 weeks, etc.) and then get diagnosed with really aggressive cancer. So the doctors would advise abortion, and Moms would abort. So I’m reading these various articles, and my heart is breaking for them, because I kinda know a little about how agonizing that is as a mother…and I scan to get to the outcome, and Mom eventually dies anyway. And I’m thinking, you know, what a miserable way to go. Late term abortion (labor and delivery and everything), having the feelings related to that, and then dying anyway, and sometimes dying after the baby would have been born. Where’s my freaking happy ending, right? Doctors do not know. They make their educated predictions, but they cannot calculate the human spirit. I just have to say that for me the bottom line is that women deserve better. Debates, sides, whatever; I’ve learned it’s a waste of time. Providing positive options is what I’m interested in spending my energy on. And that takes many forms.

  4. Ashli says:

    Oh, just thought of something else. I have a friend whose niece was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer in pregnancy. She was advised to abort. She refused. They treated her during pregnancy, lopped off one breast, chemo, etc. I have a picture of her, bald as a baby, in the hospital bed nursing her newborn girl on the one remaining breast. To me it is the most beautiful picture in the world. Mom died two years later. But she was her baby’s mother for two years, and her daughter is beautiful and vibrant with a lifetime ahead of her today. If Mom would have aborted, she would have died anyway. And then she would have been like the poor moms in the med. journal articles I read. And that would have been worse. I’m not saying this is the case in every situation. But it is the truth. Maybe it adds to perspective. I know that in the end Diane was not sorry. Personally, that’s a lot.

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