Doctors told her to choose between saving her own life or her unborn baby’s — but she chose both.
Battling cancer is an unbelievably difficult ordeal for anyone to face, but it’s infinitely more difficult when you pair it with pregnancy and the possibility of losing your unborn child. That’s exactly what Lauren Jackson, of Wiltshire, England, had to endure when she was diagnosed with breast cancer during the first term of her pregnancy.
Jackson first noticed a lump in her breast back in 2011, but was told that because of the lump’s shape and her age, she had nothing to worry about. She ignored the matter until she saw the bump change in size two years later. At that point, she was two months pregnant, and asked about the lump during one of her pregnancy checkups.
After doctors examined a sample of the tissue, Jackson was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. Given that she was expecting a child at the time, doctors told her the chemotherapy she needed to treat the disease could harm her baby. If she were to terminate the pregnancy, there would be a possibility of her never being able to conceive again. But if she waited until her baby was born to start chemotherapy, Jackson might not survive.
Faced with several difficult decisions, she got the lump removed a month after her diagnosis and started chemotherapy as she approached the fourth month of her pregnancy.
“During my treatment I worried about my baby, but I had regular scans to check her size and if she was in any distress, and I knew if they’d had any concerns they would have picked up on it,” she said
As a result of the chemo, Jackson went into labor seven weeks early. Soon after her daughter, Florence, was born, the little one went into critical condition. She had a “hole in her bowel, and milk was filling up the cavity around the organ.” Jackson was, of course, “devastated.”
Thanks to a life-saving operation, Florence survived and returned home from the hospital five weeks after. When her baby was well enough, Jackson resumed her cancer treatment. Despite the radiation exhausting her, she was focused as ever on her precious daughter. “I wanted to do every feed and change, even though I had my family and friends around to help me when I was tired following treatment,” she shared. “It was because I felt like I’d missed out on so much. I hadn’t enjoyed my pregnancy as I’d been in and out of hospital having chemotherapy.”
Feeling “thankful” Florence saved her life, Jackson is now cancer-free and never wants to miss another moment with her now-healthy daughter.