Very few people have to face the choice that mother-to-be Elizabeth Joice had to make.
She and her husband, Max, discovered they were expecting a baby in the summer of 2013, but just a month later, Elizabeth was told the cancer she had fought so hard three years earlier had returned.
She was faced with a life and death decision. Abort the baby and immediately begin cancer treatment, begin with her treatment while pregnant, or, delay the urgent medical care in order to protect the baby.
Elizabeth had been first diagnosed with cancer in 2010 and underwent surgery and chemotherapy before being declared cancer-free. She and Max desperately wanted to have a baby, but doctors told them there would be little chance of her conceiving. But, they proved the doctors wrong and Elizabeth became pregnant. Max said having a child was one of the most important things in the world to Elizabeth.
She knew this baby might be her only chance to have one. So, faced with the terrible choice, she decided to delay her treatment and protect her unborn baby girl.
Doctors were able to remove a cancer mass during her pregnancy, but because she could not undergo a full-body MRI, they could not determine where else the cancer might have spread. Elizabeth had a caesarian section in January (even though baby Lily was due in March) so that she could begin treatment as soon as possible. But the cancer had spread throughout her body.
It was too late. A family relative wrote, “With Lily now delivered and healthy, Liz and Max – and their friends and families – did their best to live a surreal duality: enjoy and celebrate Lily’s arrival into the world, while confronting the reality that Liz was now incredibly sick. For the next six weeks, she fought. With so much to live for, she fought harder than her doctors had ever seen someone fight…overcoming the odds to spend just one more day with Lily and Max. And another. Then another.
But the struggle could only last for so long. Liz had given it all she had, but could not fight anymore. On the morning of March 9th, with her loving husband by her side, Liz passed away.” Elizabeth was just one week shy of her 37th birthday.
Max shared this video montage of Elizabeth, Lily and himself shortly after.
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