NEW YORK - A New York woman decided against continuing cancer treatment so she could give birth to her baby. She died just weeks after her daughter was born.
Elizabeth Joice was told she would never get pregnant. Doctors said the chemotherapy that helped her beat cancer would leave her infertile. But then it happened.
"The amount of elation that we felt when we found out that we were pregnant, I mean, I'm not one for talking miracles, but it very much felt like a miracle. Bringing a child into this world, I mean it wasn't just important for me, it was one of the most important things for Liz," said Max Joice.
Then just one month into her pregnancy, Elizabeth's cancer returned. Surgeons removed a tumor from her back but the question was, where else did she have cancer? Doctors couldn't do a full-body scan, it could hurt the baby. So Elizabeth faced a heart-breaking decision: terminate her pregnancy to have the scan or continue the pregnancy without knowing where the cancer might have spread.
"We felt that if we terminated this pregnancy and did these scans if it turned out that there was no evidence of this disease after the scans, then we would have possibly given up our only chance at having a child naturally and would have done it for nothing," said Max.
In her third trimester, it became clear that the cancer was spreading. Elizabeth was having trouble breathing, she had tumors in her lungs. To begin Elizabeth's treatment doctors performed a c-section two months early and the Joices had Lily Ann, their miracle baby.
"It was incredibly difficult to, you know, um, to want to enjoy this amazing moment as much as you possibly can, yet to know that you're facing something so incredibly dire, and the chances didn't look good at that point," said Max.
After lily was born, doctors found cancer in Liz's pelvis, abdomen and heart. Liz died six weeks later, just a few weeks before her 37th birthday.
"Her spirit, her optimism, her strength, it radiated out of her and it had such an incredible impact on people who met her, her optimism and her courage and her bravery gave people hope and that's what she did for everybody," said Max.