A 26-year-old pregnant woman with cancer whose brain function ceased last month is being kept alive with a respirator in hopes she can have a very premature baby who has a chance to survive.
Against long odds, the baby Susan was carrying when she was stricken appears to be thriving after nearly 21 weeks of gestation, Torres says. If she can stay alive another month, and the cancer stays away from her uterus, the baby could be delivered and have a chance of surviving, he says.
Right now, the target is mid-July, when Susan will be about 25 weeks pregnant — 15 weeks short of a full pregnancy. That's the gestation age,doctors tell Torres, where a baby can survive though with a heightened risk of brain damage and vision and developmental problems.
Torres knows that the baby's delivery date, when and if it comes, will be bittersweet. After the baby is born, Susan's body will be anointed in the Catholic tradition, and she'll be allowed to die.
Not surprisingly, the man, although still a devoted Catholic, finds his faith wavering from time to time in the face of all this suffering within his family. The major problem with keeping her alive at the moment is the incredible cost of the health care, which comes in at around $1,500 per day that is not covered by insurance. Anyone who wishes to make a donation to help defray these massive expenses may go to http://www.susantorresfund.org/. If you cannot afford to donate money, prayers are always helpful. I will update this post as I get new information.
UPDATE: Susan's parents have reported feeling the baby kick for the first time, and anticipate being able to determine the sex very soon. Her condition remains stable and all remain hopeful.
SECOND UPDATE: They have finally been able to determine the sex of the baby- it is a girl. The cancer is still progressing, but it seems like Susan should make it, so long as they can afford to keep her on treatment.
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"D'you call life a bad job? Never! We've had our ups and downs, we've had our struggles, we've always been poor, but it's been worth it, ay, worth it a hundred times I say when I look 'round at my children."
-W. Somerset Maugham, Of Human Bondage