To Save the Life of a Mother? Pamela's Story
"Well I have to tell you as your oncologist, you are my patient and my goal is to save your life. And if we want to save your life, the best thing for you to do is have an abortion."
These were the words that Pamela Goris heard after waking up from the anesthesia after a mastectomy.
Two days after she found out she was pregnant with her third child, she received news from the doctor that she had breast cancer. She was told that a mastectomy was the only surgery the doctors would perform while she was pregnant. Since she did not want to have an abortion, she chose that option. Pamela was warned that the anesthesia could harm the baby, and the anesthesiologist made her release him from any liability for harm that could come to the unborn child.
Seven hourse later the surgery was over, but Pamela's oncologist was now recommending an abortion. The cancer had spread, and chemotherapy was her only option. Pamela was informed that the pregnancy would cause the cancer to speed up and that the baby would likely not survive chemo treatments. Therefore, abortion was the proper fit with chemotherapy.
A second opinion from doctors at a different hospital confirmed the oncologist's statement, and Pamela was once again recommended to have an abortion to save her own life. When these doctors were asked if they would advise their daughters to have abortions if they were in a similar medical situation, they responded, "Yes."
It was a priest who helped Pamela put everything into perspective. He aske, "Pamela, if your house was on fire and Joseph and Adam were trapped inside the fire, would you walk through the fire to save them?" She responded, "Of course, you wouldn't be able to keep me out of that fire. I would be in there in a heartbeat." "That is what you are going to do for the baby you are carrying," he replied. And so Pamela and her husband made up their minds to save both lives.
Their first research on chemo and pregnancy did not bring hopeful results. Then they came across a doctor in Houston who had a study involving good results with twenty-six women undergoing chemo fro breast cancer during pregnancy. The doctor's advice was to wait until after the thirteenth week of pregnancy and to use certain drugs that were safer for the baby.
All seemed fine until after the fifth round of chemo, when Pamela's water broke and she went into labor. While the labor was stopped, two weeks later, she was induced for fear of an infection. Little Thomas was born weighing three pounds and one ounce. At first he seemed healthy, but soon after it was found that he had a bleed on his brain. Once again Pamela and her husband were given a choice about the life of Thomas - to put shunts in or let him die. The choice was easy:
"There is no way that we have come this far to let him die. I am not giving up on my baby. I am not giving up on Thomas."
The doctor decided to wait on surgery until it absolutely had to be done. Every day the medical staff checked on the bleed, but it was not getting worse. And then, on the seventh day, the resident could not find the bleed on the ultrasound, and the doctor couldn't find it, either. The doctor did not know how to explain it. But Pamela did:
"I can explain it; it is a miracle!"
Little Tomas was brought home at two months old, weighing five pounds. Thomas is healthy and now has three younger siblings. Pamela Shares her story to encourage others:
"I hope that my story gives you hope, that even in these extremem crisis pregnancies, that there is room for prayer, and hope, and trust in God that things will turn out okay, and that you don't have to take the life of your baby for any reason."