A US mother who chose to continue carrying her child rather than have cancer treatment to fight a recurring tumour has died just weeks after giving birth.
Elizabeth Joice, 36, gave up everything to be a mother, just for a moment, says her husband, Max.
The New York City resident, known as Liz, was fiercely independent from the very start of her life after the death of her mother and subsequent disappearance of her father, according to theNew York Post.
In September 2010, doctors found some suspicious growths in her lungs.
“The day the doctors called us with the results is also the day I proposed to her,” Max said.
“She said, ‘If it’s terminal, I’m not even going to fight. Let’s travel the world until I keel over.’ ”
“I said, ‘You don’t have the option not to fight’ and proposed to her then,” said Max, who had rushed to the kitchen to produce an engagement ring made of tin foil.
“We got married a month later.”
Joice endured four rounds of chemotherapy and surgery to eradicate her Sarcoma.
She was declared cancer-free for three years but longed to have a baby, despite doctors strongly advising against it.
They told Liz that she would never get pregnant. When she did fall pregnant in 2013, it was something of a miracle.
"I totally blew a gasket," Max told the New York Post.
"They said there was no chance this was happening — and here it was happening."
Just a month later, doctors told the couple that Liz's tumour was back.
While doctors removed the mass with another surgery, her oncologist couldn't put her under a full-body MRI scan to see if the cancer was spreading because she was pregnant.
Her pregnancy joy quickly turned to heartbreak when she was offered two choices: terminate the pregnancy so she could start cancer treatment, or risk her own life and continue with the pregnancy.
She chose to risk her own life for her baby.
Her due date was set for March 4, but a surgeon was forced to perform a C-section and Lily Anne Joice was born.
However, tumours invaded her right lung, heart and abdomen almost immediately after giving birth.
She was forced to return to hospital before passing away on March 9.
"We said our goodbyes," Max said.
"It was like something out of a movie. We sat there and cried. We tried to tell stories, talk about all the great things."
"Liz came home five days after Lily was born."
"That one night at home was all we had."
"She had this positive energy that made you want to be the best version of yourself. She was intolerant of self-pity."
Sister-in-law Judith said Liz will always be remembered as a fighter.
"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."
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