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Four months pregnant, she refused to abort her child to undergo cancer treatment

“After researching online it was encouraging that a large number of women who had chemo were OK, and their babies were OK, so we decided it was a risk we wanted to take.”
Mon Nov 10, 2014 - 6:25 pm EST
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A British woman refused to abort her child in order to undergo cancer treatment. Now, not only are she and the baby well, but she has written a new book discussing the heartbreaking, sometimes heartwarming, journey of being pregnant with cancer.

Thirty-two-year-old Matilda Tristram wrote Probably Nothing as a result of the life-changing discovery of her bowel cancer while she was four months pregnant.

Her symptoms had been present for more than a year, according to the Hackney Gazette, but went undiagnosed because of her age.

“I had been having stomach pain and gradually it got worse. By the time I was already well into my pregnancy, I was sick every time I ate,” she said.

Then she got devastating news that she the blockage was due to a tumor.

“I had three options,” Tristram told the Hackney Gazette. “I could have abortion and get chemo afterwards or carry my pregnancy to full term, but delaying the treatment would put my health at risk.”

“They couldn’t really say if having my baby during chemo would cause problems or how high a risk it was,” she said. “After researching online it was encouraging that a large number of women who had chemo were OK, and their babies were OK, so we decided it was a risk we wanted to take.”

Even though choosing life was not without peril for Tristram and her husband Tom, and it came with no guarantee of success, Tristram is another mother who moved forward despite a troubling prenatal diagnosis.

Tristram had six months of treatment, during which her son James was born healthy. She then received a clear diagnosis.

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Such serious topics helped Tristram write a book with a comic tone that has garnered commendation for its refreshingly light-hearted take about a serious topic.

“I recorded how absurd and funny the rest of life seemed in contrast to what we were going through,” Tristram said. “It definitely helped to distract from what was going on and I could turn my emotions off.”

Tristram said it was nice writing about the jokes she and her husband managed to share with each other during this time. “It is helpful and healing to see how well we managed.”

Tristram, who is speaking to promote Probably Nothing, will be monitored for possible recurrence of her cancer.


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