After doctors found bone cancer developing in her leg, a woman pregnant with her second child faced the awful dilemma: deny herself treatment and give birth, or undergo chemotherapy to attack the malignant growth.
Ashley Caughey, 24, had only just got engaged when the awful diagnosis forced her to make the choice to either terminate her 10-week pregnancy and treat the aggressive cancer – or continue with her pregnancy.
She chose to go ahead with the pregnancy.
Baby daughter Paisley was born last June and Ashley began her treatment – but it was too late. The cancer had spread throughout her body and had reached her brain. Doctors told her she had just months to live.
Ashley and then-fiance Jonathan brought forward the date of their wedding to November 2014 so that their six-year-old son Braiden and baby Paisley could attend.
While she fears she may not live long enough to see her daughter’s first birthday, Ashley told CNN about the decision to deny chemotherapy treatment: ‘They told me what would likely happen to Paisley, that you know, she most likely wouldn’t make it and I just knew.
‘It wasn’t a choice to me, it was like this is what needs to be done.
‘She’s first. I’m not going to kill a healthy baby because I’m sick.’
Ms Caughey recalls with anger the many doctor’s appointments she attended over the 12 months before she was diagnosed for aches in her legs.
She was repeatedly told she could have arthritis or bursitis and it was not until she could no longer walk and saw a specialist that her cancer was diagnosed: ‘I’m angry but there’s really nothing we can do about it now,’ she says.
‘The doctor that I went to repeatedly, repeatedly telling him something wasn’t right probably cost me my life.
‘This is a very aggressive cancer, I could have had more time.’
Ms Caughey says her legacy now is to her children. ‘I want my kids to know how much I love them and how much I fought for them,’ she says.