Abdominal pain, breathlessness, and constipation; what pregnant woman hasn't experienced these symptoms? But for one 38-year-old mom-to-be from Britain named Laurel Cohen, these discomforts signaled something was seriously wrong.
Tragically, being pregnant masked her true condition until her 35th week, according to Metro. By that time, Cohen's stomach pains had grown intolerable, and she was hospitalized. Cohen and her husband Dave reportedly pushed doctors to perform further scans, which revealed a tumor on her liver.
Four weeks later, Cohen would deliver her daughter Ruby via C-section. Unthinkably, doctors discovered her cancer was terminal and she passed away 10 short weeks later.
"After her death, I so wanted someone to blame but the doctors did everything they could," Dave said. "Every symptom she had was so easily explained by her pregnancy." He adds nothing could have prepared him for his wife's passing. Meanwhile, Ruby will never really know her mom, although Cohen recorded a voice message and wrote cards for her daughter before her death.
Now, Cohen is trying to raise awareness about what happened to his wife by supporting two charities called Chai Cancer Care and Mummy's Star. He has run six races while pushing Ruby in the stroller. "I wanted to do something in Laurel's memory but also to fundraise for the amazing charities that are trying to raise awareness of cancer in pregnancy," he said.
It's amazing to see a grieving dad try to turn his pain into action. Through his efforts, and those of others, hopefully other families will not have to suffer the cruel fate of learning of a cancer diagnosis too late. If you want to help, you can donate here.
And another important takeaway from Cohen's story: If something doesn't feel right during pregnancy, and you suspect your symptoms are more than just run-of-the-mill morning sickness or fatigue, see a doctor. See many doctors! Be your own health advocate.
Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Follow her on Twitter (@Spitupnsuburbs), where she chronicles her love of exercising and drinking coffee, but never simultaneously.