by Dr. Susan Berry 31 Mar 2014, 9:48 AM PDT post a comment
A 36-year old New York City woman has died from cancer just six weeks after giving birth to a healthy baby girl. Elizabeth Joice chose to forgo cancer treatment that could have saved her own life in order to continue carrying her baby.
According to a report in the Daily Mail, Joice was originally from Montclair, New Jersey, and was forced to raise herself after her mother had died and her father had disappeared.
Joice was a real estate agent and had been dating her boyfriend Max for two years when she discovered suspicious growths in her lungs in September of 2010.
An independent spirit, Joice strapped on her boxing gloves and started punching through the wall of her Upper East Side apartment, telling Max that, should the MRI determine something “serious,” she would not fight.
“If this is going to be bad, I’m not going to do anything,” she said in an interview in 2013. “I’m just going to cash it all in and go partying and call it a day.”
Hearing this, Max went into the kitchen and started fumbling around and eventually returned with an engagement ring he had just fashioned out of tin foil.
“I said, ‘You don’t have the option not to fight,’ and proposed to her then,” Max said in an interview in the New York Post. “We got married a month later.”
Joice was later diagnosed with Sarcoma. She suffered through four rounds of chemotherapy, surgery, and then more chemo until the tumor was destroyed. She was cancer-free for three years and wanted to have a child, although doctors strongly advised against it.
The couple, however, moved to Roosevelt Island in June of 2013, and, to their happy surprise, Joice became pregnant immediately. Nevertheless, their happiness was short-lived when, only a month later, news that the tumor was back devastated them.
Doctors removed the mass but, since Joice was pregnant, couldn’t have her undergo full-body MRI scans for the oncologist to be able to see whether the cancer was growing.
With the baby due March 4th, the doctors could no longer wait. In January, beautiful baby Lily was born after a C-section, but Joice’s health rapidly declined as her cancer spread. Tumors had invaded her right lung, heart, and abdomen.
“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,” Max said. “That one night at home was all we had.”
Joice died on March 9th in her hospital bed with Max by her side.
“Liz had this way about her,” Max said. “She had this positive energy that made you want to be the best version of yourself. She was intolerant of self-pity.”
“Liz’s magic rubbed off on Lily,” Max said. “She’s beautiful and remarkable. It provides me with the strength to get through this.”