Baby Dies After Mother Who Rejected Experimental Cancer Treatment, Also Died

September 23, 2017
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The baby of a Michigan Mom who died from brain cancer just days after she gave birth has also died, the family announced.

The baby, Life Lynn, who was the sixth child of Carrie DeKlyen, who declined to undergo an experimental cancer treatment while she was pregnant.

DeKlyen have passed away on September 9, just three days after she prematurely delivered her daughter.

Life Lynn, who weighed 1 pound, 4 ounces at birth, died on Wednesday, according to a post on the family’s “Cure for Carrie” Facebook page.

“It is with great sadness and a absolutely broken heart that I tell you Life Lynn passed away last night. Carrie is now rocking her baby girl,” the post said. “I have no explanation of why this happened, but I do know Jesus loves us and someday we will know why. The grief we feel is almost unbearable, please be praying for our family.”

Life’s mother, Carrie DeKleyn, 37, had been diagnosed with cancer in April. Before seeing doctors, she felt extremely fatigued, had severe headaches and was vomiting frequently.

A brain scan later revealed that she had glioblastoma, a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer that usually can’t be cured although treatment can slow its progression.

This came out of nowhere. She was 100 percent healthy before this,” her sister-in-law, Sonya Deklyen Nelson told TODAY.

Carrie immediately underwent surgery to remove her brain tumor. She then learned she was pregnant with her sixth child.

Around that same time, she found out she had been accepted into a clinical trial for a new cancer treatment. However, the experimental treatment would have required her to terminate her pregnancy, something she and her childhood sweetheart and husband of 17 years, Nick DeKleyn, refused to consider.

“We’re pro-life,” Nick told the Free Press earlier this month. “Under no circumstance do we believe you should take a child’s life. She sacrificed her life for the child.”

Nick’s sister clarified that the trial offered a chance to possibly extend Carrie’s life, but was not necessarily a cure for the disease.

The thing people don’t understand is that glioblastoma is a terminal cancer,” Nelson said. “The trial offered a ton of hope by prolonging her life — for five years, maybe for 10. Nobody knows.”

But Nelson said “there was no question” that her sister-in-law would choose her unborn baby’s life over her own chance to live a few more years.

Carrie didn’t have a selfish bone in her body. She would give her children, her family, her friends anything,” she said.

So instead, Carrie underwent a second surgery after her tumor had returned. She also had radiation, but held off on chemotherapy until she had safely entered her second trimester, Nelson said.

That was only to sustain her long enough to deliver. She knew she was going to lose her life. We always said it was a race against time. We were trying to keep her alive long enough for Life to be delivered,” Nelson said.

Cancer during pregnancy is quite uncommon, with a diagnosis in only 1 in 1,000 pregnant women each year, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Whether or not to undergo radiation and chemotherapy can be a wrenching decision for pregnant mothers with cancer, but treatment can be safe for the unborn child if it is timed after the first trimester.

On July 27, just only a week of chemotherapy, Carried suffered a massive stroke and lost consciousness. Although she showed some responsiveness to people’s touch, she never woke up from then. A feeding tube and breathing machine were brought in keep her alive.

On Sept. 6, an ultrasound showed that her baby in distress and Nick agreed to let doctors perform a caesarean section. Life was delivered at 24 weeks, five days.

The baby joined five other siblings, who range in ages from 2 to 18.

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