A California mother battling bone cancer gave birth to a healthy baby girl after deciding to not have chemotherapy treatment while pregnant. Her cancer is now terminal.
Ashley Bridges, 26, of Wildomar, California, was engaged to her boyfriend, Jonathan Caughey, and mother to son Braiden, when she began suffering from knee pain.
Multiple trips to the doctor’s office resulted in no known diagnosis.
“The first appointment was like, ‘I think there’s something wrong with my knee. It’s achy sometimes but then it goes away,’" Bridges said.
Bridges’ doctor reportedly told her it was arthritis or bursitis.
When she returned a couple of months later, he told her its “something you’re going to have to live with,” reports FOX 8.
Bridges suffered for more than a year and eventually she could not walk anymore. A visit to the hospital in October 2013 uncovered what was wrong with Bridges.
“I had excruciating pain in my knee and my toes went numb. So I went to the hospital and they did an X-ray,” Bridges said.
Bridges' test revealed she had osteosarcoma bone cancer.
“I was like, no. Cause who thinks of when their knee hurts that they have bone cancer?” Bridges said.
“I’m angry,” Bridges said, “but there’s really nothing we can do about it now. The doctor that I went to repeatedly and repeatedly telling him something wasn’t right probably cost me my life. This is a very aggressive cancer. I could have had more time.”
Surgery was done to replace her knee and remove the majority of her femur. Chemotherapy treatments were suggested by doctors, but they carried a big risk for Bridges.
She was 10 weeks pregnant with a baby girl.
“They told me what would likely happen to Paisley, that you know, she most likely wouldn’t make it and I just knew,” Bridges said. “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. There’s nothing wrong with her. Her life is just as important as mine if not more important. I mean as a mother my job is to protect my kids.”
The decision to delay chemotherapy treatment could have cost Bridges her life, but she was not going to make any other decision.
Bridges gave birth to her daughter, Paisley, in July 2014.
A full-body scan at the time showed the cancer had spread throughout Bridges’ body, including into her brain.
“When they told me that, I think oh my gosh, I am really dying. I’m not going to beat this,” Bridges said. “And then I am sad for about a week and then I get back to OK, well it’s not over yet. And then I’ll be good and then I’ll get some more bad news that it spread through my whole entire body. And then that will knock me down for about a week and then I’ll bounce back.”
Bridges’ cancer is now terminal, reports New York Daily News.
Doctors say she has only a matter of months left to live.
Bridges does not plan on giving up and has set goals.
“I am really pushing for Paisley’s first birthday. This is what I do. I do October, OK, I just got to make it to Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving comes around — OK, let’s just go to Christmas. Then Christmas comes and Braiden’s birthday is in March, so I’m going to make it to Braiden’s birthday. I’m just going to keep setting little goals for myself and we’ll see,” Bridges said.
When asked what legacy she hopes to leave behind, Bridges said, “I want my kids to know how much I love them and how much I fought for them.”