Cancer-stricken mother Chantal Gauthier-Vaillancourt made an unbelievable sacrifice for her unborn child when she removed her right eye in the hopes of keeping her rare form of cancer from spreading to her baby.
Gauthier-Vaillancourt began her battle with cancer in 2009, when doctors discovered a rare form of malignant melanoma in her right eye. However, after radiation and natural treatments, the aggressive ocular melanoma, which can be fatal and often spreads to other organs, was conquered.
After a long fight, Gauthier-Vaillancourt was told she was in remission.
Five years into remission, Gauthier-Vaillancourt and her husband decided to start a family. Unfortunately, just eight weeks into the pregnancy, the couple learned that Gauthier-Vaillancourt’s cancer had returned. Doctors reported that there was a 25 percent chance the cancer could spread to the placenta and recommended variation treatment options.
“Abortion, radiation, surgery,” Gauthier-Vaillancourt said. “None of those seemed appropriate for us.”
A midwife by trade, Gauthier-Vaillancourt knew that attempting surgery to remove the tumor could put her baby in danger. Instead, she attempted natural therapies until 28 weeks of pregnancy, when she knew her child would have a chance at surviving premature labor induced by surgery.
At 28 weeks the cancer still had not spread to the placenta, though the chances of it occurring were now at 70 percent.
On June 11, Gauthier-Vaillancourt had the surgery to remove her eye. Both she and the baby are in good condition, and the baby is expected to be delivered in August.
“It’s been a rough ride, but at the same time, I mean, everyone has problems,” Gauthier-Vaillancourt said. “I keep saying, ‘This baby chose me, chose this situation and is very strong.’”
Since undergoing natural therapies, a fundraiser has been started to cover the cost of what was not paid for under Gauthier-Vaillancourt’s health insurance. So far, over $21,000 has been raised.