A 32-year-old mother found out she had stage IV glioblastoma when she was eight weeks pregnant with her second child. After the diagnosis, Julie and Luke Prater decided not to treat the cancer because of the health risks it could impose on their unborn baby.
Stage IV glioblastoma is one of the most deadly forms of brain cancer and is the same type that Brittany Maynard suffered from before she committed suicide on November 2nd.
In May 2013, Julie had a grand mal seizure in the middle of the night, which lead to her grim diagnosis: brain cancer and only fourteen months to live. However, Julie was determined to live long enough to deliver her baby. Julie became a patient at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, where she also worked as a registered nurse.
Julie told ABC News, “When I was in the MRI, that’s kind of when as a nurse I was like, ‘This isn’t right if they’re doing this many scans on me.’ That’s when I started crying, and I was like, ‘There’s something going on here.”
Luke commented about their decision to forgo treatment: “We made a very easy decision for us, which was just to keep the baby healthy.” But when Julie was in her third trimester, doctors were forced to operate on the tumor. Thankfully, the surgery was successful and she continued to have a healthy pregnancy.
Amazingly, on December 8th at 34-weeks doctors safely delivered their daughter, June Lane Prater. Julie said, “They’ve really done a great job. She’s here and healthy, and really cute.” Now the family will focus on Julie’s next steps, which includes starting chemotherapy immediately. Luke concluded, “It keeps you very serious on what the next step is, right? And the next step is just to be happy.”
To learn more about Julie’s story, watch the video below.