Freelance writer Jessica Henriquez and Sweet Home Alabama star Josh Lucas were engaged, expecting a child and married within just months of their chance meeting in a New York dog park. To the outside world, it seemed like the perfect romance. On the inside, things were very different.
Within a day of meeting, Jessica shared a scary secret with Josh; she had stage-one cervical cancer. Before the pregnancy, she had received two rounds of chemotherapy, both of which had been unsuccessful. Doctors suggested a hysterectomy.
To most, a hysterectomy would seem like the clear answer – remove the cancerous cells and the cancer goes away. In this case it was a little more complicated as Jessica had just discovered she was pregnant. She now had a very difficult decision to make – follow the suggestion of her oncologist and have her uterus and baby removed or go forward with the pregnancy and risk the cancer spreading.
“I hadn’t really thought about children. It wasn’t my dream since I was a little girl,” Jessica shared. “But when a doctor looks you in the eyes and takes that option off the table, it immediately sets something off in you – this motherhood gene.”
Jessica chose to carry on with the pregnancy.
“Almost every oncologist would disagree with my decision, [but] I think that things happen in life that you have to pay attention to,” she said.
She spent the next three trimesters battling fears of miscarriage, but in June, she gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby boy. His name, chosen carefully by his parents, is Noah Rev.
“When we were picking out baby names, we specifically picked the name Noah because it meant ‘calm and restful,’” she said. “We were like, ‘Wow, that’s what we need.’ We need something in our life that’s just going to be so peaceful because we haven’t had that since we’ve been together.’”
The new mom has now turned her focus back to fighting the cancer. And even though her cancer could have spread to other parts of the body because of lack of treatment, the freelance writer says she has no regrets.
“I never thought I’d be a mom at 27, but I don’t for a second regret anything – no matter what the outcome is,” she said. “If the cancer has progressed because I did nothing for a year to contain it or treat it, I don’t feel any guilt, and I don’t feel like it was a bad decision. Every morning that I wake up with Josh and Noah, I’m even more assured that it was the right decision for me.”
Thankfully, doctors have told her that the cancer did not spread during her pregnancy. However, it has now progressed from stage 1A to 1B. Treatments will start again this fall.
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