These are supposed to be the best days for Danielle Dick, a Kansas mother who's pregnant with twins and has a 2-year-old daughter. But after the 31-year-old found that she could "hardly put three words together" in a fog that seemed far worse than mere "pregnancy brain," as she tells KWCH12, the skin cancer survivor learned that she has stage four metastatic melanoma, meaning the cancer came back and spread. The American Cancer Society notes that at this stage, she has just a 15% to 20% chance of living another five years. In the hopes of keeping those odds as high as possible, doctors are getting ready to deliver Dick's twins at 29 weeks gestation this month (they're due in late September) and begin treating her as quickly as possible, reports the Wichita Eagle.
"Some doctors think maybe the pregnancy kind of sparked it to come back or to grow faster, but that's not really confirmed—we just don't know," Dick says. Surgeons have removed three tumors from her brain and two from her abdomen, but they found another on her adrenal gland. They hope to start a treatment called full targeted therapy, attacking the mutated cells. The treatment is dangerous for fetuses, so the twins will be delivered first, kept in a neonatal unit for a few months, and tested for cancer in case it spread to them. "We are taking this one day at a time," her husband says. "She is the strongest person I know, and I have to be strong for her, too." Their GoFundMe page has already blown past its $5,000 target and is approaching $23,000. (One woman beat cancer while pregnant, but she only got to spend one day with her twins.)