No couple wishes for a high risk pregnancy and a premature birth. But according to a story on The Today Show’s website, new mother, Mallory Brinson, was grateful for her twins and their premature birth. They may have saved her life!
Brinson was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), an aggressive blood cancer that can move very quickly and give doctors very little response time. Patients left untreated usually die within a few months. Brinson was 26 weeks into her pregnancy when she started having trouble. Of course, being pregnant was a big wrinkle in the treatment decision, and then finding out that there were two babies made it all that more difficult.
“The pregnancy was a blessing. I caught the cancer early because of it,” — Mallory Brinson
AML can progress quickly and without treatment would lead to death for patients. In Brinson’s case, doctors decided to treat her. She started treatment during her 27th week of pregnancy. Doctors told her that there was less than a 20% chance that the babies would be affected by treatment since she was in the second trimester.
AML starts in a patient’s blood marrow. The bone marrow is the softer interior section of the bones. Bone marrow is responsible for creating new blood cells. Because AML moves quickly, it can spread into the blood and the patient’s other organs such as: liver, spleen, lymph nodes, spinal cord, brain and testicles.
Brinson’s twin girls were born early at 27 weeks. Although they were small with underdeveloped lungs, they were healthy. Doctors were now able to go after Brinson’s AML more aggressively than before. She is currently in remission, but is expected to have a bone marrow transplant in the near future. The type of AML she has has a high relapse rate and one way to lower that is through a bone marrow transplant.
AML is generally an older person’s disease and usually not seen in patients before the age of 45. The average age of a patient is 68 years of age. Over 19,000 new cases of AML will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2018 and over 11,000 will die due to AML.
As far as Brinson is concerned, she owes her early AML diagnosis to the fact that she was in a high risk pregnancy and the extra caution and observation that brings.
“God has blessed us every step of the way,” she said. “I definitely think that things have happened for a reason.”