We have a really special relationship with St Jude. Their social workers often refer pregnant women to the Morning Center. Most of the women who come to us are mommas of young ones who are going through cancer treatment for a period of time or are now cancer-free come in for pregnancy care. St Jude patients are from all over the country and all over the world. These moms are often here in Memphis for an undetermined amount of time. They are far from home, and, at times, emotionally experience the distance that separates them from their families. We have had fifteen of these patients from Nepal, China, Guatemala, Jamaica, Indonesia, Mexico, as well as five other states, and locally.
Their young ones are fighting for their lives, so this is an incredible amount of stress on the family. Add to this all the other challenges in receiving care, things like not knowing how long they will be in Memphis which affects their ability to even receive prenatal care because many prenatal care providers will not take patients who do not know if they are going to deliver in Memphis. Many times they already have doctors in their home countries or the states but their care is fractured and complicated due to being away from home.
Sometimes when they come to us, they are in good situations, their child’s cancer is being treated successfully and they are looking at a quick return home. However, sometimes they come to us in crisis with a new cancer diagnosis and unknown prognosis. They are fearful and vulnerable. They are worried that the stress could affect their pregnancy. We have the privilege and honor to walk with them through this difficult time in their life.
Recently, we took care of a patient, Courtney, whose family was from a few states away. Her son was being treated for a type of brain cancer. She was just past her 1st trimester and was anticipating being released by St Jude in just a matter of months, well before the baby was to be born. It was 4 months later before we saw her again. She had been back to Alabama but there had been a recent relapse in her son’s cancer. She was weeks from delivery and needed to stay in Memphis for the rest of the pregnancy. She was incredibly worried about her situation and needed reassurance. We were able to continue her prenatal care and get her a clear plan for delivery in Memphis. Can you imagine how hard this would be? She was grateful that the Morning Center was able to step in where other care was lacking. The other good news was that her sons biopsies were negative for further spread of cancer! Praise the Lord!