|Courtesy Jessica Henriquez|
A chance meeting at a dog park in 2011 led Josh Lucas and Jessica Henriquez on a whirlwind romance, with the two confirming their engagement in January and tying the knot in March as they announced they were expecting their first child.
Originally diagnosed at the age of 25, the writer broke the news to her now-husband within a day of meeting him — he was the first person she told — and leaned on Lucas for support as she began battling the disease.
After two rounds of treatments proved to be unsuccessful, doctors asked her to consider a hysterectomy — at the same time Henriquez discovered she was pregnant.
“I hadn’t thought about children. It wasn’t my dream since I was a little girl to have a family,” Henriquez tells the Huffington Post.
“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.”
And while she admits “almost every oncologist would disagree with my decision,” Henriquez chose to continue with the surprise pregnancy, despite being told that a hysterectomy could be the cure she needed. “I think that things happen in life that you have to pay attention to,” she explains.
Following trying trimesters with fears of miscarriage and without treatment, Henriquez and Lucas welcomed son Noah Rev in June. And while the new mom has to once again deal with her diagnosis, she is at peace with her choices.
“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 says, explaining that while pregnant with her son, there was a possibility the cancer would worsen or spread beyond her cervix.
“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,” says Henriquez. “Every morning that I wake up with Josh and Noah, I’m even more assured that it was the right decision for me.”
And while doctors have told Henriquez that the cancer did not spread while she was expecting, it has advanced from stage 1A to stage 1B and she will continue treatment this fall. Still, the proud parents are counting their blessings when it comes to their son.
“When we were picking baby names, we specifically picked the name Noah, because it meant ‘calm and restful,'” she explains. “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.”
– Anya Leon