Mom of 4 Diagnosed with Rare Cancer Loses Eye Weeks Before Giving Birth to Twins
"We pray for the patience and strength that only God can give us," says Jessica Boesmiller
When Jessica Boesmiller was 8 months pregnant with twins, she wasn’t concerned when she started to experience blurry vision while driving one night. But within just days, she was told that she had a rare form of eye cancer — and that it might spread to her unborn babies.
Jessica, who originally thought her blurry vision could be a complication from her pregnancy, like preeclampsia, was diagnosed with ocular melanoma, a life-threatening form of cancer that develops in the cells that produce pigment, on November 7, 2017.
“It was terrifying,” says Jessica, 37, who also has two sons, 7 and 9, with her husband, Mark Boesmiller. “I never thought this would ever happen to me. No one ever thinks it can.”
What scared the devoted mom the most was the possibility that her unborn twins could be affected by her disease. After discussing her options with doctors, Jessica decided to have her eye removed to prevent the cancer from spreading and to protect the babies. She opted out of getting radiation therapy because it would have been too risky for her pregnancy.
On Nov. 30, Jessica, who is the healthy living director at a YMCA near her Cornelius, North Carolina, home, had the procedure to have her right eye taken out, and just weeks later, on December 21, she gave birth to twins: a boy and a girl.
To the parents’ relief, a test of the placenta one week after the twins’ birth revealed that they were healthy.
“There is nothing better than having healthy babies,” she says. “So it’s all been worth it.”
While her newborns are okay, which she says is “the most important thing,” the status of her own health is still unknown.
Jessica is currently awaiting results from a recent MRI and CAT scan to see if the cancer has spread to other organs. Despite the many unknowns, she plans to return to work in February and hopes to get a prosthetic eye before then.
A GoFundMe page was created for the family to help with their growing medical bills.
Since sharing her story, Jessica says she is grateful for her “amazing support system,” which includes thousands of strangers who have prayed for them, giving her endless comfort and helped in keeping her spirits high.
It’s also helped her find humor, which she says is much-needed. In their household, they lovingly call her “Pirate Momma” because of the patch on her eye.
“We’ve prayed a whole lot and we need to focus on the twins’ needs at this time,” she says. “We can’t change anything by worrying, we just have to focus on the blessings that we have — and we have so many.
“We pray for the patience and strength that only God can give us.”