Cancer is a terrible disease. Everyone can probably agree with that. 26-year-old Ashley Hallford was sadly hit by cancer - at the worst possible moment in life.
Ashley was pregnant with her son Harley when she went to see a doctor with what she thought was a swollen lymph node. But it would prove to be something much worse.
Ashley was happily married and expecting her first child with her husband. Life was as good as it could be.
But just one month into her pregnancy, she had a painful lump on the back of her head. She went to see a doctor to check it out.
The doctors first thought she had an infection of the salivary gland and provided her with treatment. It helped at first, but then Ashley's condition got worse.
That's when did the doctors saw that the strange lump in the back of her head was in fact a symptom of a very aggressive cancer that had already begun to spread in Ashley's body.
She was in urgent need of treatment but could not receive chemotherapy while pregnant. The doctors decided to extract the baby, hoping to save both Ashley and her son before it was too late.
Little Harley was born in November 2007, after just 33 weeks. But he was healthy.
Directly after birth, Ashley began her cancer treatment. But the doctors had little hope - the cancer had quickly spread and they gave her weeks to live.
Ashley began to come to terms with the fact that she might not see her son grow up. But she decided she'd give it her best fight. Little Harley gave her the strength to live on.
The cancer had spread to her brain, pressing on a nerve which resulted in Ashley being unable to open her right eye.
Chemotherapy treatments resulted in Ashley losing all her hair.
Doctors surgically removed parts of muscle in her jaw and neck in an attempt to remove the cancer. But five weeks after the surgery, they discovered that the cancer had spread to her liver and lungs. It was spreading rapidly and Ashley was given very little time to live.
She received high doses chemotherapy. Doctors could not operate on the tumor in her brain and chemo was her final hope.
Meanwhile, Ashley tried to make the most of the time she had left. She took many pictures of herself and her son so that in his future he could look back and see that they'd spent time together.
Then suddenly, something happened.
In summer of 2008, Ashley's x-rays of her brain revealed a miracle: the cancer was gone. Completely gone.
Ashley, who had convinced herself she would die, suddenly got her life back.
But the story does not end there.
Ashley was told that her chemotherapy would make it impossible for her to ever bear a child again. Harley would be her only child.
Yet, two years later she was expecting her second child which she delivered in full health. Then in 2016, she gave birth to her third.
Today, Ashley is the mother of three wonderful children and has been cancer-free for 9 years.
Wow, this story really went straight to my heart! What a miracle Ashley experienced.
Ashley's story reminded me of just how fragile life is. We must take care of our loved ones while we're still alive and in decent health, for life can be taken away so quickly.
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