PLANO, Texas — A mother in Texas is thanking God for what she calls her “miracle baby” after being diagnosed with a malignant brain cancer this past May.
Julie Prater is a 32-year-old nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Plano and has also been studying at Baylor University to become a nurse practitioner. In the spring, while eight weeks pregnant, Prater found out that she had a tumor on her brain.
Early one morning in late May, Prater got up to check on her one-year-old son Judd, who was crying in his room. But as she stood, she began having a full-body seizure and fell to the floor. Prater’s husband, Luke, called 911.
“That’s when they found the mass on my motor strip,” she told the Dallas Morning News this week, referring to the part of the brain that controls movement.
Prater was referred to a brain tumor specialist, and at first, doctors thought that they were dealing with low-grade glioma. But when she returned for an appointment three weeks later, they found that the tumor had grown 20 percent. Prater underwent surgery to remove the tumor from her brain, and was informed after testing that she had Grade IV glioblastoma multiforme, the most aggressive type of terminal cancer—and the same type of cancer that Brittany Maynard faced before taking her life last month.
Because of Prater’s love for her unborn child, she chose to hold off on any treatments that might risk harming or losing her baby.
“I began recovering from surgery and making choices to delay treatment for the health of my baby until I saw new tumor growth,” she writes on her website Head4Hope. “I began feeling better only to return to the ER weeks later, fearing a miscarriage. As it turns out, my baby girl is a fighter and had once again pulled through.”
But in September, Prater became ill with a stomach bug and had to go back to the hospital because she was again experiencing full body seizures. Prater learned that the cancer had returned, and was encouraged to begin radiation.
“We didn’t want to radiate [the baby] because it increases the chance of childhood cancer slightly, like 2 or 3 percent,” she explained.
However, doctors stated that without radiation, neither Prater or her unborn child would make it through the pregnancy. So, in October, at 27 weeks gestation, she began treatment.
“It is through my faith in God, the love of my family and friends, my team of doctors, and the hope I have in God’s provisions that helps me each day to get up and fight,” Prater wrote on her website at 34 weeks into her pregnancy.
She told the Dallas Morning News this week that there were uncertainties about how her pregnancy would turn out throughout her journey this past summer and fall.
“There weren’t recommendations [to abort], but there were definitely discussions about how the majority of people who have this situation terminate,” Prater said. “We asked if there was one patient who had gone through the same thing, and there was. So we asked if I could speak with her. She agreed and she really helped.”
On Monday of this week, Prater gave birth to a healthy baby girl, who she named June.
“She came out pink and screaming,” she said. “They checked her out and said she looks great. … God was definitely with us through this.”
Prater refers to baby June as “the miracle baby.”
As Prater continues to fight her brain cancer, and hopes to help find a cure for glioblastoma multiforme, she holds tight to her faith in God, posting Romans 5:2-4 on her website for all to see:
“Through Him whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character, and character, hope.”