Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Aussie journalist Elle Halliwell welcomes baby boy after refusing cancer treatment

Elle Halliwell.jpg

When Elle Halliwell discovered that she was pregnant with her first child earlier this year, she knew, like most women, that there could be a few struggles along the way.

Unlike most women, however, Halliwell wasn’t just considering the typical concerns that can hit during pregnancy. Because unlike most women, the Australian journalist had been diagnosed with aggressive bone cancer just 48 hours previously.

That was back in May, and now, after an incredible few months, Halliwell has just welcomed her healthy baby son Tor into the world, after refusing to follow advice from doctors who urged her to terminate her pregnancy to begin treatment.

“I’d love to say I jumped for joy, but my exclamation instead was of the four-letter kind,” the journalist says of the moment a home testing kit confirmed that she was indeed pregnant, just two days after her cancer diagnosis.

“My husband and I were still telling family and close friends of my health challenge when I discovered I was four weeks pregnant. Our first thought was, can we keep the baby?

“Our specialist strongly advised us not to because, without treatment, my slow-growing cancer could possibly turn aggressive and kill me before my pregnancy reached full term.”


Read more: The shocking truth behind women's experiences of maternity leave in Britain


Faced with an incredibly tough decision, and after extensive research, plus a trip to Adelaide to seek out a second opinion, Halliwell decided not to follow the advice of her cancer specialist.

“He recommended I abort, freeze some eggs and immediately begin a relatively new form of oral chemotherapy called tyrosine kinase inhibitors, or TKIs, which I would have to take for at least five years — until I was 35,” she writes.

“Only then could I consider stopping treatment and try to conceive.”

 

Welcome to the world #BabyBiasotto 

A photo posted by Elle Halliwell (@ellehalliwell) on

Given that Halliwell’s cancer, chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML), had been found very early on, and that her husband had stumbled upon case studies of other women diagnosed with the same disease, who had managed to carry their babies full term and survive, the pair decided to take the risk.

Instead of beginning a course of intensive chemotherapy to fight the cancer head-on, Halliwell instead opted for weekly injections of a far gentler drug called Interferon, found to be safe during pregnancy as it does not cross the placenta.

Luckily, both Halliwell and her baby responded well to the side-effects which can often include food aversion, fatigue, depression and flu-like symptoms.

In a bid to hasten her treatment, however, it was decided that the journalist would deliver her baby at 36 weeks, rather than the usual 37.

 

#32weeks #sofarsogood #babybiasotto

A photo posted by Elle Halliwell (@ellehalliwell) on

Taking to Instagram yesterday, Halliwell, who delivered her baby earlier this week following a relatively straightforward six hour labour, wrote:

“Tor Felix Biasotto, you've won my heart. All the sleepless nights, the health challenges and the anxiousness of being a new mum will be a privilege now I have you safe in my arms.”

In a video interview from her hospital bed, the writer revealed that she will now begin chemotherapy immediately.


Read more: Mums celebrate post pregnancy bodies with photos of stretchmarks and stomach scars


“It will be in the next couple of days, sooner than we thought,” she explains. “We were going to have a bit of time before (I started) but my levels have gone up a bit so they are a bit more concerned than they were.

“That is why we had to have him at 36 weeks on the dot and not 37 so that I could start the treatment as soon as possible.

“If I am healthy, then I can keep him healthy. We are both very lucky. All is well that ends well. We are really over the moon.”

Related

fake pregnant.JPG

Woman's genius response to the question 'when will you have kids?'

Fearne Cotton depression

Fearne Cotton opens up about her mental health battle

woman.jpg

“It is vital that MPs vote to end violence against women this Friday”

Comments

More

Are you ready for the ultimate gin and gingerbread masterclass?

Lessons take place in a luxury spa, if that helps to seal the deal…

by Kayleigh Dray
22 Feb 2017

This is officially the best place to live in the UK

And, surprise surprise, it isn’t London…

by Kayleigh Dray
22 Feb 2017

This Is Us star asks viewers to reach out to lost loved ones

“Tomorrow is not promised”

by Kayleigh Dray
22 Feb 2017

Inside the bar where men aren't allowed to approach women

"If a gentleman is lucky enough to be approached by a lady, he speaks to her as if he would speak to his mother”

by Sarah Biddlecombe
22 Feb 2017

Everything you need to know about growing your own vegetables

(Even if you don't have loads of space)

by Sarah Biddlecombe
21 Feb 2017

Calling all vino fans: are you ready for red wine ice cream?

Ice cream and red wine, together at last…

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Feb 2017

Letters penned 100 years apart show unchanging attitude to abortion

"I'm in the family way again, and I'm nearly crazy..."

by Sarah Biddlecombe
21 Feb 2017

Woman opens up about having her grandmother as her bridesmaid

“She’s my best friend”

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Feb 2017

Artist captures how mental illness feels with sketches of houses

“It belongs to our lives and we must not stigmatise it”

by Sarah Biddlecombe
21 Feb 2017

Pair cheese and wine like a pro with this incredible interactive map

Winchester Aged Gouda with a glass of Amarone della Valpolicella, anyone?

by Moya Crockett
21 Feb 2017