Lindsey Motley (with daughter Lilla, 2 y/o) // mother & wife (to husband Jay) // photographer & creative // lover of the arts & animals // lost to colorectal cancer

(diagnosed April 8th, 2013, at 26 y/o; left us February 23, 2016, at 29 y/o)

“My colorectal cancer diagnosis was during a colonoscopy while I was 17 weeks pregnant. I have exhausted all standard treatments for my cancer, & it’s specific cancer genetics. Earlier this year I enrolled in an immunotherapy trial at Duke; however, just a few weeks ago, I had to jump ship because I had progression/spreading. I’ve found another trial at Duke, which I will start this week on Wednesday.

“…[Being a first-time mother with the diagnosis] certainly isn’t the pretty picture I dreamed it would be. In a lot of ways, it’s been so much better. It’s forced me to cherish many, many moments that I probably would’ve otherwise zoomed right past. It’s encouraged me to be more present, which in return helps me manage our day-to-day routine, emotions & priorities.

“…I do think that every person’s diagnosis is different, & certainly each pregnancy is different. It’s a path that I would choose for no one to have to endure. For me, however, it gave me SUCH strength – strength that I don’t think I would have had otherwise, without Lilla inside me. I felt such excitement & responsibility that I truly feel like this was the way that I was supposed to have become a mother & a survivor.

“Lilla has started to understand lately that ‘Mommy doesn’t feel good.’ While I’m glad she’s learning about other people’s feelings, & how to be empathetic, it also makes me a bit sad that my illness is starting to impact her daily routine in a way that she is aware of it. I do (one day) want her to know about the whole experience that we’ve gone through – & continue to go through – especially about the lengths that we took to make sure she made it here safely. I’ve made a book about my pregnancy, which includes all of my blog posts & updates through the time that she was born. It’s pretty awesome, & something I cherish myself. I hope that one day she will be able to read it & understand just how much she is loved.

“…It’s pretty scary to be given drugs that we basically don’t know what exactly they’ll do inside my body. I’ve never been more hopeful, that’s for sure. It’s definitely just an uneasy feeling of anxiousness in comparison to the standard treatments.

“For someone looking to participate in a clinical trial, I would first tell them to rank trials by location, & how much they’re going to effect your quality of life away from home, family, work, etc. Second, I would rank them by any kind of data or promise they show. They’re often very early studies that don’t really have much data to back them up. I put a lot of trust in my oncologists & care teams at each of the facilities that I’ve been treated in. Get opinions, but eventually you just have to go with your gut feeling. There isn’t a right or wrong choice in the clinical trial world, unfortunately. It’s a difficult decision.”

CLICK HERE to donate to Lindsey’s Leap of Faith Overlook in the Cancer Survivors Park