Spanish mother dies after postponing cancer treatments to save baby

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Barbara Castro Garcia, a journalist who worked for the Diocese of Cordoba in Spain, died on July 4 from advanced cancer after she postponed her treatments to save her recently born baby girl.

Barbara’s husband, Ignacio Cabezas, told the Spanish daily La Gaceta that Barbara gave her life out of love “for her daughter, for me and for God,” and that he wants to now “honor her as she deserves.”

Ignacio, who believes his wife’s sacrifice will witness to the value of human life, recalled that after they were married, “We very much wanted to be parents.”

“I remember the day we found out Barbara was pregnant. We were having breakfast at a restaurant and silly with an inextinguishable joy,” he said.

His life with Barbara was “a dream” that was interrupted by a diagnosis on July 15, 2010, that she was suffering from mouth cancer. 

“Barbara had been complaining for some time about a mouth sore. She finally went to the dentist, who referred us to another specialist. There we were told it did not look good,” Ignacio recalled.

Because the tests and proposed treatments were a danger to life of her unborn child, and she only underwent a mild procedure on her tongue, “which caused her pain that she never thought could exist.”

“My wife said from the beginning that our daughter would be born on the day God wanted her to, and not one day earlier,” he said.

A week after baby Barbara was born in November of 2010, a mouth surgeon began treating her mother again, as the pain had intensified. The doctor said he was surprised that she had lasted so long. “I am going to do what I can, but the situation is very serious,” he told her.

After the operation, Barbara was left without a tongue and only part of her jaw. “Since then she was never able to drink a single glass of water and she had to use a feeding tube,” Ignacio said.

In a letter to his wife, Ignacio wrote: “I sensed we were going to suffer a lot, that it would be very hard and probably very long, but I also assured you that, no matter how hard it was, afterwards I would make sure you were the happiest person in the world, that all the effort was worth it, that we would enjoy our daughter and that we would have to prepare ourselves for an uncertain and horrible period.”

“We will win, my love, we will win! Now we have to face the most difficult part: finding meaning to everything that has happened,” he wrote.

Ignacio said that now he “feels a strength of faith that I had never felt before. I feel invincible...God is holding on to me and he doesn’t want to let me go."

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