Unsinkable Spirit

As the drugs Jesse Brown needed flew into her arm, she knew she would likely be hit once again with unimaginable fatigue once she got home. The fatigue was preferable compared to the high fever and nausea she also had experienced after her sessions in the infusion center of the Genesis Cancer Care Institute.

If she is lucky, she says, it will only be the fatigue this time.

But as she received the medicine she needed without having to leave the Quad Cities, Brown was upbeat and positive about the incredible ride of life she had taken over those past two years.

She had accepted the worst. The sarcoma could have taken her life before the 31-year-old had really had a chance to live most of it.

"Once you get past that; that you know you could die...you look at things much differently than before. Every day you survive is a new challenge. I know the worst, now I'm just trying to go on with my life,'' Brown explained.

Brown had inspirational help in her fight. Molly Brown was born in August 2006, about nine months after Jesse was diagnosed with cancer.

A Miracle Baby

Less than two weeks after she first was told she had sarcoma, a cancer of the tissue around bones, her right leg was removed just above the knee to possibly impede spread of the cancer. There was no reason to think she might already be pregnant. The doctors asked before the surgery but it seemed impossible to Jesse Brown. So impossible that she answered an emphatic, "no" when asked by the doctors.

"We had been trying for four years. We had done everything we could to have a baby," Jesse Brown explained. "I had pretty much accepted that I wouldn't be able to have a baby. I thought, there was no way I could be pregnant.''

But she was going to have a baby. The day she had the surgery removing much of her right leg at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Brown was already pregnant. Ten days later, she got the news.

"My clothes didn't seem to be fitting right. My first thought was, 'you've got to be kidding me.' After all, we had gone through before to get pregnant and now, when I have cancer, I'm pregnant,''' Jesse Brown recalled.

The baby created a dilemma. If she delayed her own chemotherapy treatment while she was pregnant, would she possibly be limiting her chances of long-term survival?

"You wonder if you are possibly shortening your own life by delaying treatment. Do you take some risk with your own life to have the baby? The doctors said it wouldn't make a difference to delay the treatment."

There was only one acceptable solution for the Browns. The baby Jesse and Robert Brown wanted so badly would be born. It would be a miracle baby, born on Aug. 23 2007 at Genesis, that would be named Molly.

The Unsinkable Molly Brown

"I didn't know about the person Molly Brown at the time, or that she survived the Titanic. I just wanted a tough girl's name," Jesse Brown said. "Molly doesn't understand what's going on with me now, but I've had to think about the possibility that I could pass away when Molly is still very young. But there was really no decision. I enjoy her every day I'm alive.''

As she received her infusion treatment at Genesis, it was Molly's face that was smiling back at her on the laptop computer Jesse used to help break the monotony of treatments.

Jesse Brown was grateful that she didn't have to travel to Iowa City or Chicago to get the treatment she needed. The same treatment was available from the Genesis Cancer Care Institute.

"I can't say enough about the nurses and all the people here at Genesis. I can't imagine having to be away from my family for even a day by having to get treatment somewhere other than Genesis,'' Jesse Brown said. "If you have to be in this situation, I'm glad Genesis is here."

The comprehensive cancer-fighting weapons available from the Genesis Cancer Care Institute would not be available without public support. Support of the Genesis Foundation helps Genesis provide the latest technology to heal young mothers like Jesse Brown and helps advance the educations of nurses who treat cancer patients.

To find out how you can help, call the Foundation at 563-421-6865 or go to the Give page of our website.

Make a Gift

Support the Genesis Foundation today by making a gift.

Donate here

Our Locations

Office Hours:

Monday through Friday
8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

  • Facebook
  • YouTube
Connect