Overcoming Leukaemia During Pregnancy with Jan Pratico

Jan’s  Second Chance Story

Imagine finding out you have Leukaemia when you are still under 30, not only with a three-year-old but while pregnant. The fear, the worry, the what iffs’ yet Jan shares a story that is positive, uplifting and offers hope and inspiration to realize that Cancer is the beginning and not the end. You can listen to the Podcast interview: Here 

Her Second Chance Story

Jan found out she had Leukaemia while she was pregnant and was more concerned about her son than her own health. She went to the doctors’ office for a test for Rubella and the doctor called her the next day and told her they needed to see her right away.

She went to the doctor worried that he would tell her she had a miscarriage because she had one eight months prior. He came in looking like he had lost his best friend, and with tears in his eyes told her they thought she had Leukaemia.

Jan didn’t know what it was and had thought that they were telling her that her baby had Leukaemia. As she began to realize what it meant, she asked him if he was telling her she was going to die and his answer was, “not necessarily”!

This was not very comforting to her. He checked out the baby and told her it was healthy. At this time, there were no cell phones so she went to find a payphone and called her husband. She told him that she had good news and bad news, the good being the baby was fine and the bad,  she may have Leukaemia.

Can you imagine how long that weekend must have been, waiting to see the specialist?

She took the weekend off and went home. Although she tried to act as normal as possible, her thoughts went to what iff’s and she decided she was going to make it through.

She went to the doctor and then the specialist a couple of days later. He confirmed that she had Leukaemia and very coldly, went over her options. He felt the odds were against her and recommended she have an abortion and gave her two weeks to make a decision.

Jan was a strong and courageous young woman and stuck with her belief that she would give birth to a healthy baby. Although the doctor didn’t give her any hope or encouragement she found a way to find it herself. He did a bone marrow aspiration without pain medicine due to the pregnancy. He had told her there was no possibility of having a bone marrow transplant and would need extensive chemotherapy.

She came back two weeks later and he looked at her chart with a grim look on his face and told her she had the terrible, horrible type of Leukaemia. She was 1,000 away from having Acute Leukaemia. He asked her again if she decided about having the baby and she told him she was keeping the baby.

The specialist had a connection to a doctor at Vancouver General Hospital that was a woman and also pregnant that may be able to help her. God is good!

She went home that day and although she was not a religious person, she went on her hands and knees and prayed to God. She tells us she didn’t believe before this but believes that  “There are no Atheists in a foxhole”.  She prayed to God on her knees and said that if there is a God please help her and she promised to help other people with Cancer.

God listened to her and n the way to the doctor she saw a semi truck with a message on the sign that said Cancer can be beaten and she thought, oh my God, that is my sign.

The Turn Around Point

The doctor at Vancouver General Hospital worked with her and she also saw an Oncologist. Her white blood cell count went down every three weeks. Without any treatment, she kept getting better and the Oncologist couldn’t believe it. Jan ended up with diabetes during her pregnancy and her doctor was so worried, Jan kept the mentality she was going to make it and make it she did! Her son was born 7 lbs 8 oz, a perfectly healthy baby boy!! Her white blood cell count had gone down to 15, 000 and she had been positive that they had made a mistake. Jan was positive that everything was ok so when they told her they had to work on her Cancer she felt as if she was kicked by a horse.


She looked at another woman in the hospital that had a baby that was born premature and didn’t know if it would make it. Through tears, she made the decision that she would not feel sorry for herself and that was the last time she did.

Jan began treatment for her Cancer and defied the odds. The first treatment was over in only 5 1/2 weeks as opposed to the 8 weeks that they predicted. Two weeks later she had to go back for treatment for Graft-vs-host disease and the doctor told her to count on two weeks. Jan was out in one week to the day!

She had one more week to spend in the hospital and has not been back since.

One year later Jan kept her promise to God and seen 11 patients. Only one passed away and it was not actually from Cancer.

Jan shared the skills of mental imagery, positive thinking and others heard of her. She was approached by others and asked to help and she witnessed others going into remission because of the skill set they embraced.

A Closer Look

What about you changed the most?

Jan is writing a book called, The Gift Called Cancer. She quit worrying about stupid trivial things and she is grateful for each day that she is alive. She believed in God now and that there is a purpose for her life now. She doesn’t take anything for granted now.

What wisdom have you gained?

  • There is something higher than myself
  • Life is short and you got to make the best of it
  • Positivity
  • Not to care if people don’t like you
  • Family and Friends are what matters most


  • Positive imagery
  • Positive thinking
  • Faith and Truly Believing

One Resources That Helped You Out

There were not any, her Dad did tell her the story of the man walking down the street feeling sorry for himself because he didn’t have any shoes until he saw the man who didn’t have any feet.

What is one thing you are most passionate about today?

  • Decorating her home
  • Her family

Every day is a second chance to talk to people, give them hope, Cancer is just a word ….. if you have gone through it you have gotten a gift and you can really appreciate life.

The book she is writing is, A Gift Called Cancer and you can contact her if you need an uplifting, someone to give you hope and inspiration. You can reach her through her son at AP Photography in the link just below.


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