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Woman Must Delay Cancer Treatment Until Delivering Twins

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A cancer diagnosis usually means starting treatment right away. Fighting it as soon as possible offers the best chance to successfully get rid of it.

But a Minnesota woman who found out she has thyroid cancer is waiting to get it treated.

Zach and Teri Johnson always wanted twins.

"We went into the ultrasound not even one percent thinking thet we were going to have have twins," Teri said. "It was a huge shock when they told us, 'Oh wait, there's two in there!'"

Their 3-year-old daughter, Scarlett, is pretty thrilled with the idea, too.

"She is incredibly excited to have her brothers. She calls them 'brudders,'" Teri said.

In September, doctors told the couple it would be twin boys. And they already have the names picked out -- Asher and Gabriel.

"They better be boys because that's their names (laughs)," Teri said.

But with exciting, life-changing news came a scare. The same week doctors confirmed boys were on the way, they also confirmed cancer for Teri. A lump in her throat was diagnosed as papillary thyroid cancer.

"Whenever you hear cancer it's, I mean, your thought goes to dark places. But, you know, after we had talked with doctors, we learned that it's the best type of cancer to get," Zach said.

Doctors told Teri and Zach that thyroid cancer is highly treatable. The problem is Teri can't get treatment while she's pregnant. Surgery can cause early labor.

"It's very emotional. But I think I can't it let affect me because I can't be stressed out and worried. I really need to take care of them," she said.

Teri will be full-term on Christmas Day, and the babies could be delivered on New Year's Day. After they're born, Teri will eventually have surgery at the Mayo Clinic to remove the tumor.

Most days she's exhausted, but the small town of Renville has provided encouragement and energy.

"Everyone waves to everyone when you drive to the post office," she said.

A benefit will be held Dec. 6 for the Johnsons at the Renville Community Center. All proceeds will help pay for Teri's cancer treatment. As the couple both celebrates and fears the future, they're thankful that a year of life changes is happening here.

"The words can't even express how thankful we are for the support we're getting. I mean, it's great," Zach said.

Teri's surgery is scheduled for Feb. 17 at the Mayo Clinic.

"We really believe that God didn't give us twins for me to have this cancer and not to do something about it. I'm going to be here, so we are incredibly thankful for everything."

The benefit will take place this Saturday and will also include a volleyball tournament. Click here for more information.

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