9 Months Pregnant and….

Imagine you are about to deliver your first baby and breast cancer charges into your life and changes everything….It is hard to describe this survivor’s incredible ordeal in a few paragraphs. Despite the arrival of breast cancer and her struggles, two beautiful daughters were delivered to this young couple and to the world.

When I asked this survivor to take part in this project, she presented me with four pages single spaced. She had been reluctant to talk much about her experiences and she explains why at the end. I think the floodgates opened for her in a cathartic way. I have put together excerpts of her story here.

IN HER OWN WORDS: One hot August night I was laying on the couch watching TV. I was due with my first baby in about 4 weeks. I randomly touched my left boob, you know as we girls do sometimes. I instantly felt a lump. I called my husband over…. It was a happy time, we were newlyweds and we were preparing for our baby as cautiously as we could since I had a miscarriage earlier. I was 28 years old.

The biopsy process alone is an unpleasant one but when you’re 9 months pregnant and can’t lay on your back or at all for a long period of time without moving was torture enough….I was sitting in an empty baby room when the call came…. He said I’m sorry but it’s cancer.

I met Dr. Kehoe. He moved quickly. I sat in the packed waiting room with my mom, 9 months pregnant, getting all kinds of stares from everyone. Michelle came out and called me in. She brought us into her office and said I want you to wait in here, this must be a lot for you to deal with right now, the last thing you need is to feel uncomfortable with everyone staring at you.

Two days later on Sept 12, 2012 we went to the hospital to get induced for labor. I delivered on Saturday, Sept 15. Nothing else mattered in those moments after birth but holding my little girl for the first time. In the 2 days that followed I was able to enjoy motherhood for the first time but not without the occasional reminder every few hours when the nurse would ask me why I’m not breast feeding or going to the breast feeding classes. They didn’t know.

I was in the operating room with Dr. Kehoe 11 days later. Of course all the nurses kept asking if I’m pregnant since I clearly still had a belly. I kindly kept saying I just gave birth. After congratulating me I was seeing their faces when they realized why I’m there getting this cancer surgery. I felt like everyone was feeling my pain along with me….

What followed was a long ordeal of chemotherapy and more surgeries. It will take a book to describe all that happened, But this happened while being home with my daughter. Taking care of her, the pain wasn’t so bad because she helped me focus on other things. She was a really good baby, like she knew that mommy was in pain and she didn’t want to be a pain as well….

Eventually, the worst was behind me. I started my own business with an online kids boutique as well as my main job and passion of Interior Design. After consistently working for about 4 months I got the go ahead from my oncologist to have another baby. On January 8, 2016 I was induced to have my second daughter.

To say that the last five years haven’t been challenging would be a lie. But to say that this is something that I don’t talk about on a regular basis would not be a lie. Breast cancer doesn’t define me as a person and life goes on. I hope.