Diagnosed during Pregnancy
There was some discussion on another thread about creating a tagged post about breast cancer diagnosis during pregnancy.
I was diagnosed last August when I was 12 weeks pregnant. I went through surgery (a lumpectomy) when I was 15 weeks pregnant and completed four cycles of AC starting at 20 weeks. When I finished AC at 32 weeks, I chose to wait and deliver the baby at term before continuing with treatment.
My daughter was born perfectly healthy a few days before her due date in March 2011. She is an absolute joy and has made every minute of the rest of my treatment easier, despite how tired I was.
I had a difficult labor related to the baby's position (she was posterior, and we needed a vacuum assist after four hours of pushing) so my team decided to give me three weeks to recover. At that point, I started 12 weekly doses of taxol with herceptin. I will continue to do herceptin every three weeks for a year.
I then did 33 days of radiation. Halfway through radiation I started daily tamoxifen.
I had to stop breastfeeding my daughter when starting chemo. Had I just done chemo, I would have "pumped and dumped" for three months, as crazy as that sounds! But Herceptin precludes breastfeeding for over a year. So, I use donated breast milk for my daughter, which I get directly from other women, through friends and through two organizations -- Human Milk for Human Babies and Milkshare. Today my baby is 6.5 months old and she has only ever been fed breastmilk (well, and now starting some solids).
There is an organization, Hope for Two the Pregnant with Cancer Network that provides support to women diagnosed with cancer during their pregnancies. They have a maternal fetal medicine doctor, Dr. Elyce Cardonick, who runs a registry of women in this situation and who can provide medical advice to patients.
When I was diagnosed, I was so scared and devastated. But then I started hearing from women who had been through this, and it gave me hope.
If anyone finds themselves in this situation, please feel free to contact me.
I know there are other women here who have been through this and I hope they will chime in with their stories too!