Monday, March 16, 2009

Can You Have Chemotherapy While Pregnant?


The answer is yes! You will have people that say no way. You will hear all the terrible things that might possibly happen. Just stop. Breathe. It can be done. It is done much more often than anyone even realizes! The risks of chemotherapy in pregnancy are really mostly unknown. There are possible side effects but there is no study that has been done that can really prove anything for certain.

I read a lot of things that say you must terminate the pregnancy but this is not true. In the right hands you can be successfully treated while pregnant. If you cannot hold off on treatment during the pregnancy which is obviously the first choice, you just need to make sure you find the right oncologist who has some experience. Go to this website: Hope For Two, The Pregnant With Cancer Network. There are survivor stories on there. You can be paired up with a supporter going through the same thing as you. I was paired up with another woman who also had Hodgkin's Lymphoma while pregnant and had chemotherapy. Her daughter at the time was two years old. I cannot begin to tell you the hope it gave me. As my pregnancy progressed and my treatment continued I found more and more positive information out there about women who have been pregnant with cancer. You will get shock and surprise from people who think that you couldn't possible do this without harming the baby but it is done successfully all the time.

I just really want to spread this message because I cannot imagine following the advice of the specialist I saw who thought it was best for me to have a therapeutic abortion based on the unknowns. My life wasn't in danger and there really was no hard core evidence to show we had no hope. I realized we did have hope. In the end my conclusion was that I would fight for me and my baby. I allowed myself to accept the fact that she might not make it, but I knew I had to at least try. I would accept any problems she might have and I would deal with them and love her just as much. I realized quickly that she was doing just fine. She was growing and progressing normally with no trouble at all. I had some preterm contractions at my last two chemotherapy treatments. That is the most significant side effect I had during it all. Now my Gabriella is a healthy 15 month old baby girl.

The point of my blog was always to spread my message, our story. I still see some google searches coming through looking up information on cancer in pregnancy or statistics on this. I want women out there to realize there is absolutely hope. Your baby and YOU can make it through.

16 comments:

Sandee (Comedy +) said...

Your story is an inspiration. I'm sure you have helped spread the word more than you know.

Have a terrific day. :)

MaryAnne said...

I'm so glad you have this blog to share your story!

Meryl said...

hi sandy,
you inspired a lot of people out there. you are such a brave mom and a good model to all.

have a great day.

tashabud said...

Hi Sandy,
I came here through Health Nut Wannabee Mom blog. I'm most touched by your story. It's such a good feeling to hear successful stories from cancer survivors such as yourself.

I'm writing a fiction novel about an author who's dealing with cancer. If you have an interest in reading it and would like to give a first hand opinion whether my accounts are realistic or not, I'd be so stoked.

I also understand if you don't. I'd imagine it's not something you'd want to relive through reading some fiction cancer patient's account.

I shall mosey on, so I'll be able to read more of your posts.

Have a wonderful day,
Tasha

Sandi said...

Tasha I'd been more than happy to read it. Feel free to send it my way :)

Sandi said...

Thank you Meryl!

Sandi said...

Thank you Sandee. I hope I have helped even ONE person and I think of the possibility of one baby who has a chance at life as well because my Gabriella shows that it can be done. And thank you MaryAnne. My blog has really become a great outlet for me and hopefully a place others can find a source of hope.

Jes said...

hi thnks for shring your wnderful story....=) very inspiring =) i still cnt believe you have 4 kids already....look at you, look so young and gorgeous

Chickenista said...

You are so inspirational and brave to include us in your journey. I thank you, getting the word out is one thing, but easing minds thats what makes you awesome!

Chickenista said...

I also must add your baby is too cute! COngratulations!

heidi said...

I am glad that you are spreading the word because until I heard your story I thought it would have been impossible. You are an inspiration to all!

Bill said...

Hi Sandi every time i read your story it is so amazing. Your daughter looks so cute here.

Grog said...

That's a great picture!
You're both so beautiful.

Ferd said...

What a great story this is, Sandi! I am so very happy for you and your family!

I imagine you waited until after the first trimester? I would think the risks to the developing baby go way down after that.

This is a great thing to do for women going through th same angst. Good for you!

Sandi said...

Ferd I did not wait. That's just the thing. I couldn't wait. I was 3 weeks away from the second trimester when I started chemo. I was still in the first trimester and had chemo all the way until 4 weeks before her birth...so it was in my body most of my pregnancy and she was still born healthy. It seems impossible but it isn't. More studies need to be done. We need to know WHY babies can be born to bald mothers who had chemo and the babies have a full head of hair. Perhaps the chemo doesn't get to the baby? These are questions that must be addressed someday...through science.

Jane said...

Gosh Girl KUDOS to you for fighting this disease head on AND having a beautiful Baby girl at the same time.
You are a wonderful role model and a inspiration to all...
Thankyou for wanting to advertise through EC on my blog or I would possibly not found your blog and read your wonderful heart warming story
xxx