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.