Mom is diagnosed with aggressive cancer that occurred during her pregnancy
December 28, 2016
One mother shares the story of how her "not uncommon" pregnancy turned into one of the most terrifying experiences of her life, according to Women's Health.
Kathleen Lombardo and her husband had struggled to get pregnant for over a year, so when she discovered she was expecting, they were both ecstatic. Despite a diagnosis of gestational diabetes and a bout of flu during her pregnancy, everything went as expected, she wrote in Women's Health in 2014.
Lombardo said the first sign that something wasn't right came moments after the birth of her son, when the nurse noticed that she had two amniotic sacs. The nurses sent the placenta off to pathology and Lombardo promptly forgot about it, she said.
Four weeks postpartum things took a turn for the worse. She began bleeding heavily and had severe stomach cramps. Doctors told her nothing was wrong and refused to see her until her six-week checkup. Lombardo said she felt like something was wrong but trusted the doctors knew what was best, according to Women's Health.
At that six-week checkup Lombardo received life-changing news. She had developed choriocarcinoma, a pregnancy-induced cancer that affects roughly 1 in 500,000 people, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Doctors think she may have developed a molar pregnancy shortly before, or during her successful pregnancy, which developed into cancerous cells.
Lombardo says she was lucky. "My cancer metastasized to my lung. I was lucky because that made me only stage III. If left unchecked, the cancer can spread to the liver, lungs and eventually, the brain," she wrote in Women's Health.
Lombardo underwent 13 rounds of chemotherapy and was unable to touch her son for weeks due to the heavy-duty chemo drugs she was on, she said in Women's Health.
Now Lombardo encourages women to take control of their health, "If you ... feel what I felt — that instinct, that feeling that you couldn't put your finger on — please, tell your doctors that you need to be seen immediately. Don't assume that a quick phone call to an on-call doctor or nurse will suffice if you are sure something is wrong," she said.