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Chemomamas…Where you at?

July 29, 2010

When I was pregnant with chemobaby, we met with a genetic counselor to discuss testing options and benefits. One of the things we asked about was getting connected locally with someone who had cancer while pregnant. The counselor tried to locate someone in our local area, but she was unable to locate what I now refer to as a “chemomama.” I was interested to connect with someoone who had experienced this strange set of circumstances I had found myself in. I knew pregnancy during cancer occurred in about 1 in 1,000 pregnancies, but I didn’t think that finding a local resource was going to be that hard. Disappointed, I did what most people do these days–I joined an online organization to get “connected.”

Hope for Two, The Pregnant with Cancer Network, gladly connected me with a long-distance support woman. Although we didn’t correspond that often, I can definitely say that the support was helpful. She once sent a picture to me of herself with her newborn baby. There she was in the hospital, smiling, happy, beaming with joy, and…bald. That picture gave me so much inspiration. I thought, “I can do this. I can survive chemo and birth this baby.” And of course…I did. Thank you, Lacey. I am currently signed up in the network to be matched with a chemomama and I can’t wait to return the favor some day.

A few months ago, I did find a more “local” chemomama, and it happened in a bizarre kind of way. I was working with a mortgage broker to obtain the mortgage for our recently purchased house. Somehow the pregnant with cancer thing came up in conversation during the course of completing the mortgage documents. My broker proceeded to tell me that, earlier that month, he had attended a gymnastics event with his daughter in Tallahassee and the key note speaker was a woman who had been pregnant with cancer. He gave me the name of the event and I immediately went to work doing research trying to figure out how to get in touch with this Floridian chemomama.

After e-mailing a young man that had written an article about the event, my e-mail address was passed from person to person to person, until finally…I found her (virtually anyway). We have since traded several e-mails and chatted over the phone. She receives her treatments and check ups at Moffitt and we hope to meet when she comes to Tampa for her next visit.

So, I’ve realized that, the more I talk about cancer, the more “connections” I make. I have always said that in a strange way, cancer made me appreciate what I have in my life. I frequently say that, when you face the prospect of death at an early age like I did, other worries in life seem irrelevant. Every day is a great day to be alive. Getting cancer was a wake up call, a gift, it gave me a renewed sense of purpose. I know all of that probably sounds like crazy talk, but I vow to share my experience with as many people as I can and touch as many lives as I can. The way I see it, I’m just paying it forward from all of the wonderful people that I have met along the way in this crazy journey.

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8 comments

  1. Hi.. i am a “chemomama” too. Diagnosed in March at 13 weeks pregnant. I live in Framingham, Massachusetts and i’m 35 yrs old. Her2+ IDC. I had 2 lumpectomies and 4 doses of AC. Now at 33 weeks I am actually in hospital room waiting for my c section- scheduled for friday!! I was supposed to deliver in 2 weeks but I think this little girl hhad enough and wants out! Your blog has helped me know there are others out there who made it work! thanks!


    • Hi Rebecca…so glad to hear from you. I wish you a safe, uncomplicated delivery on the arrival of your daughter. You are a heroine, and your daughter will be someday as well. Best of luck to you!


  2. you go with that crazy talk, chemomama! we’re all just glad you’re still here to do it!

    XO, Dina


    • Thanks…you and all my “girls” made my journey so much easier. I had the greatest cheerleading squad EVER!


  3. You need to pass out tissue with your blogs sometimes. That one got me a little. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your story with us all. It definitely helps me to put life “in perspective” sometimes. Love ya!

    Anna


    • Thanks for following Anna! My girlfriends have been an integral part of my journey. Thanks for being there.


  4. So glad you are finding contacts. I now know that I had cancer while I was pregnant, but I wasn’t diagnosed until I was breast feeding. I connected with the young survivors coalition through my local gilda’s club. I can’t say enough good things about both organizations. And in addition to support and understanding, we have a lot of fun together too, and are able to help each other out with child rearing and child care issues too. best wishes.


  5. Hi! I just wanted to make contact because our club is so small and exclusive. Congratulations on making it through an incredible journey. Mine was three years ago and very similar. When you have time, check out baldfatandcrazy.com 🙂



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