In May 2007, Kristi, of Lewis Center, discovered a lump while performing her monthly self-breast exam. Her gynecologist and a breast specialist confirmed her suspicious lump, diagnosing her with breast cancer on the spot.
At the time of her diagnosis Kristi was planning a move with her husband to Columbus from Cleveland. In the time between her diagnosis and the move, Kristi visited a Cleveland-area hospital where specialists told her that it would take weeks to receive care. When she mentioned that she thought she may be pregnant, she was told that she would most likely have to terminate her pregnancy to accommodate for her breast cancer treatment.
“They were very quick to tell me that I wouldn’t have any other choice – the easy answer,” Kristi says.
Kristi didn’t waste any time calling The James and was referred to Dr. Charles Shapiro, director of breast medical oncology.
Soon after her first appointment with Dr. Shapiro, Kristi confirmed she was pregnant.
“Once I found out, I called Dr. Shapiro again and he told me to come straight to his office, so I did, my whole family in tow, to help sort out my options. From that day on, Dr. Shapiro has remained instrumental in the decisions that I’ve made about my pregnancy,” Kristi says.
Dr. Shapiro, Dr. William Farrar and the rest of her team crafted a personalized treatment plan for Kristi, starting her chemotherapy in her second trimester to protect the baby. Kristi had a mastectomy in her 29th week of pregnancy and delivered a healthy baby girl at 31 weeks.
Following the birth of her daughter, Kristi promptly continued with 14 additional chemo treatments, eight weeks of radiation and took the cancer-fighting drug Herceptin for a year.
After completing her treatment on December 23, 2008, Kristi, now 29, visits The James for three-month well checks, rotating between her medical and surgical oncologists.
Kristi is incredibly grateful for not only the treatment she received at The James but for her physicians’ and surgeons’ compassion and support of her pregnancy.
“I thought terminating my pregnancy was my only option, but Dr. Shapiro at The James told me that I had choices and that we could work my treatment around it. I’m even thinking about getting pregnant again.
“The thing I love most about The James is that their team encourages you to live your life and stick to your agenda,” Kristi says. “Your physicians want you to live your life while they’re trying to save it at the same time.”
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