NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — This Thanksgiving weekend has given one New York family something very special to be thankful for.
As CBS 2’s Dr. Max Gomez reported, just weeks after Jamie Isenstein and her husband, Paul Hogan, found out they were having a baby, the expectant mom learned she had breast cancer. But she managed to beat the disease and keep the baby.
In July, the couple welcomed their first child, Raizel.
“She’s healthy. She’s starting to grab things. She’s smiling a lot. She likes the camera,” Hogan said.
But the devastating news of Isenstein’s cancer came just two months into her pregnancy.
“I was a basket case pretty much the whole time,” Isenstein said. ”It was nerve-wracking. I was really nervous.”
“It feels like the worst news you could possibly get,” Hogan added.
Isenstein and Hogan had a difficult choice to make. Isenstein could have undergone surgery and chemotherapy right away, which would have increased her chances of survival, but would have meant she would lose her baby.
Alternately, Isenstein had the option of waiting until her second trimester, when it would be safer for her baby.
“We decided to go for it,” Isenstein said, “and I didn’t feel like I really had an option.”
Breast cancer occurs about once in every 3,000 pregnancies, and studies show chemotherapy can be a safe and effective treatment.
But Dr. Alyssa Gillego of Beth Israel Hospital said there are no guarantees.
“The patient who gets chemotherapy during pregnancy is a high-risk patient, and she has to be monitored very closely,” Gillego said. “The baby has to be monitored very closely.”
Isenstein not only worried how the toxic drugs could hurt her baby, but also worried she wouldn’t be around to see her daughter grow up.
“What if the chemotherapy didn’t work and then I had a brand new baby, and then I die?” she said. “I was scared that that would happen.”
After a mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation, Istenstein is now cancer free. And her little girl is perfectly healthy
But like any cancer survivor, Istenstein must be monitored with at least annual checkups for the rest of her life. And Raizel must be monitored for learning or developmental problems.
But it is still an amazing, happy story for which they are all thankful.
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