The birth of a baby is often considered one of the happiest and most cherished moments in parents’ lives; however, for a first-time mom named Kat, the joy of creating a life was soon overshadowed by a sudden fight to save her own.
After giving birth to a healthy baby boy, Kat suffered from persistent nausea accompanied by severe abdominal pain and cramping. “I thought that these things were a normal part of the post-partum experience,” she says.
Several weeks later, Kat started experiencing an abnormal amount of vaginal bleeding. She called her OB-GYN to schedule an appointment, but she was told that vaginal bleeding after childbirth was a common occurrence, and she was instructed to wait two weeks until her six-week follow-up visit. During that time, Kat continued to experience the same concerning symptoms.
When Kat went in for her appointment, the attending midwife performed a pelvic exam and noticed that Kat’s uterus felt out of place. Kat was sent to the hospital for an ultrasound and further testing.
Less than a week later, Kat was diagnosed with stage 3 choriocarcinoma, a rare and fast-growing cancer that forms in a woman’s uterus. Choriocarcinoma can occur after a normal pregnancy, but it usually happens as a result of a molar pregnancy — a type of gestational trophoblastic disease whereby a fertilized egg fails to develop into a fetus and becomes an abnormal tissue growth instead. While these tumors are typically benign, they can become cancerous if they are not removed at an early stage. Choriocarcinoma may also be triggered by a miscarriage, abortion or ectopic pregnancy, in which a fertilized egg implants outside of the womb.
Kat’s doctors speculated that she had a molar pregnancy that formed into a malignant mass before, during or after her pregnancy with her son.
Since Kat’s aggressive cancer had metastasized to her lungs, she needed to treat it aggressively. She underwent a dilation and curettage (D&C) procedure to surgically excise the tumor from her uterus, and she was administered 13 rounds of chemotherapy and two blood transfusions to combat her resulting liver failure. Due to the toxic chemicals in her body, she was unable to touch her son for many months.
Following her final chemotherapy treatment, Kat underwent a full-body scan, which revealed that all of the nodules on her lungs were gone.
Kat is currently in remission, and she has been cancer-free for almost a year. She continues to document her experiences as both a mother and a cancer survivor on her blog site.
To help Kat and her husband get some well-deserved rest and relaxation, The Doctors surprise them with an all-expenses-paid vacation to Bora Bora!