News

Monday, January 20, 2014 - New Life Amid Harrowing Times

NORTHSHORE MOM UNDERGOES UNIQUE CANCER TREATMENT
WHILE PREGNANT - RIGHT AT HOME

 

This story appears in the Winter 2014 issue of Heart to Heart, which can be found online by clicking here

COVINGTON - Stacey Moore has a family history of breast cancer.

When the 29-year-old noticed a lump in her breast, her first thought was that she might be pregnant. She dismissed the lump as nothing more than a swollen milk duct, and, soon after, Stacey and her husband, David, learned they were expecting their second child.  

The Moores celebrated the news and resumed planning a 500-square-foot addition to their home, where Stacey operates her sewing business.

Fifteen weeks into her pregnancy, Stacey noticed the lump had become painful. She returned to her doctor, where an ultrasound revealed unusual characteristics in the mass. A biopsy confirmed her fears: She had breast cancer.

“You tell yourself, ‘This can’t be,’” she said.

Resolve quickly replaced despair. Stacey was referred to Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center at St. Tammany Parish Hospital, where oncologist Dr. James Carinder oversaw treatment, which started just days after diagnosis.

Treating cancer during pregnancy is complex. Stacey’s treatment included chemotherapy drugs designed not to cross the placenta, as other procedures such as PET scans remained off limits out of concern for the baby.

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer during pregnancy, affecting about one in 3,000 pregnancies. Detection often is delayed because symptoms such as breast lumps often can be confused with normal bodily changes during pregnancy.

Their positive attitude was a source of strength from the start. David, a pilot for American Eagle, rearranged his work schedule to accompany Stacey for treatment on what he called “mini dates.” The couple described Stacey’s illness as “Mommy’s ouchy” to their 2-year-old daughter, Raegan, who sometimes tagged along to the infusion suite. The family joked and took photographs as David shaved Stacey’s head when her hair started to fall out.

“They were so optimistic and trusted their doctor and each other,” said Jane Freudenberger, a social worker at the Cancer Center. “Other patients marveled at them.”

And there were a few unexpected blessings throughout the experience. Moving forward with their home addition provided a healthy distraction, Stacey said. The couple also was able to see multiple ultrasounds of their baby because of the treatment.

“I held on to those images,” Stacey said.

They shared cupcakes with pink candies inside with the Cancer Center staff to announce the baby was a girl.

Madison Gloria Moore was born at STPH on Sept. 12 at 36 weeks gestation. Four days later, Stacey underwent a lumpectomy, and further tests showed she did not need radiation or additional chemotherapy.

Because of her genetic risk, Stacey will undergo a double mastectomy this year. The young family is thriving, and the humor that sustained them during what David calls their “cancer adventure” is firmly in place.

“You have to laugh when the worst is handed to you,” David said, with Stacey adding, “We make a good team.”

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A full-service acute care facility committed to providing world-class healthcare and the latest technology, St. Tammany Parish Hospital delivers today’s life-improving procedures with the utmost care to area residents with emphasis on wellness, preventive care and disease management close to home. STPH is a self-supporting not-for-profit community hospital; it receives no tax funding. STPH.org