A Long Island woman who was diagnosed with cancer while pregnant has been praised for her remarkable courage in battling the disease while carrying her baby daughter.
Jennifer Murphy was four months into her pregnancy when she was hit with a piece of life-altering news — she had stage three breast cancer.
Initially, medics believed that the lump she had discovered was caused by blocked milk ducts. However, after developing swollen lymph nodes, Murphy was convinced that there was something wrong and pushed for a sonogram, which led to a biopsy. Before she knew it, the diagnosis was clear, and Murphy was about to face an excruciating decision.
Initially, doctors advised Jennifer to terminate her pregnancy so that she could engage in a fully-fledged chemotherapy treatment plan. However, after meeting with breast surgeon Dr. Karen Kostroff and medical oncologist Dr. Jane Carleton, it became clear that another option might be viable. Crucially, the new plan of action meant Murphy could keep her baby.
“She needed to be treated properly for her own health, but also very much desired to continue her pregnancy and deliver her child,” Kostroff told ABC-7 in a press conference.
“We were able to safely treat Jen, that she could have a healthy pregnancy, not compromise her cancer care, and deliver this gorgeous baby girl,” Dr. Jane Carelton added.
Incredibly, after eight weeks of specialized chemotherapy, Jennifer and her husband, welcomed their healthy baby girl into the world. Murphy said they named her “Hope” in honor of the faith her unborn daughter gave to her during the most grueling treatment days.
But Murphy’s trials were not over. Shortly after giving birth, doctors found that she was BRCA II positive, which means she is at high risk of the cancer returning. With a baby daughter and not wanting to take any risks, Murphy decided to have a double mastectomy and was given the all-clear in September 2018.
“This journey has been crazy,” Jennifer said. “The fact that I’m sitting here today, with hair.. and my daughter is 18 months old.. it’s a miracle.”
During the throes of cancer treatment, Murphy recalled a wonderful moment of hope when looking at a sonogram of her unborn daughter.
“There was this moment when I had a sonogram — I was bald at the time — we looked at the sonogram picture and I said, ‘what’s that fuzziness?’ and my OBGYN said, ‘that’s your daughter’s hair,'” she explained.
“At the same time that I was bald, she had a full head of hair…such a miracle..as my body was basically trying to kill me, I was also growing another human inside me.”
Praising Jennifer’s “amazing” courage, Kostroff added how the family “put all their energy into getting optimal care, so that she can be a mommy forever and have a healthy baby girl.”
Amazing! Please pray for this brave family as they move forward.