Difficult decision during pregnancy - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Difficult decision during pregnancy

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Jamie Isenstein and her husband, Paul Hogan, are counting their blessings this Thanksgiving holiday. In July, they welcomed a baby girl, Raizel.

"She's healthy. She's starting to grab things. She's smiling a lot. She likes the camera," Paul Hogan said.

But two months into the pregnancy the couple got devastating news-- Jamie had breast cancer.

"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 said.

They had a difficult choice to make: surgery and chemotherapy right away, which would increase Isenstein's chances of survival, but she would lose her baby; or she could wait until her second trimester when it would be safer for her


"We decided to go for it and I didn't feel like I really had an option," she said.

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 Medical Center says there are no guarantees.

"The patient who gets chemotherapy during pregnancy is a high risk patient and she has to be monitored very closely, the baby has to be monitored very closely," Gillego said.

Isenstein not only worried how the toxic drugs could hurt her baby, she 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? I was scared that that would happen," Isenstein said.

After a mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation, Isenstein is now cancer-free and her little girl is perfectly healthy.

Doctors could not treat Isenstein with the radiation she needed until after her baby was born.

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