Having breast cancer, while pregnant: A survivor's story

Brooke White was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer while pregnant with her first child.

With October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, one woman is sharing her unique story in hopes of spreading courage, strength and health.

Brooke White, 37, received the greatest news of her life last year that she was finally pregnant, after two years of trying to have a baby. Then, six months later came the bombshell. She found out she had an aggressive form of stage-four breast cancer.

"I didn't have a lump,” she said, “I always checked my breast and thought that since I didn't have a lump, I didn't have breast cancer. One breast was darkening and the other was lightning, the nipple was inverting."

Brooke said she also had a rash on one of her breasts. She was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer, which is rare, often affecting young women, with none of the traditional symptoms.

The first thought that came to Brooke's mind, ‘Is this going to affect my unborn baby?’

"As a mom, you want to protect your children and to have cancer and to feel like it’s a possibility, that could be the case,” she said, tearing up, "My husband and I were just clinging to our faith, because we didn't know what else to do."

Her doctor, Debra Patt, immediately began a round of chemotherapy treatments, assuring her that her baby will be fine.

"For the chemotherapy drugs, we tend to use for women with breast cancer, those drugs are safely given, after the first trimester is completed,” said Dr. Patt with Texas Oncology.

Brooke was unsure she was going to survive and live to see her baby, so she began writing a heartfelt diary for her unborn daughter, who she had nicknamed ‘Peanut.’

On one of the entries, she writes:

Date: Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Hi sweet girl :)

Tonight we went to Nana and Grandpa's for taco salad dinner! Yummo :) We also packed up to stay over night just in case a tornado hit while we were over...

We are in awe of your beauty and amazing strength... Already... Can't wait to see you grow into a beautiful, godly young woman and we love you soooo much peanut!

(And yes, I usually cry when I type these emails to you... I just want so much to be around when you read them and pray every day for the honor of doing so! I hate that you have to deal with Mama having Cancer & being sick... Breaks my heart and I pray you will ALWAYS know how deeply I love you and that will never change peanut. Whether I am with you here on earth or watching from Heaven...I will always be in your heart.)

Xoxo

Love You Always & Forever,

Mama

Today, Brooke is cancer free, grateful to be on earth with her daughter, Bella.

After several rounds of chemotherapy treatments and a double mastectomy, she takes it day by day, feeling blessed to be with her family.

"Cancer changes your life, and everyone says that it does, but until you actually have cancer, you don't realize that it truly does change your life and every moment is truly a gift,” said Brooke.

Both Brooke and Patt urge pregnant women to get tested and to see a doctor if they have any unusual symptoms on their breasts.

(© 2016 KVUE)


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