Parker County Today April 2017 - Page 39

Courage Beats Cancer: A Story of a Mom’s Courage “There is nothing more important to me as a physician than your cancer treatment. I’ve been in practice for nearly two decades and have had the privilege of telling many patients that there is life beyond cancer. As president of The Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, I want to lead by example, practicing a firm belief that all patients should receive the finest medical care available, with the same concern and compassion as a cherished member of the family.” Ray Page, D.O., Ph.D. President and Medical Oncologist The Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders Brandi Duran, a vibrant 26 year old mother of a little boy was celebrating with her husband a new pregnancy when she noticed an enlarging mass in her neck. She brought this to the attention of her OB and she had a surgical biopsy that revealed Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Brandi had a new cancer diagnosis and was only 14 weeks into her pregnancy! Her baby was only 3 ½ inches and 1 ½ ounces. She had to make the critical decision of terminating her preg- nancy or exposing her baby to very toxic and potentially deadly chemotherapy drugs. She and her husband elected to accept the risks of preserving life and she took chemotherapy during her pregnancy. As her oncol- ogist, I anxiously watched a large mass grow in her neck week by week while we waited for the vital organs of the baby to mature as much as possible before starting chemo. To complicate things, in the middle of her chemotherapy, we ran into a national drug shortage of one of the vital drugs that could cure her cancer. There was no drug to be found anywhere during the shortage. I had to choose an alternative drug in which there were uncertainties whether her probability of cure would be compromised or whether her baby could be harmed or even terminated in pregnancy. Courageous decisions she had to make to accept the unknown. I can attest that towards the end of chemo she delivered a healthy baby boy, Isaac! Chemo was followed by radiation therapy, and she is now 5 years later and considered CURED of her lympho- ma! She was able to get pregnant again and now has 3 kiddos. However, her story does not end here! At the age of 3, her son, Isaac, developed a rare tumor behind his eye. My heart sank deep into my gut. Did I cause this? The pedi- atric oncologists at Cook’s assured me this type of tumor is not associated with chemo exposure. Isaac went through numerous chemotherapy treatments and he is now 6 years old and free of cancer. Schedule appointments by calling 817-596-0637 or online at Support services provided by: To learn more about cancer care issues or to consult with a physician about a cancer diagnosis, contact us at 817.596.0637. Brandi is the most courageous young mom I know. Isaac will make us all laugh at fear. What a tragedy for any child to have to deal with a cancer. But what a blessing for Isaac to have Brandi as a mom that chose to give him life, and nurtured him through his fight with cancer. Being a cancer survivor who conquered cancer herself she was able to offer the insight and empathy to her son that few can give. She had been there and done that. She knew Isaac could do the same. 37