Few moments in life are more precious than the news of bringing new life into this world. Lauren and Steve Perfors were elated to learn that they were pregnant with their first child in January 2018. Only a week later, this young family got a shock when test results showed that Lauren was not only pregnant, but was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer.
“This diagnosis was totally out of the blue,” Lauren described. Having no family history of breast cancer the disease was not top of mind, especially not while in her 30s. Lauren had felt a small lump in her breast, but with a busy life full of home renovations and business ownership, this small warning sign went unchecked for a month. “Before I got the official diagnosis I was very scared. I had done some research and wasn’t sure if I would be able to keep the baby.” Worry became a reality after breast and lymph node biopsies showed positive signs of breast cancer – but with a team of world class physicians at Lutheran Medical Center and National Jewish, along with community and family support, Lauren did not have to let her worries get the best of her. Soon after her official cancer diagnosis, Lauren learned that she and her supportive husband had the tools to fight her cancer and would be able to keep the precious life growing inside of her.
Lauren’s doctors worked to develop a treatment plan that would allow her to fight the disease and keep her child. Dr. Elizabeth Brew, of Surgical Specialists of Colorado, surgically removed her affected breast and after recovering from surgery, Lauren started AC chemotherapy at National Jewish, which she will continue to have once every three weeks through her 2nd trimester. “After beginning chemotherapy I had to slow life down a bit. As a business owner I always operated at a fast pace of work and slowing down was a big change,” she shared. Through the support of her oncologist Dr. Christopher Jones, along with her nurses and staff of the lymphedema clinic at Cancer Centers of Colorado at Lutheran, Lauren never faced her battle alone.
Through her treatment Lauren is staying active and in touch with the activities she loves. An avid runner and volleyball player, Lauren has kept running as a healthy habit both before and after her diagnosis. After learning about the Heroes of Hope race in the City of Wheat Ridge Connections newsletter, Lauren signed up to race with her husband and friends. “I’ve had to learn to ask and accept help through this experience – you cannot go through this alone”. Friends and family got together to host a chemo kick-off party to support Lauren through her tough journey ahead. Guests brought gifts of blankets, tea, chemo-friendly mouthwash and more to help with her recovery. They even raised funds to help support the cost of her care.
“Sharing with my family and friends has been really motivating for me. The outpouring of support has been phenomenal. I have kept everyone informed of my journey though social media – I want to show others that you can do this and that you are not alone”. Through support from the Lutheran Foundation, Lauren and her husband Steve will attend Cancer Con this year and become connected with more survivors and resources in the community.
Having a positive attitude has kept Lauren in good spirits, along with the outpouring support of friends and family both near and far. You can join Lauren at the Heroes of Hope race on June 2, 2018 where she will race alongside friends and husband at six months pregnant. “Steve will be running with a pregnant belly suit – just to even the playing field!” she exclaims. The Perfors family looks forward to welcoming a new baby girl in September 2018, after which time she will finish an additional 12 weeks of chemotherapy and radiation – with plans for a second mastectomy and breast reconstruction in 2019.
Be a Hero of Hope in our community and join Lauren and Lutheran Medical Center Foundation on Saturday, June 2nd for the Heroes of Hope race and National Cancer Survivors Day® Celebration. Be a part of this annual celebration and let our survivors and families know: they are never alone in their fight with cancer. To register or for more event information visit www.LutheranHeroesofHope.org.