Many of you may remember the story of Lauren and Steve Perfors from our 2018 Heroes of Hope blog. Steve and Lauren were over the moon after learning that they were pregnant with their first child, and this happiness merged with the unknown when they learned a week later that Lauren had breast cancer.
There being no family history of breast cancer, this diagnosis was a shock to Lauren and her family. With help from her team of doctors at Lutheran Medical Center and National Jewish and relentless support from her husband, Lauren was ready to fight for herself and her soon-to-be family of three. Lauren had a mastectomy at Lutheran to remove her affected breast and started chemotherapy at National Jewish, which she had every three weeks through her 2nd trimester. Even through her treatments, Lauren and Steve’s main focus was on the health of their unborn daughter.
Lauren explained what it was like to go through her cancer treatments while pregnant, “Being scared was the hardest part. She was so small, and we wanted her to be strong enough.” After her 2nd trimester, treatments were stopped to ensure the health of their baby girl.
Lauren and Steve had the opportunity to participate in the 2018 Heroes of Hope race, while Lauren was six months pregnant and on chemo, with Steve wearing a pregnancy belly in support of his warrior wife. “Being able to participate at Heroes of Hope was a big highlight for Steve and me. It was nice to just do something fun together that wasn’t focused on my treatment or at a doctor appointment. We had a great time!” Just two short months after the race in June 2018, Lauren was ready for the birth of their little girl.
“The delivery was amazing. I had great communication with my doctors and they were ready for me when I arrived,” Lauren remembers. She was induced early as doctors were worried about the baby’s small size and slowing growth. “My OB, Madeline Comneck, was incredible. My labor progressed for so long that Dr. Comneck’s shift was over, but she came back to deliver my baby even after her shift.” On August 14, 2018 Lauren gave birth to a healthy baby girl named Adelyn. Born weighing 5 pounds, doctors ran extra tests to ensure she was healthy and did not need to stay in the neonatal intensive care unit. Adelyn’s bilirubin levels did rise, requiring her to receive phototherapy, but overall is a happy, healthy smiley baby.
After Adelyn’s birth, Lauren’s care team re-started intensive treatments to fight her cancer. Two weeks after giving birth, Lauren started another three months of weekly chemotherapy, and three weeks after birth had another surgery to place an expander. “Being a mom made going through treatment again easier because I had Adelyn. My baby was healthy, and it was her and my family that I was fighting for.”
Lauren will have an additional surgery in late February to remove and reconstruct her other breast. While her journey is not over yet, life at home is slowly getting back to normal. “Everyone has been great — my family, my surgeons, my care team. We are progressing on our home renovations and I’m really looking forward to getting back to some of my favorite sports,” Lauren said, reflecting back on her journey to date. She will need to continue hormone therapy for 10 years after treatment, with a small break in a few years to try for a second child. “At the end of the day, after everything we have been through, Steve and I have no regrets because in the end we have Adelyn and that is what is most important.”
Join other cancer survivors like Lauren, along with families and runners at the Heroes of Hope race on June 1, 2019. This year’s Heroes of Hope Race and National Cancer Survivors Day celebration will feature the new Survivor Experience, specifically for survivors and their families to enjoy on race day. Check out the website to learn more about the day’s events and how you can register at www.LutheranHeroesofHope.org.