After Kathleen Lombardo gave birth to her first child, she was happy, but there was another feeling deep down in her soul. She felt like something had gone horribly wrong with her pregnancy and her baby’s birth.
She felt a sense of impending doom, but the doctors and nurses assured her that this was an all too common feeling that new mothers went through, and that everything was okay!
Kathleen shares her story in Women’s Health saying that a few weeks later she woke up one morning with a horrible stomachache. She knew something was wrong as she saw that there was bleeding, but the doctors still told her that it was just her period and that it was “not uncommon.”
When they called her in for her six-week follow-up, they saw that something horrible was happening and sent her immediately to the hospital for an ultrasound. She had an incredibly rare form of cancer.
Please follow Kathleen’s blog to keep up with her life.
If you would like to know more on this rare form of cancer, please check out mymolarpregnancy.com for more information.
While Kathleen is safe and free of cancer, unfortunately there are others out there who are still in the fight for their lives. Crystal Kopsic had the same rare cancer as Kathleen, and while Kathleen’s went away, Crystal’s had a very rare relapse that is even more rare than the disease itself. As she goes through chemo, please keep her in your prayers, and after reading Kathleen’s story below, please check out Crystal’s!
And please keep reading her heart-stopping story of survival below!
After the ultrasound, Kathleen found out that she had developed choriocarcinoma, a rare form of cancer that occurs during molar pregnancies. The cancer had spread to her lungs as stage 3, but luckily it had yet to move to her brain or other vital organs.
Kathleen had to fight this aggressive cancer with even more aggressive chemo treatments. After 13 sessions, two blood transfusions and a failing liver she still pushed through. But due to the aggressive chemotherapy her doctor actually told her that she couldn’t touch her son. “They said that I was toxic,” she says in Women’s Health, “so the only one in my house that would touch me was my dog. It was a pretty dark time.”
But thankfully, Kathleen had an amazing support system. Hundreds of supporters, friends, loved ones and even strangers showed up for her benefit. They sent her loving and inspiring cards and supportive messages. They brought hot meals and cared for her children all so she could focus on healing and getting better! The Sussex county paramedic association, along with Jay Shine and Russell Hooper, threw the family a special benefit to help raise money to pay for traveling costs, co-pays, and living expenses. Finally, thanks to the tireless work of her physician Dr. Aasim Sehbai, Kathleen managed to beat back the disease and now has a second child. And this time there were no complications like before!
Kathleen wrote in Women’s Health:
“If you’re wondering what you can do to prevent this from happening to you or a loved one, the best place to start is with your doctors. Let’s open up the dialog about this horrible disease. Molar pregnancy was described by my primary care doctor as ‘just one paragraph in a medical textbook, that wasn’t even discussed in class.’ My OB-GYN had never seen or treated it, and my gynecologic oncologist had never treated a choriocarcinoma, although he had treated molar pregnancies. So spread awareness. Talk to your sisters and mothers and friends. And if you have any of my symptoms, or feel what I felt — that instinct, that feeling that you couldn’t put your finger on — please, tell your doctors that you need to be seen immediately. Don’t assume that a quick phone call to an on-call doctor or nurse will suffice if you’re sure that something is wrong.”
Please SHARE Kathleen’s story if you think you should follow your instincts and always look for a second opinion!