GREEN BAY, Wis. — A woman in Wisconsin not only beat a rare form of uterine cancer, but she also had a miracle baby, WBAY reports.
Like every proud new mom, Whitney Everard is beaming with pride over the birth of her first child.
“This is William Lloyd Bittorf,” Everard said. “Seven pounds, three ounces and 19 inches long.”
But this little guy is giving her the ultimate reason to glow: He’s a sort of medical miracle.
In November 2018, Everard went to the doctor with a concern about abnormal bleeding.
Weeks of tests and waiting turned into a dreaded diagnosis. A tumor in her uterus had to be removed just to find out what it was.
“Whitney had a low grade endometrial stromal sarcoma, which is less than 0.2% of the uterine cancers that get diagnosed every year, so it’s about a one in a million type of uterine cancer,” said Dr. Erin E. Stevens, Prevea Health Gynecologic Oncologist.
And at only 26 years old, almost unheard of.
Stevens remembers telling Everard that the best medical treatment was a second surgery to perform a complete hysterectomy, eliminating any chance of her getting pregnant and having children.
“She said, ‘Thank you very much for your opinion but no, I’m not going to have a hysterectomy,’” Stevens said.
“I wasn’t going to let not knowing what was going to happen decide that we never have kids, so I guess, instead of ignoring the unknown, we just decided we’d find out what happens,” Everard said.
Stevens made her consult other medical experts who also advised surgery not children.
But a determined Everard and her family began researching their options and looking for other women with the rare cancer who’d had kids.
She said it was hard to find even a few in this country.
“I had my mind made up, but I was unsure if it was the right decision necessarily,” Everard said.
“I think she very well understood the risks that could happen, but we can’t predict the future,” Stevens said. “And just because cancer behaves a certain way in a text book, doesn’t mean we have to follow the text book because cancer also doesn’t behave the way we write about it in a text book.”
So a few months after removing the tumor and seeing no signs of more cancer, Stevens gave her the blessing to try for children.
Barely three months after that, an elated Everard called with good news.
Her team of doctors, including her obstetrician and Stevens, carefully monitored her through the entire pregnancy. They were unsure what would happen.
“This is a hormonally sensitive cancer. It grows with estrogen, and the risk of being pregnant when your hormone levels of estrogen and progesterone go sky high, is that if there were cancer cells left behind that I couldn’t see with my eyes at the time of surgery, her cancer could grow during her pregnancy,” Stevens said.
But at 36 weeks and one day, Everard delivered a healthy boy via C-section with no sign of any cancer.
“To be able to be a part of a young woman having a uterine cancer and then having a baby after that is really a unique and special experience,” Stevens said.
While she’ll still need a hysterectomy at some point, Everard hopes to add another child to their family, too.
“If it helps…somebody else who’s 26 years old and told that they have this, too, and they might never have kids, at least there’s now one example of somebody who did. And we’re doing good,” Everard said.