Pregnancy is a hectic time, especially for a 39-year-old working mom who already has three kids she’s shuttling to school and sports. For Sonya Moses, the one thing she didn’t plan on was being diagnosed with breast cancer at the same time.
“I was 20 weeks pregnant when I learned I had cancer,” recalls Moses. “It was overwhelming. I didn’t know what to do next.”
Fortunately, Care Coordinator Mona Cook was at her side from the start. “Mona took a lot of the stress off,” says Moses. “She walked me through everything, encouraged me to call with questions at any time, even coordinated my surgery and doctor appointments so all I had to do was show up.”
From the time of her diagnosis, Moses was under the care of three physicians—Obstetrician Scott Bemus, Oncologist Rasa Buntinas and Surgeon Kerri Nowell. And because UnityPoint Health – Cedar Rapids is a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, the provider team regularly consulted with Mayo experts as well. It was a process Moses said ran smoothly and made life easier for her.
“As my oncologist, Dr. Buntinas was the driver. She communicated with my OB and surgeon back and forth behind the scenes,” explains Moses. “It was so reassuring. I didn’t have to repeat information each time I went to a different doctor. When I saw Dr. Bemus, I could tell he had already reviewed all the notes.”
Moses was surprised when clinic physicians recommended she start chemotherapy immediately. “I never thought they could give chemo during pregnancy. They had to time everything carefully so I finished my fourth treatment three weeks before my planned c-section. All along the way, they told me the placenta would block the chemo from my baby. She came out healthy. In fact, she has more hair than I do now!”
Moses adds, “Losing your hair is the biggest shocker besides finding out you have cancer. I didn’t realize how much wigs cost, but Mona told me about Strands of Strength. I was able to get a wig for free. It looks natural, so when I go out in public, people don’t know.” Moses is also grateful to her “awesome friends and co-workers” who chipped in and surprised her with a second wig.
Battling cancer and dealing with the combined side effects of chemo and pregnancy was challenging, but knowing what was waiting for her helped Moses “march to the end.” Daughter Akenna arrived safely on May 8, 2017. And although Moses has more chemotherapy and surgery ahead, she’s thankful for the support she has received.
“My great doctors, friends, family and co-workers—they all worked together to help me get this far.”
For more information on Nassif Community Cancer Center’s collaborative approach to patient care, click here.