Beating Stage 3 Ovarian Cancer While Pregnant: LaTrisha Reid’s Cancer Story
This month, in order to spread more awareness to our community about ovarian cancer, MadameNoire is speaking to several ovarian cancer survivors about their journeys.
First, we spoke to BreAnne Middleton who learned of her cancer diagnosis while pregnant. Next up, we have LaTrisha Reid. The 41- year-old was diagnosed with Stage 3 Ovarian Cancer in September 1998 and had to have immediate tumor removal surgery while four months pregnant and raising her two-year-old son.
MadameNoire: How did you find out that you had ovarian cancer?
LaTrisha Reid: I was four months into my pregnancy and had to get an ultrasound. In the ultrasound, they discovered there were two figures, one with a heartbeat and one without. That’s when I was referred to a [specialist] who did a very extensive ultrasound. After that, I had to wait to hear the results. That led up to the day that I was at work and they contacted me to let me know what they found. That day was probably one of the most terrifying days I’ve ever experienced. They found that the tumor was malignant and they needed to do immediate surgery.
I found out in September 1998. I had my surgery a month later. It actually took them a month to find me to give me results. I had changed my number and had recently changed positions at my job. As a young woman, I didn’t really follow up with the doctor. It could have been detrimental. After that, my exploratory surgery was two weeks after I had my baby.
MN: Did you have any symptoms prior to finding out you had cancer?
LR: There were symptoms that I felt on a regular basis, which I thought were just normal and was just pain from being pregnant. I continuously would have pains in my abdominal area every time I ate. This didn’t happen when I walked. It was very peculiar but not worth bringing up to the doctor. I actually would not have gone in had I not gotten sick. I had flu-like symptoms, but come to find out the pain that I was feeling was all the symptoms from ovarian cancer. My lungs were filled with about two liters of liquid. I experienced heavy bloating and an unusual amount of weight gain.
MN: What were the next steps after finding out you had cancer?
LR: When I found out, I was in stage 3 ovarian cancer. Luckily we were able to find out in enough time to save my life. Not many people make it in this stage. I had to go into immediate emergency surgery. There wasn’t a lot of preparation time other than them explaining to me that there was a chance when I came out of surgery that I would no longer be pregnant. My husband at the time had to sign documentation on whose life to save. Of course, he chose my life. We both understood the baby would probably not survive. They had to remove the baby from the womb because of his position.
The tumor was taken out and measured larger than the baby. That was another thing that was very peculiar. Once the tumor was removed, the baby was placed back in. I was so blessed that when I woke up, I was still pregnant and had a healthy baby. My baby was a fighter throughout the entire surgery. The doctors [said] because he never stopped breathing, they refused to disconnect the baby from me. I had him as a natural birth four months later.