Few moments in life are more precious than the news of bringing new life into this world. Lauren and Steve Perfors were elated to learn that they were pregnant with their first child in January 2018. Only a week later, this young family got a shock when test results showed that Lauren was not only pregnant, but was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer.
With no family history of breast cancer, the disease was not top of mind, especially not while she was in her 30s. Lauren had felt a small lump in her breast, but with a busy life full of home renovations and business ownership, this small warning sign went unchecked for a month.
Plenty of Support
“I was scared,” Lauren says. “I had done research and wasn’t sure if I would be able to keep the baby.” But with a team of world-class physicians at Lutheran Medical Center and National Jewish Health, along with community and family support, Lauren did not let her worries get the best of her. Lauren learned that she and her supportive husband had the tools to fight her cancer and would be able to keep the precious life growing inside of her.
“Sometimes the initial conversation with a patient is reassuring them there is an entire team to help them through this,” says Stacey Jensen, nurse navigator, who worked with the team to smooth the way for Lauren and Steve throughout her treatment. Lauren’s doctors developed a plan that would allow her to fight the disease and keep her child. She underwent a mastectomy and lymph node removal, followed by chemotherapy at National Jewish Health that lasted through her second trimester.
“Lauren and Steve were amazing,” said Elizabeth Brew, MD, breast cancer surgeon. “It’s always challenging to do surgery in the first trimester, especially one that is so difficult emotionally.”
Through the support of her oncologist, surgeon and obstetrician, along with nurses and staff at Cancer Centers of Colorado at Lutheran, Lauren never faced her battle alone.
“There’s a difference between interacting with people who are just doing their job, and those who truly care,” Lauren says. “Through this journey I’ve met doctors and nurses who care about me as a whole person and want to see me succeed.”
Lauren remained active. An avid runner and volleyball player, she kept running as a healthy habit after her diagnosis. At six months pregnant, she and husband Steve participated in Lutheran's annual Heroes of Hope run/walk that honors cancer survivors and raises money to support those with cancer through the Lutheran Medical Center Foundation.
Healthy and Beautiful
On August 14, baby Adelyn was born, healthy and beautiful. While the happy family is getting to know each other, Lauren is also undergoing several more treatments and surgeries over the next few months.
“Others often comment on my strength and positive attitude, and I love hearing it,” Lauren says. “That strength comes from being surrounded by an amazing treatment team, friends, family and community. It is the strength around me that gets me, my husband and our baby girl through all of this!”