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Mother battles breast most cancers whereas pregnant, shares courageous journey, highway to restoration

CLEVELAND — Breast most cancers impacts one in eight ladies in America, and 85% of girls who’re identified with the illness shouldn’t have a household historical past.

The statistics are beginning to anybody, however think about being pregnant whereas battling breast most cancers. It is a battle no mother ever needs to struggle. That is precisely what one West Park mother went by way of.

The journey was taxing and difficult, however she got here out on the opposite aspect.

Stephanie Rifici Thorkelson juggles full-time mother duties to her lovely boys Luka and Leo, all whereas touring the world as a United Airways flight attendant.

Her busy life got here to a screeching halt in a matter of 1 week after discovering out at age 32 she had breast most cancers.

“Your world simply comes crashing down… Like why, why?” Rifici Thorkelson requested herself.

Whereas nursing her then 13-month-old child boy Luka she felt a lump. Initially, she thought it was a cyst or maybe a clogged milk duct. It is occurred earlier than. However this time, it by no means went away.

“I went in, bought the mammogram. They didn’t like what they noticed so then they despatched me over for an ultrasound,” Rifici Thorkelson mentioned.

Extra intense testing adopted over the subsequent a number of weeks, as Rifici Thorkelson grew to become increasingly anxious.

Subsequently, she found she was pregnant along with her second child boy. A real reward. It was one thing she and her husband de ella Evan longed for.

Two days later, her check outcomes got here again that she had Triple Unfavourable Breast Most cancers.

The uncommon type of most cancers impacts roughly 13 in each 100,000 ladies every year, in keeping with the Cleveland Clinic.

“We had been so glad and excited as a result of we had been making an attempt for a child—and getting that information you may have most cancers; All of the ideas go to your head. How is that this gonna be protected?” Rifici Thorkelson mentioned.

Security and carrying her child had been the primary precedence as Stephanie labored with a workforce of docs on the Cleveland Clinic.

Stephanie Rifici Thorkelson

They mapped out a plan to deal with the aggressive most cancers.

They held off on chemotherapy for the primary trimester as a result of it may very well be dangerous to the infant.

They then began therapy within the second trimester with a lumpectomy adopted by chemotherapy each three weeks.


Stephanie Rifici Thorkelson

“Plenty of research have proven that receiving chemotherapy throughout being pregnant is protected for each the mother and the infant. So, when she was full with chemotherapy, she was capable of ship her son,” Dr. Stephanie Valente, Director of the Western Area Cleveland Clinic Breast Program and Medical Director at Fairview Hospital for Breast Surgical procedure mentioned.

“It was actually a miracle. I did not get sick in any respect. I didn’t throw up. Not even as soon as,” Rifici Thorkelson mentioned.

With a real assist system round her, she fought most cancers whereas pregnant—dropping her hair, however gaining energy.


Stephanie Rifici Thorkelson

“I believe it made it a bit of simpler having everybody there for assist,” Evan Thorkelson, Stephanie’s husband mentioned.

Stephanie efficiently gave beginning to little Leo, who turns 2 in April.

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Stephanie Rifici Thorkelson

He is glad, wholesome and thriving.

Stephanie says the little man was a real reward—there along with her by way of the entire remedies.

“He’s my little miracle, angel. He’s just–we have a particular bond,” Rifici Thorkelson mentioned.

Stephanie admits the struggle was not simple, nevertheless it paid off.

She cherishes each second and goals to encourage all most cancers sufferers that they’ll win the conflict with love and keenness.

“Wanting again, it was the toughest years of all of our lives. My son, my husband. And looking out again—it actually… I really feel so blessed,” Rifici Thorkelson mentioned.


Stephanie Rifici Thorkelson

Dr. Valente says Stephanie’s journey to wellness — like many younger mothers battling the illness — is considered one of optimistic considering, energy and perseverance.

“These ladies are superb. They’re simply they’re tremendous motivated. They’re like—’Hear, Doc, like, not solely do I’ve to be right here for my youngsters, I’ve bought to be right here for— I “I’ve bought to get them by way of highschool. I bought to get them by way of school. ‘We’re right here to assist,” Dr. Valente mentioned.

Stephanie is formally again to work as a flight attendant and juggling parenting duties along with her supportive husband by her aspect.

She is encouraging all ladies to comply with their intestine intuition and get to the physician instantly if one thing feels off.

As for household historical past, Rifici Thorkelson underwent genetic testing.

Information exhibits she is among the 5% of girls beneath the age of 40 who get breast most cancers with no clear clarification.

She says this highlights greater than ever how vital going to the physician may be on your general well being and wellness long run.


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