For months, we've been following a Lubbock woman through one of life's greatest joys and biggest concerns. The joy is that Christie Devitt was pregnant with her second child. The concern was that she faced cancer at the same time. As it turns out, her baby girl arrived while I was out of town on vacation. But I promised you an update, so here is the conclusion of our series.
It's been a long journey for Christy Devitt, learning that she was pregnant at almost the same time she was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. Now, this final road to recovery takes her to radiation.
Christie carries her good attitude right into the radiation room, along with thoughts about the new baby in her house. She says, "When I go to radiation every morning, mostly what I concentrate on is the miracle that God has revealed himself through her birth. I think about her being healthy. She went through major surgery with me when she was 10 weeks gestation and then she went through 6 rounds of chemo and it's just amazing to think that her little body and my body have survived all of that."
Laney Grace came into this world at 6 pounds, 10 ounces and 20 inches long. She looked perfect. But how did she survive 6 rounds of chemo before she was even born?
Dr. Doug Klepper, a pediatrician, says Laney was protected by the placenta which is kind of the gate that lets nutrients into the baby. "The placenta is a very smart thing. So the placenta is actually able to separate the toxic agents from the non-toxic agents," said Dr. Klepper.
As Laney's pediatrician, Dr. Klepper has been checking her out since she was born. He describes her as "a normal looking, healthy child that is normal for growth, development milestones, everything looks absolutely fantastic."
So, if you're pregnant, you might wonder if you can smoke a few cigarettes and have a few drinks now and then because the placenta's going to protect the baby anyway. Well, it doesn't work that way. In fact, studies show that cigarettes and alcohol can be more dangerous to the unborn child than chemotherapy.
Dr. Klepper explains it like this, "In smoking, what you're doing to the mother's lungs, you're making that child oxygen deprived. In the case of alcohol, alcohol is a very small molecule and a molecule that passes across the placenta and into the amniotic fluid, into the umbilical cord."
That's why scientists have designed specific chemotherapy drugs with large molecules which are too big to pass through the placenta. So those chemicals never reach the baby.
For the Devitts, a healthy baby means their biggest prayer is answered, but what about Christy? She waited until after Laney's birth to get a full body MRI to see if there was cancer anywhere else. The results showed Christie was cancer free. The chemo had worked and now radiation would seal the deal.
Dr. Paul Anderson, a radiation oncologist, says, "She's been doing very well. It's in her best interest to finish all this stuff. She'll come in every day, 5 days a week, Monday through Friday, for 28 treatments. It gives her the best odds of becoming a long term survivor."
A lot of people outside the circle worried that this story wouldn't have a happy ending, but not Christie. She invited NewsChannel 11 to follow her through this journey and to show her faith - no matter what the outcome.
Brent Devitt says this about his new daughter, "We had the option to not even have her and for her to be just perfect and who she is and what she's going to become is something that just brings us great joy."
Christie adds, "We are so grateful for our medical team. And we want to give God the glory and the praise for both my healing and Laney's birth because we know He is the greatest physician of all."
Of course, Christie knows she is not out of the woods yet. She'll be monitored carefully for the next few years to make sure the cancer doesn't return, but, for today, she is cancer free and Laney is perfect.
Pregnant Lubbock Woman's Fight With Cancer