Facing a cervical cancer diagnosis during pregnancy

“We were totally blown away,” Misty Wiggs says of finding out she was pregnant with her third child in April 2015. For 12 years, Misty and her husband had thought that they couldn’t conceive any children. They’d adopted their first daughter in 2007. Six years later, Misty unexpectedly became pregnant with their second child. Still, it surprised the couple when another pregnancy test came back positive nearly two years later. An overjoyed Misty set up an appointment with a new OB/GYN, who decided to perform a routine Pap test since it’d been two and half years since her last. When her Pap test results were abnormal, Misty wasn’t alarmed. “My sister has had abnormal cells before and it was nothing, and I’d never had an abnormal test before that,” she says. Misty’s doctor performed a colposcopy to get a closer look at the cells on her cervix. The results also came back abnormal. Her doctor immediately referred her to Nicole Fleming, M.D., at MD Anderson in Sugar Land. “They got me in within two days,” says Misty, who was 10 weeks pregnant at the time. “Dr. Fleming was just very comforting. We just had a really good rapport from the first time we met.” A cervical cancer diagnosis during pregnancy Fleming repeated Misty’s colposcopy. When the results came back abnormal yet again, she scheduled a cone biopsy, which showed signs of cancer.  So, Fleming performed another procedure called a cold knife conization. Misty’s biopsies revealed that she had stage IA1 mixed squamous and adenocarcinoma of the cervix, a type of cervical cancer. It was caused by the human papillomavirus...

Hodgkin’s lymphoma survivor adjusts to life after cancer

After a cancer diagnosis, many patients wait anxiously to hear the words “no evidence of disease.” But as Kimberly Hill has learned, the start of this new chapter – life after cancer – is where the real journey begins. Kimberly, now 47, thought the hardest part of her lymphocyte predominate Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosis was behind her when she learned she showed no evidence of disease in May 2015. “I think I had unrealistic expectations that this journey was over,” says Kimberly of learning she had no evidence of disease. Although she’s cancer-free, she still struggles daily with side effects of her treatment — neuropathy, weight gain, chemobrain, pain and the fear of recurrence. Moving forward despite cancer pain The Knoxville, Tennessee, resident copes with these changes in the best way she knows how, which is to continue moving forward despite the pain. “I can’t take pain medication because I have an active lifestyle,” says Kimberly. “Pain medications slow me down and add to the mental fogginess that I’m already dealing with.” She traded her stilettos for Converse because of pain and inflammation that won’t go away. Walking across campus at the University of Tennessee where she works and keeping up with her busy 9-year-old daughter require a lot of time on her feet. Coping with chemobrain The toughest adjustment has been managing memory problems. Kimberly admits she didn’t think chemobrain was real – until she experienced symptoms like leaving her keys in the door, not turning off the stove and even forgetting to pick up her daughter from school. Her inability to recall information has made completing her Ph.D. and...