GREEN BAY, Wis. (CNN) — A woman in Wisconsin had a medical miracle when she not only beat a rare form of uterine cancer, but gave birth to a healthy baby boy not long after.
In November of 2018, Whitney Everard went to the doctor with concerns about abnormal bleeding. Weeks of tests and waiting turned into a dreaded diagnosis when she found out she had a tumor in her uterus that had to be removed just to find out what it was.
“Whitney had a low grade endometrial stromal sarcoma, which is less than 0.2 percent of the uterine cancers that get diagnosed every year,” Prevea Gynecologic Oncologist Dr. Erin Stevens said. “So it’s about a one in a million type of uterine cancer.”
At just 26 years old, the diagnosis is almost unheard of.
Stevens remembers telling Whitney that the best medical treatment was a second surgery to perform a complete hysterectomy. This would eliminate any chance of her getting pregnant and having children.
“She said, ‘Thank you very much for your opinion, but no, I’m not going to have a hysterectomy,'” Stevens said.
“I wasn’t going to let not knowing what was going to happen decide that we never have kids, so I guess, instead of ignoring the unknown, we just, decided we’d find out what happens,” Whitney said.
Stevens made Whitney consult other medical experts, who also advised surgery, not children.
“I think she very well understood the risks that could happen, but we can’t predict the future,” Stevens said. “And just because cancer behaves a certain way in a text book, doesn’t mean we have to follow the text book because cancer also doesn’t behave the way we write about it in a text book.”
So a few months after removing the tumor, and seeing no signs of more cancer, Stevens gave her the blessing to try for children.
Barely three months after that, Whitney was pregnant.
Whitney’s team of doctors, including Stevens, carefully monitored her through the entire pregnancy, unsure of what would happen.
“This is a hormonally sensitive cancer,” Stevens said. “It grows with estrogen, and the risk of being pregnant when your hormone levels of estrogen and progesterone go sky high, is that if there were cancer cells left behind that I couldn’t see with my eyes at the time of surgery, her cancer could grow during her pregnancy.”
At 36 weeks and a day pregnant, Whitney delivered a healthy boy via c-section.
While she will still need a hysterectomy at some point, Whitney still hopes to add another child to their family.
“If it helps, like somebody else who’s 26 years old and told that they have this, too, and they might never have kids, at least there’s now one example of somebody who did. And we’re doing good,” Whitney said.