Two years ago, Molly Bruce was expecting her first child. But at six months, Molly’s pregnancy became anything but typical.
It all started one night at her home in Lawrenceville, Georgia, when Molly began to cough up blood.
Molly and her husband, obviously concerned for her health and that of the baby, visited a local doctor.
After a chest X-Ray revealed a nodule on Molly’s left lung, her primary care physician recommended she visit a specialist. Molly went to an interventional pulmonologist who performed a CT scan and identified the nodule as a mass.
The doctor informed her that she would need a bronchoscopy in order to ascertain the nature of the tumor attached to her lung. But Molly was in the final stages of her pregnancy and her doctors were concerned that an invasive procedure like a bronchoscopy would be too much stress for her body. So they elected to wait until after Molly gave birth and regained her strength.
In the interim, Molly grew increasingly worried about her condition. So she met with Dr. Shady Eldaif, a thoracic and cardiac surgeon at Northside Hospital Atlanta, for more answers about the mass and to explore the possibility of removal.
“Dr. Eldaif made me feel at ease about my condition from the get-go,” Molly said. “But the moment I knew he really cared about me and my wellbeing was when he walked into my hospital room at Northside to congratulate us on the birth of our first child.”
Three months after the discovery of the tumor, Molly gave birth to a beautiful girl at Northside Hospital Atlanta that her and her husband named Finley.
“We named her Finley because it means ‘fair warrior’ and she was our little warrior who helped us battle through this difficult experience,” Molly said.
After two weeks of recovery and some much-needed time spent with her new daughter, Molly finally underwent the bronchoscopy. Unfortunately, because the bronchoscopy showed the tumor sat dangerously close to one of her primary arteries, a biopsy could not be performed. Eldaif would need to surgically remove the mass completely first.
Dr. Eldaif was able to remove the tumor and part of the left upper lobe without any complication, and drastically reduced Molly’s recovery time by performing a precise, robot-assisted procedure. Eldaif then sent the mass to a lab for testing.
Two months later, Molly’s worst fears were confirmed when the lab results revealed the mass was a carcinoid tumor, a type of slow-growing cancer that can form in several places throughout the body.
Luckily for Molly, the tumor was caught in its early stages. And according to Dr. Eldaif, her symptoms were likely caused by the additional strain of the pregnancy. Had Molly not been pregnant with Finley, the tumor may have gone unnoticed for years.
Today, Molly is cancer-free and enjoys spending time with her husband and two-year-old Finley on their boat at Lake Lanier.
“Being pregnant at the same time as cancer, while scary, actually made the whole process easier for me because I had Finley to look forward to.” Molly said. “I’m so grateful for Dr. Eldaif and all the Northside staff for the time, care and energy they put in to make sure we both came out healthy on the other side.”
*The health story shared here may portray atypical results of survival for this type of cancer, given its severity and stage. Atypical results are considered surviving a cancer that has less than a 50 percent five-year survival rate. Patients should consult an expert to discuss specific treatment plans and the possible outcomes before making medical decisions.