My name is Samantha Koser. I live in Jersey Shore Pennsylvania and I am 33 years old. In February of 2016 I found a lump on my breast. Thinking it was nothing but wanting to make sure, I made an appointment at the breast cancer health center at Divine Hospital in Williamsport. A week after I discovered the lump, my husband Scott and I found out we were going to be parents again, I was pregnant with our second child. Our first child Elaina had just turned one in February. We were very excited about the new baby.
The phone call came on March 9th 2016, one day before my 33rd birthday, I was told the terrifying news that I had breast cancer. I was one of my doctor’s first cancer patients, there was much to discuss.
How could this happen at this point in my life and so early? Getting cancer was probably the last thing on my mind but has now changed how I do almost everything in my life.
It is very comforting hearing from survivors about their recovery and that gives me strength.
My cancer is stage 2 invasive ductal carcinoma. That may not mean much to some. It wouldn’t have meant anything to me before this year but it basically means that I have an aggressive cancer that can have optimistic outcomes if treated early. There was no option to wait until after my baby was born to start surgery and chemotherapy.
I started chemotherapy at 15 weeks pregnant. My OB doctors were monitoring the baby carefully during that time with ultrasounds and frequent appointments. I went through four rounds of chemotherapy during which I was hospitalized twice because of low blood counts due to infection from common bacteria and viruses. What our body’s immune system can normally fight easily takes a toll on a cancer patient.
I have taken the first steps on what will be a long road to recovery. I am now 33 weeks pregnant and there seems to me no major complications with the pregnancy. We are praying for the best outcomes for both the baby and my recovery. With love and support from family and friends, I know I will get through this. It is very comforting hearing from survivors about their recovery and that gives me strength. The many individuals and organizations that support cancer research and finding a cure helps to keep me strong, but most importantly makes me feel that I am not alone.