After 12 years of trying to start a family, Jeanie Taddeo finally became pregnant with twins. But her happy news turned to heartbreak when she found out she had stage II invasive breast cancer.
What an incredible story! 8th grade Spanish teacher, Jeanie Taddeo and her husband Phil tried for 12 years to concieve a baby, but with no luck. Then finally, they discovered they were pregnant with twin girls, something an “ecstatic” Jeanie had only dreamed of. But her baby joy was soon diminished when she found a lump in her breast.
“Turns out it was stage two invasive breast cancer,” Jeanie explains to Heathvibe.com. “It was the most devastating news I could have imagined at the happiest time of my life.” Jeanie was only 36-years-old and 15 weeks pregnant with her babies when she found out the heartbreaking diagnosis.
“I thought ‘What is going to happen to my girls,’” she says, “It wasn’t me. It was my girls.” Jeanie and Phil went straight to University of Pennsylvania’s Abramson Cancer Center and met with oncologist Dr. Susan Domchek, who had treated her sister-in-law’s breast cancer a few years before. She let the expectant parents know that it was possible to give chemotherapy in the second and third trimesters.
“We do have to time the birth of the babies and when were giving chemotherapy,” Dr. Domcheck explains. “We don’t want to give chemotherapy too close to the birth, so it does make things more challenging.” But luckily, the placenta protects babies from the treatment, allowing Jeanie to undergo chemo.
“That’s the idea that the baby is in a safe haven and really doesn’t have a significant effect from the chemotherapy,” Dr. Domchek says. “Treating women for breast cancer while pregnant is possible; treatment such as Jeanie’s is tolerated well by the babies and provides women with their best chance at beating their cancer.”
So, Jeanie continued to work and teach throughout her treatment, which was extremely brutal. “I would go through the eight rounds of chemo, the 35 rounds of radiation, as any other cancer patient would go through,” Jeanie explains.
She gave birth to her twin girls Giavanna and Gillian, who were born two months premature and weighed only two and three pounds. But, both were happy and healthy. Four days after her delivery, Jeanie went back to her treatments and ended up needing radiation therapy, a double mastectomy, and reconstructive surgery.
Now Giavanna and Gillian are 2-years-old and Jeanie is cancer-free. “They’re my miracle babies,” she says. What an amazing woman!