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Utah woman who battled breast cancer while expecting says pregnancy ‘saved my life’

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Posted at 7:10 PM, Oct 21, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-21 21:10:45-04

CEDAR HILLS, Utah – A blessing soon became a nightmare for a Utah County woman earlier this year.

Stephanie Partridge was four months pregnant with her fifth child when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“Shortly after I found out I was pregnant, I noticed a lump on my right breast," she said. "I thought it was a clogged milk duct."

The 32-year-old never imagined a breast lump would turn out to be serious. Her doctor ordered a biopsy and confirmed the shocking news. A flood of emotions overcame Partridge.

“I was not only worried about myself, but worried about another person added to the stress and the doubt that was there," she said.

Partridge decided to fight back and underwent chemotherapy. Doctors reassured her, the baby would be safe.

“Once a woman gets beyond that three months of pregnancy, when the baby's organs are developed, they can be exposed to that environment of chemotherapy and not suffer significant side effects,” said Dr. Jennifer Tittensor, General Surgeon at American Fork Hospital.

It wasn’t easy. Stephanie took care of her four sons while getting treatments.

Some days were harder than others.

“Being pregnant produces more hormones, and so basically it's a buffet for the cancer,” Partridge said.

She vowed to stay strong despite the pain, and her husband, Brett Partridge, says she followed through.

“Stephanie never complained about the situation," he said. "She never once said, 'Why me?'”

On August 7, she delivered a healthy baby boy, Brett Jr. She was overjoyed to have her miracle baby in her arms.

“We really feel like he saved my life," she said. "Had I not been pregnant, I don't think I would have noticed the lump there at all.”

Stephanie’s last chemo treatment is Thursday, but she has a long road to recovery. She’ll have surgery in November, and then six weeks of radiation afterwards.

Stephanie’s hope is that others who find themselves in the same situation will hear her story and won’t give up.

“I encourage women to find support and to know that they can do it, they can do it and they can be strong,” Partridge said.

Stephanie has chronicled her journey on Facebook, which she says has been very therapeutic. Click here to visit her page and read her story as it unfolded.