Looking Back With Humor: She Survived and Wrote a Book About How She Fought For Her Children, Her Life, and Her Sanity

Stephanie Hosford was recently interviewed by CURE (Cancer Updates Research and Education) about what she now calls her “three crazy days”.

The title of her book is “Bald, Fat and Crazy: How I Beat Cancer While Pregnant with One Daughter and Adopting Another”.

Stephanie is able to look back at that time 11 years ago and even manages to inject quite a bit of humor in her book. In a period of three days, she was told that she had triple-negative breast cancer and that she was pregnant.

These two revelations came about while she was in the process of an international adoption. Stephanie hopes her book will give hope and support to others who have received the devastating news of a cancer diagnosis.

Stephanie said that she wrote the book because she was unable to find books about cancer that gave a positive slant or that were not of a technical nature. Yet she will always acknowledge that it is a “serious disease”.

Reaction to the News

Stephanie explained that her initial reaction was concern about her pregnancy and that she felt overwhelming fear. All this mixed with disbelief and confusion.

Stephanie’s Options

Stephanie and her husband met with three oncologists who said she should consider chemo or surgery and there may be a need for radiation. But the three doctors agreed that she was not to continue with the pregnancy.

The doctors explained that due to her age, thirty-seven, and her diagnosis of triple-negative breast cancer, their goal was to have her undergo all treatment options that were available.

Stephanie was not thrilled by the notion of seeing the fourth doctor but reluctantly agreed to keep an appointment at the City of Hope with Dr. Paz. She was in no condition to hear one more time that she would have to terminate her pregnancy.

Although the treatment plan remained the same, the good news was that Dr. Paz said she could keep her baby. He said that the doctors at the City of Hope had dealt with this situation in previous cases and were ready to work with Stephanie.

Stephanie was relieved. It was just what she needed to hear. She said that something kept telling her that it was possible even though it was not recommended. She was so grateful that the doctors at the City of Hope were willing to take on the responsibility of saving her pregnancy.

Her Life Today

It has been eleven years and according to Stephanie, she has been told that she is cured. Her daughter is now ten years old and getting straight A’s in school. She is also, according to her mother, a “kick-ass soccer player”. This gives the reader some idea of the humor she exhibits in her book.

Stephanie concedes that “cancer changes you” but adds that she is now at a new normal which she describes as a different state of mind. If someone were to ask her for advice she would tell them to put things into perspective. Not to worry about the little things. She also admits that sometimes that is hard to do.

When she thinks back she finds that her life changed not just due to cancer but adding two children to the family all at once was a challenge.

The Mental Aspect of Cancer

Stephanie cannot really remember what her life was like before the cancer diagnosis other than she always thought it would happen to someone else. Having cancer puts her on the alert now with the realization that it can happen to anyone. She calls it having the [protective] seal broken.

When asked about the title of her book she explains that:

  • Bald, of course, is during the chemo stage
  • Fat is during her pregnancy
  • Crazy is the whole picture rolled into one

Stephanie has written what she believes to be an honest story about her cancer. She hopes that the humor in her book will allow people to relate and to keep in mind that they can also have a positive ending to their cancer journey.

When asked what she has learned from her journey Stephanie explains that she now realizes that a person’s problems may not always be obvious. She kept her own problems to herself for many years.

She advises us to give others slack and allow them to cope in their own way. In the meantime, she is trying her best to make people smile.

 

Rose Duesterwald

Rose Duesterwald

Rose became acquainted with Patient Worthy after her husband was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia four years ago. He was treated with a methylating agent While he was being treated with a hypomethylating agent, Rose researched investigational drugs being developed to treat relapsed/refractory AML.

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