“I just wanted to know if my child would be safe.”
While taking care of her grandfather who was under treatment with a cancer diagnosis, Courtney Casnave noticed a lump in her breast. A few days after having a mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy completed, Courtney discovered she was pregnant. The next day, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Courtney was excited about starting a family, and her main concern was taking care of her unborn child.
The doctors at Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center in Covington took time to ensure Courtney had the information she needed to make the best decisions for her. She elected to delay treatment during pregnancy, opting only to have a mastectomy. Three weeks after delivering her healthy baby boy, she began radiation therapy.
When meeting Dr. Gregory Henkelmann, radiation oncologist, Courtney was relieved to see his handwritten notes about her diagnosis and procedures he brought with him to the consultation. “Going into it before I even started treatment, there was a game plan,” she said.
Courtney was beyond satisfied with her decision to receive treatments at the Cancer Center, describing the comprehensive care she received from the entire team across all departments as giving her strength and a sense of community. “I never experienced a medical team that became like family and supported you in such a tough time,” she said. “They were real people who cared.”
Courtney believes her son was sent to make her stronger for her cancer fight. She named him Malakai, which means ‘messenger’ or ‘angel.’
“He’s been fighting right along with mommy, and he has just been a ray of sunshine throughout this time,” Courtney said.
Her experience at the Cancer Center inspired Courtney to give back and do something for others. She began making wigs to donate to other cancer patients. “I just want to be able to pay it forward, because I received so much while I was here at Mary Bird,” she said.
Courtney is now living cancer-free and expecting another blessing: her second child.