Anitrus Robinson got one miracle. Now she prays for another.
The mother of three found out she had breast cancer when she was 20 weeks pregnant with her son. Within just a few hours, she and husband, Joey, rode a roller coaster of emotions, decisions and new discoveries.
“That was the craziest day ever,” she said, a blanket keeping her warm as she received chemotherapy.
With the birth of her son, Joelsteen, on Jan. 19, the Mendenhall couple got one miracle, a healthy baby. Now they're praying for a cure for her Stage 4 breast cancer.
“It is responding to treatment,” said Dr. Barbara Craft, University of Mississippi Medical Center associate professor of hematology/oncology and the oncologist who worked with Robinson during and after her pregnancy.
Robinson's journey began in July when she went to a Jackson-area hospital in pain. “They thought it was muscle spasms,” she said. But the pain persisted. A later visit to her OB-GYN, Dr. Rhonda Sullivan-Ford, resulted in more tests. “They found lesions in my spine and liver,” Robinson said. “Dr. Ford did a breast exam and found a little something there. Then she ordered a sonogram.”
“She sent me to UMMC,” Robinson said. “When I got there, there was a whole team waiting for me.”
That team included emergency medical specialists who worked to lower her dangerously high calcium rate, obstetrics and gynecology and medical oncology doctors among others.
Besides Ford, who found and identified her possible breast cancer, her team came to include Craft, who has worked with many young women with breast cancer, and Dr. Michelle Owens, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, who has shepherded other young women through pregnancy and cancer.
Once at UMMC, Robinson said, doctors told me “I may have to make a decision on whether to terminate the baby or save my own life. I didn't like either option.”
“Doctors were coming and talking to each other,” she said. “They called Dr. Craft at like midnight from the ER. They talked to other doctors, then came in and told me if I wanted to keep my baby I could and they had a different meeting and came up with two drugs that wouldn't affect him but he might be born with low birth weight and they might have to take him early.”