Facebook friends' first in-person meeting celebrates chemo completion

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Raquel Lopez celebrated her last day of chemotherapy, a process she weathered with the support of her friend, Lisa Wieland. (WLS)

Raquel Lopez celebrated her last day of chemotherapy, a process she weathered with the support of her friend, Lisa Wieland. But the two had never met in person, until that last day.

Lopez and Wieland's bond was forged through Facebook, with the help of Lopez's doctor at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.

Staff connected to the two women because they both experienced an extraordinary challenge: both women were diagnosed with colon cancer while pregnant - it's a rare occurrence that affects less than 1 percent of women.

"It does feel lonely," Lopez said. "You're in a unique situation."

"I was grateful to be that person to be able to tell her a little bit about it," Wieland said.

Lopez started chemotherapy at 30 weeks. Several doctors collaborated on her treatment plan to ensure her safety, as well as her unborn child's.

"Many people are fearful of pregnant women and treating them, so one important thing to know is that pregnant women are not withheld treatment," said Dr. Karishma Rai, of the hospital.

After several rounds of chemo, Lopez gave birth to a healthy baby boy named Maximus.

She resumed treatment and underwent surgery two weeks later.

Wieland encouraged Lopez every step of the way.

Wieland brought her daughter Sidney, whom she was pregnant with during her own colon cancer treatment, to help congratulate Lopez. She wants other women to know that pregnancy won't get in the way of getting treatment, and treatment won't necessarily impact the pregnancy.

"Seek out the right people who want to help you and you can do it, and you can have healthy babies," she said.
Related Topics:
healthcancercancer carepregnancypregnant womanOak Lawn
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