Pingree Grove mom celebrates 5 years cancer free with 'miracle' baby boy

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A Pingree Grove physical therapist is celebrating a major milestone during breast cancer awareness month.

When she was diagnosed, she thought the treatment would prevent her from having children. Now her son just turned two years old and she is five years cancer free.

It's a welcome reunion for whole team of doctors from Northwestern Medicine meeting to celebrate a major milestone with Carolyn Nugent and her son Joey.

"It's crazy to think that four years ago I had no hair, no eyelashes, no eyebrows, you know, and then here I am!" Nugent said.

Nugent, an active marathoner, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014 at the age of 33.

"The only thing I could really think about was not being able to be a mother afterward.," she said.

Dr. William Gradishar, her oncologist, told her the news.

"One of the consequences of chemotherapy, of course, is that it can decrease the fertility rate," Gradishar said.

So before treatment, Nugent froze five embryos and then started a year of chemotherapy, radiation, and procedures.

"Being a mom was what got me through all of that the chemo, the radiation. This is all I wanted was this little guy right here," she said, picking up her son. "It's truly that's what my motivation was to keep going through all of that."

Finally she got the OK from her doctors to try to conceive with the embryos she froze at the beginning of her cancer journey. And the result? Joey.

"Every part of it of motherhood is just way more than I ever could have imagined," Nugent said.

"This really was a miracle. It was a dream come true," said Dr. Elena Mara Kamel who delivered Nugent's baby.

Now, as her hospital family celebrates Joey's second birthday, Nugent is giving thanks.

"Every day I am just grateful that I am healthy today, and I'm grateful that I'm healthy tomorrow. Because that is just kind of how you have to live when you're diagnosed with cancer," she said.
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