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Robin Garren's Incredible Story

Terrance D. Peabody, MD Orthopaedic Oncology

Mark Agulnik, MD Hematology and Medical Oncology

Janelle R. Bolden, MD Maternal Fetal Medicine

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a complicated decision

Ultimately, Robin’s cancer was not solely her own. Dr. Bolden explained to her that while chemotherapy would be necessary to prevent the cancer from spreading, her baby could be at risk. Dr. Bolden’s practice had extensive experience caring for women diagnosed with cancer while pregnant, yet Robin’s diagnosis was rare. Still, with faith in her medical team, Robin was determined to carry as long as possible.

I just remember thinking, ‘I will love my baby no matter what.’
–Robin
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Finding the Right Formula

As surgery drew closer and closer, Robin’s chemotherapy regimen continued to evolve. Spearheaded by Dr. Agulnik, the medications chosen for treatment and management of side effects were carefully vetted to ensure there would be no harm to the baby.

Robin had a tremendous amount of life left to live, and when you add a baby to the mix, so much more is at risk of being lost.
–Mark Agulnik, MD

Paired with the pains and aches of pregnancy, Robin bravely endured the effects of chemo until nearly 37 weeks pregnant – a milestone her team had thoughtfully planned for – when she was admitted for surgery.

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The Biggest Day of Her Life

Throughout her treatment, Robin had developed a deep trust in all her physicians, nurses and specialists at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, a trust rewarded as Robin’s team methodically put their plan into action.

The courage of Robin going to sleep, having all that done and not knowing whether the baby would be healthy ― she’s got some tremendous courage.
–Terrance Peabody, MD

As Robin lay in the operating room and underwent anesthesia, she had no idea what her life would look like when she woke up. Would she have a healthy baby? Would she be cancer-free? Within seconds, she was asleep. First, Dr. Bolden’s team delivered a healthy baby girl. Then, Dr. Bolden traded places with Dr. Peabody, who carefully removed the tumor and partially rebuilt her femur with a bone graft from a cadaver. The two operations were performed in the same room, on the same day ― an unprecedented event.

The Quality of Specialists

The quality of specialists as well as the breadth of knowledge that Northwestern Medicine provides is top-notch. And everyone's willingness to work together for the best possible patient outcome is unparalleled.
–Janelle Bolden, MD
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