Cancer-surviving mom risks life for safety of unborn child

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - A Southern California mom is especially grateful to be sharing her story of "hope" this Christmas.

After a scary diagnosis during Jessica Dykstra's third pregnancy, she risked her own health to ensure the safety of her unborn child.

Already the parents of two young boys, Jessica and her husband Nate learned the grim news the same day she learned a baby girl was on the way.

"You have cancer… and it was just like, what?," said Jessica.

A pregnancy scan at the hospital revealed a cancerous tumor was growing on her left kidney. Doctors feared it could harm her unborn child.

The need for immediate surgery led Dykstra to Dr. Georges- Pascal Haber, a pioneering urologist with the Cleveland Clinic. Haber is the first doctor to perform a similar surgery on a pregnant patient.

"It was a very difficult decision," said Dr. Haber.

Jessica and Dr. Haber decided to delay the surgery until after baby Hope was born. Nate helped deliver Hope at home.

Five weeks after delivery, Jessica underwent successful surgery at the Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Haber removed the cancer and was able to save 80 percent of Jessica's kidney.

"Her prognosis is excellent, given that the whole tumor was removed and this time there is no signs of having any cancer left inside," said Dr. Haber.

This Christmas, the Dykstra family is celebrating the gift of "Hope" and good health.

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