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Johns Hopkins Health - A Mother’s Wish

Fall 2016
Issue No. 34

A Mother’s Wish

Date: October 4, 2016

One Mom’s Inspiring Cancer Story


A mother's wish

Crazy-busy days are welcomed in the Skrygulec home in the suburbs north of Philadelphia.

“That means all is good—and normal,” says Ewa Skrygulec, a stay-at-home mother of three young boys.

After all, fear and uncertainty ruled the household in the spring of 2015 when she learned—all within a few days—that she had stage 1 breast cancer and a third baby on the way.

“I was devastated, scared, elated, surprised, unsure, all at the same time,” says Skrygulec, 39.

Stage 1 breast cancer is generally considered highly treatable and survivable. But with pregnancy thrown into the mix, nothing about her care was considered “routine.” Skrygulec had a lumpectomy at her local hospital. The surgery itself went fine, but her doctors discovered that the cancer was in several ducts and areas of the breast. That meant more surgery.

At that point, worried about her pregnancy, Skrygulec sought second opinions from the breast cancer experts at Johns Hopkins. After several conversations with breast cancer surgeon David Euhus, M.D., and his colleagues, Skrygulec felt confident that a mastectomy was the right choice. Surgery, however, had to wait until she’d reached the second trimester—earlier than that, and the chance of miscarriage goes up.

“We were able to do a nipple-sparing mastectomy with immediate reconstruction,” says Euhus, who adds that today, Skrygulec is cancer-free.

On Jan. 26, 2016, Skrygulec and her family welcomed Alexander. Even better than being able to breastfeed him, she says, “is that I don’t have to think about myself. When I see videos of other people who get through cancer, I cry, but I feel so lucky.”

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