Miracles are happening every day here at NYU Winthrop Hospital, and six-month-old Noah Lopez is one of those precious miracles. Noah’s parents, Hicksville residents Gloria Baca and her husband, Michael Lopez, never gave up hope that they would one day have a child. Today, thanks to their perseverance and the well-coordinated care of a multidisciplinary team of specialists at NYU Winthrop, Noah is the greatest joy of their life.
In 2007, when Gloria and her husband first experienced difficulty conceiving, they consulted with their obstetrician/gynecologist, Mary R. Kriner, MD, who has been practicing at NYU Winthrop for nearly 20 years and has extensive experience in all aspects of women’s healthcare. Dr. Kriner diagnosed Gloria with Asherman’s syndrome, a rare condition characterized by the formation of scar tissue in the uterus, which can cause infertility.
Dr. Kriner referred Gloria to Linda Sung, MD, director of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at NYU Winthrop, who is board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology as well as reproductive endocrinology and infertility.
Dr. Sung diagnosed Gloria with a polyp and treated her with an operative hysteroscopy—a minimally invasive procedure involving the use of small instruments which are inserted through a hysteroscope to remove it. She then found that Gloria had a precancerous condition of the uterus involving an area that was highly suspicious for invasive cancer.
Immediately, Gloria’s physicians collaborated and brought on Edward A. Jiménez, DO, a board-certified specialist in the treatment of gynecologic cancers.
The team of physicians and Gloria decided that treatment and curing the precancerous condition was their first priority, as was preserving her fertility options. She then underwent an in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle to freeze her embryos.
“Gloria wanted to have children but was worried that her precancerous condition and treatments would result in a hysterectomy,” explained Dr. Sung. “We decided that the best course of action was to preserve her fertility by freezing her embryos, administer the necessary treatments to cure the precancer, and then continue with our attempts to help Gloria and Michael have children.”
Dr. Jiménez met with the couple to review management options. He explained all of the options for treatment of Gloria’s condition, including an oral medication that would give her the opportunity to try IVF again, although it would not guarantee that the condition would not come back.
“Although the usual treatment for this condition is a hysterectomy due to its high recurrence rate, Gloria was still determined to have a child,” said Dr. Jiménez.
Well-educated about the potential benefits and risks, Gloria’s resolve to one day conceive a child led her to follow the course of treatment involving oral medication. Under Dr. Jiménez’s very close watch over the next several months, repeat endometrial biopsies revealed that the treatment was successful and the endometrial cancer had regressed.
But Gloria’s dream would once again be put on hold. A few months later, as Dr. Sung prepared Gloria for another IVF treatment, she discovered that Gloria had developed a recurrence of the early stage uterine cancer.
Dr. Jiménez consulted with Gloria once again and explained the options: she could either have a hysterectomy or try a different type of medication. “After coming so far and refusing to allow anything to prevent her from having a child, Gloria opted for medical treatment using a Mirena® intrauterine device, a device that releases progestin directly into the uterine lining,” said Dr. Jiménez.
After an intensive nine-month treatment under the vigilant care of Dr. Jiménez, Gloria was again completely cancer-free. With renewed hope for a positive outcome, Gloria had her frozen embryos transferred by Dr. Sung and was thrilled to learn that she had become pregnant in August of 2012.
“It was the most incredible feeling. After all of these years of trying, and after so many different types of treatment, even after battling cancer, my dream had finally come true,” said Gloria.
Gloria enjoyed a healthy pregnancy, thanks in part to the attentiveness and care of Dr. Kriner, who monitored her very closely throughout the entire pregnancy. On May 20, 2013, Gloria gave birth to a healthy 8 lb., 1 oz. boy. “Throughout all of my treatments, I felt so comfortable at NYU Winthrop because all of my physicians watched over me very carefully and used a well-coordinated team approach to provide me with the best care possible,” she said.
In order to prevent cancer from recurring, Gloria will soon undergo a hysterectomy.
“Gloria went through so much, but she never gave up and she had such an optimistic attitude,” said Dr. Kriner. “It was nothing short of a miracle.”