Anna Jolly Sadbeck
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As she shared the story of her experience with cervical cancer, Anna Jolly’s baby, Paul Nicholas, was gurgling in the background. While most new mothers would be thrilled to have their first child at 30, Anna is especially thankful. Less than a year after getting married in August 2007, Anna, who was 26, went for a routine gynecologic exam. She’d just finished her masters in education and was looking forward to starting a family.
“All of a sudden, every red flag went up,” she recalled. The diagnosis was high-grade cervical dysplasia. The biopsy results came back positive for squamous cell carcinoma of the cervix, stage 1B1.
In her mid-twenties, Anna thought she was going to die.
“The first three oncologists we saw all said I’d need a complete hysterectomy,” she recalled. “They wouldn’t even discuss any other options. I had no previous experience with cancer – and I really thought I was dying.”
A family friend referred Anna to Dr. Mark Morgan, chief of Gynecologic Oncology at Fox Chase Cancer Center. “He said if there was a chance to preserve my fertility, Dr. Morgan would do it.”
Dr. Morgan was able to surgically remove Anna's tumor while preserving her fertility.
Anna and her husband Phillip met with Dr. Morgan in July 2008. “We’re devout believers, and we prayed our hearts out waiting for all the test results to come back,” she recalled. “When Dr. Morgan came into the office, he seemed calm and positive. He said everything looked very contained. He believed that a fertility preserving vaginal radical trachelectomy with lymph extraction would take care of the problem and allow us to have children.”
After the surgery, despite having a shortened cervix, Anna was told she should be able to get pregnant, with the baby delivered by caesarean section. Dr. Morgan performed the surgery August 4, 2008. “The next day, I was able to walk out of the hospital. My C-section was more traumatic than this surgery. I recovered well.”
A week later, Anna was told there were no findings of cancer anywhere, and she’d need no further treatment. After several attempts, Anna and Phillip got pregnant in December 2010 – “the greatest Christmas gift ever.” She carried her son to full term, and he was born by C-section in August 2011.
"Dr. Morgan is just incredible"
"Dr. Morgan is just incredible," she said. "He reassured us with his competency from the beginning. He felt like family. And when my son was born, the doctor who delivered him said he almost couldn't tell that I'd had surgery, Dr. Morgan did such an amazing job. He did in four-and-a-half hours what nobody was willing to do."
Anna and Phillip plan to have more children to keep Paul company. "The best part of the experience was going for a follow up pap smear to Dr. Morgan's office with our three-month-old son. Dr. Morgan was overjoyed to see this long awaited baby! And I am overjoyed to be a mother."