Obstetrics and Gynecology: Patient Stories

Gynecologic Cancers
Infertility/In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
Maternal-Fetal Medicine
Pelvic Floor Disorders
Transabdominal Cerclage for Incompetent Cervix

Gynecologic Cancers

Cervical Cancer

Jennifer Zinga

Rare Surgical Technique Enables Healthy Pregnancy After Cervical Cancer
When cervical cancer threatened Jennifer Mason Zinga's dream of having three children, she and husband, Tim, were devastated. Yet, the weren't ready to give up hope. Zinga came to the University of Chicago Medicine, one of few medical centers nationwide offering radical vaginal trachelectomy (RVT) as an alternative to a radical hysterectomy. Today, she is cancer-free and a mom of three.

Emily Jordan

Fertility Specialists Aid Mother's Gift: Carrying her Daughter's Child
When Emily Jordan was diagnosed with cervical cancer, her best option for recovery was a radical hysterectomy. For a young woman set on having children, this was devastating news. But with the help of medical center physicians and her mother -- who offered to serve as a gestational carrier -- Emily and her husband, Mike, are looking toward a bright future for their daughter.

Ovarian Cancer

Christine Gabriel

Back in the Saddle
When three-time breast cancer survivor Christine Gabriel learned she had primary peritoneal carcinoma, she turned to the University of Chicago Medicine for her care. Two weeks after finishing treatment, the horse racing analyst headed to Dubai to give commentary in the winner’s circle at the Meydan Racecourse. Six years after her diagnosis, Gabriel is still cancer-free.

Allison Sharpe

Confronting Ovarian Cancer
Allison Sharpe didn’t recognize her fatigue as a symptom of illness. But then a visit to gynecologist Iris Romero, MD, led to a diagnosis of ovarian cancer. Romero referred Sharpe to Ernst Lengyel, MD, PhD, an expert in cancers of the female reproductive system, for evaluation and treatment. "Our gynecologic teams are closely integrated and this greatly benefits our patients," Romero said.

Jennifer Bishop-Staley

From the Oncology Ward to the Maternity Ward
At age 19, Jennifer Bishop-Staley was diagnosed with a rare form of ovarian cancer. She underwent focused treatment that included removal of an ovary and the tumor inside it, as well as chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Several years after surviving the cancer, Bishop-Staley gave birth to her first child.

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Infertility/In Vitro Fertilization

Emily Jordan with husband, Mike, and her mother

Fertility Specialists Aid Mother's Gift: Carrying her Daughter's Child
When Emily Jordan was diagnosed with cervical cancer, her best option for recovery was a radical hysterectomy. For a young woman set on having children, this was devastating news. But with the help of medical center physicians and her mother -- who offered to serve as a gestational carrier -- Emily and her husband, Mike, are looking toward a bright future for their daughter.

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Maternal-Fetal Medicine

Sofia Espinoza and John Carlos Guzman

Dozens of Medical Specialists Rally to Help Newborn Beat Rare Tumor
After an ultrasound revealed a rare, life-threatening tumor growing on the neck of her unborn son, Sofia Espinoza came to the University of Chicago Medicine for help. Following weeks of planning and preparation -- even a simulation -- a team of physicians and surgeons orchestrated the complicated delivery and performed delicate surgery to remove the tumor.  Espinoza calls her son’s recovery amazing and doctors predict he’ll live a healthy life.

Mono-mono twins and parents

Two Beautiful Daughters Come From Difficult Twin Pregnancy
It was clear from the start that Marjorie Bansfield's twin pregnancy would be
difficult. She was 45 and her twins shared the same amniotic sac -- a rare "mono-
mono" pregnancy that carries a very high risk for complications. "Marjorie's pregnancy presented many potential problems, so we needed to monitor her very intensely," said Mahmoud Ismail, MD, at the University of Chicago Medicine. "She got her twins to 34 weeks because she did everything possible to protect her babies, including letting our team keep a close watch on her."

Daziyah

Complex Surgery Gives Baby a Chance at Life
A routine ultrasound during a prenatal check-up revealed a large bulky mass on the neck of Shenella Parker's unborn child. Parker was referred to the University of Chicago Medicine Maternal-Fetal Center where a multidisciplinary team of obstetricians, pediatric surgeons and others performed a complex surgery to remove the tumor and ensure that the baby could breathe. Some parts of the procedure were performed while the baby was partly in utero -- still receiving blood and oxygen through her mother's umbilical cord.

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Pelvic Floor Disorders

Bonnie Fulgham

A Complicated Fix: Team of Pelvic Surgery Experts Helps Woman Reclaim Her Health
After undergoing a laparoscopic partial hysterectomy at another hospital, Bonnie Fulgham was blindsided by resulting complications, including two vaginal fistulas. At the Center for Pelvic Health, our team's expertise and collaboration were essential to helping her achieve the best possible recovery. With strong faith, support and optimism, Fulgham endured a complex treatment process, emerging with gratitude and an inspiring testimony.

Penelope Kausal and Greg Bales, MD

Urinary Incontinence: Not Just a Normal Part of Women’s Aging
For Penelope Kausal, what began as "a tiny bit of leakage" in her early 30s evolved into a more serious case of urinary incontinence as she grew older. For many years, Kausal, now 68, assumed the incontinence was just a normal part of aging. The mother of five turned to University of Chicago Medicine urologist Gregory Bales, MD, who surgically restored her bladder to its proper position by supporting it with a urethral sling. "I just feel so much more comfortable about routine activities and being in public," said Kausal.

Laura O'Brien, Sandra Culbertson and Silvia Wright

Women Find Help for Little Discussed Problem
Both Laura O'Brien and Silvia Wright experienced pelvic organ prolapse, a condition that occurs when the connective tissue holding organs in place gradually weakens, causing organs to fall. Both O'Brien and Wright sought help from Sandra Culbertson, MD, who performed surgeries to repair the problem. "I chose the option that was going to give me back my lifestyle -- basically being active with my family," said Wright. O'Brien also had good results: "I feel great," she said.

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Transabdominal Cerclage for Incompetent Cervix

Maryann Gates, Katrina, Isabella

Hope -- and Two Daughters -- After Successful Treatment
Maryann Gates now has two beautiful, healthy daughters. But a few years ago, she was mourning the loss of twins 19 1/2 weeks into her pregnancy. Gates experienced the pregnancy loss due to an incompetent cervix. After having a transbdominal cerclage procedure performed at the University of Chicago Medicine, Gates carried two pregnancies to term. Today, this Bolingbrook, Ill., resident enjoys being a mom to Katrina and Isabella.

Michele Arick, Alyssa, Abigail

Procedure Helps Family Find Happiness After History of Loss
On the path to parenthood, Michele Arick suffered multiple losses: five miscarriages, two ectopic pregnancies, and the loss of a son, Matthew, during the 21st week of pregnancy. She also struggled with infertility issues. After being diagnosed with cervical insufficiency -- and nearly losing another child after a failed transvaginal cerclage (TVC) treatment -- Arick traveled from Iowa to Chicago to have a transabdominal cerclage (TAC) treatment performed by Arthur Haney, MD. After having the TAC at the University of Chicago Medicine, Arick had two healthy baby girls.

Mandy and Aubrey Polatty

Memphis Family Recovers from Tragedy to Welcome Baby Girl into the World
Five years after delivering a baby girl, Mandy Polatty was diagnosed with an incompetent cervix at 19 weeks into her second pregnancy. Yet just a week after having a transvaginal cerclage treatment for her condition, Mandy delivered a stillborn boy. Mandy and her husband researched their options online and found the University of Chicago Medicine's Arthur Haney, MD, a well-known expert in transabdominal cerclage, a treatment for incompetent cervix that has a higher success rate than transvaginal cerclage. After having a prepregnancy transabdominal cerclage treatment at the University of Chicago medical center, Mandy delivered a healthy girl.

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