by Johanna Dasteel 
2011 was a tumultuous year for Meg Booth, her husband Jeff and their children Hannah (11) and Nathan (5). In August, Meg discovered a lump in her right breast, which she had examined in September. A mammogram with “suspicious” results lead to a biopsy in December.
In the meantime, on October 29, Meg landed in an emergency room thinking she might have a stomach virus. She told her local paper, The Valdosta Daily Times , “After questions and bloodwork, the doctor came in and said, ‘I think congratulations are in order. You’re pregnant.’ I about died.”
Meg and Jeff had faced years of infertility, “so,” explains Meg, “it was a huge, huge surprise to find out I was pregnant.”
Equally surprising, but far less joyful, was the news the couple received on December 15, that Meg had Stage 2 intraductal carcinoma – breast cancer.
After spending Christmas with her in-laws, Meg entered the surgical ward for a lumpectomy on December 29th. Due to a swollen node, the surgeon also removed 16 lymph nodes. Testing revealed that three of them were positive for cancer.
“My original thought was ‘what about the baby?’ I was 12 weeks when I got the diagnosis in December,” says Meg.
The saga continued into 2012. The obstetrician delivered happy news: Meg and Jeff were having a girl. But the levity was short-lived since the next day, her surgeon delivered a difficult prognosis: Meg would have to undergo further surgery – this time, a mastectomy. Then news from her oncologist: four rounds of chemotherapy, all while carrying her daughter in utero.
Concerned about the effects of the chemotherapy on her daughter, her doctor told her, “We will do what we have to do to take care of you first, and then we will see what happens.”
A Valdosta First Baptist Church and education secretary for nearly 14 years, Meg responded, “This baby God has given, and this baby God will take care of.”
Meg’s surgery was on January 17th, closely followed by her first chemotherapy treatment. “I was very blessed,” she said, “The only physical side effects were hair loss and fatigue.”
She took medication that was safe for the baby. She says the fatigue would only last for a few days after each chemotherapy treatment.
“I actually believe my pregnancy hormones helped me with the limited side effects,” she said.
Throughout the treatment, Meg made weekly visits to a high-risk pregnancy obstetrician specialist. “He assured me to begin with the chemo drugs will cause no major abnormalities as far as the baby was concerned.”
She delivered a healthy 6lb 10z girl, Isabella Hope Booth, on May 29, 2012 at Smith-Northview Hospital. “The baby’s name is Isabella Hope Booth because she is the hope that kept us going every day.”
“She… was perfect,” remembered Meg. “She saved my life.”
In July, the mother of three started a month of radiation treatments. And now, she is only attending follow-up appointments and has been released by most of her doctors.
Now, she points mothers facing similar situations to Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Meg plans on writing a book about this past year’s ordeal entitled, “Having Hope.”