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After cancer, Angela Bennett-Lewis, 37, had a baby

Her odds weren't too favorable. But the outcome sure was.

Even though she'd been through five years of cancer treatments, was older than the "normal age" and had just gone through a miscarriage, Angela Bennett-Lewis delivered a healthy baby girl on June 2.

"I was high-risk, but the pregnancy was wonderful and she was perfect," Mrs. Lewis said as her three-month-old daughter, Tessa Marie, sat in her lap, smiling and cooing contentedly.

Mrs. Lewis, a speech pathologist in McDuffie schools, was featured last year in The McDuffie Mirror's "Think Pink" edition as a breast cancer survivor. A few days after that story appeared in the paper, she found out she was pregnant. At 37 years old, Mrs. Lewis was classified as "AMA," or advanced maternal age.

"I was thrilled to death, but a little scared that something might happen again," she said. "So, I went to the doctor right away and was followed closely because of my history with cancer. Then, my husband and I decided we were going to just enjoy every week of the pregnancy and not let fear rule us."

Her son, Alex, was 3 years old when Mrs. Lewis was diagnosed with breast cancer.

At that time, she worried that she would die and not be able to take care of him.

She said her husband, Tester, was the strong one who assured her they would fight the cancer.

After four chemo, 32 radiation and five years of Tomoxin treatments, Mrs. Lewis was worried she would not be able to have children. Two years after completing the treatments, she said she received the go-ahead from her oncologist for her and her husband to try and conceive.

Mrs. Lewis had a miscarriage. It was emotionally painful, so they gave up, she said.

"We just said we were happy with Alex," she said, referring to their son.

The cancer was a wake-up call to the young couple, who thought they were invincible, Mrs. Lewis said. As a result, they started attending church, became saved and baptized.

Today, Alex is a rambunctious 11-year-old who likes playing video games, collecting Pokemon cards and spending time with his friends. He also enjoys time with his baby sister, although there is one unfavorable condition.

"I like holding her, but I have to clean the slobber off of her," he said while reaching for a cloth and dutifully wiping Tessa's chin. "She slobbers all the time."

Tessa, who is named after her father, doesn't mind the chin-wiping. In fact, she laughs and kicks her feet as if it was a game.

"She's a good addition to our family," Mrs. Lewis said. "She's not high-drama. She's a good baby. And when all else fails, Alex can make her laugh."

Web posted on Thursday, October 01, 2009

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