Saving two lives and granting Valentine the miracle of motherhood

Patient Story

Valentine Schwartz

Valentine Schwartz was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000. In 2003, when the cancer returned, she sought out Dr. Ned Carp for her care. In 2009, days after her cancer returned once more, Valentine discovered that she was pregnant. With the diligent care and teamwork of Dr. Carp and Lankenau Ob/Gyn Dr. Scott Bailey, Valentine underwent a double mastectomy and chemotherapy, and delivered her miracle daughter who is now two years old.

Dear Lankenau Leaders,

Dr. Carp came with rave reviews. I had been diagnosed and treated for breast cancer previously, but my experience under Dr. Carp’s hands when my cancer returned for the second time, showed me just how compassionate a doctor could be. I discovered he was a skilled surgeon, gentle, soft spoken, and compassionate. During a particularly uncomfortable procedure, I remember looking into his eyes and realizing how genuinely upset he was to see me in pain.

Over the next six years I got married and tried for a baby. After failed fertility treatments and one miscarriage, it didn’t look too hopeful. To make matters worse, my routine mammogram looked suspicious. When many doctors would have advised a follow up mammogram in six months, Dr. Carp insisted on an immediate biopsy. The results were devastating – cancer had returned for the third time, once again in my right breast. Five days later, I found out I was pregnant.

Dr. Carp and his team rallied around me. I told him “you have two lives to save now” and he responded immediately “I’ll save both.” Dr. Carp understood me as a woman trying to save her baby and did not hesitate to keep my wishes. I trusted Dr. Carp implicitly, following his recommendation for a double mastectomy. Once again as a surgeon, Dr. Carp was phenomenal; he used so much caution when he performed my surgery knowing he had more at stake than just my health. And his instinct was right – post-op results revealed aggressive cancer in both breasts.

I remember one time hearing about how during a snowstorm, Dr. Carp’s car was stuck in his driveway. He hitched a ride from a passer-by so he could get to the hospital to perform a surgery. This story stuck with me because it showed his true personality. Dr. Carp is more than just a doctor or a surgeon – he is a human being with a heart. When he cares for you, you know that you’re a person, not a number. The way he treated me made me feel like he was treating his relative. Dr. Carp’s staff was also incredible. They were accommodating, happily carrying out every request I made, from making photocopies of records, to arranging appointments. It’s these little things that can make such a terrible experience easier.

I can say with certainty that Dr. Carp saved my life and that of my little girl who lights up my world. My cancer was so aggressive that if Dr. Carp hadn’t pushed for the biopsy, or recommended a double mastectomy, I wouldn’t be here today and my daughter would be without a mom. I can never thank Dr. Carp enough for saving two lives and granting me the miracle of motherhood I thought I’d never experience.

Originally published in the Spring 2012 issue of 'Lankenau Leaders'

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