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Family Grows Through Mesothelioma Survivor

Tamron Cox-Little

Tamron Cox-Little didn’t plan her first pregnancy, but it turned into a bigger blessing than anyone could have imagined.

It probably saved her life.

Cox-Little is a 10-year, peritoneal mesothelioma survivor whose ultrasound late in that pregnancy first alerted doctors to a small and unusual growth inside her abdomen. This led to an earlier-than-normal diagnosis and a better chance of surviving this rare and aggressive cancer.

Baby Caleb was a godsend in disguise.

Cox-Little, 31, had successful cytoreductive surgery, hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) and intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) a few months after giving birth and shortly after the tumor growth was identified as mesothelioma.

She remains cancer-free a decade later, believing the tumors are gone for good because they were caught so early.

“I had mixed emotions when I first found out I was pregnant. I was young, still in college, and we weren’t married yet. I had to come to grips with that,” Cox-Little told Asbestos.com. “But everything happens for a reason. Thank God for Caleb. Who knows what would have happened without that ultrasound. God had a plan. He was watching over me.”

Sharing Success with Her Surgeon

Mesothelioma specialist Dr. Edward Levine orchestrated her care at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, reconfirming the diagnosis before the aggressive, life-changing surgery.

She returned to see Levine for regular checkups, always bringing along Caleb for good luck. And every couple years, she brought a new baby, making Levine smile broader each time.

“We laugh now because I remember asking him shortly after my surgery if I would be able to have any more children. He told me then to just be happy with the one I had,” she said. “The doctors thought the high-dose radiation had messed up my reproductive organs and I wouldn’t be able to have any more kids.”

The family now consists of husband Samuel, Caleb, 10, Caden, 7, Savannah, 5, and 3-year-old Sydney.

“They’re all healthy and happy,” Cox-Little said proudly. “Every time I took another baby to see Dr. Levine, his eyes would just get wider and wider. He’d say, ‘So, this is yours, too? Tamron, you’re amazing. You’re a walking miracle.’”

Tim Povtak, Senior Content Writer at Asbestos.com

Tim Povtak is an award-winning writer with more than 30 years of reporting national and international news. His specialty is interviewing top mesothelioma specialists and researchers, reporting the latest news at mesothelioma cancer centers and talking with survivors and caregivers. Read More

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