BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio (FOX19) - In July 2019, Kia Moerlein visited her doctor to check some swelling in her breast. The doctor told her not to worry about the swelling and the pain associated with it because she was pregnant.
“He just said it’s pregnancy-related, hormone-related,” Kia’s husband, James Moerlein said.
A few months later, the married parents of three were told the baby’s sex.
“After three girls, we’re having a boy,” James said, recalling the enthusiasm that resulted from that revelation.
It was the enthusiasm that persisted as James and Kia looked forward to the exciting months to come.
But something was still bothering Kia. She visited doctors multiple times, James says, complaining of pain and more swelling in her breast.
“She just said it was swollen and sore,” James explained. “She didn’t feel an actual mass or lump.”
Fast-forward several months and many trips to the hospital, and that pain had increased to the point where Kia had trouble walking and needed help with simple, daily tasks.
Again, though, the diagnosis was off the mark.
“They diagnosed her with sciatica,” James said, “related to the pregnancy, which, at first, that’s what it appeared to be.”
Then came New Year’s Eve, when the pain became so bad Kia had to the E.R.
Within a few days, a doctor told her she had breast cancer. It was stage-4, James says, and had spread to her bones.
“I said, ‘We’re in the wrong room. We came here for back pain related to pregnancy, not metastatic breast cancer,’” James explained.
It turns out breast cancer can be missed, James says the doctors told him, especially during pregnancies.
Now, just as they’re preparing for a newborn, the couple is focusing on the fight of Kia’s life.
“They’ve done one round of chemo during pregnancy,” James said. “I didn’t even know they could do that.”
He explains he’s sharing their story now as a warning to other families, to be proactive and get a second opinion if something seems wrong.
“If you feel that something is wrong with your body, don’t accept a doctor saying, ‘Oh, it’s normal, it’s normal,’ and nothing being done about it,” he said.
Kia is expected to deliver in a few weeks, after which James says she’ll start more chemo.
A benefit of the family will be held in a few weeks. You can find more information out about it here.