Phil and Carrie Brangiforte with their daughter,
Alexandria. This summer, Alexandria celebrated her
first birthday while Carrie celebrated a year of being
Several years ago, Jacki Anthony, a nurse, underwent successful treatment for breast cancer at Boston Medical Center. So when her daughter Carrie Brangiforte began to experience severe abdominal pain and complications following the birth of her daughter Alexandria, Jacki knew BMC was the best place to go – for answers and for care.
Three days after she gave birth, Carrie was rushed to BMC upon her mother’s urgent insistence when she was experiencing severe abdominal pain. Within hours of her arrival, BMC physicians discovered a mass in her colon and rushed Carrie to the operating room.
“She had two big issues,” explains James Petros, M.D., BMC general surgeon and program director of Boston University School of Medicine’s general surgery residency program. “The first being that the tumor had obstructed her colon, and the second that it had perforated, or torn, her intestines. In addition, her abdomen was filled with fluid. She was extremely sick and needed immediate surgery.”
Dr. Petros performed emergency surgery to remove the tumor, her large intestine and her colon. He then had to reconnect the remaining intestine so that her bowels could function properly. Carrie spent several weeks recovering at BMC, during which time Dr. Petros had daily check-in calls with Carrie’s husband, Phil, to ensure he was well informed of her health and involved each step of the way.
“Dr. Petros is forever embedded in our hearts,” says Carrie. “He was incredible throughout the whole ordeal. I couldn’t have asked for a better support system from the nurses, the staff and my entire family.” Carrie continued follow-up care for her life-threatening cancer at BMC’s Center for Digestive Disorders for several months following her surgery. An evaluation by Kevan Hartshorn, M.D., of BMC’s Medical Oncology Department found that her cancer did not spread; fortunately, Carrie did not require additional treatment.
“We are so fortunate to have BMC in our lives,” says Jacki. “They saved my life and now my daughter’s. We are so very grateful.”
To show their appreciation for BMC, Carrie and Phil organized a high school baseball tournament in East Boston that raised $5,000 to support the Colon Cancer Support Group at BMC. “We truly appreciate Carrie and Phil’s contributions to BMC,” says David C. Seldin, M.D., Ph.D., chief of Hematology/Oncology. “They are an inspiring family, and we continue to be humbled by their dedication to our mission and our services.”
One year after Carrie’s emergency surgery and cancer treatments she and her mother Jacki and her father Bob attended BMC’s Fifth Annual Cancer Survivors Luncheon. This annual event is an important part of BMC’s approach to aiding in the patient’s recovery, as well as assisting those who are impacted by a family member’s health crisis.
In addition to being cancer-free, the family has another very important milestone to celebrate – Alexandria’s first birthday – a day that Carrie will hold dear to her heart.