Mom of 2 set to celebrate first cancer-free Mother's Day in the U.S.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- A mother of two is getting ready to celebrate Mother's Day on Sunday - her first one in the United States, and her first one after a year-long battle with cancer - she fought it during the height of the pandemic.

For Delphine Ettinger, spending a warm, spring Mother's Day weekend means the world this year.

"The kids are bringing a lot of love, hugs - that's beautiful," she said.

However, 2020, like for so many others, was not a beautiful year for the young mother of two, who moved here from France two years ago. For Ettinger, it started with a diagnosis of Stage 1 breast cancer last March, as the pandemic was beginning to rage.

"That day I felt like everything was falling apart," said Ettinger.

The 44-year-old stopped breastfeeding her 7-month-old son and as COVID cases surged, the world shut down, but Ettinger was fortunate.

"I was the last patient to get surgery in the spring, so I was very lucky," she said.

Ettinger just got by - as for six weeks, elective surgical units shut down. Her surgeon, Dr. Sarah Cate from Mt Sinai says, while uncommon, one in 3,000 pregnant women get diagnosed with breast cancer.

"We do mammograms during pregnancy. It's a very common misconception. We have abdominal shielding, just like when you go to the dentist - we put that shield on you, so we do the same for the baby," said Dr. Cate.

"We discovered it so fast, and Dr. Cate was very good," Ettinger added.

After surgery, chemotherapy followed - until August. Ettinger thought it was the end of therapy, but it still was not over. Earlier this year, she discovered another lump.

"Luckily it was negative - it was a benign lump," she said.

Lucky Ettinger is - and she is now able to spend her first Mother's Day in the U.S. with a new lease on life.

While there is still a pandemic - Ettinger is now cancer-free.

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