Little Couple star Jen Arnold reveals her cancer of uterus was caused by nonviable pregnancy
- Reality TV star, 39, was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer of the uterus after bleeding during a trip to adopt her daughter in India
- She had fallen pregnant in August but the embryo had no heartbeat and when it was removed, leftover cells led to the cancer
- Doctors later learned she had three tumors on her lungs
- She has undergone chemo - but it has been complicated by her size because doctors have had to research how much to give her
- Jen, whose husband and children have dwarfism, says prognosis is good
By Daily Mail Reporters
PUBLISHED: 10:54 EST, 11 December 2013 | UPDATED: 12:08 EST, 11 December 2013
Jen Arnold, the star of reality TV show Little Couple, has revealed that her cancer of the uterus was caused by a non-viable pregnancy - and now the aggressive disease has spread to her lungs.
The Houston neonatologist broke the news about her diagnosis last week after she and husband Bill Klein, who both have dwarfism caused by a genetic condition, brought their second adopted child home to Texas.
Arnold, who now wears a wig, has now detailed the terrifying moment that she learned something was wrong - and how doctors have struggled to know what treatment is best due to her size.
'There are moments I feel just terrible,' she told People magazine. 'I can't believe it is happening. Other times, I feel like this is just a bump in the road.'
The couple, both 39, have one adopted son, Will, from China and they were in India to bring home their new daughter Zoey, 2, in October when Arnold began bleeding.
Desperate to stay with her daughter but feeling increasingly faint, Arnold made the difficult decision to return home.
Once back in the U.S., she was diagnosed with stage 3 choriocarcincoma, a cancer sparked by a non-viable pregnancy she had suffered.
Her fertility issues have been well documented on the show, and she was shocked when she became pregnant in August - although she said she was not surprised that an ultrasound showed the baby had no heartbeat.
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Struggle: Jen and husband Bill have had a challenging few years as they tried to start a family
Family: Jen and Bill hold their son Will's hands as they walk to lunch. The couple adopted him from China last year
'I had figured it wasn't going to be viable,' she told People magazine.
The embryo was removed but cells were left behind and sparked the quick-growing cancer. She began intensive chemotherapy while her husband was still in India.
But the mass in her uterus failed to respond to the chemo and grew four times its size - and then three tumors appeared in her lungs.
'Sometimes I think, "Seriously? Really? How can this be happening?"' she told People.
Doctors were forced to give her a hysterectomy - which they saw as their last resort because of Arnold's small ariway.
'We wanted to avoid surgery in her case because of her shortened airway and the difficulties she has had in the past with surgeries,' said Dr. Concepcion R. Diaz-Arrastia from Baylor College of Medicine.
Struggles: In her efforts to start a family Jen went through multiple grueling rounds of IVF egg retrieval and tried surrogacy. The couple's surrogate miscarried and they turned to adoption
'But we felt we had no choice. The disease was not responding to chemotherapy. We had to do this in order to save her life.'
CHORIOCARCINOMA: THE CANCER THAT STRIKES DURING PREGNANCY
Choriocarcinoma is a fast-growing form of cancer in the uterus that develops in women who are pregnant.
It can occur after a normal pregnancy and it is possible for a healthy baby to grow at the same time.
The cancer is most often caused by a hydatidiform mole, which is a tumor resulting from over-production of the tissue that is supposed to develop into the placenta - the organ that grows during pregnancy to feed the fetus.
Even after the mass is removed from the uterus, the abnormal cells can continue to grow and turn into cancer - as it did in Arnold's case.
Choriocarcinoma is an uncommon, but very often curable. Most women whose cancer has not spread can be cured and will still be able to have children.
One symptom is vaginal bleeding in a woman who recently had a hydatidiform mole or pregnancy, and chemotherapy is the main type of treatment.
A hysterectomy and radiation therapy are rarely needed.
Doctors were also faced with the issue of her size because they were unaware of how much chemotherapy to give her.
'I called oncologists in Los Angeles, Baltimore, New York, Houston,' Dr. Arrastia said, 'and no one had experience with treating this type of cancer in a person with skeletal dysplasia. It was a very rare cancer, rare that it was found in a little person … a very rare situation.'
Now doctors have upped her dosage and hope she will not suffer an infection that will set her back. If this is the case, doctor say her prognosis looks good.
'The treatment is rough,' Arnold said. 'But I have a chance of being cured. I just have to push through it.'
Although she said she was ready to
battle through the cancer treatments, a tweet from Ms Arnold's husband
last week suggested she was feeling frail.
Mr Klein tweeted: 'My darling wife released today that she is currently battling a form of cancer. Prayers are welcome, hugs are not due to her weakened state.'
Arnold's battle against cancer after welcoming Zoey home will be shared with fans on future episodes of The Little Couple.
The couple met through an online dating website for little people and married in 2009. Mr Klein says he first saw his wife when she was 10 and they were both having surgery at the same hospital.
The TLC series The Little Couple has documented their desire to start a family. It has so far spanned five seasons and will continue to chronicle their lives she Jen fights the disease.
Newlyweds: Bill and Jen show off their remodeled kitchen. They custom built their Texas home from the ground up to be accessible to their smaller stature
Happy couple: Jen and Bill have starred in the TLC series since their wedding in 2009
The couple decided to adopt because Jen's bone-growth disorder meant pregnancy was not advised for the 3ft 2in doctor and surrogacy failed.
The couple first adopted their son,
Will, who was born in China. They welcomed him to their home in April
after going to get him on a two-week trip to China featured on the show.
Both of the children they chose to adopt have dwarfism, and the couple of spoken of how their own experiences led to them wanting to help children with the same condition.
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