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With the many advances in cancer treatment, today’s cancer patients have more and more reasons for hope. Portraits of Hope are the incredible stories of our patients and their journeys of hope and survival. Click on a thumbnail and scroll down to view each story.

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Sweet Blessings

By Jaime Hayes

Mary Ammons and her husband, Nick, longed for a sibling for their son Hayes. The journey proved difficult, as the couple battled infertility for almost two years.

“After being diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, I underwent multiple failed fertility treatments, the last of which resulted in miscarriage,” said Mary.

The Ammons were devastated and on the verge of giving up.

“I then made an appointment with Dr. Stephen Jones, a new OB/GYN who had recently joined McLeod Health Dillon,” said Mary. “He was our last hope.”

Mary and Nick began fertility treatments under Dr. Jones’ supervision in November 2019.

Mary’s treatment regimen included medications, testing and injections to improve her chances of becoming pregnant.

The following April, Mary took a pregnancy test -- and it was positive. “I was cautiously excited,” recalled Mary.

“We did not know for sure if the pregnancy would be viable. My initial hCG levels showed I was pregnant, but the levels were extremely low.

“I could not imagine going through yet another miscarriage.”

Human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG, is a hormone produced when a woman is pregnant. Rising hCG levels indicate a pregnancy is progressing as it should.

Dr. Jones ordered lab work on Mary every few days. As time passed, Mary’s levels continued to rise, and the Ammons breathed a sigh of relief.

Throughout her first trimester, Mary frequented the medical practice to be monitored. “Dr. Jones gave me the confidence and reassurance I needed,” said Mary. “That was extremely important to us after our fertility struggles and miscarriage.

“I remember the day we were able to see our baby on the ultrasound and hear the heartbeat,” said Mary.

“I will never forget the tears of happiness and the gratitude I felt that day.”

On December 7, 2020, at 12:41 p.m., Mary and her family welcomed their daughter, Emma Grace, into the world.

“As I held her in my arms and gazed into her eyes, I was overwhelmed with emotion,” recalled Mary.

“Nick and I had endured so much to get to this moment, and the journey was worth it all. Dr. Jones helped us complete our family, and we will always be grateful to him.”

“Providing health care for women is an honor and a privilege that I do not take lightly,” said Dr. Jones. “I am happy that Mary and her family did so well and were able to bring a healthy daughter into their family.”

The COVID-19 pandemic presented a new challenge during Mary’s childbirth experience. “Like many new parents, our family and friends could not visit us in the hospital due to visitation restrictions,” added Mary.

“However, it was a blessing to really bond and enjoy every moment with our sweet blessing.”