Finding Rebirth in a Fight for Life

Cancer survivor Alessandra Savo with children Inessa and Giuseppe.

One Cortlandt mom credits NewYork-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital with giving her a second chance at life and the confidence to have her second child.

It was New Year’s Eve and Cortlandt resident Alessandra Savo was eager to ring in 2016. It had been an eventful year: she gave birth to her first child, Giuseppe, and from the outside everything seemed perfect.

But shortly after giving birth, Alessandra knew something was not right. She had lost interest in so many of the things that she used to love. Cooking and socializing went by the wayside, and even keeping up with hygiene and housework was too much to handle.

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Since she had recently given birth, many people were certain that Alessandra was suffering from postpartum depression. She knew deep down, as did her husband Joe, that this was not the case.

At some point, Alessandra began to present physical signs that something was wrong as well. She suffered from unbearable headaches that medication could not relieve, and she was vomiting almost daily. She was not eating or sleeping, and she would even faint.

After weeks of fainting spells, while taking a shower before getting ready to ring in 2016, Joe heard a noise from down the hall. Alessandra had fainted in the shower.

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More certain than ever that this was not just postpartum symptoms, Joe took Alessandra to the emergency department at NewYork-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital. It was there that doctors did a CT scan and found out the cause of all of Alessandra’s recent suffering.

Alessandra was diagnosed with meningioma, a slow-growing tumor that forms from the meninges, the membranous layers surrounding the brain and spinal cord. After a few days at the hospital, Alessandra underwent surgery with a neurosurgery team at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

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For her treatment, Alessandra chose to return to NewYork-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital and undergo radiation close to home. It was there that she met Dr. Lawrence D. Koutcher, Regional Director of Clinical Operations for Radiation Oncology at NewYork Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital, who believes in providing the best quality care for the community.

Alessandra underwent 30 sessions of radiation. Alessandra can proudly say that she is now cancer-free. In addition to her good health, she credits her care team at NewYork-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital with giving her the confidence to have a second child, Inessa, in 2019 – a concept that was daunting at first after receiving a cancer diagnosis immediately after having her first baby.

Today she is counting her blessings and celebrating life, including saying thank you to each and every person who has supported her along the way and given her the courage to smile at life, every day

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