Baby on the way: Cancer didn’t get in the way

They thought they’d wait to start a family but after a cancer diagnosis, this couple believes their expectancy is going as planned.

Kayla Mollo was a student at IU Bloomington and picking up hours as a server at a popular craft beer pub on College Ave. Evan Mollo worked in concrete and excavating and helped the owners get the new bar open. Afterward, he stayed on to help staff the doors of the popular hang out.

That was more than six years ago. It didn’t take them long to know that this was a match to last a lifetime.

“Evan is pretty shy. I’m the total opposite,” said Kayla, who grew up in Owen County. Evan grew up in Brown County.  “I always think it’s funny because people wonder how he reached out to me. We knew each other for a good year and half before we started dating,” said Kayla.

Last May, inside Greenwood’s romantic rustic Bay Horse Inn Barn, overlooking 35 acres, the couple exchanged vows. About 200 family members attended their wedding where the bride, groom, and attendants were dressed in neutral champagne colors, accented with gray.   

The couple enjoyed trips to French Lick, trying out craft beers, and remodeling their rural Brown County home. They dreamed of raising a family in the country – enjoying outdoor activities like boating and camping.

They didn’t think they’d start a family right away. But in November they discovered Kayla was expecting what will be the first grandchild on her side of the family. Kayla has a younger brother; Evan has an older brother.

“We always said for our first anniversary we’d take a trip and then wait until summer to start a family,” said Kayla, 27. “For whatever reason, something told us we should go ahead and try. It happened quickly.” They learned that she is due August 6.

On December 27 – a month after they found out they were expecting – they received more news. Evan, who turned 30 in October, was diagnosed with testicular cancer.

“I had some back pain but I work in construction so I just thought is was from work,” said Evan. But the pain lasted a couple weeks and spread to his groin. Two days before Christmas they made a trip to urgent care. He was sent home with an antibiotic and referred to an urologist. An ultra sound showed elevated tumor markers and on December 28 he went in for a radical inguinal orchiectomy to remove the tumor. He is under the care of IU Health urologist Dr. Timothy Masterson and oncologist Dr. Lawrence Einhorn and is undergoing chemotherapy at IU Health Simon Cancer Center.

“This was totally unexpected,” said Kayla. “We both thought it was a hernia. When you start to Google symptoms testicular cancer pops up but we didn’t want to think the worst.”

Evan met Dr. Einhorn for the first time in mid-January.

“From the first time I met him I felt comfortable. I was busy thinking about being a father and he gave me the assurance that this is curable,” said Evan. “There’s no need to panic – just keep on thinking positive about our family and our future.”

— By T.J. Banes, Journalist, IU Health.
   Reach Banes via email