Last updated on Jun 11th, 2021 at 08:54 pm
I was 27-years-old when I was diagnosed with breast cancer the first time. The news was devastating for us. I was so young and I just thought maybe it’s a nodule or something hormonal because it was quite small – smaller than a pea size.
But it was serious.
Luckily, I had a great support system. Both my husband’s parents are cancer survivors, and I also have a very close-knit family,
After processing the shock of my diagnosis, I wanted all of the therapy that you can possibly get -radiation, chemo – everything. I had two small kids. I had to fight for them.
I received my treatment plan about two weeks after my diagnosis. My surgery for my double mastectomy was scheduled for 6 weeks later.
But God had other plans for me.
A few days before my surgery, I didn’t feel right. I was on hormone therapy so I thought maybe the hormone tablets were making me feel unwell. But it was a familiar feeling.
I went to the pharmacy and bought a pregnancy test, but I thought it couldn’t possibly be.
The pregnancy test was positive. I literally sat frozen on the couch waiting for my husband to get home from work. I cried when he walked in because I knew there was no way I could keep this pregnancy. I was already mourning this child that I was pregnant with.
I had to tell my doctors about the pregnancy before we could proceed with any further treatments.
My pregnancy hormones were making the cancer grow faster and it had spread into my lymph nodes.
I decided to terminate the pregnancy as part of my treatment plan, so that my doctors could go ahead and do their job. If I decided to keep the pregnancy, they couldn’t do the surgery. They couldn’t do anything. Because everything would affect the foetus at that stage.
It was a very tough decision.
On the day that I was supposed to have the double mastectomy, the start of my reconstruction and terminate the pregnancy, the theatre schedule was running late and they were only able to remove the cancer and one breast.
Although I was now cancer free, I was still pregnant with one breast.
But then the day came for me to go back to the clinic to terminate my pregnancy. I was late for my appointment and at the clinic I started to just pray, asking God for a sign. I wasn’t sure if I was making the right decision.
Before an abortion, they do something called a dating scan before they select the method of termination. You can’t see the monitor during this scan and everything’s really silent and quiet, because they know what a difficult decision this is. They also usually don’t tell you anything about the pregnancy either. So, when the nurse asked me if I wanted to know anything about the pregnancy, I was shocked. She didn’t know anything about me – that I had breast cancer – just that I had booked an appointment for a termination. So, I decided to tell her my story. That’s when she told me that I was carrying twins and that they look perfectly healthy. The moment I saw those two little heartbeats on the screen I knew I couldn’t go through with it. Because there was my sign. And I had a whole new reason to fight. Before I had to fight and live for my living children, and now it was for me and my unborn children.
The one baby was five weeks, and the other six-weeks-old. I was pregnant with fraternal twins.
My treatment plan had to change because we couldn’t do radiation or chemo. What was left?
My husband is an extremely analytical person. He started researching every possible treatment and the effects of chemo on foetuses and the effects the hormone treatments could have had on the babies already.
He presented his findings at our meeting with my oncologist and the other doctors. After many consultations and more research, my treatment finally began. Being pregnant and getting chemo at the same time was really difficult. Chemotherapy makes you nauseous, and weak and sometimes it’s really painful.
The termination was still on the table though up until I reached 24 weeks. The doctors were tracking the babies because they were worried that the chemo would be harmful to the babies.
On 1 February 2017, I gave birth to healthy twins at 34 weeks.
In August 2018 I was re-diagnosed with cancer. I had to get chemo again, and luckily this time we could do radiation because I wasn’t pregnant. I finished radiation in August 2019.
I’m on hormone therapy now and staying vigilant – checking myself regularly.
It’s very important that we take time to examine ourselves – even on days when you just feel like there’s not enough hours in the day. We need to take care of ourselves.
I haven’t got the all clear just yet, but I’m looking forward to my check-up in 2021 where that will be checked.