A Drogheda mother has spoken about the difficult decisions she had to make as a cancer survivor between stopping vital hormone treatment and trying to have a baby.
Harzie Delaney was diagnosed with breast cancer at just 33 years old and, after undergoing surgery to remove a lump, chemotherapy and radiation therapy, had to make the heartbreaking decision of whether to continue hormone therapy for the recommended five years or follow her heart and try for one longed-for baby.
Now five years cancer free considering her beautiful daughter Zohrah just celebrated her second birthday with her husband Ian there are no awards to guess the chance she took and no regrets for a second!
“It was October 2016 when I examined myself and found a lump on my breast, so I went to my GP to get it checked out,” explains Sharzie, a qualified Montessori teacher who works at a Bettystown daycare center . “I was referred to a breast clinic and after testing, I waited about three months to be diagnosed with breast cancer.”
Devastating for the young couple, Sharzie underwent surgery and was immediately started on chemotherapy and radiation therapy, followed by hormone therapy which quickly followed.
“You can’t get pregnant while on hormone therapy, but I wanted a baby at the time,” Sharzie explains. “The treatment was supposed to last five years, but during a conversation with my oncologist, a clinical study was mentioned that was essentially a research study of pregnancy and patients receiving hormone therapy.”
The cancer diagnosis had already turned their world upside down and now they had to make another difficult decision.
“(The cancer) changed a lot of things and it’s hard to put into words. When I got the diagnosis, I just went along with it. I did what I had to do and tried to stay positive,” says the young mother. “About a year later I realized what I was going through and how it affected me. Now when I hear the word “cancer,” it brings me right back. I’m definitely more anxious but on the plus side I think I’m more of a ‘let’s just do it’ type of guy now.”
After much thought, Sharzie said she would like to take part in the clinical trial.
“If I could help just one person in the same situation as me to make their decision a little bit easier, then I was happy,” she says. “I felt the study would provide information for people in the future.”
Eighteen months later, Sharzie made the decision to stop her hormone therapy and decided that she and Ian would try to have a baby. She had already undergone IVF to freeze a number of embryos before starting chemotherapy.
Then, in May 2020, the couple welcomed baby Zohrah into the world.
“She’s beautiful, our own little fertility miracle,” she says with a smile. “I’m still off hormone treatment because I’d like to have another baby, so I’m still being monitored as part of the clinical trial, which is referred to as a ‘Positive’ study funded by the Irish Cancer Society.”
As Friday May 20 marks International Clinical Trials Day, Sharzie says she would encourage people to take part in clinical trials.
“I hope that by doing the trials I have helped women in the same situation as me, and most participants say the same thing,” she says with a smile.
“It’s been a lot of blood testing for me, every six months, and when I test the waters I like to think I can help other women become moms like me.”
https://www.independent.ie/regionals/louth/news/our-little-fertility-miracle-drogheda-woman-put-cancer-treatment-on-hold-to-start-family-41659681.html ‘Our Little Fertility Miracle’ – Drogheda woman put off cancer treatment to start a family