Holley Tierney rejects doctors’ advice to abort, holds off chemo until twins are born

By Dave Andrusko

Holley said that seeing her twins for the first time was 'the best feeling in the world' [Caters News Agency]

Holley said that seeing her twins for the first time was ‘the best feeling in the world’ [Caters News Agency]

Holley Tierney was 23-weeks pregnant when the dance instructor felt a pain in her chest. She’d carried a sound system that day and attributed the pain to that.

But better safe than sorry, she went to the hospital in Manchester, England, to have it checked out.

Doctors initially thought Tierney had pulled a muscle. But they found a shadow on the X-Ray, later a cancerous mass: Tierney, 25, had Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a rare cancer that develops in the lymphatic system.

As she told Kate Pickles of the Daily Mail

‘I’m so thankful to the doctor in A&E that pushed for me to have an X-ray and CT scan as I was just about to be sent home with a pulled muscle, he has saved my life.’

“Doctors then advised Miss Tierney, from Manchester, to terminate her pregnancy so she could start chemotherapy,” Pickles wrote.

“But she refused as they were already starting to kick and chose to risk her life for her two unborn babies.”

As Tierney explained

‘I couldn’t believe I was facing cancer while pregnant, it was my worst nightmare.

‘I knew there was no way I could terminate my pregnancy when I felt them kick, my maternal instincts had already kicked in.’

Against the advice of doctors, Tierney was resolute that she would not start chemotherapy until after the babies were born.

“Once doctors realised I wasn’t haven’t a termination they kept pushing for them to be born premature but I wanted my twins to reach 30-weeks before I had a caesarean,” Tierney told the Daily Mail. “’But at 29-weeks doctors said I shouldn’t wait any longer as my cancer could spread and I needed to start chemotherapy.”

Last August, Harlow and his sister Havana were delivered safely, weighing almost 3lbs each. (Harlow is now 7lb, 10oz and Havana 6lb, 9oz.)

“Seeing them for the first time was the best feeling in the world, I couldn’t believe they were mine,” Tierney told Pickles. “But it was bittersweet as I kept thinking I would never have chance to watch them grow up.”

A week after the twins were born, Tierney began chemo. As a consequence she was sick and lost her hair.

“It was heart breaking but I knew I needed to stay strong and positive for my babies,” she told the Daily Mail. “’They had fought to stay alive and now I needed to fight for my life and that’s exactly what I’m doing.”

Tierney said she will begin radiotherapy in 2016. By that time she will have completed five cycles of chemo. She said she is “feeling hopeful.”

It was the happiest day of my life when my babies were delivered safely, it was definitely a risk worth taking, all I cared about was their health.