Holley Tierney was 23-weeks pregnant when doctors gave her some of the worst news of her life – she had cancer.
Doctors diagnosed the 25-year-old dance teacher with a rare form of cancer called Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and told her she should have an abortion, according to the Daily Mail.
“I couldn’t believe I was facing cancer while pregnant,” Tierney said. “It was my worst nightmare.”
Doctors wanted Tierney to start chemotherapy right away and claimed it would be best if she aborted her unborn twins. Tierney refused.
“I knew there was no way I could terminate my pregnancy when I felt them kick,” she told the Daily Mail. “My maternal instincts had already kicked in.”
Tierney almost didn’t go to the doctor. She had though the pain in her chest and arms was the result of pulling a muscle at work. But because she was concerned about her unborn babies, she scheduled a doctor’s appointment, she said.
“I’m so thankful to the doctor … that pushed me to have an X-ray and CT scan as I was just about to be sent home with a pulled muscle. He saved my life.”
Tierney’s condition required a biopsy under general anesthesia and chemotherapy, which could have hurt her unborn twins. Learning this, the young mother refused to begin treatment until her babies were born, according to the report.
Even when doctors pushed her to give birth early for the sake of starting treatment, she refused. At 29 weeks pregnant, the doctors finally insisted on inducing labor. On Aug. 19, the British mother gave birth to a twin boy and girl, Harlow and Havana. They weighed 3 pounds each, the report states.
“Seeing them for the first time was the best feeling in the world,” Tierney said. “I couldn’t believe they were mine.”
The young mother has no regrets, though she said she is troubled that her disease may claim her life before she can watch her babies grow up. She told the newspaper that she is fighting to stay “strong and positive” for her twins.
Since giving birth, Tierney has had five cycles of chemotherapy, and she will begin radiotherapy next year. Her babies are home from the hospital after an 11-week stay, and both are doing well, according to the report.
The young mother said she wants to share her story to encourage other moms facing similar situations.