Shari continues: “When my husband Travis and I look back to 10 years ago, our lives were turned upside down. We didn’t know what the future held. We now have two beautiful children and I have my health. When I first met with my fertility specialist back then, we discussed the options for fertility preservation moving forward. Egg freezing wasn’t an option because I had already been booked in for chemotherapy. I used Zoladex to protect my ovaries throughout chemo, and Tamoxifen for the following five years after the treatment.”
After having a break from Tamoxifen, Shari tried to fall pregnant naturally to no avail and decided to try IVF. They retrieved three eggs from the first cycle, had one good embryo and daughter Kaia was born. She is four now. Shari continues: “I went back on the drug Tamoxifen, then had another break to try for another child through IVF, but during the time off the drug I fell pregnant naturally. Our son Kobe is two now. Falling pregnant gave me hope and made me reflect on the choices and decisions that we’d made so many years ago.”
BCNA chief executive Kirsten Pilatti says women aged 20-39 account for about 5 per cent of all breast cancer diagnoses in Australia. “That means two young women every day hear the news they have breast cancer. In the middle of the whirlwind of decisions they have to make around treatment, these young women also have to consider the risk to their fertility.” Just like Shari. But look where she is now – healthy and loving her life as a mother of two thriving kids. Happy endings do happen, folks. How wonderful.
BCNA has free programs and services to inform and support people with breast cancer, including a helpline on 1800 500 258 and the My Journey online tool at myjourney.org.au. Watch Shari’s story here at www.bcna.org.au/news/2019/12/fertility-resource/