Life after cancer: a Mother’s journey

When Carrie Walker-Boyd was diagnosed with stage 4B Hodgkin Lymphoma at just 26 years old, having children was the last thing on her mind. Naturally, Carrie was stunned when one of her doctors mentioned the option of harvesting and freezing her eggs prior to beginning chemotherapy. He explained that the drugs would likely cause premature ovarian failure and greatly decrease her chance of having a baby “the natural way.”

With her husband Rob by her side, and doctors advising her to begin treatment quickly based on the advanced stage of her cancer, Carrie and Rob decided to forego fertility precautions and begin the chemotherapy immediately.

Carrie’s recovery was a bumpy road. After the first round of cancer treatments failed, she received a stem cell transplant and began a second round with a drug that was new to the cancer landscape. Thankfully, the treatment was successful, and Carrie could begin looking to her future, where her priorities quickly turned to having children.

Unfortunately, as predicted, Carrie struggled with conceiving and she and Rob turned to in vitro fertilization (IVF) as a last resort. On their second try, Carrie and Rob learned they were pregnant. “We were over the moon,” explains Carrie. “Given financial restrictions, this was to be our final attempt at in vitro. I felt we were very fortunate to first of all have MY life, and now the chance to raise another….two. We found out we were having twins at 7 weeks in and THAT was just the best news ever.”

For Carrie, life has been a whirlwind ever since. “I went from recovering from the stem cell transplant right into IVF. We didn’t have much time to breathe, then boom…babies.” But Carrie wouldn’t change a thing from her journey, and is loving life as a mother. “I’m not the best mom around, I get tired, I get fed up. But I never ever take for granted the gift I’ve been given. I have more patience, I’ve learned more about love and sacrifice. It all takes work but when your goal is to bring up happy, productive, confident little people to send out into the world, it’s just something that you do.”

Carrie has been completely honest with her children about her cancer journey, and she and her children support the Canadian Cancer Society, which Carrie credits for saving her life.

“I know from experience that research actually has an impact on everyday life and it was research funded by the Canadian Cancer Society that saved my life,” she says.

This Mother’s Day, support CCS and celebrate the special women in your life. When you purchase the gift of The Mom Project through Gifts for the Cure, you are not only making her day, you’re making the day special for thousands of Moms across the country. Click here to browse the Gifts for the Cure or to purchase The Mom Project.

We wish all of the incredible moms and women who have made a difference a happy Mother’s Day!