Cierra York was 27 weeks pregnant when she underwent surgery for ovarian cancer in 2008. “My doctor had found the tumor earlier on an ultrasound, but thought it was a cyst,“ she remembers. “They decided to send me to UNC to see Dr. Daniel Clarke-Pearson, chair of the UNC School of Medicine department of obstetric and gynecology. I met him on May 9 and had surgery on May 16.”
Dr. Clarke-Pearson removed Cierra’s cancerous ovary, and after her surgery she had three cycles of chemotherapy before giving birth to daughter, Savannah, at 39 weeks. After Savannah was born, Cierra had four more cycles of chemo to complete her treatments.
Cierra says, “I was shocked to get that diagnosis. It was not at all what I expected, especially since I had no symptoms. I could have waited to have the surgery, but the cancer might have spread.”
She explains, “When I decided to have the surgery, I ran the risk that Savannah might be born at 27 weeks, so my team kept me on the labor and delivery floor. My husband, my mom and our families were worried about me, but I was worried about what was best for the baby. It all worked out.”
“Savannah and I are really close. When I think of what she had to go through with me – anesthesia, surgery and three rounds of chemo – she’s just one big miracle and blessing.”
Savannah now has a baby sister named Ella, born in 2012. Cierra explains, “We had no trouble getting pregnant. We wondered if having only one ovary would be an issue, but it wasn’t. It was as though nothing had happened before.”
Cierra offers high praise to Dr. Clarke-Pearson. “He was wonderful. He and Lyn Filip, his nurse, are amazing. I couldn’t ask for any better.”