Reigning Rose of Tralee Elysha Brennan has opened up about her fear of not being able to have children and has urged others to speak openly about the issue.
The Meath woman, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a type of cancer, when she was just 19, underwent intensive chemotherapy to treat the disease.
Though she also received hormone therapy, she is now unsure whether she will be able to have children in the future.
“Cancer used to be a thing where you would go infertile or go into induced menopause but there have been so many advances in medicine that that’s beginning to change,” she said.
“One in two people from chemotherapy are infertile. But I went through hormone therapy so please God I will be able to go on and have children. But it’s something no one’s speaking about.”
Elysha, who is more than two years in remission, said people often shy away from talking about the effects of cancer treatment such as infertility, fatigue and hair loss.
“It was kind of thrust upon me. I had to sit back and reconsider my options. But I suppose I just hope I can go on and have babies. But it is something nobody’s speaking about because it is such a raw topic and it hits home with a lot of people,” she said.
“So fingers crossed, please God, and hopefully there will be little Elysha’s running around at some point in the future.”
The 22-year-old also revealed she will now be taking a year out to go “hell for leather” for her year as Rose of Tralee.
The medical student would have been going into her third year in the Royal College of Surgeons but will now defer for one year.
“It wasn’t an easy decision to make. There have been some tears. I’ve the most amazing friends in college, we’re really like-minded people and we’ve been through so much over the last two years and we’ve such a bond,” she said.
“I really thought I’d be standing on stage graduating with them so I didn’t take it lightly. But I keep telling myself I’m never coming back this way, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity so just go for it and give it your heart and soul. This time next year medicine will be there waiting for me.”
Elysha also plans to visit Calcutta next month with the Hope Foundation and has recorded a song, Bright Blue Rose, in aid of a charity close to her heart – Aoibheann’s Pink Tie. The single was launched on Friday and is now available to download via online platforms such as Spotify and Google Play.
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