When I was first diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma Stage 3C, my doctor wanted to know if I would be interested in family preservation. I was thankful she asked the question, as I was only 32 years old. Of course, I wanted more information. Apparently, chemotherapy has a pretty strong chance of wiping out your eggs. When you are born you are only given a certain number of eggs, chemo can wipe out close to half that. Some doctors will add a drug to help protect your ovaries from this happening, but then there’s a possibility that the treatment won’t be as effective. All of these different equations depend on the person, their age, their stage of cancer, and what they are focused on for their future.
For me, I am incredibly blessed with two little girls. Therefore, I am in a different headspace than some might be who have not had the chance to have children. If I was in that position I would have hands down went through the process to preserve my fertility, because being a wife and mom were the two things I wanted most in this world. But now to face that, I had to really look at all the angles of early menopause.
- I had to make my decision fast as my cancer was aggressive and it needed aggressive treatment, that needed to start yesterday.
- I had to take into consideration that my doctors would not give their blessing to pursue this third child until at least four years from now…I would be 37 and my children would be school age…so we would be in a completely different family setting than we are now. Not to mention how expensive invitro can be.
- Why would my doctor want me to wait 4 years? At the end of this year, after all my treatment the final step is to be put on endocrine therapy, because my cancer is fueled by my high estrogen levels. If my doctors can cut off that supply of estrogen, then we have a higher chance of keeping my cancer away.
- The risk of having that third child via me, is I would have to stop taking my endocrine therapy while getting pregnant and being pregnant. Which gives that slight chance of the cancer returning.
- When my husband and I look at each other, look at our life, our two beautiful daughters it seems silly to further put my life at risk for a family member that is not in the equation at this point. Our focus clearly needs to be on my health, giving me the chance to fully enjoy the next 60+ years with the children we naturally created.
Of course, before all of this I had this vision of coming out of this cancer freak show and getting pregnant and showing my body who is boss, showing the world who this mama lioness really is and what she can accomplish. I loved being pregnant, I loved birth, and I loved nursing, and I loved newborns and I love raising my babies. This was a little fantasy for me that would show how my body can go from rock bottom, to optimum health. But sometimes you can’t let your pride get in the way and throw you off course. I had to put what was most important first and that was getting healthy.
Therefore, I chose not to preserve my fertility. Do I have doubts? Sure. Do I look at my ever-changing baby and wish I could have another? Of course. And who knows what can happen in our future. I certainly respect science, but God is a miracle worker. Who knows where His path may lead me…