Fertility...is it even worth it it? #6
It all happened so quickly from my diagnosis, I was told as I will be having chemo a rapid referral would be made to the assisted conception unit. I gave the awkward smile because I didn’t know that chemotherapy could do this to someone. All the people who I knew that had undergone chemo where either too young to even understand the concept of having children or had already completed their families. I didn’t know anyone in the middle like me not even 30 years of age. So I didn’t even process fully the reason for referral.
As I sit in the ACU I look around and there are multiple couples all white, then there’s me and a few other singulars. I sit here and part of me wants to be grateful as some of these couples are unable to conceive naturally. But I am not unable to conceive, well at least I have previously. I am here because the C word is trying to ruin my life. It’s really trying. It’s a real thing life changed as soon as I was diagnosed.
I’m now trying to preserve eggs just in case I want to have more children. Wow. Shit. Life really does change. Suddenly I felt sad. I should of just had another baby last year or the year before. But now if Chemotherapy fucks with my fertility, I’ve got to pay these pricks to give me my eggs back and try to fertilise them. It’s not 100% you will loose fertility. But your menopausal age drops. Apparently you got like 5 years after chemotherapy before you hit it. Not sure if that’s facts or a rumour. But it’s what I heard. The younger you are the better they say if you need to have chemo, as you will be more fertile. Well that’s good to know as I’m only 29.
I can’t help but feel ungrateful as I have a child already. But this wasn’t my plan so why am I sitting here. I know there looking at me wondering why I am here. It’s okay because I am wondering too. But every appointment I have in this department makes me wonder should I just chance it or leave it to God? If he wants me to conceive again I will. My oncologist has given the green light for chemo but this fertility preservation process will delay it by two weeks!!!!!! I just don’t know if I got the time. Help me! Jesus! God! Birds! Can someone just help me please?.....I said please.
My first appointment I broke down it was only a few days after my initial diagnosis. The poor nurse was trying to take my blood and I just blurted out “ I got cancer you know” I said it because, well I don’t even know why I said it. She looked at me so loving and gave me a huge hug for like 10 mins. She seriously did. I didn’t want her to let go if I’m honest her arms felt safe a total stranger felt safe to me. I left went home and started to really count my blessings, that I had my child at what some deemed to be a young age, but for me this solidifies the philosophy everything happens for a reason.
The joke is even with all these fertility treatments and egg preservation treatment. It’s not even 100% they will retrieve any eggs worth storing. The stats are real low. But then it clicked for some couples this is there only option at creating life of their own. Half of me didn’t empathise because that was not me it was only me now, because that consultant decide to play Russian roulette and give me cancer. I still didn’t like him. That’s how I felt. Obviously I know the poor man was just the messenger, but I couldn’t give a dash I need to blame someone. But half of me did empathise with these couples and it made me realise that life gives everyone lemons in one way shape or form and infertility whether caused by cancer or another reason is still infertility.
They said egg retrieval would involve a time frame of 2 weeks. It involves you injecting yourself with hormones and going for regular scans to see when the follicles which contain the eggs will be ready to be stored. Throughout this time I couldn’t help but think what if the cancer is growing. They said it’s grade 3 the most aggressive breast cancer they got and I’m chilling doing fertility preservation. On the 2 week date, they told me my eggs was not ready. Possibly 1 more week but don’t worry your oncologist she will be fine with it. Huh. But did u consultant cancer? Did you ask he or she if she will be fine with it? The anxiety consumed me once again.
They aim to retrieve at least 15 eggs. I got 27. Wow. Shows I have no problem producing. They was impressed. I was in pain. The surgery only takes like 20 mins. It was excruciating. They didn’t say it would hurt like this. Omg what if this is gonna kill me? Omg what have I done? The pain it hurts. Drink lots of water they said as I could be at risk of hyper stimulation as I produced nearly double the amount of eggs. These lot clearly don’t read my notes. I’m dramatic so guess what I believed? Yep....I was going to get hyper stimulation and die before I even had the chance to tackle cancer. After the egg preservation process I had one check up and got discharged. I then received a letter basically saying “oh and by the way one of your ovaries looked slightly polycystic, but that’s something to deal with after.” That was sad but I guess it’s not as sad as cancer, but they should have told me to my face.
You see having cancer is different for all ages. As a young woman you have the added issues of fertility which can be particularly upsetting if you have not had children yet or if you have not even found your life long partner to settle with. Shoulda, woulda, coulda comes into mind. Because you have to deal with these issues alone. They offer you counselling, but do they really? They then say it is about a 3 month wait *rolls eyes* the NHS is stretched it’s exhausted. But counselling should be a compulsory part of a cancer diagnosis. Imagine dealing with all the effects of cancer as a separate component, then having having to deal with them as a component of cancer altogether. Hair loss, fertility loss, breast loss and all the other unwanted changes. How can you not need counselling. One day your chilling in Dubai doing yacht life, less than 2 weeks later your thinking of whether you want a cremation or burial.
But in saying all that I sincerely believe there isn’t a life that is better than the one you are living. I stopped asking for a new life ages ago. Who told you it was going to be perfect? Why do you think you are entitled to have certain things? Truth is we really don’t know our cards. But when you get em play them well. Your life depends on it.
Alexa play - You think you’ve got it Bad, Lyfe Jennings