It’s been over a year since I have written a post here which seems crazy after all of the rapid fire posts in the course of a year and a half. But the truth is, I haven’t had any significant (cancer related) stuff to talk about, nothing that would warrant an entire post anyways and thats what this whole blog has been about. I mean there’s the constant and annoying side effects of the daily exemestane and the monthly shanking at the cancer clinic but both of those have become so boringly normal that I can guarantee no one out there in blog-land (or whatever suburb of blog-land you live in) will be interested. Hot flashes? got ’em, Constant joint pain? yep, New wiry hairs coming out of my chin? yes and wtf.
But I am here typing away so there must be something worth talking about right?
I’ve been going back and forth about this post for a month or so and one part of me has been reluctant because it’s a personal topic but then I think about previous posts about smelly armpits, drains and constipation and why would I shy away from personal stuff at this point when I’ve already laid all of that out on the table? The main goal of this blog has always been to be a glimmer of positivity for someone who is scared, stressed and Googling any variety of breast cancer questions at 2am and finds themselves here. I want to give a sometimes funny, sometimes not, but an always real-life depiction of my type of breast cancer and hopefully to share something that will help someone else on their own j-word.
This post is a piece of advice. Seems like it’s coming late in the game but that’s the funny thing about cancer, it’s impact has a way of lingering.
Depending on your age, at some point near the beginning of your own shitshow (sorry mom) you will be asked to consider your fertility. It is probably going to be quite literally THE LAST THING ON YOUR MIND but I am at the keyboard today in hopes that you will consider it. During my first ever appointment with my oncologist he gave me the endless rundown of chemotherapy side effects that I was both likely to experience and those that I hopefully wouldn’t. During that first appointment he also referred me to a fertility clinic and wanted me to go prior to my first chemo treatment. So I went and listened and came out of the appointment with lots of information about egg extraction, freezing and egg storage. I had to make a decision within a day or 2 and if I wanted to do it we would have to come up with a significant amount of money to make it happen. To be honest, it was more than I could wrap my head around. As a really wise friend said to me recently, “you were asked to make decisions about your future and at that time you had no idea what that future would look like.” I was so busy being focused on what was right in front of me that thinking about that far down the road seemed unimportant.
Spoiler alert – I opted not to harvest my eggs.
My rationale back then was that my oncologist had told me that the chemo would put me into menopause and that there would be about a 50% chance that afterwards all of my downstairs parts would start working again as normal. I decided to roll the dice in hopes that after 6 months of chemo that I would find myself on the right side of 50%. What he failed to mention (or maybe I failed to hear…it was a lot to digest) was that after chemo and radiation I would be on medication for 5 more years keeping me in menopause and those downstairs parts fast asleep. 5 years. I will be 40 years old when I am done with these meds.
I am extremely lucky to be married to an amazing woman and we are at a place where we are wanting to share our love with a little person and if I knew then what I know now I absolutely would have made a different decision.
So my advice is to do it. If having children is something you’ve even considered for a half of a second, harvest your eggs. It’s another procedure when you won’t want one, it’s expensive when you might not be working and it’s adding something else onto your already overflowing plate of stress, but it doesn’t matter – just do it. It’s hard to know what you are going to want or what life is going to look like down the road but my advice is to give future-you the option.
I’ve been reassuring myself that I made the best decision at the time with the information that I had – So my hope is that if you’re reading this you will have a bit more information and can make even better, more informed decisions for your future.
Be Egg-stremely Brave