Having cancer is bad enough. Coming to the realization that your cancer will most certainly have an affect on your chances of having a baby…that’s enough to leave anyone speechless and heartbroken.
My husband and I have been happily married for 4 years. Get ready for it…we had just started trying in Dec. ’13. Why did we wait so long? Everyone’s different. We wanted to enjoy the experience of just being married. There were plenty of ups and downs and learning who we were as individuals and as a team. We were able to travel a great deal which was very important to us. Like my first blog, you could say we led a charmed life. And we were ready for the next adventure, starting a family.
|Backpacking in Costa Rica December 2012|
Obviously, God had different plans for us. A few days after my diagnosis we had a hard discussion with our doctors. We were told that once all of the chemo treatments along with the bone marrow transplant were done, the chances of me getting pregnant were slim to none. All of that will have killed most, if not all, of my eggs and make me infertile. Now, in hindsight, maybe we shouldn’t have waited so long. But who has a crystal ball telling them, “Well, get ready. You’re going to be diagnosed with cancer at 30 and it’s going to put you and your body through hell. So do everything now that you want to do!”
Now here we are, close to a month after going into the ER. We were released for a break and were able to go home. We decided to follow our doctor’s advice and go to a fertility clinic in between treatments. Let me be clear about something. Our Oncology doctors at Florida Hospital did not have to do this. They are amazing. We told them children were important for us and they made it happen for us in every way possible and we are so thankful. They allowed extra time during the break and set up everything with the fertility clinic for us. We met with Dr. Silva with the Center for Reproductive Medicine. We were very happy with him and trusted him as much as our Florida Hospital Doctors. The three of us made the big decision to go through with it and have what eggs I had left at that point frozen for (fingers crossed) future little Mann’s.
|A few of my follicles during an ultrasound|
Due to my situation, everything was fast tracked and we skipped to the front of a long waiting list to meet with the best clinic in town. Everyone worked with us so well and did whatever we needed to make this work. But let me say that the 10 day fertility process that I went through after having aggressive chemo done was not fun or easy. It was extremely hard on my body with the daily antibiotics I had to take along with the cancer medication I was already on. And one of the worst days was when this big box of medicine was shipped to us. I opened it and immediately had a panic attack. For those of you who have not yet experienced a panic attack, all I can say is they take over your body, you become dizzy, and you feel like you might just keel over and die. The box was full of needles. That was the moment I realized I would be doing injections as well. My husband had to give me 2-4 shots of hormones on a daily basis. Sidenote: I had to go to the clinic every other day to have blood drawn and ultrasounds done. Also, the nausea was never ending. I couldn’t believe it, I have cancer and now this. And to top it off, there are no guarantees this would even work. But, that’s what you do for love and children and this is the only shot we have at becoming pregnant someday after a cure.
|This is what we have in storage right now. The embryo of course.|
10 days have FINALLY passed and it’s time for the egg retrieval surgery which thankfully they put me under for. Let me be clear about something, I don’t know if it’s just me or my chemo brain. But I still have a hard time understanding the difference between eggs, follicles, and embryos! Ok. Back to seriousness. They were able to get 7 follicles. Out of those 7, 4 made it to the next round. And after all was said and done, we have 2 perfect little embryos. The more you have, the better chance you have of getting pregnant. It’s a small number, we would have liked to have had more. But we’ll take it. Besides, the Dr. says all you need is one good one sometimes and those are our 2 little miracles of hope. I have dreamed of having a family my entire life and having found my soul mate only makes me want it that much more. You know how it goes, the second someone tells you you can’t have something is the moment you want it more than anything else in the world. All we can do is have hope and faith that we will know what the joy is to have a child or children one day.
Once again, thank you for reading. Thank you for caring. And thank you for your continued support. I leave you with this lovely image of me shortly after surgery still heavily sedated. Gotta love a husband that is documenting everything!
|Yes. That’s me flipping off the camera.|