Cancer and Fertility
This topic can be so taboo and a touchy one too. Unfortunately, cancer treatment has left me infertile and I will not be able to have kids. I was unable to freeze my eggs as we had to start treatment straight away. I was given a few implants called Zoldex to put my ovaries into menopause in the hopes of protecting them from the damage caused by Chemotherapy...but... Zoladex isn't 100% effective and it will age your ovaries by roughly 7 years per implant. I was given about 4 implants over the course of my treatments.
I recently had a full check up and blood tests for my fertility before I began a clinical trial. I was told I am infertile and the chances of conceiving are about 0. If they were to give me another Zoladex the side effects (my body not being able to produce estrogen and my bones becoming chalky) would outweigh the chances of saving my fertility so they suggested I don't get the implant and essentially, let the chemo eat up my fertility along with all the other healthy cells in my body.
So, now that we've got a bit of a background on why I am infertile, lets talk about how that has effected me and how I coped with the news.
To begin with I have never been that person who would arrive to someone's house or a party, see a baby and immediately grab it and never let it go. I wasn't an overly clucky person BUT I have wanted to have my own family one day. For someone in their late 20's early 30s I've always been focused on my career, babies would come after. Well, I no longer have that choice and when cancer took that away from me, along with a lot of other things, it was heart breaking. I still get upset about it but I've found ways to cope and accept it. Heres how:
I've decided that if I can't have a baby, I'll make my own. Which is my Interior Design business. I will nurture it, I will watch it grow, I will love it and pour my heart and soul into it. I think its important to find something you can devote yourself to, weather it be a hobby, passion projects, work or even a fur baby.
Know that there are other options you can look into like adoption, surrogacy, egg donation. Before you start treatment, see if you can freeze your eggs. I didn't have enough time to go through that process but it is something you should defiantly discuss with your Doctor before you begin if that option is available.
With anything that I've been through during Cancer, I've always tried to find the silver lining to something. I know its hard to think of positive things when you're told you're infertile but the silver linings I have come up with are I can pack my bags and go travel when I desire, I can be very spontaneous with my life, I have nieces and nephews that I can shower with love and watch them grow, I am able to devote more time on myself, my healing and putting myself first. I find looking at this through a different lens helps ease the negativity and allows me to still look forward to things in life and whats ahead.
Always know that you can be happy and live a purposeful life even if you are unable to procreate. Be grateful you get to live every day and make the most of it. Do things with your life that serve purpose. Society may tell us that as a woman in their 30s/early 40s we need to make a family in order to be purposeful but this is not true. I think being true to you, living a happy and peaceful life is just as purposeful. Be kind to yourself with this subject. You had to go through treatment, you had to save your life and unfortunately, it has left you unable to create one but this does not make you less of a person, don't let it make you feel empty, find things to fill you up, things thats make you just as happy.
There will be times when you have to attend a baby shower, get asked why you don't have children or find yourself watching a mum pushing a pram and feel that void. I think it's important to allow yourself to be upset. Trying to push it aside, getting angry or avoiding those emotions is not a way of coping. In saying that, allowing yourself to be upset does not mean you can beat yourself up about it or feel less as a person and like you are broken. Find something that will make you smile once you've felt that pain and allow it to bring you back and focus on the great things you have in life and what opportunities you can create for yourself. Be more kind and gentle to yourself and take it at your own pace.
See you in my next post.