MBC and Infertility on the Same Day

When I was diagnosed, I was told that there was a chance I may be completely unable to conceive after the treatment I needed and that my oncologist didn’t care that one of my biggest concerns was what to do about my fertility. He gave me two weeks to “figure something out.” I also asked him to give me Lupron each month to put my ovaries into a sort of suspended animation state so there would be less of a chance that my fertility would be completely wiped out. He didn’t think it was necessary. I told him I wouldn’t do chemo if he didn’t give me the Lupron. He basically told me it probably wouldn’t help me at all but fine. The fertility center I used for IVF was amazing and super encouraging. They sent my ovaries into overdrive and were able to remove five eggs from me and then they added what was needed from
my husband and said they’d call me in a week. 

On December 5th 2016, my oncologist told me I was Stage IV (before this, we thought I was Stage II – I hadn’t yet begun treatment, I was still getting scans done). I was alone at his office because it wasn’t a scheduled appointment, I just needed a form signed. I drove home trying to figure out how to tell this to my family and an hour later the fertility doctor called and told me unfortunately none of the five embryos survived. It was clearly not a good day for me. 

Honestly, there’s not much more I could’ve learned about my fertility. The fertility center was great. They explained my options but kept it real. No false guarantees, but optimistic nonetheless. I guess I wish I knew how insensitive doctors (particularly male doctors) can be and that several women I know had similar experiences with their oncologists. I understand they’re focused on killing the cancer and they should be. Maybe we need to remind them that WE are not the cancer. We are human beings.

Allisyn Kalb Perez, diagnosed at 38, DCIS, Stage IV de novo, mets to lung and brain. Allisyn passed away in January 2018. 

This piece has been republished with permission from WILDFIRE Magazine, the “(In)Fertility” issue, published originally January, 2018. More information available at wildfirecommunity.org   

Every month, Rethink shares powerful stories and poetry from WILDFIRE Magazine. Use code RETHINK for 10% off anything in the WILDFIRE Shop.

WILDFIRE Magazine is the only magazine for young women survivors and fighters of breast cancer under 45 years old. Headquartered in Santa Cruz, California, WILDFIRE is a beautiful, story-based bi-monthly magazine published on different themes relevant to young women survivors, from stage 0 to stage IV. Beautiful and ad-free! Visit  wildfirecommunity.org for more info.

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