The Blow-by-Blow Account Of My Current Fertility Status

I will always remember the moment my period came back after going off my cancer drugs. After two months of almost daily cramps that had me thinking my period was coming (only to follow with disappointment after it didn’t), the anticipation alone had me thinking it might not come ever. So you could imagine my surprise when during an unexpected night away at a work retreat, it finally arrived! Thankfully, a few close friends were outside the bathroom stall otherwise one would be quite alarmed by the cheers of joy coming from bathroom stall. Since my last update, I’ve had a lot going on, starting with so many tests: I had a CT scan, bone scan, ultrasound, blood tests, etc. Luckily, nothing showed up in the tests and I can at least silence the recurrence voice for the time being. Going off Tamoxifen and Zoladex was a pretty painless experience as the hot flashes slowly went away (yay!) and the cramps began (not so yay!).

High Risk

It’s crazy how fast longing for my period to arrive turned in to hoping it wouldn’t come back. Back at my three-month follow up appointment at Sunnybrook’s Baby Time Study, the doctor confirmed that I my husband and I could start trying. Exciting news yes, but those happy words quickly followed up with a question regarding our frozen embryo, questioning why we were only able to produce one before I had chemo. The doctor told me she wanted me to see a fertility specialist right away since I was considered a high–risk patient. Maybe I was too optimistic…a “referral already!? We haven’t even started trying!” I felt like the fun of trying to get pregnant was quickly taken away and we were thrown into panic mode with the words: “high risk”. One lucky thing about being “high risk” is that it gets you at the top of the referral lists and I was in the fertility specialist’s office five days after my appointment with Baby Time.

The Blows

The appointment started off fairly normal getting my health background as well as my husband’s. It was kind of nice having the spotlight on him for once. The appointment continued with an interior and exterior ultrasound. They provided the results right away and the specialist went on to explain that chemo normally ages a woman’s ovaries by 10 years, so that would put my eggs at 42 years old. But then proceeded to explain that mine unfortunately looked much older than that so she said to add a few more years. *First Blow* She did reassure us that people do in fact still get pregnant with low-quality eggs BUT if we do get pregnant naturally we would have an extremely high risk of miscarriage. *Second Blow* She followed up by asking about our infamous one embryo (which BTW my husband and I call Ice T…gotta add some humour into the mix of this) and said that it would likely be our best shot. I, on the other hand, always had it in mind that we would try naturally and the embryo would be the “back up plan” or even the second or third child! So right away it hit me that we may only have one could (if even that). *Third Blow* I’ve always had fears about using our embryo especially after reading Tig Notaro’s Book, I’m Just Person, and (spoiler alert: the fact that her embryo did not implant successfully). So I asked the doctor what our chances were. She admitted there was a 50% chance of implantation. *Fourth Blow* The last thing that really hit home was the time factor of all of this. It wouldn’t be in my best interest to stay off the Tamoxifen and Zoladex for very long for obvious recurrence reasons. Time was ticking… *Fifth blow* Needless to say it wasn’t a great afternoon, as I couldn’t help but feeling that all the odds were stacked against us. I kept my cool at the appointment but I left feeling devastated. The only upside was that doctor is amazing and she made it very clear that we were in this together and will do whatever we need to do to make this happen.

Babies on the Brain

My husband and I have a few tests coming up followed by another appointment this month. I am hoping to have more of an action plan at that point. It’s crazy how much cancer is still at the forefront of my life, even two and a half years later. This news made me relive my diagnoses all over again coming to the realization that cancer continues to take so much from me. I have babies on the brain and I am still keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll be pregnant in no time. Stay tuned…

By Dory Kashin

For more info on the Baby Time (POSITIVE) clinical trial, check out this post.

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Guideline #4 For Young Women With Breast Cancer: Impact On Fertility
50 Carroll Street Toronto, Ontario Canada M4M 3G3
Phone: 416 220 0700
Registered Charity #: 892176116RR0001

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