Monday, March 7, 2011

fertility

One of the issues facing young cancer patients that is just starting to get a bit of attention is fertility. Cancer treatments are designed to kill cancer ... and whatever else needs to be killed in order to kill cancer. It's been my experience and my opinion via conversations with others that the field of oncology isn't especially interested in anything that isn't cancer. Unfortunately, that means a lot of side effects are blown off, including but not limited to fertility.

Before I began treatments for my lymphoma, I was told that one of the possible side effects of the chemo was early menopause: my periods would stop during treatment and they might or might not start again.

I only missed one period.

Since chemo, however, I have had a bunch of other odd hormonal side effects that are annoying and slightly disconcerting but probably not life-threatening. No one can tell me why they're happening or if they're a problem (oncologist, primary care doc, ob-gyn), so I've never really been sure if all of the plumbing is working properly or not.

We have confirmation that all systems are in order — I am pregnant!

I have seen two docs so far —one at a birthing center and one in a regular office — and neither was of the opinion that my cancer history is a problem. I suspect that it being in a different part of my body is a big deal, and being in remission for over three years probably helps, too.

So I'm officially on my next wacky body journey, but this time cultivating the growth instead of trying to get rid of it. We'll see how it goes!

9 comments:

Dennis Pyritz, RN said...

Congratulations! I shared this good news with my readers at Being Cancer Network.
Take care, Dennis

eulerandothers said...

Congratulations! Joyful news!

meg- said...

congratulations. i have hodgkins myself, stil undergoing chemo and soon radiotherapy. im 26, and im very happy hearing there is hope for future pregnancy, :) thank u for giving me that. take care always. -meg www.whiteonblackbackground.blogspot.com

Joy Huber said...

Huge Congrats on the pregnancy!! I was diagnosed with stage four non-hodgkins lymphoma at the young age of 33 March 24th, 2010. I'm in remission now (but still doing maint. chemo. every 8 weeks!) & have gone on to found "Cancer with Joy" to help others through their experience.

I Definitely agree with what you said about fertility - I made it one of my recommended dos & don'ts at diagnosis in my book in fact because NO ONE mentioned it to me as a consideration in the quick 3 weeks from when my diagnosis was confirmed til my first chemo.!

"DO consider fertility if you are in the age range you could conceive children and you think you may want them one day."

Joy Huber
Cancer with Joy

breast cancer doctors said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences here. It helps other cancer survivors too. Do stay in touch and keep posting.

Thinking About Becoming A Parent said...

Great blog!

Evan Bartlett said...

My name is Evan Bartlett, and I was diagnosed with Leukemia when I was 4 months old. I am now 20 years old. I bring this up only because I am currently working on a documentary called, Discovering The Beating Path. We will be embarking on a journey across the West July 1st- August 20th. Along the way we will stop at cancer camps, retreats, and support groups.

I've been reading your blogs, and I love what you have to say about cancer. I feel that everyone survivor story must be told. My crew and I are trying to promote our project as much as possible. I provided a couple links so you could get a better understanding:

Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma survivor:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtRpbWiDD6s

Donation Page:
http://www.indiegogo.com/dtbp?a=208023

Website:
http://dtbp.tumblr.com/

Please let me know if you are interested in helping us out. Feel free to ask any questions you may have.
--
Take care,
---
Evan Bartlett
Producer
I Survived Cancer
Discovering The Beating Path
(618) 406-8133

Dr William Mount said...

APFN THE CURE FOR CANCER UPDATE 4, Ambassador Mount, 253-686-6290. 31 is too young to die...no wrinkles yet. We knew how to cure cancer in 1946 in the Army and Ivan a retired Army Old Tart who gets mad when I read your stories.

Toxic Biology said...

hey heather, i wanted to say, first and foremost, that i am truly sorry about your illness, and hope that you keep fighting until it is beaten.

i am currently working on a documentary regarding similar illnesses, and was hoping you would consider sharing it with others, if you think it is noteworthy, so that it may eventually find its way in the lap of some one who can contribute to the indiegogo campaign. if you decide to blog about it, let me know, and i will be happy to post a link to your site from our site, in the credits, to thank you for spreading the word.

the site for the documentary is: http://ToxicBiology.com/

i hope this helps you or some one you know in the future. thanks, and, good luck!