Today was overwhelming.
On the suggestion of my oncologist and the fact that the medical world is unsure of the effects of chemotherapy on fertility, I visited a fertility specialist in Philadelphia. She gave me a lot (A LOT) of information to think about.
So, first off, no one is really sure what the chances are that chemotherapy will cause infertility. A good number (90%) of young women who undergo chemo get back their periods, but having a period doesn’t mean being fertile. Of course, there are several women who do have their own children naturally after chemotherapy, but of course you always have to worry about passing on the BRCA mutation to your child and what that means.
So what’s a woman to do? Freeze her embryos. Freeze her eggs. Use a surrogate egg. Adopt (though, apparently, having a cancer diagnosis in your past makes adopting more difficult, which I did not know before today). The whole process of freezing embryos is extremely involved. I would have to be on medication, inject myself with Lupron, visit a doctor almost daily, and then be put to sleep for a minimally-invasive harvesting session. It is all very expensive, too, costing upwards of $8,000 and even more on top of that to store the frozen embryos until I need or want to use them.
Needless to say, this is a lot to think about. Not only am I just a week out from a double mastectomy and freaking out about getting necrosis on my boobs that could cause me to lose skin, now I have to think about paying a ton of money to harvest my own eggs and deal with the possibility that I may never be able to have children on my own. In the words of the brilliant (not) Rebecca Black, “Fun, fun, fun, FUN!” Oh and to add another dimension to this, I have to look to the near future when I’ll most likely have my ovaries removed, so there is a very small window in which I have to get pregnant and have my kids. No pressure, right?
This all needs to sink in for a couple of days before I make a decision, though, as with all decisions I’ve made in the past couple weeks, I feel totally rushed. If I want to do this I have to get on it now, to ensure everything can take place before I start any chemotherapy.
Gah. Throughout the past week I’ve been so happy and upbeat – surgery went well, nodes are negative, I’m comfortable at home with my parents – and all of a sudden I’m again having these feelings of “Why me? I’m way too young to have to deal with this.”
Will it ever end?