Well, well, well.
Today was indeed, a hard one.
Let me start with this- I want kids. I have always wanted kids. According to my mother I cradled my baby dolls before I had ever saw someone hold a baby. I teach preschool AND LOVE IT. Nuff said.
Chemo and the hormone suppressive therapy are, apparently, hard on the ole lady parts. I may also be doing the hormone suppressive therapy for up to 5 years. That brings me to 38 years old on the other side of this which in the baby making profession is apperently on the “late” side (never mind my mom had me at 42 and my grandmother and great grandmother had babies in their 40s). So, knowing I want children, my oncologist sent me to a fertility specialist. She was a very nice woman, she listened, she was kind, and she overwhelmed the pants off me.
The technology is out there to extract and freeze my eggs and hold them indeterminately. The problem, for me, lies in how they make this happen. At the just the right part of my cycle, I would get shots of something that would suppress my egg production. Then, again, at just the right time, I would be given something to surge the production. I would also take some drug that would keep my estrogen levels from rising (my cancer thrives on estrogen, remember?). I would be in the office every 3 days or so to keep an eye on this process. Then when the stars align, surgery to remove (harvest- ew) the eggs. All of this is done in a real time crunch and in-between and around the other major surgery I am preparing my mind and body for this month. I should start the chemo 3-4 weeks after the surgery and this would need to be done before that process. Sound complicated? Stressfull? A GIANT pain in the ass? Yes to all and more. Do you know how much all this will cost? I will tell you- all said and done, with financial assistance, close to $9 grand. Then $500 a year to store the eggs.
I can’t do it folks. The money is, surprisingly, the least of my hesitations. I just can’t add this level of stress to this next month. Neither to my mind or my body. Part of what is keeping me sane is braking the cancer battle into smaller bites. Decisions about the surgery were first- got that, now I’m getting ready for the surgery (and my party- what what. yeeeaah!). Next, getting the surgery and healing. Then, prepare for chemo, and so on. I can focus and prepare for the next step, the next battle in the war, if you will, but the fertility stuff is a whole different battle and too far off for me to even wrap my head around. I think I just need to focus on me and my health right now.
My mom (wise as she is) pointed out that it was good that I had this consultation. Now I don’t need to wonder what my options were. I am educated. I now know what it would take and I know, deep down, it is beyond my personal limits at this point. I think knowing one’s limits is an important part of knowing one’s self. Not something I’ve always been good at, but important. Its important not only to know where those suckers are but also when they can and cannot be pushed. I love me some limit pushing but I don’t think this is one of those times.