Yes, I have two beautiful children. Yes, I’m divorced and yes, I’m 37 years old (no longer 36!). Were three children ever in my plan? No, the thought had never crossed my mind…until January 19th.
What if I met someone, what if that someone didn’t have children? What if my plan of only having two children changed for that special someone? These are thoughts that began to go through my mind – even though there isn’t someone in the picture now. What if that changed? No problem, I can fix this – I’ll have them harvest what eggs are in my left ovary, I’ll freeze them and if needed will find a surrogate. Only thing is…I would soon find out I couldn’t “fix” this.
One of the many questions I asked Dr. Hagemann during out first meeting was “can we harvest whatever eggs are viable in my left ovary”. She looked at me and said we can try, I’ll reach out to our reproductive team to see what our options are and if they can be in the operating room with us. Perfect! Easy fix, I’ll have a few eggs frozen just in case I need them in the future.
Two days later, I’d get a phone call with good and bad news. The good news was I didn’t have any other masses visible in the CT scan and she felt really good about surgery. The bad news left me with a decision. She told me that the reproductive team (she had another fancy word for them…I cannot for the life of me remember what it was) said stimulating the ovary once removed wasn’t an option, they won’t be able to get any viable eggs. However, if this was something I wanted to pursue I could put surgery off and take the appropriate drugs to make this happen. Here’s the catch – those same drugs could make the cancer spread, rapidly.
Without hesitation my decision was an easy one – we’re not moving the surgery, I’ll be there on Friday morning. You see, if I went the route of taking the drugs for a chance to possibly harvest some eggs that I might never use, it would be a selfish decision. I have two young children. Two children that need their mother in their lives for years to come. Two children that I would move heaven and earth to keep them from any heartbreak. My decisions through this whole process have been with them in mind…what keeps me here is the choice I’m going to make. It was an easy choice I made for them.
Having the total hysterectomy with no chance of having any other biological children has left me with an array of emotions. For someone who had no intentions of having another child, I was devastated. Devastated because something I’d taken for granted was no longer an option. I couldn’t change it, I couldn’t fix it, there was nothing I could do to make this have a different outcome. Heartbroken for the future is what I was left with…even though I am beyond blessed with Olivia and Jaxson I was heartbroken.
I now have hot flashes and am going through changes I shouldn’t have to deal with for quite sometime. Because I was thrown into menopause at such an early age, there are health related risks for me in the future – possible cardiovascular disease, bone health issues, night sweats and hot flashes and the list goes on. Estrogen can be used for some of these issues in regular circumstances. At this time I am not able to use any hormone replacement drugs. Eventually I may be able to do so. The hot flashes and night sweats are THE WORST! It keeps me from sleeping, it requires I go sleeveless or layer when going out so I can get comfortable when a flash hits. It’s annoying as all get out! And really pisses me off!
These are all things I now somehow I have to include in conversations when I’m dating someone in the future, along with having to disclose the “C” word. How in the world do you even begin to bring up Ovarian Cancer when starting a relationship AND now have to add that I’m also unable to have children? For some, that may be a deal breaker. My hope is that anyone I would meet who’s intended to be in OUR life, would love Olivia and Jaxson enough that it’s an afterthought. This is what I have to keep telling myself.
Now ask me why I feel guilty for thinking this way? It’s simple – I’m the lucky one. One of those diagnosed at a young age who was blessed with two children before having to undergo a Full Hysterectomy. I know those that are less fortunate. My heart breaks for them because they are beautiful young women who deserved the opportunity that I was given. And I feel guilty because I’m crestfallen due to the fact that the possibility of having additional biological children isn’t an option – WTF is wrong with me?!? Yet, I still feel this way from time to time and worry about what the future may hold when this is all behind me.
I assume the feelings I have around this subject matter are normal, at least that’s my hope. Having something that I took for granted taken away in a three-day period, is a lot to digest. The emotions that come and go are heavy and hit me out of nowhere. Over time my goal is to make this more a part of me, something that I can see as a “scar” from this whole process. Something that shows I was a warrior and strong enough to fight this battle, not something that is seen as a negative and a deal breaker. I know I will get there and something positive will come from all of this!
**Mom, when you’re reading this, please note I did NOT use the “f” word – it’s meremly implied J