As many of you know, I am in the process of harvesting and freezing my eggs. Things are moving very slowly but hopefully they will harvest sometime between Sunday and Tuesday and then this aspect of my life will be over and done with (no more injections!!!!!). (By the way, every time I say “harvest my eggs” I feel like a chicken)
I was surprised today to receive an email from my fertility doctor asking if I would help raise awareness about fertility issues for women with breast cancer for breast cancer awareness in October. I’m honored that she thought of me to help advocate for fertility preservation for women of childbearing age who are dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis. I’m not sure if this is what she is looking for but this is what I wrote for her. Tell me what you think. And please be honest. Should I add anything?
When I heard on August 1, 2014 that I had stage 2 breast cancer, I thought that it was one of the scariest, worst things I would ever hear. It was absolutely terrifying. Amongst the overwhelming news about diagnosis I found out that my treatment, two rounds of chemotherapy, possible radiation and ten years of tamoxifen would leave me unable to have children. This was probably the most gut-wrenching of all the news.
My husband and I are very lucky. We have a beautiful baby boy. We conceived easily when I was 35 after only three months of trying so fertility issues were never a concern for me. I was informed by my oncologist that because my treatment will leave me infertile, the only chance I have of having a child of my own is freezing my eggs. Not only did I have to deal with the idea of having cancer and all of the treatment that goes with it, my husband and I had to decide would we (maybe?) want more children in the future, and we had about 2 weeks to decide before my cycle started and 5-6 before chemotherapy began.
As I researched what goes into harvesting and freezing eggs, I was astonished by the cost associated with doctor’s visits, medications and the procedure of harvesting. Prices ranged from $7500 to $10,000. A staggering number when you are also facing the costs of cancer.
Thankfully, through a program offered by The Livestrong Foundation, women of child bearing age who are faced with breast cancer (or any cancer) have an opportunity to freeze their eggs through collaborations with fertility clinics. Some offer discounts while other’s provide the service at no cost. As a result of the collaboration between Livestrong and the Sher Institute, I now have the chance to expand my family if and when I feel it is right. And that is all I want right now; a chance and a choice. It is and should be our right as women regardless of a breast cancer diagnosis to start or grow a family.
I want to thank the Livestrong Foundation for the kind and informative services they have provided and everyone at the Sher Institute for their care, compassion, understanding and advocacy for women living with breast cancer.