One of my biggest fears in facing cancer was the news that my treatment – more specifically chemo (my prescribed chemo regiment was CMF, which stands for the initials of these 3 drugs: Cyclophosphamide, Methotrexate 5 Fluorouracil – also known as 5FU) and the prescribed 5 years of Tamoxifen would leave me infertile, most likely too old to bare a child anyway, and considering that my tumor was Estrogen (ER) and Progesterone (PR) positive (most often referred to as “ER/ PR+”) it would never be advised that I carry a baby in my uterus due to hormonal surges that naturally occur during pregnancy. Opting to go through an egg retrieval procedure specifically available for breast cancer patients gave me a sense of control, a sense of hope. It helped me keep that door open in a time when so many doors seemed to be closing; slamming shut in my face.
Living in New York City, I am incredibly fortunate to have access to top, world renowned hospitals. I opted to go through this procedure at Weill Cornell and I was surrounded by an amazing team of doctors.
During the second half of 2012 I was 100% running on survival mode my calendar was full of endless appointments, procedures, tests, evaluations, day after day after day. I was coasting by in a haze… carried, pushed, dragged along – like a rag doll lost at sea.
Six days after I had my eggs retrieved and lovingly frozen, I ended up in the emergency room for internal bleeding. An emergency operation was performed in order to stop my blood from slowly emptying out in my abdominal cavity. I lost roughly 1.5 liters of blood that day. The pain that I felt from this compares to nothing else that I have ever experienced. This is a risk of egg retrieval… the chances of this happening to anyone is somewhere between 1% and 2%.
So here we are 5 years later, one recurrence of breast cancer later, a double mastectomy later, a failed reconstruction later – and yet… I just paid $262.50 to keep my eggs frozen.
Call me crazy, or maybe I am in denial, maybe this could be considered as wasted money – but if that’s the price for hope that I have to pay today, I’m willing to invest. Maybe one day will come and I will donate my eggs to science, but I’m not there yet. For now, those little golden eggs are in the bank.