Once again I turn to social media to share news to the masses. This is really just an easier route for me than individual contact, since I have so many special people in my life. And I am looking at doing what is easier/best for me at the moment.
Two weeks ago I had a PET scan done to investigate back pain I've been having. My back came back clear and the pain is just the result of extensive radiation damage. My ovaries showed suspicion and my doctor had me follow it up with an ultrasound. The ultrasound showed complex (and pretty large) cysts in both ovaries and unfortunately they cannot tell what they are made of, just that they aren't fluid like a normal cyst. I feel optimistic and realistically I always knew my BRCA2 mutation and cancer history put me at risk for ovarian cancer. I think this news felt a little out of nowhere and sudden but I know the cancer investigating routine this time at least. I teamed up with a gynecological oncologist and have surgery scheduled on February 27th to explore my ovaries and do biopsies. In the event that things appear unexpectedly bad in there, they would remove my ovaries immediately. This news led me to a fertility doctor.
The fertility doctor discussed all the ways that creating a family is possible. He did some tests which showed that because of the chemotherapy I had and the intensity of it, my ovaries are no longer producing eggs. Ovarian damage or failure can happen with some chemotherapy drugs depending on the type, dose, and length of treatment. To my understanding, this is unrelated to the cysts in my ovaries.
I am in shock. The news of my fertility has been devastating and I am heartbroken to find this out. Children have always been my life and motherhood my dream. To be honest, this has been more painful than the cancer diagnosis. At least I knew that was temporary. My body had shown so many signs that everything was functioning as it should down there. I understand that I have many options, lots of really great ones too, on how to create a family but I'm having a hard time giving them much thought at the moment. I need some time to grieve and process.
I felt like keeping much of this information to myself this time around but ultimately have decided to share some of it for a couple of reasons. I know that sharing my experiences can help others and will when I am ready to do that. I also know that I need time and this seemed like a better option to let my people know that instead of just ignoring all of you. Additionally, as much as I wished I was, I am not the tough cookie I appear to be without the love and support of my friends and family.
What I need most right now is to let the tears fall and the hurt hurt and to be okay with that. Keeping my chin up like I usually do doesn't feel right at the moment. I don't feel like talking much or to most people right now but I know that if I need to I have many wonderful ears ready for me. If you're curious about how chemo can cause infertility, the internet has plenty of answers. If you're curious about these complex cysts, my doctors will have answers soon and I will be sure to pass along the information when I can.
Like I said, I'm not ready to ponder other options of family creation yet but if you happen to know of anyone who has created a family in alternative ways from egg donors to adoption, I think I would like to hear from some of them when I'm feeling up to it. Also if there are any ovarian cancer survivors out there or women who have had their ovaries removed at a young age, I would eventually like to talk to them too. My email is email@example.com and I think for now I would like to have things forwarded there and will read and respond when I'm ready to.
I know how I'm feeling is appropriate and I also know that it is temporary. I will definitely seek more support and conversations about all of this when I'm ready. I've become very good at expressing what I need and what I don't. If you could keep me and my family in your thoughts and prayers that would be greatly appreciated.