Conceiving After Cancer
This is a repost blog.
Original posts by Hayley at the Advice Smackdown on AlphaMom
The original question-writer’s words are reproduced here - to read Amy Storch’s advice, click through to the original link.
PCOS: Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome
CM: Cervical fluid
FSH: Follicle Stimulating Hormone
LH: Luteinizing Hormone
OPK: Ovulation prediction kit
8 Sept 2010: Conceiving After Cancer
Since I love your blog and think that you give such wonderful advice that really looks at things from all angles, I thought I’d write and ask for your input…if you decide to print this, feel free to edit and take out as much as you see fit. Also, I am really sorry if this is TMI or grosses you out, I just don’t know who else to ask, as everyone that I would be comfortable asking is Fertile Myrtle.
I am 30 years old and a childhood cancer survivor, off therapy for 24 years next week. I had Wilms’ Tumor, which is a kidney cancer, so I am missing my left kidney. Six months after I completed treatment, I relapsed in my lower bowel, that time they were able to remove the just the tumor. I am in really good health otherwise, and consider myself so lucky that this is really the first late effect I have ever had to deal with. I am a normal weight for my height and never had to deal with learning disabilities that a lot of childhood cancer survivors, especially survivors that have a reoccurrence. Almost two years ago, a pediatric endocrinologist that heads up a long term survivorship program scared the BEH-JEEZUS out of me at our initial (and only…It was a transitional appointment and I have since transferred over to an Adult Long Term Survivorship Program) appointment and told me that I needed to start trying to get pregnant yesterday. My husband and I immediately started trying, and here we are 20 months later and we’re not pregnant.
A year ago, we met with a reproductive endocrinologist and everything was within the normal range, my FSH, LH, my ovaries were both developed the way that they were supposed to be (which really surprised everyone), my uterus looked good, my cycles are very regular and his sperm count was normal and had normal motility. Since everything was normal, my husband and I decided to give it another year on our own. We’ve tried everything that we can without going back to the doctor, OPKs, “not trying”, etc. *I* think that I have a hostile environment due to the fact that there is never any egg white CM.
So, in this past year I have taken it upon myself to see a cardiologist, oncologist, and nephrologist and get their okays for getting pregnant and carrying a baby to term. All of them are totally on board. Since I have everyone’s okay and my husband has recently caught TEH BABEH FEVER, we’ve made another appointment with the reproductive endocrinologists. I am kind of terrified at the idea of using clomid, but not opposed to it either, but sort of don’t see the point of going on it without doing something like IUI or doing something like IUI without the clomid.
Am I getting way ahead of myself? What questions should we ask that may not be thinking about? What are some things that you wish you had known when you went to see fertility specialist?
I would really appreciate any insight you might be able to give!
24 Dec 2012: UPDATE ON: Conceiving After Cancer
Gosh, I’ve wanted to be able to write you with this update for so long, but haven’t been able to until now. I wrote to you back in the fall of 2010 asking for your advice about being a childhood cancer survivor and seeing a Reproductive Endocrinologist for help in getting pregnant. We ended up doing 4 rounds of Clomid and IUI with acupuncture, getting pregnant twice and both ended up being chemical pregnancies, not progressing beyond 5 weeks. After the 4th round, I had to be taken off of the Clomid and we were told that IVF was our only option at that point, and the term “atypical PCOS” was tossed around, we never could get the RE to give us a good solid diagnosis. We wanted answers as to how IVF was going to keep me pregnant since I was getting pregnant with the IUIs, and we weren’t given any clear answers. So, we decided to go the holistic route. Through a friend who’d also had trouble getting pregnant, we found a holistic doctor who GUARANTEED (can you see where this is going?) he’d have me pregnant within 6 months. I thought it was a little arrogant, but figured I didn’t have anything to lose at that point. I cut all processed sugar and gluten from my diet and took all kinds of supplements, but a year later I still wasn’t pregnant.
Around this time, my husband was given the huge opportunity to open a new division of the company that he works for in Miami, FL. We put trying on hold until we moved and were able to get settled in a new city. We went from a 4 BR house in the suburbs of Atlanta to a 2 BR teeny, tiny condo in Downtown Miami. It took us about a month to figure out that we were “house people”, not “condo people” and we decided to put off trying again at least until after the first of the year so that if I got pregnant right away (ha ha ha, like that would ever happen…), at least our lease in the condo would be up and we would be in a house by the time a baby came. And then, we found out that we were pregnant. I will hit the 12 week mark tomorrow. I had the nuchal translucency scan this morning with the Maternal Fetal Specialist and she just gushed and gushed over what a perfect baby I had growing and bouncing around in there. We are so excited that we can’t see straight.
So anyhoo…Thank you so much for your words of encouragement 2 years ago, you’ll never know how much it meant and how often I went back to what you said about kicking cancer’s ass and infertility having nothing on me.
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