Jaime, 29 years old
Type of Cancer: Adenocarcinoma of the Cervix
Cancer Treatment Received: Radical hysterectomy, Chemotherapy, and Radiation
Relationship Status at Diagnosis: Married
Current Relationship Status: Married
Age: 29 years old
Were you a parent at time of diagnosis? Yes, I have two children.
Fertility preservation and fertility support services are important to me because: This may sound cliché, but nothing makes me happier then being a Mom. My husband and I have been together since high school, and we had always wanted a big family. My daughter was just 6 months old when I got the diagnosis, and I was already eager to get started on our next child. I think the ability to perserve embryos gave me a glimor of hope that we could still have the family we had always imagined. For me, it was a feeling of control over the diagnosis. It almost felt like a victory over the disease.
At time of diagnosis, did you know that cancer treatment could affect your fertility? Yes, and as funny as it may sound, I was never afraid of what the cancer would do to my health. I knew I could beat the cancer hands down. My biggest fear was ending my family before I was ready.
Do you feel you received adequate information and/or support regarding fertility risks associated with cancer treatment and fertility preservation upon your diagnosis? Why or why not? I feel like my Dr was much more concerned with the cancer then my fertility. Once people heard that I had two children already, they wanted to shut the door on the whole fertility aspect. I was persistent about my wishes, however, and as a result was put in contact with the Ottawa Fertility Clinic. They were very supportive and accommodating, and I can’t thank them enough for easing the pain in an otherwise very painful experience.
If you were not already aware, how did you feel after learning about the possibility of cancer-related infertility? Briefly describe your life prior to your diagnosis (work, education, family, location): I was employed full time, and off on maternity leave after the birth of our second baby. Our first was a little boy, so we were very excited to welcome a little girl into our family. My husband and I have been together since high school and married in our home town in Cape Breton shortly after I completed University. My husband served the forces in Petawawa until 2007 when he was medically released. We then came to Ottawa so he could return to school and begin a new career.
Did your diagnosis change your life or alter your plans for the future? It has defiantly changed our lives, however we will not let it change our plans for the future. We have to reconsider the path we will take to reach our goals, however, the end product is still the same.
How did your diagnosis impact your desires to become a parent in the future? The desire was always strong for us, but we didn’t realize just how strong it was until something threatened to take it away.
If you did undergo fertility preservation, please briefly describe your experience. It was an emotional roller coaster to say the least. I had my first consultation before my surgery, and was told it would be safest to wait until after my hysterectomy to do the egg retrieval. At my first post surgical consultation they were unable to locate my ovaries by ultrasound, and I was told that it would be unlikely that they could retrieve any eggs. Devastated, I asked if we could try again in a few weeks. When I came back, I was lucky to get an amazing Tech who pushed and prodded, and much like me, wouldn’t take no for an answer. She found my ovaries and shared the great news that the right ovary was low enough for them to reach. I then started my hormones and shortly after they were able to retrieve 4 eggs, 3 of which were fertilized and frozen.
Have you become a parent post cancer treatment? My best friend, who happens to be my husbands sister, offered to carry for us as soon as I was diagnosed. I don’t think I could even begin to explain the impact she has made in my recovery. She is currently pregnant with her third and last child. Once my new niece is born we will start planning the surrogacy of our next child.
What advice would you give newly diagnosed cancer patients who are facing the possibility of infertility? Don’t give up on something that is important to you. Don’t be afraid to speak up, and ask questions. Remember when one door closes, another one opens!
If you would like to add any additional information please do so here: I would just like to thank Fertile Future from the bottom of my heart. When he Cancer diagnosis is thrown at you, it seems like your world is caving in. For me, Fertile Future gave me access to take control of my diagnosis instead of my diagnosis taking control of me. Many thanks!!
How did you hear about Fertile Future? Ottawa Fertility Clinic