Fertility and Breast Cancer Treatment. You Can Have Both!!!

This past Friday the Capital Newspaper here in Annapolis ran their Breast Cancer Awareness Edition. It featured many stories from different individuals of all walks of life. I was lucky enough to participate in an interview involving my experience with Egg Preservation prior to undergoing Chemotherapy. I was once again surprised when I picked up the paper and I was on the front page!!! It seems my voice is being heard and my message of hope will continue to spread far and wide as long as someone is there to listen. Follow this link to view the article. I just want to say a side note that I wish would have been mentioned in the article. I am not the norm. Most doctors recommend waiting at least 2 years after treatment to try to conceive. This is due to the chance of reoccurrence which is highest in those first couple years. Of course my doctor had those same wishes for me. But given the loss of Cameron prior to my diagnosis, and the fact that it happened naturally even after we took all the necessary precautions, she looked at me and said I’m taking this as a sign of good things to come for you. I just think it is important to give people hope that ANYTHING is possible. Cancer doesn’t mean game over always. This little baby I’m carrying is proof.

http://www.capitalgazette.com/news/special_section/egg-freezing-makes-makes-babies-possible-after-breast-cancer-treatment/article_3178c405-e62f-5f1e-a71b-e73ea3ee2718.html

Back to Cancer, On a Good Note!

aamc article

aamc cover A few months back I had the pleasure of being interviewed for the AAMC Blog. I was then contacted by their media personnel who wanted to conduct a photo shoot as my interview would be featured in the upcoming fall edition of the AAMC Magazine. What an honor! Not to mention the shoot was a lot of fun. At the beginning of September I was informed that the magazine would be coming out at the end of the month. They also sent me a preview pdf copy. Imagine my surprise when I opened up the attachment and found not only the article, but I had been selected for the cover!!!! Holy Cow!! Very exciting news indeed. Since the magazine has come out, I have been stopped numerous times by not only co-workers and friends, but complete strangers. And each time they have told me what an inspiration me and my story are to others. This is by far the most amazing compliment I could ever receive. The fact that somewhere my story is making a difference to someone is the reason why I am an open book and will continue to tell my story to anyone that will listen. Here is the link to the article and I’ve included a copy of the photo and article as well.

http://aamc.flippublication.com/Issue/2C9A2173-AC60-0C4D-6E401C1614904643/Fall2013/index.html

Ladies and Gentleman……May I Have Your Attention Please

Our appointment with Dr Sweeney went well on Wednesday. I’m healing just fine and pretty much back to normal after surgery. Everything is in place as it should be. The shot wasn’t too bad. I expected to be sore afterwards but, no pain at all.

The best news however came when the ultrasound tech asked us if we wanted to know what we were having. We said yes in unison and she informed us that she would try but at 16 weeks, it’s still pretty early. First things first, she needed to check all of babies limbs, organs, etc to see how they were working. It’s amazing to me that you can actually see their kidneys working! Modern medicine is amazing! After we were reassured that baby was measuring on target and at this point all systems were working as they should, she began the search.

It didn’t take long, as baby was very cooperative. And there it was.

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I believe Chris’s exact words were “I see it”! We began to laugh and then the tears started to flow. I looked over to see Chris’s eyes all red and filled with tears. He got up and kissed me and I could just see how incredibly happy and filled with joy he was in that moment. I could sit here and say it didn’t matter boy or girl, we just want a healthy baby. And that is true. The baby’s health is most important.

However, rewind to 2 years ago, finding out we were having a boy, preparing for him, all the hopes and dreams you start to think of for him, all taken away in a blink of an eye. So yeah, when they told us that this baby is a boy, it was like a second chance. My husband was going to get to make memories like all dads dream of making with their son and have his last name carried on. And by no means is this baby boy a replacement to Cameron. That could never happen. Cameron’s legacy is so strong and powerful in my heart and Chris’s heart it could never be replaced. Everything that I do and all that I am today is because of our little angel, positivity, prayer, and a higher power. Cameron changed our world and something in me says he had a hand in bringing us his little brother. I just feel blessed.

This baby is more than just our little boy. He’s our miracle. He’s hope, love, joy, strength. He is life. Many of you may not understand what I mean. But if you’ve ever stared death in the face and ultimately realized or grasped what it means to be alive, you may understand. A year ago this Monday, I was given that horrible diagnosis of CANCER. The scariest time of my life. So many aspects of my life and future hung in the balance. So to be here where we are today, blessed with a baby, the most precious gift life could give. Wow! I know that I will never take any of this for granted because I am fully aware of how fast it can all disappear. For now, I will live in this moment of happiness and the joy of being pregnant.

Surgery #…..Oh Hell I Lost Count

Up and at em at 5 a.m. I don’t remember the last time I was up and it was still dark outside. Been awhile. We are about to head out to the hospital but just wanted to get this out first. Feeling a little nervous but mostly because I will be awake for this surgery. And I’ve never been awake for surgery before. So I guess I’m just asking for some prayers today for a smooth surgery and speedy recovery. I’ve got incredible faith in my doctors and know I’m in good hands. So off we go! More to come in a few days!

QUICK UPDATE:

Surgery went very well! I can definitely say that having a spinal and being awake for surgery is a new and very strange experience! But not as scary as I thought it might be. Even got to see our little wiggle worm after the procedure was finished. He/she was just as relaxed as could be. I’m now home resting and relaxing. Looks like I will be rendezvousing with Netflix for the next few days! Next up, our follow up with Dr Sweeney at the Center for Maternal and Fetal Medicine on Wednesday. I will begin my weekly progesterone shots and we may have the big gender reveal!!!!! Stay tuned!

And thank you all for your continued prayers and well wishes! Xoxoxo

Preop Appointment

Nothing very exciting today. Well, I mean its always exciting for me to hear our baby’s heartbeat! But nothing new really to report. Things are going well and we are now out of the first trimester. 🙂 YEAH! But of course we are not out of the woods. My Nuchal Translucency screening tests all came back negative so that was good news. My preop appointment today was just to go over the cerclage procedure and answer any questions I may have. Of course there is risk involved. But I know what the alternative is and that’s a road I would rather not travel again. So I will be welcoming any and all prayers and positive vibes for my surgery on the 19th of this month. The procedure itself takes about 15 minutes and then I will recover in labor and delivery for about 3 hours so they can monitor me and make sure my uterus stays quiet. Lol Sounds funny I know. Then rest for 2-3 days to recoup and hopefully back to normal.

So that’s that really. Just enjoying each day. Here’s the pic I received today. May not appear like much. But that’s our baby’s strong heart and if you look real close you can see his/her spine as baby’s back is facing out. 🙂

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About Those Doctor Appointments…….

Ok ok, I know. It’s been 2 months since my last post! Talk about leaving you hanging! Well I promise you there is good reason for my silence. First off, let’s talk about this silly thing called a thyroid. Well I somehow went from having a slightly over active thyroid to a slightly under active thyroid. I tell ya, I seriously keep my doctors on their toes! Never a dull moment with me. So they have put me on Levothyroxine or synthroid which is basically a synthetic form of the thyroid hormone my body produces. Which brings me to the reason for my silence.

You see, I was preparing for that radioactive thyroid uptake scan i was telling you about at the end of May so they could more accurately diagnose my thyroid issue. Of course I was reading about side effects and all, with nothing too much concerning me. Biggest no no is being pregnant as the radioactive dye is highly toxic to the baby. No worries there. I just had my first period since treatment began like the other week. No wait, when was it again? Oh it was last month. Ok, so it’s due umm, umm, oh umm (check my calendar) it’s due yesterday. Yesterday? So take the test to be sure I’m good. I mean abnormal cycles after everything I’ve gone through are super common.

SURPRISE!!!!!!!!!!!!! Looks like those doctors appointments will continue and probably multiple!

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And yes that’s right. One test wasn’t enough. I was in such shock, I had to take all three just to be sure! Holy sh*t! We are going to have a baby! Is this really happening??? Of course at this point I actually remember to call and cancel my scan. I was so happy and thankful that I found this out prior to having the scan done. That just would have been awful!

Now as you can imagine the incredibly massive wave of emotions hits and I’m all over the place. Is it too soon? Are my doctors going to scold me? How viable are my eggs given the treatment I’ve just endured? OMG, we did it! Naturally too! This is a miracle! Don’t get too excited. It’s still so early. But I want to tell everyone! We should wait. But these are the people that are my support and if by chance things go south, they will be my up lifters. Ugggg those first few days and weeks were tough. And I so wanted to shout from the rooftops that we are pregnant. But after discussing it, we decided to wait until the first trimester was over and until we saw our high risk doctor.

I have to apologize for my absence over the last two months. You see, I have ZERO poker face through my blog or in person. The news is just so damn exciting that I knew if I tried to post results from my thyroid or anything else, I would totally blow it. So I remained silent. However, that’s all over now. I plan on blogging every little bit about my pregnancy. Miracles do happen. I’m living, breathing, walking, talking proof of that. And so is this sweet little bundle of unimaginable joy that I’m carrying. We’ve been through absolute hell and made it out on the other side. From being pregnant, to preterm labor at 24 1/2 weeks, to 9 days in the NICU, to holding our sweet Cameron as he passed, to breast cancer,surgery, fertility preservation, treatment, recovery, and now full circle to getting pregnant on our own. The only word that comes to mind is BLESSED. I think that this chapter in my ongoing story may be the most important yet. It will be one of hope. A message to everyone to never give up. Miracles happen.

Next up is my pre-op appointment on the 8th as I will have surgery on the 19th for a cervical cerclage. This will help support my cervix and hopefully get us to full term. I will also have weekly progesterone shots starting that week to assist in keeping contractions at bay. Our doctor explained to me that in classic cases of incompetent cervix, woman typically efface and dilate with no warning and no contractions and usually around 17-18 weeks but does occur further along in pregnancy. This is usually because the cervix doesn’t function properly due to surgical procedures or multiple abortions. Unexplained preterm labor presents with contractions and then effacing and dilation. This can occur in woman who have a weak cervix so to speak where the weight and pressure cause it to thin. So they feel the best course of action is to do the cerclage to strengthen and progesterone shots. Both are highly effective if done prior to complications arising. (This has been your medical lesson for today! Lol) The shots can be administered by myself or at the office or even by a home service. My doctor felt in my case, given everything that we’ve been through, coming to the office weekly would be the best way. They will be able to keep a close eye on me and this will help keep the worrying down. Funny thing is, I feel like I’m in such amazing hands that I’m not worrying. We have already been through tough times. This is the light. And I know these doctors are going to do everything they can for us. The time for worry is over!

I’m excited for this next journey and all that comes with it. And I’m even more excited to share it with all of you! Say hello to our little miracle! 13 weeks today and doing well. Just perfect! CHEERS to all of you and thank you for sticking with me and always lifting me up! I wouldn’t be here without you all! Xoxoxoxo

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Results and Follow Ups

My thyroid test was still showing slightly overactive so my doctor referred me to an Endocrinologist for further testing. I will be going for more bloodwork this Friday and a radioactive iodine thyroid uptake and scan. That’s fancy for taking two pills and having my thyroid looked at by a scanner to see if there are any abnormalities. I will return for a follow up with the Endocrinologist next Friday to discuss results. I will also have an appointment with Dr. Tweed since it has been about 4 months since I finished Chemo. Wow, where does the time go!

Yesterday I had my 6 week follow up with Dr Young my Radiation Oncologists. Everything there went well. They want me to have a mammogram done in August and see her again in September. So things are going pretty well. My hair is about 1/2 in long so I’m sporting a super short pixie cut. It’s kind of funny how many compliments I’ve received on it. I do like it and now I know if I want to keep it short or cut it back one day, I can. I’m just going to let it grow for now.

More to follow next week after my appointments. At least after these ones, I will be enjoying the summer with no Dr to see until the end of August!

As The Doctor Appointments Continue…….

Well I thought the doctors appointments had subsided, at least for a little while. But I was wrong. Let me back track a bit here. First, there was good news. TMI ALERT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Aunt Flow finally returned after an almost 5 month hiatus. I actually have never been so happy in my life to have my period! I immediately contacted our fertility doctor, as I was instructed do once this occurred. So on day 3 of my cycle I went in to undergo an ultrasound and some blood work to gauge what my reproductive system was up to. The ultrasound revealed the presence of follicles, which we assume contain eggs. This was a good sight to see. When my blood work came back, it showed the following: my estrogen was normal, my FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) was high, which indicates my ovarian reserve is diminishing and the quality of my eggs may be questionable, my TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) was low, indicating an overactive thyroid, and the anti-mullarian test was low, also indicating decreased ovarian function. So more or less the tests were showing that I’m borderline, leaning towards a menopause state. However, I’m not giving up. Even if we can’t or don’t get pregnant on our own, we took the measures to preserve eggs prior to treatment, so right now it is just a waiting game to see what happens over the next couple months.

As for my thyroid, I went to my regular physician on Friday. She did a full thyroid test. The results are back today, so I have an appointment this afternoon to go over the results. Which I will update after my appointment. 🙂