This time last year, we were sat in the consultant office at our local fertility centre exploring the options we had available to us. When I was initially diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, I was told that the chemotherapy may affect my fertility but due to its advanced nature there were no options available to me. I think this, second potentially to my hospitalisation , was the most stressful point of my treatment journey.
I was on a deadline, a matter of days to identify a possible option and solution to keep my hope alive. I scowered the internet, looking for research and articles as I couldn’t accept there was no option. Contacting numerous people in bid to find a solution. Never have I felt such a level of stress, pain and despair. At this point in time, I wasn’t active on social media ,I didn’t have access to other people who may have been in a similar situation or know of any organisations that may have been able to help.
Even today, a year on I can feel the emotions of that day, all be in not as strongly. The anxiety, the stress, the fear!! That visceral pressure building inside me like a pressure cooker ready to explode its top. I am sure that consultant sensed the shear desperation in me on that day. I came armed with my articles, ready to make my case for trying a drug that has some evidence but isn’t part of routine practice. Happy to accept that it may not work, but if there was a chance that it may I was happy to go with that.
Somebody was smiling on me that day though, as despite being 5 days into my ovulation cycle she felt giving emergency egg retrieval a try was a viable option from my scan. This day marked the first day, where my body would experience 8 months of being pumped full of various drugs. At this point, the drugs were hormone injections to try and promote lots of follicles to mature and create eggs. I had unrealistic expectations of the numbers of eggs that I may get from retrieval at this time. I had heard of others who had got 15, 20, 30 eggs…….we got Four!… Four little eggs but these four little eggs turned into TWO fertilised embryos.
The next year moving forward will mark the next stage of our fertility journey. At the moment, we don’t know if we will be able to have children naturally again. We don’t know if the Gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist medication will have protected my ovaries from significant damage and helped to preserve my fertility. We don’t know if the extra burden of menopausal symptoms during treatment was worth it. But we remain positive. We remain hopeful and we have two little guys on ice who help keep our hopes alive. After the year anniversary of finishing chemotherapy, we will undertake some tests to see what potential impact has been and look at our options from there. But I am feeling positive. There is nothing we can do now but wait…..see and most of all………hope.