“Thats the thing with cancer – the plans you made before your diagnosis are still in place. Some of them you have to cancel, but others you can keep. Having cancer does not mean your whole life stops. You simply adjust or modify your plans.”

‘Its Not About the Hair’, Debra Jarvis

In the mist of radiation, you may have noticed a tone around here: sorrow and lament. Of course one who is going through cancer treatment would not have to give answers as to why she’d be writing about such subjects, it’s more of a, of course she is. For me, there is a deeper story behind those emotions.

Most of you probably dont know know this, but at the start of 2013, Jason and I we’re trying to get pregnant. A whole two months into trying is when the lump was found and things suddenly changed. The week we got diagnosed I was late and it made my doctors nervous that I was pregnant. So, on top of not yet having answers to what it meant for me in having cancer, there was a tiny chance I was pregnant. Women have been treated for cancer while pregnant, but you cant not be as aggressive because of the baby. After a blood test confirmed I was not pregnant, we could relax on that front.

When you are first told you have cancer, especially when your 31, you have a lot of decisions you have to make right away and quickly. One of them was, did I want to harvest my eggs in case chemo harmed them. We decided that was not the route for us. It was another procedure Id have to go through and its crazy expensive. We had talked before cancer came into our lives, that if we couldnt biologically have a child, we would adopt. We’d rather spend a lot amounts of money on adoption over harvesting eggs.

Fast track a bit – going through chemo – I couldnt think of the idea of carrying a child so it was not near the for front of my mind like it once had been not long before. Once I started to feel like myself again, and near the end of radiation, I started to think about having a baby again. Suddenly I realized, what if chemo had damaged my eggs? What if I couldnt conceive a child because of the chemo? It felt taken away from me even though it was a choice we had made. At the end of radiation is when I was told by my doctors to start taking my estrogen blocking oral medication -tamoxifen.

What does tamoxifen have to do with being pregnant you may ask. One of the receptors of my cancer was estrogen positive. Tamoxifen blocks those cells from reproducing (which is what cancer cells do). It doesnt keep my body from producing estrogen, just blocks it. If you know much about pregnancy, you know that you need estrogen to carry a child. Basically, if I were to get pregnant while taking tamoxifen, it would terminate the pregnancy or be really risky for both me and a baby. Originally when I was told this is part of the whole package of cancer treatment, I would be taking tamoxifen for 5 years. Even with that news, I wasnt thrilled at all for trying for our first child at age 36. Of course now, there has been new studies shown that women, especially as young as me, should say on tamoxifen for 10 years. That would make me 41 when I stop taking tamoxifen – definitely not when I want to have a baby.

There has been mixed thoughts on whether women can stop taking tamoxifen for a few years to get pregnant, have the baby and then complete the rest of the years left of taking tamoxifen. This actually was my plan when I started taking tamoxifen. Its a really risky move and not something ether of my oncologist where on board with me doing. Jason did not want me to go off it ether because it highly increased the chance of reaccourance. I was bound and determined to do this, because having a baby was the plan. Cancer was not part of the plan and cancer wasnt going to take away a dream of being parents from us.

Now that treatment has completely come to a close, my tune has changed. I realized how really risky the idea of going off tamoxifen really is. I do not want to go through the year that we just had of treatment again. I got my port out and its not going back in! It doesn’t however, change our desire to want to have a child in our family. My emotions have been very sad this past year, start of the year especially. As time has gone on, I wouldn’t say it’s gotten easier, just different things trigger sadness for me. When people ask how life is after cancer, I’m not really sure how to answer. I should be happy, I beat cancer after all. The life that I wanted, a good thing, has been shaken. We hope, pray and surround ourselves in community that offer us encouragement as we think, pray and gather information of what adding to our family now looks like after cancer treatment.

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I appreciate and admire your vulnerability in posting this, so much. I know it’s hard, but I have found that it feels better to lay it out in the open, instead of carrying the ache all alone with the rest of the world unaware. This is so hard, and I’m sorry this is the path you are walking. But I’m believing that you and Jason and Jesus will create good and beautiful things along this path. Love you friend.

July 18, 2014 12:46 pm

Oh daughter of mine. It breaks my heart you had to go thru cancer. You’re attitude thru it all, your strength and poise, is a testament to your character, who you are, deep inside, as you battled that demon, and came thru victorious.

Now, plans for you and Jason’s family have changed, and the way you are handling this new journey forward, once again, makes me proud, amazed and awestruck of the woman you have become. I have no doubt you will find the best road forward and as always, we support you in your every need.

I love you more than you will ever know, and my prayer for you and Jason is pure happiness thru every step. I am convinced, with Jesus by your side, guiding your decisions, you will see the best path you need to take. We are always here for you!

I love you, Dad

July 19, 2014 7:33 am

How long will scoffers delight of their scoffing and fools hate information?

[WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

July 20, 2014 7:52 am

Wow. Thank you for being so open, Alisa! I will continue to pray for you as you walk down this path. As we mentioned before, cancer is never really “over”. The effects linger for years to come. I pray that you and Jason are guided through this time of transition as you learn to lead a life that doesn’t look like what you expected. But, as always, I know God is leading you towards a life better than what you could have imagined on your own.

Lots and lots and lots of love from Bama!

July 22, 2014 9:31 am

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