It's about to get real personal up in here... Guys, I’m freezing my eggs.
I honestly never thought this would be something I would choose to do in my life.
As you know this past year my mom was diagnosed with her third type of cancer that led my Oncology Dr at the Ottawa Hospital to expedite my genetic screening testing. I had been on the screening waitlist at CHEO for over a year at this point and with Covid just starting to take over the world my DR sent my file to the Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto to expedite the process.
I was tested June 4 and my results came back on July 10, and I was officially diagnosed with the BRCA -2 cancer gene. This gene increases my chance of having cancer by 75%. Due to this, the doctors want to remove my ovaries and for me to strongly consider having a double mastectomy.
I was 34 when I received this news and it honestly felt devastating because I want children. I always have. I always thought I would get married young (as my mom did, she was 18) and that I would have a large family. But now I am 35 and very single and to be honest I’m scared and nervous that this dream will never unfold for me.
I never planned to wait this long to have a family- but this is God's plan for me. I chose to trust an unknown plan to a known God and with that comes much uncertainty. Will I ever have children? Will I ever get married? As my age has crept up my chances for childbearing goes down.
At 35 they say that your chances for conceiving start to go drastically downhill. Did you know that having children in ones 30's makes a woman a geriatric mother? So me- geriatric, at 35??
This frustrates me as I feel I’ve let my body down- why did I wait so long to have children, and why did I wait until a time where my body may not be able to handle it? Well the answer was I wanted the plan God had for me and even though I truly don’t understand it- I have to believe it’s what’s best.
So last Wednesday I had my 3rd appointment at the Ottawa Fertility Clinic. I still can't believe that I have a fertility doctor. The beginning of 2020 I had a family doctor and was part of a cancer high risk screening program. I now have more doctors to add to that list: I have a Genetics Doctor, a Fertility Doctor, multiple Oncology Doctors (in both Ottawa and Toronto) and if I proceed with the surgeries more Dr’s will be added to that list (even a plastic surgeon).
I have had more doctor appointments and tests this year than in the last 15 years I’ve been alive. Though I must admit that I feel blessed in that every doctor, nurse or technician that has performed tests on me have been true blessings. Everyone has been so compassionate, considerate and beyond kind. I think the fact I’m 35 and having to make all these big decisions due to my diagnosis puts a big sign on my forehead that reads- ‘major empathy needed.’
So on Wednesday I was starting the process to find out how fertile I am. The doctors strongly suggest that I have some of my eggs removed and frozen so that once they take my ovaries I can still have children.
Did you know you could still get pregnant without ovaries? I have learned through this process that you can still have children without ovaries, as long as you have had eggs frozen.
So at my ultrasound I was definitely asking the technician all the many questions I have and I generally have a lot; the more I understand the more I feel in control of the uncontrollable. I learned that a fertile woman generally has anywhere from 5-15 follicle’s in each ovary that produce eggs. As you get older the follicles become less. On Wednesday I was told my one ovary had 10 and the other had 6: meaning I’m still quite fertile, and honestly, I felt so much relief in that discovery.
A silver lining.
You see if I hadn’t had to go through this process I wouldn’t now have the comfort of knowing my body still has lots of life in it, in terms of having what I need to have children. I understand there is more to it than just follicles and ovaries but my concern was that I wasn’t fertile enough or that I ran out of time to fulfill this dream. Freezing my eggs and knowing my body is still quite capable gives me peace in the midst of a difficult time.
Knowing that I am fertile is a silver lining. I now know that being 35 doesn’t mean the end. I still have time to naturally have the family I always dreamed of. You see I’ve decided with my doctors that I will remove my ovaries when I am 40- giving me 5 years to have children naturally, and then I will allow them to remove my ovaries. According to the ultrasound tech, the Ottawa Fertility Clinic will allow me to try and conceive by in vitro-fertilization until I’m 50. Medicine and health technology has come a long way.
So the beginning of last week I was thinking I could be at the end of my rope for having children; but that's not the case, my chance to become a mother was just extended by another 15 years. I’m thankful for this knowledge and awareness. I’m also extremely grateful for medicine and health technology that a hard- possible life ending diagnosis doesn’t have the final say.
God has a plan and I’m excited to see the miracle in it all- and when the miracle happens I'm looking forward to sharing it all with you.