Baby, it’s just never gonna happen

I really wanted my next post to be a vlog and I’ve been wracking my brains for days on end about what my next topic should be.
Obviously this is not a vlog. On this topic, I needed to be clear and concise and I can’t do that without thinking about what I’m gonna say and how it needs to be worded.

So I’ve brushed over this topic before but I’ve never really gone into the nitty gritty.

Infertility.

I’m infertile. My eggs are naff. They’re non-existent. There will be no babies.

This isn’t because of my cancer. Vaginal cancer hasn’t made me infertile and it’s not fucked me up down there. I function normally… In case you’re wondering 😉

Radiotherapy made me infertile. As my radiotherapy was directed in the pelvic region it didn’t just target my tumour. Radio beams hit my womb, ovaries, intestines, colon, stomach, liver, kidneys, the lot. For those of you that have never experienced radiotherapy let me just explain the effects as best I can… It burns you. After treatment you generally have a red mark where its been targeting. Or sometimes your skin peels like you’ve been sunburned. It can blister, swell, redden, peel or all of the above.

With me, by the end of my treatment from the tops of my thighs to my lower ribs front and back my skin changed colour. I went from a fair skin, that tans slightly in the sun but burns easily, to a skin that looked like it’s spent 20 days in the Sahara slicked up with oil. Without sounding racist my skin colour was a different ethnicity.

So with that on the outside, its no wonder it damaged my ovaries. So this probably brings you to the question what we’re my fertility options? There were none.

From the day I was diagnosed, to the day of treatment beginning, there was 3 days. I had a very aggressive tumour. It grew rapidly and with the size of it already (10 cm), they couldn’t risk any more time, in case it spread. It did, but they didn’t know that at the time and they hoped it wouldn’t. The option of harvesting any of my eggs for future IVF treatment was never on the table. It would have meant that I would have to be on a selection of hormone drugs to up my ante for egg collection. Not only that, but to retrieve said eggs it would also mean an operation and the tumour was in the way of the route they would take to collect my eggs.

At the time of being told this I didn’t care of the situation. When you’re that sick all you want is to get better. I never processed this part of treatment. I never dealt with it. I just thought logically and got on with what needed to be done.

After radiotherapy, brachytherapy (an internal form of radiotherapy – they target the tumour directly with radio beams) and chemotherapy I was then under the care of the early menopause clinic.

You can only be officially declared menopause free when you’ve had no period for over 12 months. However I still needed to see them to see what function I had left. A simple blood test works for this to see what your FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) level is. This is the hormone that helps release the egg. My FSH was 84. I remember saying to my doctor “that’s good then?”… Umm… No. On average, it should be between 4 and 20. At 84 it means my body is trying to kick the ovaries into action. So with this, they knew that’s it. It’s HRT (hormone replacement therapy), artificial hormones to replace what my body can no longer produce.

If I didn’t take this? My body would be too screwed when I get old. Osteoporosis, brittle bones, muscle deterioration, heart disease, strokes, the list goes on. I’ve got enough to deal with already don’t I?! So I take it.

Hey, fun fact: did you know that although I’m on HRT I can still have a period if I wanted to! Not a real period, but apparently, some women who go through the menopause early feel they’ve lost a bit of their womanhood. Or naturally your body still bleeds monthly. HRT is expansive like the contraceptive pill. Actually, some use the contraceptive pill as their hormone replacement. Look-wise there’s no difference in the appearance of the pills and the packet they come in. For me, I didn’t see the use of having a period if it wasn’t doing anything. That’s one nuisance I’m glad to be rid of!

During this consultation with my early menopause doctor she asked if I had a sister. Yes, I do, I said. She smiled and said good. She explained that in the future she could be an egg donor for me. I shot that down immediately. I love my sister, don’t get me wrong but that is just crossing too many lines for me personally. Until recently I realised she asked this because the NHS will not fund egg donation. I would have to find my own donor or fund it myself… This is about £5000+

I’ve always had strong opinions on where I stand with such tricky areas like IVF. I just wouldn’t do it personally. I couldn’t put myself through that emotional trauma. I have nothing against IVF or IVF babies I just don’t want it for myself. So it’s never really been an option for me. I never sat down and considered it.

I’m very much a practical thinker in life. And being this way I think has helped me considerably when I’ve had to deal with such emotional situations like this. Don’t get me wrong, I am deep down to my core devastated that I can’t have my very own baby. And it hurts so bad some days when social media is covered with friends babies or pregnancies but that’s OK. I have my cry and I move on. I deal with it.

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Fertility is such a hairy topic for those who go through problems, have IVF or just plainly can’t have babies.

You can’t talk to someone who’s had babies. They don’t get it. They have theirs. And you can’t talk to those who don’t have babies but still can, because they can’t relate either. My friends and family know my situation and they let me talk when I need or want to. They help. But things move on, the feeling of sadness goes at the end of the day, it’s not a topic that they will always be thinking of.

Friends please don’t stop the social media posts if you are reading this! I’m not hating on you. It’s just some days are harder than others and it’s issues I have to deal with not you.

So you may think, but hang on what about fostering or adoption? That’s a good route. And yes, I would agree. It was my option this time last year. But since then my cancer has gone metastatic when it gets to the stage 4 region (did you know I had to Google that bit? I’ve never officially been told its stage 4) you’ll never be cured from it. You have to constantly deal with the thought of it still lingering. It will come back.

I can’t put a kid through such an unstable future. You may not agree with my reasoning but this is the way my life is.

So this is the way it is. My kidless future.

It’s a very different perspective when that option is stolen from you and not a choice you’ve made yourself.

If you have any questions or I’ve not been clear on anything please feel free to message. I’m very open on my infertility and treatment.

Also, if you find you are like me, and have gone through the menopause early, then there is a great charity that can help with people who can relate. The Daisy Network

Kudos if you have got this far! I know it’s a long post! ✌🏻💜

A scrambled mess of prosecco and overthinking

It’s been a weird few days. A bit of an emotional roller-coaster of ups and downs. It has been a week of cuddling babies, turning 29, popping prosecco and partying with the most awesomest of awesome friends that have helped me through the last few months… Although if you asked them they wouldn’t say that. They think they haven’t done enough or anything at all that deem them awesome but they honestly really have.

Even just a ‘hey, how are you?’ when the world around you has turned into an unstable mess can mean the world. You may read this with skepticism and think how? But there were days that I would struggle to even think about getting out of bed, let alone actually do it. So a ‘hey, how are you?’ can really go far. It gives purpose. It gives hope. It gives you a reason.

Now, I’m not gonna lie to you, there have been many times those ‘hey, how are you?’s went unanswered… Why? Well when your arse has been ripped raw from being burned from radiotherapy and you struggle to climb in and out of a car to go everyday to the place that’ll make you better, but you know in the short term will make you worse, you do get a bit wrapped up in your own self-absorbed world. Please don’t pity me or my arse rubbed raw story. Haha. It’s all better now and you would never even know. 😉 however, I may look at our pothole filled roads in a whole new light!

Now, I’m not randomly going up to strangers and cuddling babies, you don’t have to worry about my sanity quite yet. Haha. But I’m finding that I’m of that “age” now where babies, engagements and weddings are becoming a frequent occurrence. Having one of these factors of mine altered, and I say altered because it’s still possible, remember! I’ve started to question aspects of my life. Nothing is ever going to change what has happened but I think it’s healthy to look at things differently. But it’s another “why me?” 😫 kind of moment, unfortunately, because say for example, I did decide to foster or adopt, every aspect of my life will be under analysis. And that’s fine, I don’t have anything to hide, as you already can tell! But it wouldn’t have been this way if I was 16 and pregnant… Damn it!

I received a very generous message this week from a friend and her situation with cancer. I won’t go into the details because it’s not my story to tell but you just don’t realise or appreciate how many people cancer hits. I always knew that she was attacked with the nasty little bugger that is cancer before I even met her, but I can’t help but wonder if she had enough ‘hey, how are you?’s I know her story was before I even knew her but I certainly know I didn’t give enough ‘hey, how are you?’s after. Because although my cancer story will soon be behind me… It never really will be fully gone from my life. That little bugger will always be niggling at the back of my mind.

Every cancer story is personal and different. You could find you have exactly the same cancer as me but that doesn’t mean the situation is the same… Or the treatment for that matter. In my radiotherapy days, as you’re up at the hospital 5 days of the week for it, you start seeing the same people up there. And slowly, as treatment goes on and on and on, you never see them again. You think “they’ve made it!” like it’s some sort of game and that they’ve reached the top level. It’s weird seeing these people everyday at the worst moment of both of your lives, never to see each other again or to never know what happened to them…

There have not been many days where I have been caught up in my emotions and been pleading the “why me?” card but this last week has most definitely and unfortunately been one of those weeks that I have found the most trying. Damn me and my overthinking brain!

 

Some pictures of me and my awesome friends. I wish I took more pictures! Me and my prosecco filled self didn’t even think to capture this day more! 🍾