In 2009, aged 33 years old, I was diagnosed with Stage 1, Grade 3 oestrogen receptive breast cancer. I underwent a lumpectompy, 18 weeks of chemotherapy, three weeks of radiotherapy and 5 years of Tamoxifen.
My biggest issue about being diagnosed with breast cancer was that I wanted to have children naturally but was told that I couldn't conceive until I had finished my Tamoxifen treatment, which meant I would be 38 years old by the time I was able to start to try. I didn't want to wait that long as I thought my chances of conceiving would be higher if I was younger, so I waited for 2 years after starting Tamoxifen treatment to stop it for 12 months and try to conceive, without any luck.
Three separate doctors told me that the risks were too high, my breast cancer surgeon told me the same but I wouldn't give up hope and stopped and started my treatment over the past 7 years to try and get pregnant, without success. The only person who gave me hope was my Oncologist who told me that there was nothing proven between a link of breast cancer and pregnancy, I clung onto this to keep myself believing it could happen.
The final blow came when we tried natural IVF which is where they time when my egg would naturally drop during my monthly cycle, take the egg out and mix it with the sperm and either put it back inside of me or in a surrogate carrier. This sounded like the perfect solution and the tests showed that even though the chemotherapy had killed off a lot of my eggs, what was left were healthy eggs. The unfortunate solution was that after extensive testing, the hormone from my brain to tell the ovary to release an egg each month was too weak and therefore I probably wasn't releasing any eggs. Also, due to the fact that my periods were so sporadic, they weren't able to know when (and even if!) the eggs were releasing.
We were devastated, but I kept stopping and starting the Tamoxifen treatment for 9 months at a time trying to conceive, without any luck. I suffered depression that last time we tried to conceive and it didn't work. I felt worthless, my life didn't make sense to me if we couldn't have children and I felt that I was living on a treadmill just moving forward without getting anywhere.
In June 2015 I finally finished the course of Tamoxifen and decided to focus on my health and my new lease of life after cancer treatment. In December 2015 I found out I was pregnant, aged 40 years old. We had conceived naturally in November and I'm excited to say that we're due in August 2016.
I wanted to share this story as, like me, I'm sure there are hundreds of women who are aching with anxiety of getting pregnant after breast cancer and I want to show that hope can prevail and miracles can happen!
I'm excited but a little scared; breast cancer recurrence is on my mind every day! So I'm blogging the changes I'm making in my diet and lifestyle to ensure that I have a healthy and successful pregnancy. If you'd like to follow my blog please visit: www.pregnantafterbreastcancer.com
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