Ovary-less sister searching

Hi cancer world, I've never attempted to involve myself or reach out till now. I don't personally know anyone that has had cancer, so it's time for me to reach out because I feel like I'm on a weird cancer island that no one I know can understand or relate to.

I'm 23 years old, and was diagnosed with a more rare type of ovarian cancer, being an immature/mature teratoma. Luckily, it has been contained within my pelvis. Unluckily, it grew so large so quickly that it ruptured and spread to my other ovary. This resulted in 2 surgeries, and no more ovaries.

I managed to freeze 9 eggs before the 2nd ovary was taken out, and I still have my uterus. This means I can potentially have children, but from what I've been reading those odds seem disappointingly slim. I'm also swimming in a mound of debt because the procedure for women is SO SO SO SOOOOO expensive (isn't it crazy that insurance will deem a wig as necessary coverage, but they won't offer any help for fertility preservation?!?!???). And because of this debt, my extremely painful (rotting) wisdom teeth can't be taken out, and I don't have the funds to see a shrink (which I desperately need) on top of lots of other fun things. I'm also trying to figure out how to manage my hormones, since I no longer produce estrogen (yay depression).

I just want to know if there's any other women out there that are dealing with this bs. Are you having a rough time getting your hormones straight? Are you swimming in debt? Do you think about the daughter you'll never have? Are you randomly crying on the freeway in the middle of the day?

I mean that all jokingly, but seriously. Does that make sense?

My cancer is something I never bring up to people, and I won't complain about it with the people that know (unless I'm joking about it). But sometimes I just want to scream and vent about it, so I'd love to hear anyone else vent and scream about it. I think that helps us all feel more human.

Comments

  • 4 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • Hey jrupey!
    It's sucks that you're in this boat and having to deal with so much. I feel you.
    I was diagnosed with breast cancer at 32 yrs old, June 2016.
    After chemo, immunotherapy, hormone treatments- I'm having hot Flashes, was in chemo pause-still recovering, haven't had my period since June 2016, been told chemo could take away my fertility, & am on hormone blocking meds. My hormones are so whacked out. I've been keeping an eye on my facial hair since my hair started growing after chemo. Due to the hormone blockers & being in chemopause, I've had to do some facial hair damage control. Ughhhhh. I've never had that issue.
    I was lucky enough to freeze 8 eggs prior to starting chemo. I was given once chance & im just so happy they were able to freeze them. I agree with you- it's expensive! And it should be covered by insurance- but it's not. There are a few foundations that help with the fertility process if you've been diagnosed with cancer & want to freeze eggs. Livestrong gave me some financial assistance when I went through the fertility process. Or google it & a few will come up for assisting young women with cancer with egg preservation. Being told you have cancer & told you may not be able to have children all at once is so much to take in. Plus fertility preservation was $12,000- 15,000. Not including annual storage fees!! I didn't have that $$ lying around since I just finished grad school & owed school loans & just started a new job. I don't have any kids, I'm not baby crazy, but I always thought I'd have one or two kids in the future. That was one of the most crushing news to take. That the ability to have a family would/could be taken from me due to cancer treatment. It took me a long time to accept it- maybe not accept it 100% but to hear it & let it be. My younger sister has a 1.5 yr old & before all this happened, we talked about getting pregnant around the same time in 2 yrs. I'll be on tamoxifen for a while so I don't know if that'll happen. I see so many people around me having kids. I get jealous. I'm sad about it sometimes. But I still hope and pray, that if it all works out, I'll be able to start a family in the future.
    When I first got diagnosed, I would randomly cry. Eating ice cream. At work. At the gym. On the couch. In the middle of the night. It was just soooo overwhelming and scary. It's been 9 months & it's been getting better.
    You are not alone. There are so many of us going thru similar emotions as you.
    I wish you the best! Take care!
  • MHoodMHood Community Member, Moderator
    I feel your pain with the crazy hormones and the random crying. I had endometrial cancer, but they removed my ovaries as well to be safe. My hot flashes are the worst. The best advice I can give for hot flashes in peppermint oil. It doesn't stop them, but it provides a relief as they are happening. Take a little peppermint oil and put it on the back of your neck when you feel a hot flash coming on and it provides a cooling sensation which provides a some relief.

    Good luck and remember that you are not alone!
  • juls4juls4 Community Member
    I just finished treatment for breast cancer at 33 and I'm currently in that temporary menopause state. I tried to freeze eggs before chemo, but it didn't work because apparently I already had a fertility problem I was unaware of. I was trying to get pregnant when I was diagnosed, so it was quite a punch in the stomach to find out I not only had cancer, but would probably never have children. It's great that you have 9 eggs, and my IVF Dr. said that if you fertilize outside the womb and then implant, there is a 70% chance of it leading to a live birth which is amazing! Regular conception is only 35%. I definitely spent a lot of time crying over watching the future I wanted slip away from me, but it did get easier over time. I'm still hopeful for biological children, but I've come up with a backup plan of adoption. If you have your uterus and for whatever reason aren't successful with your own eggs, you could use a donor egg, but that's in the range of $40,000. I would definitely look into assistance programs, I was able to get all of my egg retrieval injections for free through a program that donates medication to women with cancer. I bet there are programs for IVF as well. Also, you talk about not complaining to people, but I don't think the people in your life who love you would see it as complaining. I've found that by allowing people to help, and by talking honestly with them, they are often able to handle hearing about my cancer and can offer good suggestions. They may not know what it's like to have cancer, but I guarantee they know what loss and fear feel like, so you do have common ground. Many women who haven't had cancer can't have children and you'd be surprised how many women can relate to you. Maybe consider volunteering to distract yourself from some of the depressing thoughts. I find it gives my life more meaning. Therapy was never helpful for me, so I volunteer at a university greenhouse where it's warm and sunny and the people are wonderful. Everyone there knew when I was going through cancer and they never treated me with pity or avoidance, even though I was very candid about my experiences. Several people shared their own cancer stories about their relatives. Good luck!
  • tls5141tls5141 Community Member
    The cancer center I go to told me about the LiveStrong Foundation www.livestrong.org , go to our programs, and livestrong fertility They have a fertility program for individuals diagnosed with cancer who are looking to do sperm banking, freeze eggs, freeze embryos, and assistance with medication costs. I completed the application this past weekend on their website and received a call from them today to have the fertility specialist complete a form, oncologist complete a form, and give a copy of my tax returns. From my understanding they are able to provide discounted fertility services. I had to pay up front before the fertility specialist even began IVF services for me and I am hoping LiveStrong can provide a discounted rate that I can hopefully get some money back. Their website has been acting up and the woman told me that on the phone today too. You can also call them directly at 1-855-220-7777

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