What is your current treatment state?
Finished all treatments
Did you undergo any fertility preservation treatments?
No, I was never told
Did someone on your healthcare team speak to you about the possible effects of cancer treatments on your fertility?
When were you told that your fertility might be affected by your cancer treatments?
I was never told
Why did you not undergo fertility preservation?
I didn't know about it
Did you become a parent after cancer?
Yes, I used donor eggs and I had a surrogate.
In 1997 I was 27, happy, free, and traveling the world as a flight attendant. Newly married and ready to have a baby, I felt strong and invincible. My future was unfolding just as I expected it to. Until the symptoms appeared ever so subtly. Squeezing cramps around my waist. It hurt to pee. After a few weeks, I marched my invincible self into my doctor’s office, told her I diagnosed my own bladder infection, and may I please have antibiotics. She decided to investigate a little further. After an ultrasound, she discovered a grapefruit-sized tumor growing on my left ovary. “Could it be cancer?” I asked. “No,” my doctor assured me, “you’re too young to have cancer.” Surgery was scheduled to remove my “benign tumor.” I was excited to get it over with, so I could go on with my life and have babies. After 5 hours of surgery, I woke up in the recovery room, my body uncontrollably thrashing in pain. My doctor hovered over me and broke the news, “I’m sorry. You have ovarian cancer. You’ve had a complete hysterectomy. We took everything out.” What I heard loud and clear was “Cancer. You can’t have children.” The diagnosis came as a shock. Stage IIIC ovarian cancer had taken over my abdomen, resulting in an emergency hysterectomy that I was not prepared for. The intense grief hit immediately. The loss of my fertility was most crushing. I had always wanted to be a mom. Losing my fertility was a difficult challenge for my marriage, and unfortunately our relationship crumbled under the stress. Cancer teaches many lessons...I learned that when one door closes, another opens. I remarried, and today I am the proud, grateful mother of 11-year old twin boys. Born with the help of a surrogate mom and an egg donor, my dream finally came true of becoming a parent. Where there is a will, there is a way. Never give up on your dreams!