I have literally been overwhelmed from the response I have received about my blog and diagnosis. I feel truly blessed to have so many people supporting me and getting behind me. I have been sent the most beautiful, heart felt, open messages from friends, family, family members I have never met and complete strangers. There has been a real sense of shared experience, people telling me their stories of similar diagnosis and positive outcomes, stories of incredible recovery, filling me everyday with hope and optimism. THANK YOU ALL SO, SO, SO MUCH.
I also have a confession, I lied. There is no way I can write things in real time – there’s just too much going on and too much at the moment to process. But here’s a wee update on last Monday’s events, more to follow…
So, I’m 28, I’m in an amazing relationship, I love babies, I want babies, lots of babies if I’m rich enough (no pressure Baz), so of course my main concern when I found out I’d be having chemo was how it was going to affect my fertility. I can take losing my hair, losing my eyebrows, having my body battered by chemicals but I would be absolutely devastated if it meant I couldn’t conceive. If I’d been given ABVD chemo then it would have been very unlikely that my fertility would have been affected at all. But no I got the big, bad BEACOPP chemo – which, wait for it, decreases fertility by 50%. GUTTED.
Once again my knight in shining armour Chris K came to the rescue. He knew of an amazing, pioneering charity ‘Future Fertility Trust’ working with females with cancer from the age of 0 (yes zero, as in new born) up to 25 years old, helping them to preserve their fertility using pioneering medical techniques and technology.
Cue the most inspirational super woman I have ever met – Sheila Lane. She is a top children’s cancer consultant, a Professor in Oncology at Oxford University, oh yeah and did I forget to mention she also set up and is the Director of ‘Future Fertility Trust’? And she still manages to breeze into her consulting room with her pink lipstick on, Prada handbag casually swinging from her arm like it’s all just in a day’s work. She is a bloody super woman, her passion for what she does is infectious, her positivity and compassion for her patients oozes out of her. She is a force to be reckoned with and I have never met anyone that I have respected more, I am in awe of her, she is an incredible woman.
The treatment itself involved me going under a general and having my little right ovary removed via key hole surgery. My little ovary was then taken to an ovary bank, the outer cortex where all the eggs live was cut into into 50-100 strips and then frozen to -170 until I decide I want to use them. As and when I need an extra egg boost they will fuse some of these strips onto my left ovary, give it 4 months or so and hey presto! I should be able to conceive. My surgeon was also this cool as fuck German guy called Christian who made me promise him, with my fingers crossed that I would get better – I promise you Christian I will get better.
Lots of people have offered to help me in anyway they can. I admit, a slightly cheeky request but a wonderful way of helping me, albeit indirectly, would be to donate to Future Fertility Trust– even if just £1. They have no NHS funding, and rely completely on donations to support the organisation, however the complete treatment is totally free to me (I have no idea how much it costs but I’m sure it is into the £10s of thousands). As Sheila put it “Every woman should be entitled to and have the right to protecting their fertility regardless of whether they are rich or poor” – can’t argue with that.
They know that this way of preserving fertility works and has a really high success rate, however as it’s such a pioneering, new treatment there have only been 100 or so babies born around the world as a result of it and there are yet to be any babies born in the UK – so I’m thinking it would be pretty cool if I gave birth to the first ever baby in the UK to be born via this technique…… Just saying