Don’t hate me, but I have never had one ounce of interest in passing through my crotch an object the size of a cantaloupe. Nor do I want to give up the life of writing till 5 AM and sleeping until 11 AM (okay, truth be told, I really sleep till 1 PM if I can). I have never wanted to have kids, but if I did, I would adopt. It kills me to think of all the kids living in my own damn city without parents. So, if my cancer destroyed my ability to have children I would only think of it as a contraceptive blessing. Other young adult cancer patients’ worse nightmare – being infertile – would be to me, a gift.
I don’t actually know if I can get pregnant, because I never have been and have never tried. Thyroid cancer does not have a particularly high risk of infertility, but many other cancers do. When writing my book I met many men and women for whom fertility was a big concern, and for some the largest emotional challenge of the entire cancer experience. Assuming that I am fertile, I wish I could just make some kind of Frankensteinian contraption and flip a switch that would transmit my fertility into their body and their infertility into mine. Since that is not a practical solution, here is something else that is:
Fertile Hope, a non-profit founded by Lindsay Nohr Beck, has long had a fertility risk calculator on their website. But, just this month they launched a fertility options calculator too. Click a few check boxes about your health status and treatments, and it will guide you through your options, and even connect you to doctors and adoption agencies in your area. As a young adult cancer patient, you often have to advocate hard for information and care regarding fertility. Most doctors do not bring it up with patients, nor have much information to provide. If having babies matters to you, do your homework at fertilehope.org
Have you brought up fertility issues with your doctor or did they raise them with you? Were they very educated on the subject or did you have to seek the information yourself?