The big appointments came this week, so wordless Wednesday will have to wait.
CLEAR SCANS! The sleepless nights are over – at least for six months. I met with Dr. T again, and again she was amazing. She always knows what to say. We discussed unusual spikes she saw in my levels – my red blood cells are abnormally larger than they were at my last scan, but my oncology team is going to keep an eye on that for now – they explained it is somewhat normal to have this happen when I’m taking chemo. If those specific levels change in May when I go back, there will be some discussion.
Dr. T & I also talked about pregnancy and what to expect at my second appointment (with reproductive endocrinology). One of the bittersweet moments of the day was during this discussion. Dr. T said that after my three year mark on chemo, there is still not enough data to determine that I would be safe off of chemo for the time needed to carry a baby. She followed up with saying ‘I know being able to experience pregnancy is important to you, so we will still give you all the information you need at the end of your three years for you to make that decision. But we do want you around for your babies.”
Translation – it will be a risk. Cancer could creep back into my body, (and most likely, it would), during a pregnancy. Dr. T reminded me GIST works and operates at different levels of risk, and my tumor – size, location, & mitotic rate, (how quickly the cancer cells were dividing), qualifies as high in every category.
That hit home to me.
On to the second appointment of the day.
I met with Dr. Delaney; another amazing woman. My time with her was not cut short – a two hour appointment. I am so lucky I have so many professionals willing to keep me healthy and do their best to help me reach my goal of having a family.
Dr. Delaney told Tony, my mom, and I that she tried to prepare for my appointment my researching and finding all the information she could on my cancer and pregnancy – she found ten articles total. And of these ten articles, NONE pertained to a woman wanting to get pregnant while on or after my taking my chemo pill, Gleevec.
She was baffled as a doctor of reproductive endocrinology.
However, that did not stop her from creating a plan for me.
I had to explain to her that three years on Gleevec, (my chemo), has no wiggle room. This statement was directly from Dr. T. I cannot be taken off of my chemo for at least three year, regardless of any procedures or testing she would need to do. Dr. Delaney seemed to understand this rule, and her and the other partner in the office seemed to think I could harvest my eggs while still taking my chemo, (which I guess is good news?).
After three years, we can fertilize these eggs harvested and freeze them to decide what would be the best options for us – use a surrogate or, with the assistance of In Vitro Fertilization, I could carry our baby. Both doctors seemed to lean towards using a surrogate.
Bittersweet moment number two.
So, the next steps:
1. Blood work at a clinic nearby to check hormone levels – to make sure my ovaries are 28 years old & not 40 because of my chemo pill.
2. Return to Mayo in December for an ultrasound & a meeting with ‘high risk’ section of Gynecology team (I guess I am a good candidate for a case study at the Mayo. Well, you know, given that my cancer is extremely rare and when found, is usually found in older males).
3. Realize that this is my realty, for life & to have a baby – stop feeling sorry for myself, pouting, crying, etc…
Sorry for the language, but this picture says it all – I’m sure some can relate.