Sunday, October 14, 2012

Babes in Cancerland

The age that one becomes diagnosed with breast cancer continues to creep downward. Daughters of women with the BRAC1 gene deletion get BC way younger than their moms. Some women get breast cancer even before they get around to having a family. Not only are these women having to deal with the shock of having breast cancer, they have to face the fact that they may never have children even if they survive the more aggressive BC that young women can get. Treatments often permanently destroy fertility.

One option is to preserve embryos to be implanted later. The women is dosed with drugs to make her superovulate. The eggs are then harvested and fertilized in in vitro and stored. The drugs can cause wild mood swings on top of the drama of the recent BC diagnosis. If the woman has ER + BC, these drugs can feed her tumor. Even if the woman has ER- BC, the delay in treatment can possibly allow the tumor to spread. All and all, stressful and very unfair. Who deserves this?

Recently I've become friends with a woman I will call Hope, for obvious reasons. We just seemed to click despite her being closer to Shanna's age than mine. She is a very bright, stylish woman who is used to getting what she wants. She has Stage 4 BC. It has spread all over the place but for now, it is being controlled. She is very excited because she is expecting twins! How can this be? Her embryos were implanted into a gestational surrogate. Two took. The babies soon will be old enough to tell by ultrasound their sexes and she will fly the 700+ miles to witness this. I didn't want to burst her bubble by reminding her how difficult it can be to determine this in a singleton pregnancy (Maya's sex kept flipping back and forth) and with another body in the way, it can be more difficult. She will find out eventually anyway. Her husband works on the other side of the world. Although he will return briefly  for the births, it will be up to her to take care of these twins.Twins! Many of you can remember how difficult to take care of just one healthy newborn. Twins can be premature..... She has a mom, who I will assume is my age, who so far is saying that she will not help for what appears to me a very petty reason. Hello Mom and Husband! Your loved one has Stage 4 BC! Although she could live for years, this also could be her last year. Right now the treatments have not sapped her energy level but that could change. One could question the wisdom of having babies that could possibly be born after one dies or statistically, they will not have a mom after they turn 5 but Hope is just so full of hope, who am I to question this?These babies are what she is living for. They already have names.

Out in Cancerland, a woman whose blog I followed became pregnant while being treated for stage 4 BC with Herceptin. She was surprised by the baby as she was told that all her previous treatments would have destroyed her fertility. She is (was?) Shanna's age too. There was not much precedent for babies being born while their mom was on Herceptin. It was known that it could impact her amniotic fluid levels, which is not good for the baby's kidneys. Much stress trying to balance treatment with the baby's kidneys. They took the baby as soon as it was known that her lungs had matured. She was healthy, a miracle! The last entry in the blog shows the baby being a very cute, healthy 10 month old. She is 2  months younger than Daniel so she will be 3 this month. But what about her mom? The blog stopped. I am hoping that she just became too busy to blog.....

No comments:


Blog Archive