My Legacy

It’s been a long while since I’ve posted anything of substance.  I’ve not had much to say these days — so I went back into my archives and found this draft post — from October 21, 2013.  I’ve not edited it at all. I figured it was best to just post it — grammar/spelling warts and all. So here goes………….

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about my legacy.

Legacy is defined as “something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past”.

For me, as you most of you know, at this point, it’s very unlikely that I’ll have my own biological children. If you’ve been following my blog, you know I’ve struggled with infertility and then cancer struck. After aggressive chemo nuked my entire body, including my ovaries, there’s little possibility that I can use my own eggs for a pregnancy. Hell, I’m still technically in menopause and have no clue if I’ll ever get my period back (TMI? Don’t read this blog then!).

But, all of that said, I still think about my legacy.  When Paul and I were picking our egg donor, her family health history was very important to us. We looked for red flags, like cancer, heart disease, metal instability etc. Obviously, you don’t WANT any of that if you can avoid it. Thankfully, our donor and her family, on paper, lacked those “bad” traits. Though I’m no dummy, that shit can hit her family tomorrow. I’m living proof of that.

Now, that the dust has settled with my own treatment, I realize that my own family will have to grapple with my diagnosis as it relates to themselves and their own families.  My thoughts immediately go to my brother Bob’s daughters.  Will my darling nieces have to get the BRCA gene test? Since I was BRCA negative, will that test and it’s results even be meaningful if they do have it? Will Bob and Sarah worry every day about their daughters’ susceptibility to cancer given that their paternal aunt got it?

I also think about my maternal cousins; but I’m less worried about them as they’re grown women who can make sound decisions for themselves. What about my first cousins’ children? I realize that’s a bit far removed, but I still think about it.

Finally, we all know that breast cancer doesn’t only impact women – men can get it too. For some reason, I feel cavalier on this front. I feel sure that no men in my family will be impacted. But that’s probably stupid of me. So to my brothers and my male cousins — FEEL YOUR BOOBIES. Sorry, it is what it is.

Ugh. I’ve been so busy thinking about me and getting through this ordeal. I didn’t stop to think what sort of reality and worry my DX may have wrought on my family and extended family.

My only hope is that this starts and ends with me. That my body simply went haywire and that’s the end of it.

Geez, reality does bite.

Random Thoughts

My last post on whether I think IVF caused my breast cancer garnered some responses that perhaps the cancer is what caused my infertility issues. I’d be lying if I told you that thought hadn’t crossed my mind once or twice — but here’s why we are still going with a donor egg:

Our 1st IVF only yielded 4 embryos.  We transferred 2 in fresh and got a big fat negative pregnancy (BFN).  We froze the other two embies and later transferred both in a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) round. That resulted in a chemical pregnancy (the one where I was pregnant for about a day then my body got rid of it because the embryo would not have gone on to be a healthy pregnancy for whatever reason).

Our 2nd IVF only yielded 4 embryos.  We transferred all in fresh and got a BFN.

Our 3rd IVF only yielded 2 embryos.  We transferred all in fresh and got a BFN.

Our 4th IVF only yielded ONE embryo. We had to freeze it right off the bat because my hormones were too wacky to do a fresh transfer.  We put our last biological totsicle on ice until my hormones settled and then we did the FET.  As you know, it was a BFN. (it’s like the record is on repeat, huh?)

When you get breast cancer, many patients do IVF prior to chemo because chemo destroys all of your fastest growing cells, of which your follicles and eggs are some of them.  We didn’t bother with this given our history. My last IVF only got us ONE damn egg. What’s the point in spending more money trying to eek out one more shitty egg before I nuke my body?

So post chemo — could I potentially get my miracle baby from an egg of my own? Assuming that chemo doesn’t irreparably destroy the few eggs I have? Yes, sure, anything is possible. But I prefer to be a pragmatist.  I’ve been diagnosed with Diminished Ovarian Reserve and Poor Egg Quality. My IVF history is proof of the diagnosis! We’ve gotten a second opinion from UCSF (we actually tried to do an IVF round with them, but I failed to stimulate well, so they converted me to an IUI instead). We also got a third opinion from Dr. Schoolcraft (Giuliana Rancic’s doctor) at CCRM (Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine) — and he is supposed to be the top in the country at this stuff.  Everyone agrees with my diagnosis and all of the doctors suggest that we move to donor eggs.

Not that I am trying to justify what we are doing — I just wanted to give you all the full picture. An IVF stimulation in somebody my age, should produce way more eggs than we were getting. You’d expect to see at least 10 or so is my best guess. So our best rounds at 4, were really low in comparison. Then the fact that none of them took, indicates that the embryos were all of poor quality (ie. wouldn’t have gone on to be a healthy baby) so my body did it’s job and rejected them.

In other news, my medical oncologist, Dr. Smith said my hair would all fall out on the 14th day after my first infusion.  Well, today is the 13th day post infusion, and I have no signs of losing my hair. Maybe I’ll get lucky and it won’t fall out? Wishful thinking from a self-proclaimed pragmatist?

Final thoughts — I realized I’ve never posted any pictures of our dog, Lucy to my blog. So here are a few. There are a few of her wearing a fleece red jacket. It’s been really cold here in SF lately and she’s been laying in front of the heat vents in our house — so I figured it was time to trot out the little red riding hood. Paul absolutely hates it when I put clothes on the dog — but she looks so damn cute and she seemed cold. Truth be told, she only wore it for about an hour before Paul took it off of her and personally snuggled her to keep her warm! Did I mention how much he hates when I put clothes on the dog? Also, did I mention how obsessed we are with Lucy?! She is our little dog baby!

Well, we are off to Sunday brunch with a friend. One of our favorite things to do is to reminisce about the past — so I’m sure there will be a lot of 2012 recapping at brunch as well as some potential resolution making going on!