At the first appointment with the oncologist back in 2013, I was so focused on the prospect of starting chemo that it feels like I barely acknowledged the conversation we had about the future. I vaguely recall a discussion about the drugs having about a 20% chance of causing infertility (or was it 50…?).
Now, nearly six years later, we are days away from the one operation I never thought I’d had have to have. I still haven’t really made peace with this by facing it head-on, but the priority has to be prevention; I have to be here for Mollie and guide her as she grows. God knows how that’ll help her, with a mess like me.
I self-deprecatingly refer to the surgery I’m having next week as “getting spayed”. It’s more than that; my swollen, murderous ovaries will be gone. It sounds drastic, and yes, it’s significant. It’s also a relief. I’ve had PCOS for years, with some pretty shitty symptoms, and there’s always a risk of more cancer if the things that produce the cancer’s food are still there.
Vitally, the last thing that could affect my breast cancer will be gone (caveat: this excludes any cheeky little cells that may be lying dormant somewhere). And no more nasty Zoladex injections either. Have you even seen the size of those needles?!
When I woke up from my mastectomy, despite the pain, a weight had quite literally been lifted from my chest.
I accepted a few years ago that Mollie will be my only biological child. I’m also extremely relieved that I decided to keep her (she was a beautiful, wriggly, noisy surprise); despite the psychological battles I have with my guilt most days about work and work-related engagements, I’m so grateful to have her. When I decided to go ahead with the pregnancy, I couldn’t shake off the feeling that one day I’d struggle to have children naturally. It turns out I was inexplicably right.
The other comfort I guess is I also know that my lifestyle couldn’t support another child; my medical history would probably also prevent it, biological or otherwise. Mollie has an older half sister, and, with her father getting married next year, chances are she will have the opportunity to be a big sister too.
She’ll always be my blessing. And I think the end of this year will mark the closing of a particularly tough decade, one which I intend to move on from with just a little bit of magic (therapy!).