Fertility After Cancer

It’s the nature of the Beast (double entendre intended) but we tend to publish more news that is bad than is good.  Sometimes it seems that the most we can hope for is an emotional and psychological victory over our daily trials and tribulations with the disease and its treatment.  Medicine is so cautious.  So we rarely get to declare that we are “cured”, that the cancer is gone never to return again.

It is rare find find when we discover a piece of unabashed GOOD NEWS.  Let us all join then in congratulating one young, long-time blogger and lymphoma survivor who writes at My ride on the Hodgkins bus…

fertility

One of the issues facing young cancer patients that is just starting to get a bit of attention is fertility. Cancer treatments are designed to kill cancer … and whatever else needs to be killed in order to kill cancer. It’s been my experience and my opinion via conversations with others that the field of oncology isn’t especially interested in anything that isn’t cancer. Unfortunately, that means a lot of side effects are blown off, including but not limited to fertility.

Before I began treatments for my lymphoma, I was told that one of the possible side effects of the chemo was early menopause: my periods would stop during treatment and they might or might not start again.

I only missed one period.

Since chemo, however, I have had a bunch of other odd hormonal side effects that are annoying and slightly disconcerting but probably not life-threatening. No one can tell me why they’re happening or if they’re a problem (oncologist, primary care doc, ob-gyn), so I’ve never really been sure if all of the plumbing is working properly or not.

We have confirmation that all systems are in order — I am pregnant!

I have seen two docs so far —one at a birthing center and one in a regular office — and neither was of the opinion that my cancer history is a problem. I suspect that it being in a different part of my body is a big deal, and being in remission for over three years probably helps, too.

So I’m officially on my next wacky body journey, but this time cultivating the growth instead of trying to get rid of it. We’ll see how it goes!

~ from My ride on the Hodgkins bus…

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About Dennis Pyritz

Dennis W. Pyritz, RN, BA, BSN, has been a cancer nurse since 1987 and a cancer and bone marrow transplant survivor since 2004. In December 2001 he was diagnosed with t-cell prolymphocytic leukemia (T-PLL), a rare aggressive form of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Dennis was treated with the then new monoclonal antibody, alemtuzumab (Campath) as this disease has a median survival of 7.5 months. He achieved a 26 month remission but relapsed in February 2004. He was retreated with Campath and went into a second remission. In August 2004 he underwent an allogeneic peripheral blood stem cell transplant with his brother, Mark, as donor. Dennis has remained in remission since - a near miracle. Throughout his career as cancer nurse and patient, Dennis has had the opportunity to speal to both lay and professional groups. Dennis has spoken on cancer topics and survival issues across the country as well as in the United Kingdom, Norway, Austria, Portugal, Honduras, Panama, Guatemala, Trinidad, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Cyrpus, Israel, and India.

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