Girl On Top (Part 3) – To Freeze Or Not To Freeze

Thirteen days before Christmas, on December 12, 2014, I had my operation.  The lumpectomy removed the cancerous tumour from my right breast and, within a day, I was released from hospital and back home.

My brother had dropped me off at the hospital on the day of my operation and was on his way to do some lake fishing.  Comically, he strode into the reception with me, wearing his usual fishing gear and I have to admit to feeling more embarrassed by his casual, messy attire, than I was worried of my actual operation!   The nurse asked if I’d like him to wait with me, to which I hastily replied “No, it’s fine thanks – he needs to go now!”

I was the first patient to be operated on that day and, gladly, I was able to use my phone, where I communicated with my friends via text messages, getting lots of positive comments, which made the time pass quickly.  Many of them asked me how I was feeling psychologically and whether I was scared, to which I replied honestly, “No”.  I felt as if I were in the dentist’s waiting room, preparing myself for a filling, rather than in the hospital, ready for an operation.

After a quick consultation with the surgeon and nurse, I was swiftly called in and, feeling less than sexy in knee high socks and paper pants, was wheeled into the operating theatre.  A few hours later, I was awake, though sleepy, and my brother was already waiting for me, to take me home.  This time, however, he had discarded his fishing clothes and was looking smart, in freshly pressed trousers and shirt.  He later admitted that he too had been slightly hesitant to walk into the hospital looking as if he were about to pose for the cover of the fishing magazine ”Angling Times”, and had wanted to rectify this fashion blunder asap!

My recovery went quickly and well and, previous to seeing my oncologist for further treatments, I was referred to the doctor at the Family Planning clinic.  To many, this might seem strange, but I was about to embark on a long journey of chemotherapy, which had about 70% – 80% chance of making me infertile.

Before my operation, I had had a meeting  with my local consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, where I had to discuss imminent options regarding fertility; something that I had not ever been pressed to think about until this time.  He was very understanding and felt sorry for my condition at the age of 33.  However, he had some pressing questions to ask, some of which I didn’t even know the answers to myself.   Was I planning a family?  Did I want any children in the future?   An ultimatum was given by him and a decision had to be made there and then.  For the first time, I felt really angry and upset.  Maybe if I had been granted the luxury of some time in which to contemplate, discuss and then answer his questions, I would have felt differently.   I didn’t know whether I would be alive in five years’ time and yet I was being asked about my long term future.  To have a life-changing scenario thrown upon me felt both insensitive and unfair, as my primary thoughts were about beating the cancer that had invaded my body, not kids.

Deep down, I never knew whether I wanted a family.  I love children but I had always enjoyed my life travelling, exploring and literally having the world ‘there for the taking’.  It was only in a life, which seemed like a long time ago, that I had considered a future with a husband and family.  However, my outlook had changed a lot since then, and children were not something that I saw in my immediate life plans.

My obstetrician explained that there was an option to freeze my eggs, which could possibly be sponsored by the NHS.  If not, it would cost me £10,000 for the freezing and subsequent storage of the eggs for the next ten years.  It was there and then that the decision was made for me: I did not have the financial means to pay for this treatment.  Unless the NHS provided it for me, it wouldn’t be an option and my future would be decided.

Back in the Family Planning Clinic, in between Christmas and the New Year, the decision had been made.  The NHS would pay for the procedure.  Suddenly, there was a rush of things to do: tests had to be completed in time and tablets had to be taken.  The method involved literally growing the eggs inside my ovaries, in order for them to be big enough to be taken out.  Injecting myself in the stomach twice a day with hormones, until they grew large enough to be removed, was essential. I was able to do all of this, and still enjoy the festivities of Christmas with my friends and family, along with seeing in the New Year beside someone special to me.  Not only did I have to do this in time for my impending chemo, but there was another reason that it had to be completed in time.  I had made plans to attend my Nan’s 90th birthday celebrations abroad on January 10th, and I was determined to be there.

The day before my flight, I embarked on a small but painful operation to have fifteen fully grown eggs removed from my ovaries.   I was so amazed by how the NHS and my obstetrician had gone above and beyond, to safeguard my possible future plans.

I flew out just in time for the celebrations.  I was also there to see my family and break the news of the cancer to my Nan.  I was so scared to tell her, and worried about how she would react and how the information would affect her.  I had told the rest of my family not to mention anything , until I was there in person.   I wanted my Nan to see that I was well and that I was coping.  It could be beaten and she was not going to lose her grand-daughter to the same disease that she had lost her daughter.  I felt that it was the hardest thing I’d had to do, but she was strong and positive.  She believed, just as I did, that I would overcome this, with the support of my family and friends.  To me, I had faced my biggest challenge to date, but I knew that there was one more test waiting for me around the corner.   Chemotherapy, the thing I was most afraid of.

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “Girl On Top (Part 3) – To Freeze Or Not To Freeze”

  1. Eres una mujer admirable Laura, siempre lo supe, una gran bendición para ti, prueba superada. Adelante que tus sueños e ideales, están cerca de alcanzar. . Un fuerte sbrazo, TQM

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow. Think it is so powerful to document these steps as for anyone reading it who is 6 Months behind you I would imagine this gives a bit of comfort through being able to get some insight into the detail xx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A true and honest insight. Both touching and realistic – anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer should read this blog. What a remarkable woman and what a truly inspiring story. Please keep writing this great piece, as your positive and dynamic outlook is to be applauded.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Laura, your blog, all your journey, thinkings, emotions left me numbed, frozen stiff . It’s already Part 3! Awe-inspiring, shining , fearless story. As I know you from childhood, your mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and you are doing with lots of passion, some compassion, louds of humor and style:-). Please view, read, remark, note, share, discus the blog! x Un abrazo fuerte guapa!x

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s