Thursday, November 14, 2013

Land of Fruitfulness Part V

So although at this nothing is fully definitive the likelihood of all my fertility problems being caused by my chemo is pretty good. Having said that I have run into a new area of cancer survivorship that is under served, post treatment financial fertility help. I have looked and looked, I even contacted LIVESTRONG patient advocat services for their help and they don't have any resources either. I finally found an organization that offers grants not specifically for fertility but at least includes it as an option/possibility. The organization is called The SamFund (, which is actually a boston based non-profit offering grants to people affected by cancer.

The process of applying for a grant in some what involved but not overwhelming. It is a two part application process but does involve submitting a lot of financial information. And then there is the waiting game to find out if you were chosen.

I was lucky enough to be chosen out of the 600 applicants to send in my part II of the application. However out of the 200 people that submitted part II I was not chosen. This was disheartening mainly because I can't apply again until next June and even then there is no guarantee that I would be awarded the grant. I am sure that as bills arise Lewis & I will find a way to figure it out or so I hope. 

But really aside from announcing I didn't get the grant there are some other reasons I choose to include this as a blog post in my fertility journey. 

First being to bring awareness of the lack of support financially for post treatment fertility issues. There are many people like myself (especially my fellow bold cancer patients) who need treatment so quickly that we don't have the option of time to peruse fertility preservation. I had very limited options regarding my fertility before my treatment. I took everything that I was able to in regards to that as I was a large concern of mine. I needed life saving treatment right away, which I am thrilled I got and would in no way trade that in by any means. But not being able to freeze eggs or try any other fertility preservation techniques has left me needing help and even more of a financial burden on my family then we already had. My goal would be to focus on spending more time on this topic which I plan to do but with most my current time and energy being focused on my own current situation I am afraid it will have to wait a little bit. However if anyone know of any local resources please share the info with me.

The second thing I wanted to share was for everyone out there who has not experienced cancer in some form whether it be yourself or a close family member. I have had numerous people offer their input or advice based off of their own fertility experience which I do genuinely value as they often have god things to share and offer a point of view that I had thought about. But recently I have gotten some comments along the lines of, if going through the fertility treatments is going to be such a financial burden on you then why are you going to have children? It seems you wouldn't be able to support them either. Let that sit with you for a moment.

I agree 100% that making the decision to have a family is a very important one and most people often base it on their financial situation for when they are ready to start a family. At this point in our lives we would be able to support a family & if I did everything the natural way and just became pregnant there wouldn't be an added expense to that. But because of my life saving treatment that doesn't look as though that is going to be an option. So we have the unfortunate decision of should we presume this route that will cost us lots of money but have the family we want or do nothing and hope the family we want just comes to us?

I hope people understand why I think financial assistance for fertility post treatment is something that needs to be addressed. When you are someone like me who has wanted to have children her whole life having to deal with fertility issues alone is hard never mind adding in the monetary stress.

We figure it out and we will start our family it might just take longer and cost more than most people.

Again if anyone has any resources or information please share by leaving a comment or emailing me

Until next time...

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Land Of Fruitfullness Part IV

I was supposed to have an appointment at MGH with my doctor. The morning of I got a call saying she was home due to an injury (she was/is ok) and that they needed to change my appointment to a phone appointment. I was actually thrilled about this due to the fact that meant I didn't need to drive all the way into Boston!! 

She called right on time and we chatted. After reviewing all the info that the obstetrician had sent her about his concerns regarding my health and exposure to different chemo drugs she decided that she agreed with him about getting an echocardiogram done before we start any fertility treatments. For those of your who are not familiar with an echocardiogram it is basically an ultrasound of your heart to make sure it it working properly. I was/am not at all concerned about this. I have done numerous races which include triathlons as well as months and month of training involving high impact cardio workouts. So I know if there was a problem I would most likely know by now. But based on some good advice I have been given, I decided it was just another hoop I needed to jump through. 

That spawned my adventure of trying to get not only an appointment but the orders out in for the echo. I called the obstetricians office where they informed me it needed to be ordered through the fertility center and transferred me there. I had wait to the next day to get a call back from them. Where they informed that was not something that was part of their normal protocol that I needed to talk to the obstetrician's office. After much go around about having already talked to them and getting sent back to fertility. They then told me I needed to have my PCP order it at MGH. So that would have involved another lengthy conversation with her office. I was quite frustrated at this point that these two offices couldn't communicate with each other and get it done for me vs. having me go through all this. 

My lymphoma nurse practitioner makes fun of me because I do just about everything  through email. Well in this instance the email succeeded again. I tracked down my OB's email and asked for some help. Despite an awful time I had when I met him he responded quickly and was very pleasant. By the next day they had called with the appointment all setup and ready to go. I was thrilled!!

So I went in for my echo which was very uneventful. The man doing it was extremely nice! I was even more thrilled that this time around I didn't need any contrast to help with the image. He said it was most due to the fact that I had lost so much weight! The only down side is that in order to get a good picture they have to press the ultrasound wand into your body with A LOT of pressure to try and get a good view in between and around your rib cage. I still have spots that are sore.

I haven't gotten the final report yet but based on what the echo tech said everything looked great so hopefully we will see. 

Now I'm just waiting to meet with my fertility doctor and see what she has to say and what the next step is. 

I continue to to play the hurry up and wait game!

Until next time...