Hannah and Mike
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2018 at age 30. My daughter (our 1st and only child) was born in May 2017, and I found a lump while I was breastfeeding her. Soon after that, I was also diagnosed with a BRCA2 mutation, and elected to have a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction. In the window between my surgery and starting chemo, we were lucky enough to work with the Oncofertility Institute at Northwestern and froze 23 zygotes. After fertility preservation, I started chemotherapy. Unfortunately, I tolerated my first chemo regimen extremely poorly, and was severely neutropenic after the first few infusions. My neutropenia led to multiple infections, hospital stays, 4 additional surgeries, and a much longer treatment timeline than anticipated. After finally completing chemo, I started an endocrine therapy regimen and participated in a trial, receiving 28 radiation treatments through Northwestern’s Proton Center, which I completed in January 2019.
Now, thankfully, I have been cancer free for almost three years and my doctors are in agreement that I can take a break from my endocrine therapy to try for another baby. Because of my salpingectomy, IVF is really the only option for us, plus, we want to screen our embryos for the BRCA2 mutation before implantation. Not having to go through all of the BRCA2-related trauma that I have gone through would easily be the best gift we could give our future child. My husband and I are also both extremely close with our siblings, and we really want our daughter to be able to have someone to grow up with.
So thank you, thank you, thank you for listening to my story and taking us into consideration. We are finally feeling like our lives are starting to return to normal, and are so looking forward to this beautiful new chapter! Being diagnosed with cancer at such a young age is awful for several reasons, but two of the worst have been the devastating impact it has had on our fertility and family planning, as well as our finances. Fortunately for us, your organization exists to help in exactly those two areas.