Lexie and Jonathan
My husband, Jon, and I are high school sweethearts. We have been married for five years now, however our first couple years of marriage we were dealing with fighting off cancer. Jon was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in September of 2015. We were engaged during this time but we were not going to stop cancer from ruining our wedding plans, so we proceeded to get married just two days after one of his chemotherapy treatments. After seven months of completing all the necessary chemotherapy and radiation treatments, we had hopes that he would be in remission and so did his team of doctors. However, when we went to our follow-up appointment to get his results from his scan, the news wasn’t what we prayed for. We were told this tumor grew in size and there was more cancer cells being shown, so in September of 2016 (a year later from his first diagnosis), we were informed that Jon now had Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and would have to go down the journey of fighting cancer off again.
Truthfully, I thought that would be the news that would make him burst into tears just out of frustration and fear, the news that the cancer is still here and a completely different kind of lymphoma now. But in reality, the medical news that actually did make my husband break down and cry was when his doctors told him that he would most likely become infertile with this second round of chemotherapy treatments since it will be more aggressive, and they recommended that we preserve what we can before we go down this path again. That is what tore him apart.
We followed their suggestions though and preserved, and fought cancer again. For four more months he went through aggressive chemotherapy treatments that were inpatient at Rush University Medical Center. However, since he had two different kinds of cancer within a year span, Jon had to undergo a Haplo Stem Cell Transplant in January of 2017. This was the mother of all transplants and he was in the hospital for a month straight to rebuild his new immune system and for his body to accept his new cells. After months and months of fighting off cancer, we received the news in March of 2017 that Jon was finally cancer free and in remission!
We are extremely blessed and grateful for Jon’s continued good health, and thankful we preserved prior as Jon is unfortunately sterile now. But we are more than ready to expand/grow our family. Since our insurance does not cover the cost of IVF, we made the decision to sell our home we fixed up, and use the profit towards our first IVF treatment (I actually had an IUI done in September of 2016 as well). I went through an entire IVF cycle in February of 2021 (the shots, egg retrieval, etc.), but our embryos either didn’t survive or came back abnormal, which left us back to square one. We were not expecting this outcome at all. We were so incredibly discouraged and upset but because of this beautiful grant, we are now able to try again!
So thank you, Chicago Coalition for Family Building and my doctors at the Institute for Human Reproduction. We are truly grateful for your generosity and kindness. We are praying that one day we will be able to have a little baby that we can share this life with and for me to tell him/her just how strong their “daddy” is!
Lexie and Jonathan are recipients of a donated IVF cycle from Institute for Human Reproduction.