Breast Cancer: Jennifer’s Story [SUCCESS]

January 29, 2018

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Today’s success story is about a woman named Jennifer. She’s 43 years old and loves cooking and Zumba. Just six weeks after marrying her husband in September 2008, her annual mammogram discovered an aggressive form of breast cancer. She was advised about how to preserve her fertility and quickly underwent an IVF retrieval cycle, which resulted in 9 embryos to freeze for later use. After a double mastectomy and 18 months of treatment, she was restricted from becoming pregnant for a number of years for medical and safety reasons. By mid-2015, she and her husband had divorced but remained good friends, so he supported her every step of the way when she decided it was time to transfer their embryos. Join us to hear how life threw her several more curveballs but she ultimately became pregnant with her daughter.

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • Jennifer works for a large company in their purchasing department
  • Before infertility, she was a normal, single woman, who enjoyed fun and family
  • How she met her husband in high school, and then their paths crossed again 15 years ago
  • How her decision-making changed to prepare for motherhood when she became intent on making it happen
  • An aggressive cancer in her left breast, Stage 2B
  • Preserving fertility and retrieving eggs before beginning chemo for 15 months and radiation for 6 weeks
  • Why she worked with the same clinic in Chicago for cancer treatment and fertility
  • Changing to a smaller clinic that was closer to home, which ended up being a more personal experience
  • 2008-2009: egg retrieval, 9 frozen embryos, and then a 5-year plan on Tamoxifen
  • At age 41, clearance to use the frozen embryos in 2015, even though she was already divorced
  • Two rounds with two embryos each—no success
  • One year ago, she transferred the 5 remaining embryos to FCI and started seeing Dr. Rodgers
  • Feb. 2017—transferred 2 embryos, a positive pregnancy test, but a chemical pregnancy
  • Moving forward with the remaining 3 embryos in May 2017: one didn’t grow, so they transferred 2
  • At the six-week ultrasound, one baby with a heartbeat: 6 months pregnant today
  • When Jennifer lost hope after 2 unsuccessful rounds in 2015 and again in 2017
  • How going through cancer treatments gave her no choice but to be strong and take the next step to beat infertility
  • A fond memory of the call in May 2017 of the positive pregnancy test
  • Balancing work and treatments through onco-fertility and the current fertility rounds
  • Being open and honest about her journey and what she needed from her boss
  • Insurance coverage and minimal out-of-pocket expenses
  • How her relationship with her husband deteriorated as they both fell into unhealthy lifestyles as they fell apart
  • How she maintained relationships with supportive friends and family
  • How Jennifer was a natural advocate—“You have to be the bus driver in your own healthcare.”
  • Finding out their child is a girl, and then the loss of her husband: now she faces parenthood alone
  • How infertility has changed Jennifer: “The reality that I’ll be a mom in 3 months is crazy. It’s changed me in a lot of ways and given me a lot of hope. My faith has gotten a lot stronger and given me the ability to take one day at a time. My new reality is different than it was 5 weeks ago.”
  • Jennifer’s advice to herself back then: “Any struggles are short-term and things will get better. Life is a rollercoaster and you just have to ride it.”

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Words of Hope:

Be open-minded to what the journey is going to bring you. Carry as much hope as you can and go into it with a positive attitude. Bring good energy to the journey and good things will happen. Carry more hope than fear. Click To Tweet

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Thanks for listening!

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