A Chanukah Miracle

It was a year ago today that I decided to undergo fertility preservation at Northwestern University’s Oncofertility Consortium.

At the time of my initial diagnosis, when I heard those three words, I remember feeling completely helpless and out of control.

I was slowly being suffocated by the weight of cancer.

During what felt like a period of complete paralysis, I was desperately trying to find ways to regain a sense of normalcy, purpose and control. I wanted to be a part of the decision making process. I wanted to have a voice.

As a young adult facing a cancer diagnosis- I learned very quickly that my fertility may be significantly affected by chemotherapy.

While I knew that cancer was going to rob me of many things, I was unwilling to let this disease rob me of my ability to have children.

Before my official diagnosis and regimen were finalized, I had already started the paper work to preserve my fertility.

This decision, significantly affected the way I chose to fight cancer.
From the very beginning I was already thinking about life after cancer. Choosing to protect my fertility allowed me to hold on to hope- and without hope I would not have survived.

Over the last 12 months I have been involved in a very painful appeals process with my insurance company to try to prove that I needed and deserved these treatments.

Preserving my fertility was not a luxury-but a necessity.

The research was clear- there was a strong likelihood that my chemotherapy regimen would significantly and perhaps permanently damage my ovaries.
After months of fighting for my life, there was the possibility that I would be rendered sterile.

Having to repeatedly plead with my insurance company to consider my needs- was excruciating.

I was screaming – but no one was listening.

Two days ago I received the news that the initial decision was overturned- and that my fertility preservation would now be covered by insurance.

It was a Chanukah miracle.

Instead of retreating- I chose to scream louder. Instead of accepting defeat- I chose to push harder.

I share this piece of my cancer journey with you because we shouldn’t be whispering about fertility- but screaming about it. It’s outrageous to have to prove that these treatments are not a luxury but a necessity. It’s outrageous that young adult patients are not being told about their options when they are initially diagnosed or shortly thereafter. And its outrageous that there is a silent stigma attached to women that have no choice but to seek fertility options.

I can only hope that my story-will one day help the lives of other young adult cancer patients- who should be focusing their energy on fighting to live -as opposed to fighting to receive coverage.

It’s time to cause a commotion.
Its time to start educating.
It’s time to start mobilizing.

Who’s joining me?

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3 thoughts on “A Chanukah Miracle

  1. I finished treatment for Hodgkin’s last December and I’m hesitant about undergoing egg harvesting… I’m inspired to hear of someone that got up the courage to do it! P.S. Just came across your blog and I really enjoyed it

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