Thursday 2nd January 2020
I always had the inkling that the treatment might make me infertile as I’d heard that that was a side effect, but I wasn’t told initially. Because of my age, my parents got taken into a room without me and the consultant broke the news to them. My mum said that she didn’t want to tell me initially as she didn’t want to add to the stress.
Before I started my radiotherapy, I had an appointment at the hospital where they went through the list of side effects. To be told that I could be infertile did hit me and was a shock as I knew that I wanted to have a family at some point. I didn’t broach the subject again until I’d had 28 sessions of radiotherapy. I asked my consultant what my chances of being able to conceive naturally in the future were and she said, ‘no chance’.
The radiotherapy had killed my ovaries and scarred my uterus so at the age of 14 I had to face the fact that I am infertile. The Teenage Cancer Trust nurses were really helpful and talked me through it and gave me oestrogen tablets.
It was interesting to hear that scientists have taken steps towards developing an artificial ovary. If that option was around before I had radiotherapy, then I would have taken it. The fact that it allows women to menstruate too would have benefitted me as I will be on hormone replacement therapy for the rest of my life which isn’t a nice feeling.
I’m sure that being told that they were infertile would affect a lot of people’s mental health so having the opportunity to have this treatment and be fertile would greatly benefit people. I know that infertility can make some people feel a bit worthless, and it can affect their confidence when dating as they may feel they can’t offer everything a prospective partner may want. I know some people are scared to find out for certain that they are infertile, so they don’t ask the question.
I have been in remission for a year now but once the treatment stops, it doesn’t all end. I will have to deal with the side effects of the radiotherapy for the rest of my life. I am a positive person though and I have decided that I want to adopt children when I am older. I will be able to give back and give them all my love and care.