The short version of our story:
After trying trying to have kids for a few years, I was diagnosed with uterine cancer in February 2010. We spent March/April going through in vitro fertilization (IVF), including dozens of needles, meds and an egg extraction. And on April 12, 2010, I had a total hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy, at age 34. (Plain English: I'm spayed. I no longer have a uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes, or ovaries. I donated the latter to 2 different university studies.) Lucky for me, I kicked cancer's ass. I attribute this to tackling the whole ordeal with humor and a positive attitude. In the summer of 2010, we began our journey through surrogatehood. In fall of 2011, we separated. In the divorce, I retained custody of our frozen embryos (or kidsicles, as I fondly call them). Everything's on hold for now, unless I win $80,000 in the lottery (which is the cost for a surrogate).
The longer version:
After meeting on a plane on New Year's Eve 1999, IT Geek and I married in November 2004. A Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) diagnosis followed shortly thereafter. I began telling my friends about what we were going through, and they came out of the woodwork saying they were having issues conceiving as well! Then I got mad that we, as women, are conditioned to "not talk about these things."
And that's bullshit. These are exactly the types of things we should be discussing with each other! So I began blogging about it here. That way, if someone else was going through what I went through and looked online, they would know they're not alone.
While we'd tried the traditional Western medicine route for a couple of years, I'd reached the breaking point, and talked to IT Geek about exploring Easter medicine to help with the babymaking. I'd heard good things about acupuncture. Then providence stepped in: a friend visited from back East, and she stumbled upon The Wellness Place, where she got a foot love treatment. She loved it so much, she gave me a gift certificate to get one, too. In November 2009, I went to get the treatment, and the normal gal wasn't there, so the Spa Director took care of me. We got to talking, and turns out he's the acupuncture guy.
The next week, I began acupuncture treatment to help with conceiving, with the primary focus to get my menstrual cycle back to normal (I hadn't had a normal period over 3 years). Within 4 visits, he was able to bring it on! Then, I pass a 2-inch long fibroid. We took the mass in to get screened, and while I was in there the doctor took a biopsy just to be safe.
Turns out, it wasn't okay. In February 2010 came the uterine cancer diagnosis, seemingly out of nowhere. As a malignant melanoma survivor, I've dealt with cancer before, but this was different because it came unexpectedly, right in the middle of my husband and I trying to have kids.
Since the cancer came on so quickly, we immersed ourselves in cancer -- then IVF -- research. We put off the surgery to give us enough time to go through IVF to harvest my eggs before they took out my uterus, cervix and ovaries. (On a positive note, I worked with BigHMO and Local Research University to coordinate donating my ovaries to 2 different research studies.)
A few days after the IVF retrieval, we began prepping for the hysterectomy. I kept telling my husband, "One step at a time. After IVF, then we can concentrate on the hysterectomy. After that, we're focusing on the cancer diagnosis. And after that, we can chat surrogate."
It's a whole new world, and now that I'm uterus-less and cancer-free, we begin our surrogate journey. Right now, I'm just taking it in that I don't have cancer anymore...and that we have 6 potential kids ("popsicles") on ice, waiting for us. (See short version above for an update...I'm no longer with IT Geek.)
Names have been changed to protect the innocent from the litigious.