Planning the future with a brain tumor
Updated: Feb 8, 2018
First came love, then came marriage, then we were ready to talk about the baby in the baby carriage. Now, I found out about my brain tumor before we got married and my husband Philip was with me from the time I found out so there was no surprise that this would be a huge part of our life and future planning. Of course we had the hope the tumor would never come back but the reality of that was untrue so here we are after my second craniotomy still extremely optimistic and positive for a bright and beautiful future. We both love kids and always talked about not waiting too long to start trying to start a family. I have always wanted to be a mom! I LOVE kids so much and want my own one day so badly. I feel so lucky to have accomplished so much in my life so far but truly feel the thing missing and that I still need to do is become a mother. I already am aware I am a high risk pregnancy case because of my tumor. I am at a high risk for a lot of things that can happen during pregnancy like blood clots, tumor regrowth, the anti seizure medication Keppra I am on possibly being passed along to the baby (None is proven though 100%) but it still weighs on my mind of course. Studies show and my doctors say I will be fine and we will just stay on high watch throughout the pregnancy so I say lets do it! Since all my past 2 year MRI scans had remained stable we went in to the last appointment November 16, 2017 where I was excited and confident my MRI was going to come back clear of any regrowth and we would be able to start discussing the possibility of getting pregnant. Well, that news changed FAST and I was left with the sad unbelievable news that pregnancy right now was not an option as my tumor was showing positive for regrowth and a big regrowth. At first my doctor mentioned I could possibly start treatments of chemo and radiation to try and shrink the tumor but later found out first I would need another surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible and then we would determine the necessary future treatments. My doctor also told us that if we were that serious about starting a family and having our own children we should look into freezing our embryos to assure we would one day be able to. Without hesitation I contacted fertility doctor, Dr. Rifaat Salem at Pacific Reproductive Center https://pacificreproductivecenter.com, my Aunt had used and reffered me to them and we met with them a few days later to discuss our options.
Well in the end it really came down to one option, if we wanted to have children, which we do and if I did need chemo and radiation which sounded like I did or eventually would then we would need to freeze our embryos and fast since this process takes time and we didn't have much time before I had to go in for surgery . Chemo and radiation is so harmful to the body it would destroy all my eggs and chances of conceiving naturally. We sat on it for a day and weighed all the pros and cons. Cost was a huge concern as this treatment is extremely costly and sadly insurance does not cover ANY OF IT even though the reason behind why I was going to do this is because I have cancer and treatments will prevent me from being able to conceive naturally. It is so unfair and should be changed to help those like me that need it for a valid reason! Trust me, I did not want to go through this painful uncomfortable treatment unless I absolutely needed to but it seemed this was our only option and we needed to decide fast. After realizing the only real con was extreme costs but that we really needed to go through with this Philip and I decided it was worth it and we emptied our bank account which was also all our wedding gifts and honeymoon funds and decided to put all of that to this process. So if you are reading this and happened to have given us a wedding present or contributed to our honeymoon fund another huge THANK YOU because you were part of making this possible!! Instead of a honeymoon we got potential future babies. And when the day comes and we have kids you will be partly responsible for these little Parigian/Taveira rug rats running around!!! haha so huge thank you!!!!!!! :) So we moved forward with the process of IVF and freezing our embryos this past December 2017. The process was incredibly interesting and I looked forward to going to those appointments everyday although it was painful I knew it was for such an amazing reason. Philip and I passed all the tests and they let us know we would have extremely positive results which we did. It is actually crazy this is even an option and possible to do! So amazing how it all works, here are details on how it all works https://pacificreproductivecenter.com/treatments/in-vitro-fertilization-ivf/ if you have additional questions for me on the actual process, procedure, anything really, I am more than happy to answer any and all of them but long story and details short we ended up with 8 healthy embryos that are now frozen in the clinic.
We are still currently waiting to find out my exact future treatment plan so that means we wait to see when and how the time will come and when we can begin trying to get pregnant. It all comes down to treatments, if I need chemo it could be another 1-3 years before I can even get pregnant. Radiation maybe less time. We also need to reweigh all the possible risks if I DO get pregnant. SO much to think about!!!! It is always on my mind!! But I know it will all work out however it is supposed to!
Until then I will keep on living life and being positive it will all work out, because it will! Where there is a will there is a way and I am so lucky there are so many options out there these days to make it possible. So for now I am remaining healthy and treating my body the best I can. Everyone keeps saying to just keep living up the fact I get to sleep, don't get pooped and barfed on, have freedom, to keep traveling and once it happens it will all change so ok I'll take it!! :) I also want to give a HUGE thank you to Dr. Rifaat Salem, Alex Corona and the entire staff at Pacific Reproductive Center. I went to the Torrance location but they now have multiple locations. They all went above and beyond to make us feel comfortable and loved during this highly stressful situation and helped us in any way they possibly could. The energy was positive and I honestly looked forward to going in to every appointment. I highly highly recommend them if you are looking for a fertility option! When the day finally comes I can get pregnant I will be so happy I just cannot wait to hear those words and announce it to the world!!!!!!!!! There is hope! Never stop planning for anything you want in this life no matter what cards you've been dealt. It will always work out!! #pregnancyoptions #fertilty #pregnancypostcancer #braintumorawareness #family #pacificreproducitvecenter #nevergiveuphope #IVF #embryos #fertilityoptions