The course of treatment, Dr. Wilson said, would require chemotherapy, removal of my left breast, radiation and reconstruction surgery. Dr. Robert DerHagopian, medical director of Baptist Health Breast Center, said the initial surgery would depend on the size of the tumors in my left breast after chemotherapy. I would also have to consider pending results of a genetic test. A lumpectomy, the removal of the cancer, and not the entire breast, could also be a possibility, he said.
Even if my ovaries were unharmed from chemotherapy, Wilson explained that I might have to undergo treatment with Tamoxifen for five years to prevent a recurrence. Animal studies have suggested that the use of Tamoxifen during pregnancy can harm a fetus.
Friends and colleagues who learned of my perils introduced me to a team of breast cancer survivors.
One had a hysterectomy to minimize the risk of contracting ovarian cancer. She talked to me about adoption.
There are many ways of having a family. Adopting my daughter is the best thing that could have ever happened to me, she said. I love her just as if I would have given birth to her.
A 33-year-old mother of a biological daughter, who had hoped to have a second child after finishing college, said her diagnosis was devastating, but her period returned.
It is one of the worst situations a woman our age could face. We shouldnt have to be dealing with this. We are too young, she said. You just have to know that you will survive. You have to be convinced, and know that your life will be as wonderful as you want to make it when all of this is over.
But who would want to marry a woman who couldnt bear a child? Another survivor who fell in love during her treatment warmed my heart with her story.
I dont think my husband would be in my life if it werent for this experience, she said. I know you feel like your life is over, but its not. Dont worry. You are going to survive this, and love will come.