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Pregnancy -- how long to wait?

allidee's picture
allidee
Posts: 10
Joined: Apr 2005

Hi all --

I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's 2B last October and finished ABVD on March 10. I also had 13 radiation treatments post ABVD to my upper chest and neck. I'm going back to my doctor for my three month check-up on June 16th. My husband and I are very eager to start a family. We have already put things off due to my sickness, and just don't want to wait. I've read a lot about pregnancy after cancer, and understand the benefits of waiting (letting my body recover, making sure I am not going to relapse, etc.), but I'm still struggling with the decision to put things off any longer. Here's my line of thinking....

I am fortunate that my treatment most likely did not do any irreparable damage to my reproductive system. It would be wonderful to have the assurance that I won't get cancer again, but only time will tell. If I do get cancer again, specifically Hodgkin's, the next line of defense is autologous stem cell transplant and high dose chemo. The chances of my fertility surviving that are so very slim. Trying for a biological child is so important to us....by waiting I feel like we're possibly losing our only chance.

I know it seems like a small thing to wait a year, or whatever the recommended time is, but I'm not convinced it's the right choice for us. Does anyone have any insight? Did anyone make the choice to try for a child fairly soon after treatment? Had a doctor tell you the risks or lack thereof?

I'd love some help....I think about this all the time.

Thanks, Alli

ronij
Posts: 3
Joined: Feb 2005

Alli,
HI, I'm not actually sure how long they'd like you to wait after to get pregnant but was under the impression that waiting was better for the baby,to assure having a healthy pregnancy. I'm not sure if there are complications that can pop up for the baby. You should talk to your OBGYN about it and see. They'll give you a nice check list of things to take care of(medically) before trying that really helps. Start going to see them now and you'll feel more reassured later.
I think your line of thinking makes sense. I wish you the very best of luck with getting on with your life and having a bouncing baby soon. I think you'll be a wonderful Mom. That you care enough to ask say's alot.
Veronica

allidee's picture
allidee
Posts: 10
Joined: Apr 2005

Thanks for your reply Veronica. I absolutely agree with you that I want to wait at least long enough to ensure a healthy pregnancy. I've been told that 3-6 months is how long it takes to make sure that any damaged ovarian tissue or follicles have been removed or repaired. My husband and I are just so eager to move on with our lives and celebrate something joyful. I'm sure you can relate!

kiren
Posts: 40
Joined: Jul 2004

Hi, I had stage 2B hodgkins too. Its been 6yrs since my remission. As they say, Hodgkins is the most curable of all cancers and rarely comes back. I already had a daughter and was pregnant with a son when I was diagnosed. Well my guess would be to wait a couple of months and make sure you eat nutritious food so your body gains the lost strength. I wanted to have a third child but I decided to wait till the 5yrs survival period in order to rule out any recurence. Well guess what...after 6yrs of remssion when I started thinking about having another baby I was diagnosed with tongue cancer. So I have postponed the idea of a baby and I am not sure when I will feel safe enough to think about it again. Well I do have my two kids and for now I"ll just enjoy being with them. My message to you is think about this yourself and when you feel strong enough go for it..you just never know what might happen next in life.

dshendricks
Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2005

I was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma in December 2000, eight months after giving birth to my daughter. Luckily it was in an early stage. I had chemo and radiation. A year after finishing that I became pregnant with my son and gave birth to him in Jan. 2003. Now my husband and I have been trying to have another child. I have had two miscarriages since Feb. 2005. Now I'm wondering if it could be because of chemo drugs. I believe I was on the ABVD as well. Any advice or have any of you had repeated miscarriages?

lhodnet
Posts: 62
Joined: May 2004

I was dx with hdl stage 2bx, completed stanford V chemo on sugust 20th and then radiation in oct 2004. I was dx with this 2 mos after giving birth to my daughter. I was told to wait 1 year after chemo to start trying to give my body time to heal - and i have also heard from my dr that it takes about 1 year for the chemo to 'leave' your body. honestly? I haven't felt myself until about a month or two ago and i do know that pregnancy is VERY hard on your body and if you have anything (ie i had hdl when i was pregnant) it will speed up the problem inside your body.

IMHO, it is good to wait. The percentage of a recurrance drastically diminishes after the 1st year is completed successfully. I uderstand your position and REALLY understand wanting to celebrate something, but..if it were me (and we are going through the same thing) I would wait. We are planning on starting to try again in January of '06.

I know it is hard! That baby itch can consume you!! But stay strong....and healthy! :)

((hugs))
lisa

allidee's picture
allidee
Posts: 10
Joined: Apr 2005

Thanks to everyone who replied. I appreciate your thoughts and for sharing your experiences.

In case anyone is wondering what happened at my follow-up on the 16th, my doctor basically told me that it is our choice when to start a family and that he would support our decision either way. Of course he posed his thoughts on my recovery and the chance of recurrence, and laid out his plans for follow-up scans and appointments. But in the end he said that he would never try to impose his thoughts on the matter on us. My husband and I were very surprised, but very appreciative of his approach.

As it stands right now, my doc is planning a chest xray in three months, and a PET scan three months after that. So I think we are going to wait until my PET scan comes back clear in December, then we'll start trying.

Six months isn't that long to wait in the grand scheme of things...I just hope I stay healthy in the mean time.

Thanks again for taking the time to reply.

Best,
Alli

lhodnet
Posts: 62
Joined: May 2004

Alli -

That is soo awesome to have such a supportive doctor!!

Mine recommended waiting 1 year, but then again 1 year isn't long b/c we were already blessed with a beautiful daughter (I was dx when I was pg with her)

We are personally waiting 1 year, although I know in my heart and soul that I am cured and it won't come back b/c I won't let it!! My pet was clear and my chest xrays have been too - I hope and pray that yours do the same and good luck in your decision and future pregnancy!! :)

Lisa

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