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Having a child while having colon cancer, IV

Posts: 5
Joined: Jun 2018

Hi all,

This is my first post in this forum, and, honestly, not happy to be here, but hey, here we are... Devastating news, my husband, strong & handsome man, only 42, is officialy diangosed with colon cancer, stage IV, N/A for surgery... we suppose to start the chemo next week (hopefully). We just bought a house and we were preparing to have a child soon. With all these horrible medical news, it's really hard to think straight, but we know 100%, we want to have a child together (our first one). I read a few articles, that families try get pregnant before the chemo... I was just wondering and looking for any advice you could share, about pregnancy, having children while beating the cancer... Everything seems so overwhelming. We were planning to have a cat/dog as well, and now i don't even know what to do. Maybe a furry animal would bring us some joy during these devastating days...? 

Thank you and appreciate any support.

Trying to stay strong.

JanJan63's picture
Posts: 2482
Joined: Sep 2014

I'm sorry your husband was diagnosed with this. I can't give an opinion and have no knowledge regarding having children at this time, I'm sorry. As far as a pet, our dogs have been a huge comfort to me but we already had them so no new puppy around or trying to housetrain one or any stresses like that. 

It's going to take some time before you have a better idea of his prognosis. It depends on how he reacts to the chemo. He might do great with it or have a really tough time of it.


SandiaBuddy's picture
Posts: 1184
Joined: Apr 2017

I am sorry you are here.  I am probably unqualified to give advice, but if I were to give it, it would be to avoid making any big changes during chemo.  It might be a comfort to "store" some "reproductive matter" before starting treatment, to keep options open for the future.  A mature pet might be an asset during chemo, but a puppy might be too much of a chore when other things are on your mind.  In my case, just getting through the day was enough of an activity during chemo.  Perhaps having a singular focus for a time would be helpful.  But of course, this is solely from my perspective and there are as many different approaches as there are different people.  Best of luck with the upcoming challenges.

Trubrit's picture
Posts: 5487
Joined: Jan 2013

I don't think we can comment on wether or not you should try to get pregnant before chemo, but definitely not while on chemo.  I was told not to even have sex during the week after chemo, and it stays in the system for months after treatment has finished. I think you are wise to be careful and ask questions. At the end of the day, be sure and talk it over with your husband's oncologist. 

Children, like puppies, are not easy, but brign much joy. I wish you both luck as you make the decisions that will form your future. 

Part of your comment says 'looking for any advice you could share, about pregnancy, having children while beating the cancer... '  It sounds like you are moving forward with the right attitude. 'While beating Cancer...' is a great way to look at it. 


Annabelle41415's picture
Posts: 6715
Joined: Feb 2009

Sorry you are here.  I'd probably ask your oncologist before starting treatment.  If he can "bank" some sperm before treatment that probably would be best.  During treatment is not the time that you want to be trying to have a child.  Treatment can cause some major side effects and I'm not sure what the outcome of the reproductive organs has from that.  Wishing your husband luck and when all is well, the future with a baby in the future.


darcher's picture
Posts: 303
Joined: Jun 2017

  If anything, he should store some of his sperm for later use.  He's going to need you a lot and depending on the treatment it may result in loss of reproductive ability.   The last thing you guys need is two loons in the house at the same time.   I'm being funny but not really.  A cancer patient is a basket case and from what I recall when my wife was pregnant, they arent too far behind.

Posts: 237
Joined: Jan 2018

I am so sorry that you are here. You are going through the unimaginable right now and your mind is racing through so many thoughts. Seeing a therapist may be an option for you to help sort through some of those issues. If your hubby is starting chemo in a week and you want a baby then sperm banking might be something to consider. They offered it to my husband but he declined we have 12 year twins already and that was enough......for him.....

A pet maybe very helpful, but it also can also add a lot to your already filled plate. Maybe resucing a animal that has already been trained could reduce some stress. I got my dog when she was 4 and housebroken and I thank God for her everyday. Yet there are the long days when the kids are in school and I am with my husband at chemo, I stress about her "holding" herself for so long.

These are very personal issues, thus only you and your hubby can decide.

Posts: 274
Joined: Dec 2013

I'm going to be brutally honest and blunt with my response because you need to hear how tough it will be and how things can go terribly wrong.

Before I get to my situation, here is a suggestion I would give you.  Have your husband sperm bank.  The doctors do not know how 5FU affects sperm.  There has been very little study on this because as we all know colon cancer is an old person's disease...sorry about the sarcasm.  This will give you time to figure out if you really want to go forward with having a child in the middle of this cancer chaos.

So this is going to be a long post and I'm probably going to put out more personal information than I care to but if you and anyone else can make a more informed decision.  So be it.

A quick background about me.  I waited a long time before I thought I found the one to get married to and spend the rest of my life with.  In October of 2012, I proposed to my girlfriend now wife.  We announced our engagement during a Thanksgiving gathering at our place to friends and family.  December 19th, 2012 was the day that changed everything.  Colonoscopy due to me tracking blood from bowel movement that I did not ignore was done.  GI doc found a large mass in my descending colon and he knew immediately it was cancer.  I was 42 at the time.  After scans and CEA test, I had surgery and pathology came back as Stage 3B.  So 6 months of chemo started at the end of January and ended the first week of July.  During this chaos, I still worked and we were moving forward with the wedding.  Get married in September and all seemed well on the surface.

On our honeymoon, I had boughts of depression and just general glum.  Wife didn't handle it well and still didn't through out the time to now.  Around December/January, my wife tells me she wants to start having kids.  I was hesistant as my oncologist said we should wait at least a year but she pushed for us to start.  So we did.  I did sperm bank as a just in case but now I'm worried about any possible birth defects.  My wife tells me she's pregnant in March.  During her pregnancy, my wife had to be put on a strict diet due to the fear of our baby getting too big in the belly.  My wife was miserable and I can understand this because of how she felt from being pregnant and not being able to eat normally.  Meanwhile I started having problems with my manager at work which put a lot of additional stress on me.  And my wife was in school doing her pre-reqs for nursing school adding additional stress.  Wife and I had a major blow up when I returned from work one day in August.  She was in a bad mood and needed comforting.  I was coming back from having a meeting with my manager where he spent 45 minutes telling me I'm not a good employee even though I was exceeding my sales quota.  I couldn't deal with all the bad energy and left the house to cool off.  To this day, my wife has held that against me as me abandoning her when she needed me.

A few months pass by.  Our daughter was born.  I had a job offer working to work for Cisco but turned it down due to the chaos at home.  My wife continued her schooling but she turned into mommyzilla.  Nothing was good enough for our daughter.  She controlled everything.  I couldn't be a father around our daughter because she would literally take my head off when an accident or something she didn't like happened.  Our daughter had colic.  And it was true colic not the impression most families throw out there thinking their kids have colic.  People asked me how things were at home.  I said it's easier to say when our daughter wasn't screaming out of the top of her lungs.  My wife didn't get any sleep as she was breast feeding, studying for school, and wouldn't let our daughter cry herself to sleep.

Meanwhile, we tried counseling and my wife pinned everything that was going wrong in our relationship on me.  To try to maintain the marriage, I went along with things she said I needed to do which included seeing a psychiatrist that put me on medication that messed me up.  I stopped taking the medication because I just wasn't feeling right.  My wife thought I just didn't want to get better and also held that against me until we saw a couples counselor who said the medications I were put on were pretty extreme.  It took that statement from the therapist before she realized I wasn't making excuses.  As the months and years go by, things got worse and worse between my wife and I.  I felt she was suffering from post partem depression.  But suggesting anything that would be issues on her side was a non starter.

My wife decided she needed to get out and hang out with friends more.  I supported this.  It started off as going out once a month to once every other week.  Eventually, it ended up being her going out about 2 times a week.  All the times she went out, she went alone.  To club/bar/dancing places.  I stayed home to watch our daughter.  Then one day my wife was out and I had started a Skype session with my mother in law so she can interact with our daughter.  That night our daughter was acting up and I attempted to calm her down.  My MIL only heard what was going and and called my wife saying there's trouble at home.  My wife listened in on the Skype session and thought I was abusing our child.  So from that point on she would not leave our daughter with me alone.  She continued to go out frequently but took our daughter to her mother's place.  This eventually caused our daughter to bond closely with my mother in law.  I however was at the bottom of the list now.  During our recent talk about what to do about our marriage she brought up that I chose not to be involved with our daughter.  To which I barked back that I was never given a chance to be involved.  As far as things went, my wife didn't care about anything going on with me except that the bills were paid and her lifestyle she was given was maintained.

Last year, our daughter started to be physical with me and didn't want me to be near her.  I was devastated as my daughter was the only thing that drove me to continue to go through life.  While this was happening my wife did nothing to correct our daughter's behavior.  The only thing my wife would do was tell me not to force her when I wanted to get a hug from our daughter.  Also during this time, due to how bad things got, I didn't eat much.  Lost about 30 lbs. and was left to fend for myself.  I had stopped going to my follow ups at one point but then started going again after going through couples and individual counseling.  Then I struck the cancer lottery again with appendicial cancer in 2016.  The pathology came back as Stage 0 but I had a terrible time with recovering from surgery this time.  Took me 3 months before I was finally recovered.  Yet during that time I was still fending for myself.  The only thing my wife did was take me to the hospital, visit me there, take me back, and attend a couple of appointments prior to the surgery.  After that, she was MIA.  She was MIA all through 2017 as I was dealing with why my CEA has spiked way up.  To this day, my CEA is still very high with the last reading being 17.7.  But nothing has shown on any scans since it spiked back in March of 2017.  Now I have a new situation that was caught by my last CT scan with a dilated aortic root.  My wife finally asked how things are going with me a month ago of which I told her but she has since not even asked about my cardiac situation or what is happening with my cancer follow ups.

So that leads us to where things are now.  My wife has moved out of the house with our daughter and we're officially separated.  She asked for the separation and this time I didn't fight her on it.  She asked for a separation a couple of years ago and I didn't want to go down that route.  So that's when we went to counseling.  With nothing changing and things getting worse, I granted her wish as I can't be the only one trying to work on the marriage.  Who knows what will happen in the coming months.

Again, I put this out there as a cautionary tale to you to think about how you will handle the stress of having a child along with a husband being very sick.  Things don't always turn out as a Hollywood movie fairy tale with a happy ending.  My story shows you how things can get very bad and go very wrong.

Annabelle41415's picture
Posts: 6715
Joined: Feb 2009

So sorry to hear of all that you had to deal with.  It's not easy being a patient, but not easy being a care giver either.  You are right about putting an extra burden on an already stressful situation, the two just don't mix.  I'm hoping that you have a brighter future and you get to see your daughter as much as possible.


darcher's picture
Posts: 303
Joined: Jun 2017

was allowing yourself to become a punchng bag.   Don't ever support anything you know is wrong.  I've gone through crap like that and once I put my foot down and up her *** things changed.   

Posts: 274
Joined: Dec 2013

Yes.  I agree.  But when you're dealing with all the things I was dealing with all at once.  It's take your pick.  It's easy to say you should do x when you're not in the situation.  Plus I wanted to maintain some peace with all the chaos going.  That is why I didn't fight her decision to move out this time.  I've pretty much had enough.  But what kept me in this bad situation for so long was my desire to maintain a two parent situation for my daughter under one roof.  I don't know what your situation is and I won't judge.  But when there are kids involved things are not so easy.  Believe me, if my daughter was not in the picture, things would have changed a long time ago.  And I also had the spectre of my religious convictions of divorce not really being an option.  Believe me I tried to put my foot down on some occasions but things escalated out of control quickly.

BRHMichigan's picture
Posts: 368
Joined: Jul 2017

Your pregnancy decision is so personal.  I personally cannot imagine ringing a child into the world knowing all that can be attached to this disease with treatment and recovery.  However, my granddaughter has given me much joy during this time. And being a good caregiver is such a big,  important role. I admire my own husband's strength. 

My little Maltese dog is such a great companion throughout everything. He is so comforting. I highly recommend a rescue pet. Golden Retrievers are wonderful too. 

ZX, thank you for sharing such a personal, but devastating story.  I hope you find peace. Stay strong in your faith. --Beth

Posts: 253
Joined: Jul 2017

I can only speak from my experience and own perspective but I know that the decision is ultimately yours to make.  I was honestly glad that I was diagnosed when I already had children.  I couldn't imagine dealing with the cancer and having to think of a newborn.  Although I still have small ones, my youngest was only a year and a half when I was diagnosed and it wasn't an easy ride.  Thoughts of my kids not having a mother when they grow up continue to traumatize me every night and I'm glad that I've finally able to rise above myself and told myself I can beat this.  Stress is cancer's friend and as much as I want to avoid it, I can't because I have responsibilities.  Having children gave me the inspiration but you have to think of the day to day activities.  Caring for children is such a big task and just imagine if you still have a cancer patient to care to.  Pregnancy requires you to care for yourself, so how will you be able to take care of your husband (going with him to appointments) if you have a baby on your womb? While on chemo, different things can happen.  Your husband will have nausea, fatigue, vomiting, diarrhea, and how will you be able to assist him when the need arises when you're carrying a baby?  I would personally choose to await for him to finish treatment before deciding to get pregnant so he can be there to assist you during pregnancy, childbirth and when your little one finally arrives.


Zx, thank you for sharing such personal story.  I can relate to you to some extent because my husband had so many falling offs while I was on treatment.  I don't know if its me and the chemo working to shun my patience, but I grew impatient with him that I sometimes just want to be alone and I wanted him to leave me.  It took a lot of trying to hold myself from the separation and I'm glad we've finally worked it out.  Having a separation while on treatment is so hard that I'm happy my relatives were able to convince us not to do so.  I'm glad I stuck with him.

beaumontdave's picture
Posts: 1166
Joined: Aug 2013

When I was diagnosed in '07, the older four kids were adults, Daniel was 13, and the grandaughter we raised was 7. I was lucky with having a family business and help, lucky through chemo to have minor effects. In Dec. '08 when Cindy was diagnosed, it got harder, but we managed. Having a big house and the daughters around helped a lot. Cindy and the granddaughter started clashing more over trivialties, so I took on dealing more with her, and got my wife an English Bulldog, something she'd wanted forever and I wouldn't allow in the house. It worked so well at keeping Cindy occupied, my youngest daughter got a female bulldog for her as well. She loved having them to fuss over, and it made things easier for the rest of us. The only caveat to this story is that once Cindy passed, they became my responsibility, and once the "no dogs" rule was broken, my son wound up with a couple of pit-mix rescues, that took over the back yard and rear of the house, while not getting along with the bulldogs, who live with me in the front half of the house. Not having a secure front yard means I get to take them out, wait on them and cleanup after. I'm not that big a fan of bulldogs to begin with, but I owe them a good quality of life, and they get it. My son's grown, my granddaughter's almost 18 and in college, and I look forward to the day I'm no longer a dog nanny, LOL.  As has been said, taking on responsibility and stress during treatments and surgeries is risky, so choose wisely, the pets worked in my wife's case, but my granddaughter suffered some neglect through all the stuff we were going through, and I have permanent regrets about that......................................Dave

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