Cancer Warriors Wednesday – The Truth About Trying

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I wrote a blog post last November about Fertile Hope, a resource for anyone struggling with the issue of cancer caused-infertility. A national, nonprofit organization, Fertile Hope’s mission is to provide “reproductive information, support and hope to cancer patients and survivors whose medical treatments present the risks of infertility.” 

If you are struggling with infertility, you should also check out Redbook Magazine’s “No Shame Campaign,” entitled “The Truth About Trying.” Sharing video “infertility stories from celebrities and women like you,” the campaign’s mission is to pull back the veil of shame that often accompanies infertility. I know a lot about the shame. My husband and struggled through two miscarriages and years of infertility before our daughter was ultimately born.

Too often couples experiencing infertility go into hiding, as we did. We didn’t talk about it with other struggling couples. There was no Internet to turn to for information and sharing. We didn’t seek out help as early as we could have and when we did, were told by two doctors to “come back when you’re pregnant.” It was a struggle to finally get to the right doctor who understood and could help.

That’s why this campaign resonates with me. As Redbook asks, “One in eight women in the United States will struggle with infertility, so why don’t we talk about it? End the secrecy by watching these videos and posting your own. Listen, learn more and reach out to the women in your life.”

If you are struggling with infertility, watch the videos and visit Resolve, the national infertility association working in partnership with Redbook on this project. I found Marissa Jaret Winokur’s video especially poignant. The Hairspray star talks about her struggle with infertility after a radical hysterectomy caused by cervical and uterine cancer. Six years later, she became the mother of a son with the help of a surrogate. Her Plan B was her happy ending:

The truth about trying is that you are not alone. Whatever you’re struggling with, it’s always a bit easier once you find your tribe, the others who know because they’ve been there too. Keep looking for the information and support you need. Go to Redbook and Resolve, which offers all kind of reproductive health information I never had 20+ years ago. Take advantage of it today.

Survival > Existence,

Debbie

Image courtesy of mulan

Comments

Beth L. Gainer's picture

Infertility

Very informative posting, Debbie. Treatment-induced fertility is a real problem, and more attention should be devoted to it. Thank you for addressing it.

Debbie's picture

My Pleasure, It’s a Very Important Issue

Beth:

I was very lucky to have completed my family when cancer hit, but I can relate because of what we went through to have our daughter. Support and information are crucial to getting through infertility, whatever course it takes. I love this campaign because of its focus on taking the shame out of the process.

Survival > Existence,

Debbie

Beth L. Gainer's picture

Infertility

Yes, I also am part of the infertile club. I had a miscarriage, which as you know too well, is a tragedy. Then I got cancer and had chemo-induced menopause. Luckily, I adopted a baby girl from China. I found a way, but it wasn’t easy.

Debbie's picture

We Can Never Be Uncertain of Our Desire to be Parents

Beth:

I know. I remember a lot of pain during those five years. Even when I finally got pregnant, there was fear and anxiety that a miscarriage, stillbirth, or a bolt of lightning would hit and she would be gone. It’s hard to be happy and trusting when you know how fragile it all is. And then, somehow, you make it work and she’s real. But you never forget.

One positive thing about going through infertility and miscarriages, I sure know how much we wanted to be parents. That knowledge really comes in handy later, if you know what I mean.

Survival > Existence,

Debbie

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