Katie Coniglio - Start a family after cancer
It was February of 2015, I was 25 years old and I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I had just got married less than a year prior (July 2014) and I was shocked and scared of the word “cancer”. Naturally, I was afraid and worried about what my future held. Thankfully I had amazing support from my friends and family and knew I had a lot to look forward to after I got through this challenging time. Before beginning chemotherapy, my oncologist told me the effects chemotherapy can have on your body and I was given time to go through the In vitro Fertilization (IVF) process to hopefully give me some security of starting a family in the future. I always knew I wanted to have children so my husband and I decided that we would go through IVF before I began my treatment. IVF was a difficult process especially since I went through a more intense process in order to start my chemotherapy treatment. When going through the process, I had less eggs on one side of my ovaries but they weren’t too concerned about it because my other ovary was showing the “correct” amount for my age. On the date of my egg retrieval they were able to retrieve a promising amount of eggs and turn them into embryos that were going to be frozen. Unfortunately, it wasn’t that long after that I found out none of our embryos made it through the freezing process. I would have to go through the process again if we wanted to have the security of starting a family one day. The heaviness of beginning chemotherapy was weighing on me. I just wanted to start so it could be finished. After talking with my husband and my family, I decided that I would begin chemotherapy.
I was on a clinical trial and went through 12 rounds (approximately 6 months of chemotherapy). Treatment was difficult but I kept my focus on the important things I could look forward to when it was all done. I was lucky to have a support of my family at each one of my treatments/appointments and they helped me keep the faith. Shortly after my treatment was done, I got the news that my Cancer was in remission! It was the best news I could receive and my life could finally get back to “normal”.
After treatment, I went for regular scans and blood work at Princess Margret and always asked my oncologist about beginning a family and when I would be able to start a family. He always gave me the “OK” but I was scared of starting a family because I didn’t want my cancer to come back, especially not while I was pregnant. I also didn’t know if it was even possible for me to start a family after going through a failed IVF process and chemotherapy. I naturally had a lot of hesitations. It was in 2018 (3 years after my treatment) that I felt confident in trying to start a family naturally. We didn’t know how long it would take or if it would happen at all, but it didn’t take long and in April of 2018 I got a positive pregnancy test. My baby girl (who is now 2!) was born on December 7th, 2018, she has been our greatest blessing and is such a light in our life. We feel even more blessed and are so excited to be giving her a sister this July! We are grateful that our story turned out this way. I am in remission and we were able to start a family naturally!