Skipping the menopause shot
Today I made a really hard decision. So hard in fact, I had a solid hour of crying back and forth while I was trying to make the choice.
What was such a big deal? Well, I was trying to decide if I wanted to get the hormone shot that puts me into menopause during chemotherapy. Ultimately, I chose not to and here’s why:
There are 2 main reasons to get the shot in the first place. 1) To potentially have a positive impact on your blood count by not having your cycle during chemotherapy and 2) to maybe offer some protection to your ovaries by shutting them down and therefore assuming they won’t suck up as much chemotherapy thereby protecting their functioning in the future.
That being said, I kept feeling this nagging “no” when I thought about getting the shot.
First, after my horrible experience with egg retrieval, I really wanted to give my body a break. The idea of getting another shot that messes with my hormones in a dramatic way did not resonate well with me.
Secondly, I still haven’t had my period since the fertility stuff. I was pumped full of so many hormones, that my uterine lining got really thick. I know my body, and I know my hormonal history. Before doing anything else manipulative to my hormones, I REALLY really want to shed that lining. The problem is, there is a window of time they really want to give the shot to you before chemo….my window is closing and I haven’t started my period yet.
Thirdly, ABVD doesn’t appear to be super damaging to your ovaries. Different chemotherapies have a lesser or stronger probability of damaging them and it doesn’t sound like ABVD is high risk in that area. Additionally, even if my ovaries ARE damaged I just harvest 21 mature eggs which is an insane amount of options should I choose to use the route later.
Fourthly, the Zoladex shot take a few weeks to sink in ( thus the reason they want that window) but chemotherapy will essentially put me into menopause anyway. After a few cycles the likelihood that I will skip my periods is high and I would rather just let my body do it’s thing and support it the best I can.
And finally, some doctors recommend you wait 6 months after chemotherapy to have babies and some recommend up to FIVE YEARS. When I read that today I realized the likelihood of me wanting to actually get pregnant after this is low and I feel like I’ve really wasted pain and money going through this process. For those of you who are reading this thinking “oh you are so young, you have plenty of time!” technically, that is true. But my hubby is 15 years older than me and it’s a real consideration when I continue delaying the process by potentially YEARS.
I don’t know how I will feel when I’m done with all of this. Maybe I will be relieved that I have some fall back options and be happy that I went through the egg retrieval process. Maybe I will decide to finish the IVF process and have kids after all. Or maybe I will just be so thankful to be healthy again, and feel like I really want to give my body a break, enjoy my life with my family and get back to work…
All I know is this. I felt something in my gut telling me NO so strongly that I called to cancel today. I felt much better afterwards and that’s definitely something I need to hold on to throughout this process- my voice and intuition!