Fertility Post BEP Chemotherapy

Back to the oncologist I go!!! Something isn’t right.

My symptoms:
Extreme hot flashes 10-15 an hour
High Irritability
Joint / Bone Pain
Voice that Sounds Like a Prepubescent Teenager When Singing
Sudden Fuzzy Hairs on my Face
Vaginal Dryness (Man I hope these symptoms help someone because I totally just broadcasted that!)

Silly me! These are the classic symptoms of menopause! WAIT!!!!??WHAT???!!!!

The backstory: There wasn’t enough time between pregnancy, surgery, and the start of chemotherapy for my cycle to kick up again. My reproductive system was kind of hit three times in a very short amount of time but I didn’t ever think that I would lose my fertility. The only talk of fertility pre tumor removal and start of chemotherapy was that I would be losing an ovary and we were not going to do radiation in an effort to preserve my fertility.

There I was approximately four months post the completion of chemotherapy sitting in my oncologists office, talking to the nurse practitioner about my symptoms and she said, “You haven’t started your period yet?”. She recommended we do a blood test. The results, absolutely no trace of estrogen in my body. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I left so frazzled and upset. This to me was WAY worse than cancer.

I no longer had the say of whether or not I could bare children. I felt like I lost my youth. I felt less feminine. I suddenly realized that I may never feel like myself again. That this was the new me. I didn’t like this me. I felt like I was always angry (lack of estrogen). I felt like I looked like I was aging (lack of estrogen drying up my skin). I felt like I was ruining my marriage by uncontrollably treating my husband like a piece of dirt on occasion. I would feel the words coming out of my mouth and I honestly felt like I couldn’t stop them. He didn’t deserve this. We didn’t deserve this. I felt so out of whack in so many ways I couldn’t accurately describe it to anyone.

For a week after that appointment I balled my eyes out. You would have thought the world had ended. COULD I BE MORE OF A SPOILED BRAT OR WHAT?????!!!!! I have a beautiful child, loving husband, great family, and MY LIFE. For the love of GOD! I needed to stop crying and look at what I had, not what I lost. Just about the time I came to this realization I got a call from my oncologist to come in and see him. This wonderful, wonderful man knew I was upset and wanted to put my mind at ease. He told me that this is normal and it may be 6 months to a year or more until I regain my cycle. I felt even better with this knowledge. Later that day I called my sister and told her what the doctor said and she said “Yeah, I didn’t start mine until a year post chemotherapy.” very nonchalantly. If I could have slapped her through the phone I would have. :) That turd!! She knew how upset I was and she didn’t share that tidbit of information. Man, I gave her the what for. She’s not really a talker, I forgive her. Haha! My point is, I wish I would have been armed with this information going in. It would have saved me a lot of heartache.

A few more months passed with no signs of a period. I NEVER thought I would be wishing for a period, EVER. I decided to start acupuncture for my itching in November. A couple of sessions in I noticed I was no longer dry, my irritability was going away, and so were my hot flashes. Going in I gave them a list of things I wanted help with never thinking that acupuncture could help all of my aliments but I thought I might as well put it all out there. Why not? I couldn’t believe I was starting to feel like myself again. Holy cow I will never regret the decision to start this process.

November passed and most of December with still no signs of a period. Christmas morning, yes Christmas morning I woke up and said to my husband, “Well I guess I didn’t get my Christmas wish.”. He said, “What was that?” I said, “To get my period.” I kid you not, 10 minutes later and 7 months post the completion of chemotherapy my period started. IT WAS A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE!!!!!

Ladies, three departing messages:
If you never regain fertility, it will be okay. You have your life.
Try acupuncture to ease menopausal symptoms and kick start your system.
Keep faith. It takes a while for your body to start working again. In reality we have such a smart system. Periods drain you and you are already drained. I believe it waits to come back when your body is ready to handle it.

7 comments on “Fertility Post BEP Chemotherapy
  1. Jayme says:

    Such a great post. I feel like such a clumsy, clueless friend, STILL not fully knowing what you were dealing with every single day, during and post chemo. Please forgive my ignorance and not checking in on you more often. This is inspiring and loving and I hope it helps lots of ladies out there!

  2. bowmansh says:

    Thank you for sharing! I’m 26 and just finished BEP in march, I just found out after seeing my onc this past week that I might be in temp menopause, which I didn’t know might happen before treatment. Your post is very comforting and helps me to know what I may expect! The hot flashes are so annoying! Before you got your period back did you notice menopause symptoms reducing? It is amazing what you miss when you go through chemo, i cant wait to have a period, and I excitedly announced to my whole family that I got to start shaving again! I was just so thrilled thar some hair somewhere was growing again!

    • Hello, welcome :). I didn’t know either and I was so shocked. Menopause at my age? REALLY?

      Yeah, the hot flashes were so, so annoying. Acupuncture ended a lot of my major symptoms after a total of 4 weeks of going 3 times a week. It really got things moving again to the point I could stop my local estrogen. I stopped going to acupuncture in I think November with no return of menopause symptoms and got my period at the end of December. Acupuncture was a little pricey but totally worth every penny to get rid of the symptoms I was having. Have you tried acupuncture before? Some insurance companies cover it which is nice. I told my acupuncturist my goal was to alleviate menopause symptoms so they concentrated on that. It was shocking how well it worked and it was completely painless.

      Isn’t it funny how you go around announcing things like shaving? I totally did that too :). I will never forget the day I texted everyone I was remotely close with or called them and let them know I got my period. Haha!

      I am happy for you that you are done. Your hair will come back quick. I kind of miss the days of not having to tame my frizzy mess. :) I am almost a year out from finishing BEP and I just put my hair in a pony. Have fun with all the stages of it growing back. It’s a nice chance to try out some different looks. You’ll have some nice short sassy hair for summer.

      Good luck on your journey to recovery. Keep me posted. I will keep my fingers crossed for you. It will return. You are super young. Just stay strong and healthy.

  3. neelam says:

    hi I’m only 20 years old and I had germ cell tumour and I went through with 4 cycles of chemotherapy. I finished in July 2013 ever since then I didn’t get my periods I was scared. finally spoke to my doctor in October and asked him why I still haven’t got my periods and I didn’t expect to hear that I went into early menopause and he said that I wont get my periods at all. I’m not even married yet, its still a long way for me but still I want to have children and when he told me I wont have my periods I was so dishearten and scared. read your story and it helped me but just wanted to know do you think I should go to my gynaecologist and ask if there is a chance for me to have my periods again or should I just go for acupuncture. please suggest something for me

    • mommybeatscancer says:

      Hi Neelam-

      I have a ton of questions before I can better assist you. Did you have radiation? What do you have left reproductively? What was your treatment plan? Acupuncture is pretty pricey (but well worth it) so I want to get more specifics before sending you down that road. Please send my an email and I will send you my phone number. I would love to talk to you and walk you through how I got through this. Hang in there. mommybeatscancer@gmail.com

  4. Candy says:

    Hi! I know this isn’t a recent post, but I wanted to let you know I had both my babies post BEP treatment for dysgerminoma. It did take a while for my cycles to straighten out post chemo. I can’t remember how long because that was nearly 25 years ago. This January (2015) I will celebrate both my 40th birthday and 25 years since my cancer diagnosis. Good luck! I’m easy to reach if you want to contact me or have any questions. My blog is called Slightly Overcaffeinated. :)

1 Pings/Trackbacks for "Fertility Post BEP Chemotherapy"
  1. [...] Fertility Issues Oh fertility issues how I loath thee and wish I knew more before going into this process! This particular chemotherapy schedule can cause infertility and send you into premature menopause. Often times this premature menopause is temporary, as was the case for me. Don’t be alarmed if it is several months before your cycle starts up again. At a follow up appointment I was sent into a state of panic when my nurse practitioner was surprised I still hadn’t had my cycle. I spent the next week so unbelievably upset that I was in menopause feeling like I was suddenly in my 50′s. In retrospect, this is a small, small price to pay for having my life. Later that week I got a call from my doctor asking me to come in to discuss. For more on that discussion please read my post, Fertility Post BEP Chemotherapy. [...]

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