In early 2010 my husband and I decided we’d start trying for a family, we had been discussing it for a while. We had lived in the UK for 5 years and thought it was time go home, buy a house and start nesting for a potential baby. Fast forward a bit and It was late October and I was really frustrated that I wasn’t getting pregnant, wondering what I was doing wrong.
I started realizing that in back in July I had found a lump and totally ignored it, life had its heavy demands, but I proceeded to perform self-examination and there it was, I went to the GP got a full body examination and asked what he thought about the lump? He said don’t worry, if it’s still here in 4 months come back. Not happy with his opinion I went to a breast specialist, “Supposedly” the best in Vic. He read the mammogram and told me that my breasts were normal for a 26 year old and not to stress about the lump as it might just be a cyst. My mother and I weren’t convinced, as in 2006 I had a cyst removed from my breast and this one just didn’t feel the same. 3rd opinion here I come…
I saw another breast specialist; they call him “The Godfather”. I knew when I sat in his office that it wasn’t going to be a great day! He diagnosed me with hormone sensitive Breast Cancer, it’s basically to say that the cancer was stimulated by estrogen. OMG! I’m only 26, we are meant to be getting pregnant, I don’t want to be sick, I don’t want to die yet!
1 week later I was booked into have a partial mastectomy… followed by 4 rounds of chemo, 6 weeks of daily radiotherapy sessions, 1 year of Herceptin that was given intravenously and 5 years of Tamoxifen. My life had been turned upside down, my dreams were crushed and my heart is broken… My Oncologist told me that there is no way I can carry a pregnancy as that there was a extremely high chance that Tamoxifen would deform my baby and potentially harm myself if I got pregnant as it would raise my estrogen levels and therefore raise the risk of recurrence.
Our now surrogate offered to carry our baby, who I believe is an angel sent from above. Not everyone does this!
I feel hurt and angered at the fact that it’s not my fault I got sick and I can’t have a child the normal way, I don’t see why I should continue being punished financially and emotionally. To have one round of IVF it cost us $20,000 and by the time we finish we would have spent $50,000-$60,000. My husband and I are just humble average Australian tax payers. He works fulltime and then some and I work and study when possible. We would like a fair go and not have to feel like we are constantly being discriminated by the law because I was sick. We have never received any assistance despite always paying our taxes, I am appalled!
Like any couple going through the journey of IVF, all they want is a child, but the reality is that they receive a Medicare rebate helping them with the cost of IVF. We are requesting that you put yourself in our shoes and please give us the same rebate as any other couple, we are not asking for anything extra – just to be treated the same.