Monday, April 21, 2008

Pregnancy and the Mole

Weekly blood draws to measure the hcG level found in the body after a molar pregnancy is vital to detecting the cancer that can develop from the abnormalities this pregnancy brings. Remember not every woman's case is like mine. Many women will not even develop this cancer, their numbers falling to "0" (5 or less than 5) in the matter of a few weeks. Yet for those of us who do, this disease can be described as fickle at best. What one woman may be going through may be different for the next woman. What does remain the same is that while your numbers are being monitored, it is extremely vital that the woman does not get pregnant. For the woman whose numbers go down with out any increase or the need for chemo, they are given roughly a 6 month waiting period in which they urged not to conceive. For the woman that needs chemo this waiting period is extended to a full 12 months. The reason it is so important for a woman to not get pregnant is that with every pregnancy the level of hcGwill rise, and as monitoring these levels are the only way to determine if the cancer has come back, it could be putting you and your unborn baby at risk by not waiting to conceive until the allotted time is finished. This cancer may start in the uterus, but since the abnormal cells can develop as fast as a normal developing baby would, this cancer can spread through out the body starting with the lungs, liver, and eventually the brain without proper and prompt treatment. Sure the doctors will preform an ultrasound to make sure it isn't the cancer, but after going through something like this wouldn't you like to do everything possible to make sure your next pregnancy ends with a healthy baby! For those of us already dealing with a Molar Pregnancy, there is a 1-2% chance for conceiving another mole, and a 10% chance for conceiving a third, with this percentage increase with mole. 1-2% may not seem like much, but when a woman had already beaten the 5% odds and been diagnosed with cancer, 1% seems infinitely high.

But don't despair Gestational Trophoblastic Disease isn't a death sentence for future children that I once believed it was, in fact I have read of a woman who in between 2 molar pregnancies went on to have 5 healthy and beautiful children.

It's important to remember that even after chemo, a woman with GTD can also have a healthy baby. Unlike most other chemo treatments that leave you infertile, with the treatments used for this cancer, a woman should be able to go on and have future children. For most women going through this, just knowing they can still bear children is a life line they hold on to tightly. Just knowing that making it through treatments, through the waiting period, knowing that there is hope for another child makes all the difference in the world.

Knowing that I'll be able to try to conceive again once I am cancer free doesn't stop the fear of recurrence, the fear that another molar pregnancy is in my future, or the fear that I may not be able to conceive again. Yet weighing it all together, there is a part of me that desperately wants the 4 children I've always dreamed about. What the future may bring, no one knows, but just knowing that may dreams for more children won't end at 25 (26 when my 12 months are over) gives me a hope that I may one day hold another baby.

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