After the birth of my first daughter, we were eager to have a second child as both my husband and I are close in age to our own younger siblings. With a history of breast cancer in my family, my doctor prescribed a mammogram and urged me to do it before I got pregnant again. I promptly put the RX in a drawer and forgot about it.
Not too much later I became pregnant and miscarried. I was as distraught as would be expected and stayed home from my work for several days. The morning of my return to the office, the managing partner of my firm called us into the conference room to announce that the founding partner’s daughter had received a breast cancer diagnosis and would be unreachable for the next several days. Remembering the forgotten mammogram RX in my drawer, I decided to get the mammogram before I tried for another pregnancy.
4 weeks later, I was in surgery for a bilateral mastectomy, a radiologist with a keen eye having detected a small mass in my mammogram results. 11 days after survey, my husband and I undertook “fertility preservation” -- breast cancer patient talk for the egg retrieval phase of IVF. We had to wait 5 more years after 8 rounds of chemotherapy to be sufficiently out of the woods for a reoccurrence to revisit the idea of having a second child.
By then, our older daughter was 8; their age difference seemed far from our original plan. Nonetheless, we forged ahead through seemingly endless needles and blood tests, but felt as if we hadn’t missed a beat when I got pregnant after the first embryo was implanted.
Our daughter Addy is now 20 months old. We waited so long for her and I know now how much we wanted her. The age difference between the girls is a thing of wonder - there is no doubt but that they are and will always be best friends. And we are grateful, too, to the little one we didn’t get to know -- the one who who gave her life to save mine.