More on family

Posted on March 29th, 2008 by Cam.
Categories: Let's talk.

Obviously the implications of family have been on our mind since diagnosis last year, but more so now as we approach a significant part of the treatment. Sam, a friend from the hills, asked about this a few weeks ago when I opened up the question line.

“Hi Cam,

My question is has your illness and treatment affected the possibility or plans of having a family?”

“Hey Sam, it has been a while but I hope you and the girls are going great!
As far as your question goes, the answer is yes and no. It is highly likely that my nurries will cop an absolute pummeling from the chemo and they will become purely decorative, kinda like baubles at Christmas time, but hopefully not hanging in a tree, or packed away for 11 months of the year. 
The slim chance that little cammies are able to be produced may be quashed again as the maintenance drug that I will most likely be on is thalidomide, and you are not allowed to have children while you are on that.
 One of the first things we did though when I was admitted and it looked like I was restaged to myeloma was to have some little cammies put on ice. Once you start treatment you never really know if you are going to get that chance again so we are glad that we got onto that as soon as we could.
 So it may be possible to have family in the future, but help may be required, and I don’t mean candle-lit dinners and soft music. 
I will probably write a full post on this in the future as it is a big issue for us, a lot of decisions to be made. Thanks for asking about it.”

So we have been thinking about all this, and it can be an issue for some, and not an issue for others. For us, the main reason why we have been discussing family as an issue is because of logistics really. I know that sounds cold, but had we been pregnant during this last year, it would have been difficult to cope.

Basically, at times Elizabeth is a full-time carer, and even when I am at my best she is spending a lot of her time doing things I can no longer do. On top of this she has been working. Apparently, being pregnant and having a baby can be hard work also. There are sometimes decisions that need to be made to make a difficult situation less difficult, and this is how it has been for us. Of course there are many people who have coped with this situation, but we are grateful things have turned out the way they have for the moment.

We are getting a better idea now too of my life expectancy, and how it crosses over with treatments that may interfere with having family. It has been helpful to talk through these aspects with the specialist and support groups as we feel more prepared for the possible outcomes.

For now, I am looking forward to honing my skills in the role of being an Uncle. Rachel and Michael are on track for the arrival of baby at the beginning of May, and Carmel and John are expecting their first later in the year. We are going to be surrounded by babies soon enough.

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