Breast Cancer blog
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 April, 2014, 1:47pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 April, 2014, 1:50pm

Breast cancer blog: the interesting things you learn

BIO

Amy is a Chinese American journalist - a native New Yorker - and journalism educator currently living in Hong Kong. She was recently diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 37, and hopes to share her experiences and adventures with other women and increase awareness.
 

Just when you think your life is in order, and things have returned to normalcy. If only.

In between talks of cake designs, décor, make-up artists, and yes the registry, there is talk of, gulp, the future. Blame it on the wedding registry. Where will be the gifts be sent to, and where will they be stored? These are all concerns because right now because we are on two separate coasts.

But contemplating streamlining our lives someday leads to the more sensitive discussion of settling down and, gulp, kids. The fiancé shies away from it as he’s in his 50s, but for me there is no place to run and hide. It is there every time I log onto Facebook (I know I should stop it but I can’t). There is a litany of friends celebrating baby showers and their first, second, or even fourth babies. Will the torture ever end?

And the topic always surfaces at cancer gatherings amongst young breast cancer survivors. You can’t have kids if you are on chemo and radiation therapy and if you are taking the queen bee of breast cancer drugs Tamoxifen (which I’m not eligible for since my cancer was oestrogen-driven), you are supposed to be on it for five years, which means putting kids on hold.

At 38 (39 in Chinese years) both age and cancer history are strikes against me, so the fiancé and I broach the possibility of s-o-m-e-d-a-y adopting. In my fantasy, I’ve always considered adopting a girl from China. Somehow this would make up for the sucker punch of being beaten by the biological clock and disease, so I excitedly go online.

For a weekend I was a Google monkey and searched adoptions, only to discover some interesting factoids about adopting after the cancer journey.

A cancer history means that it is more challenging to successfully adopt a child. Here in the US a comprehensive background check of everything from employment, psychological and medical – especially by public adoption agencies - means that cancer is often a serious blemish.

My hopes of adopting a child from China are dashed. In China a cancer history means that you aren’t eligible, and on the same note you aren’t eligible if you are fat and have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of over 40. I learn that having had stage 3 or 4 cancer means that you can’t adopt from Lithuania and people who have had “various forms of cancer” can’t adopt from Moldova.

On the upside, my lovely friends on the Facebook network share their successful adoption stories with me, with some who have adopted domestically within the US and others by being a foster parent first, and I am reminded that there numerous adoption-friendly countries including Colombia, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Russia, South Korea, Ukraine and Vietnam.

Lately amidst all of the noise of wedding planning, and nerves related to the walk up the aisle, the vows and the first dance, registries and yes even babies, there is the reminder by the fiancé that most importantly we have each other and we have our health. Let’s not forget that, he says, and he is right.

Resources about adopting for those who have had cancer:

http://www.cancerworld.org/Articles/Issues/38/September-October-2010/Pat...

http://oncofertility.northwestern.edu/files/patients/cancer-friendly-ado...

http://www.breastcancer.org/tips/fert_preg_adopt/options/adoption

http://www.kantrowitz.com/cancerpoints/adoption.html

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