Learn about cancer survivor Aaron Bramley and how LIVESTRONG helped him during his cancer journey. Learn more about our programs and services at LIVESTRONG.org/We-Can-Help.
About two days before Thanksgiving 2011, I got a call from my surgeon saying that I had Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It was a whirlwind trying to figure out exactly what my diagnosis meant and what it might lead to. But it wasn’t until I went in for a training session with my chemo nurses that I learned that chemotherapy could lead to infertility.
At the time I had been dating my girlfriend Alison for about a year. We were totally in love, but when you’re navigating a new relationship and trying to get to know each other and figure out what the future looks like, having something big like cancer can be scary and turbulent. We hadn’t talked about having kids before. We knew we wanted to keep that option open, so I started doing research on fertility preservation.
I reached out to the LIVESTRONG Foundation after I learned they could help me find the services and financial support I needed to preserve my fertility. When I called, I spoke with a Navigator about the process. I was concerned that I wouldn’t have enough time before I started chemo to take care of it or to apply for financial assistance (my insurance didn’t cover fertility preservation), but they reassured me and made an appointment for me the very next day.
Not only did LIVESTRONG help me preserve my option to have kids, but the LIVESTRONG website also became a valuable resource when I needed information about what my body was going through. I had a lot of questions when I was diagnosed. How am I going to be cured? What is treatment going to be like? What is life after cancer going to be like? On the LIVESTRONG website, I was able to read survivors’ stories and blog entries on side effects and symptoms, which was extremely helpful.
I think men have a tendency to feel invincible. They wait too long to have cancer symptoms checked out because they assume it’s nothing. Having organizations like LIVESTRONG and Movember working together to support men’s health is amazing because they help men get the services they need to deal with a cancer diagnosis.
About a year after my last chemotherapy session, Alison and I got engaged. It gives me great confidence to know that I have the option to have kids in the future, and the LIVESTRONG Foundation made that possible. I look forward to marrying my fiancé. I look forward to starting a family with her. I look forward to many, many years of growing together.