How My Womb Gave Me Unexpected Life
As part of our International Women’s Day celebrations, we present eight inspiring stories that will touch your heart and kindle your soul.
Sarita Mahadevan is a professional Kathak dancer, teacher and performer who has been using OurHealthMate since 2016. Having been unsuccessful at starting a family for two years, she discovered why in 2015 when she was diagnosed with uterine cancer. Today a mother of two little boys, this is her story of hope, acceptance and pursuit.
When Sanjeev and I got married in 2011, we were in no hurry to start a family. We had careers to make and adventures to take, and a baby didn’t feature in our plan at the time. We were young and healthy, and we decided to wait. By the time we were ready, however, our luck seemed elusive. It was 2014 and we had been trying for almost a year, our hopes dashed every month by a crimson tide that brutally signalled the end of another desperate window of waiting.
By now, we had begun to suspect something wrong. From our research online, we had learned that it was the right time for us to meet a specialist. When we did, there was no definitive diagnosis. Unexplained infertility, said the doctor, and advised one round of in vitro fertilization (IVF). It was expensive, but we decided to pour our savings into building the family we so eagerly craved. Unfortunately, the cycle wasn’t successful, but the doctor insisted we try again. We agreed. Our hope however, was short-lived, when we discovered that the cycle, like last time, had failed. Our doctor then referred us to a specialist, in order to assess the health of my uterus. He wanted to rule out existing health complications and be sure that everything was fine. It wasn’t. And in December 2014, I was diagnosed with stage 2 uterine cancer.
From hoping for another new life to holding onto my own, the next few months were a blur of radiation treatments and chemotherapy sessions. Then, in April 2015, the doctors delivered a bombshell. The cancer had spread. The only way out was a hysterectomy, which would essentially herald premature menopause. And even after that, there was no guarantee that the cancer would settle. I was shattered. As much as I was hurting for myself, I was grieving more over the lost dream of carrying a child to term. I would never be able to experience the moments I had so often dreamed about.
In those defeatist, downbeat days, it was hard not to question myself and my decisions; our decisions. Was it our fault that we had decided to wait? What if we had tried sooner? Will we ever be able to have children? It didn’t occur to me that my own life was at stake, that my tomorrow was in question. My focus was laser-sharp, and I suppose that was what gave me the impetus to keep going. I had a goal to achieve, and I became undeterred in my pursuit.
During my hysterectomy, along with my uterus, I lost the cancer that had preyed on my body for so many months. Just three months after I had officially entered remission, Sanjeev and I decided to take the surrogacy route to parenthood. My eggs had been destroyed during my cancer treatment, so we decided to use donor eggs and opted for a gestational carrier to carry our baby to term. Thankfully, the savings we had set aside for a possible third round of IVF before my diagnosis helped to tide over a significant portion of the expenses that awaited us during surrogacy. And to our luck, our very first cycle was successful; we were pregnant with twins! Our baby boys, Ayaan and Aryan, arrived in June 2016 and completed our family in more ways than one. I sometimes muse that my womb has done more for me than I ever could have imagined. It gave me new life when I least expected it. All it took was a spell of cancer.
Why wait until it’s too late? Be proactive and manage preventive health assessments for yourself and family members overseas. With preemptive measures, you can choose to preserve your fertility through cancer treatments. Change your fate with OurHealthMate.
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