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Alexa Kuettel's Endometrial Cancer Journey

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Read Alexa's Story here:

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Infertility is something you never think you are going to struggle with. Quite honestly, I didn’t even know infertility was very common. Until I began trying, I only knew of one woman who had done IVF and she was a friend of my uncle. I knew of three women who had experienced a miscarriage. I feel like it’s only been over the last couple of years that real awareness has come about and people are finally really starting to talk about it.

My journey began in October 2017. My husband and I had decided that summer that we were ready to start trying that fall. We were so excited and so blissfully unaware of the intense roller coaster we had just gotten on.

All growing up I had a regular period. It came every month within a day or two of the last. I never had any issues and my periods were typical. I always thought that this meant it would be so easy for me to get pregnant when the time came. So when my husband and I started trying, I thought I was pregnant after one month which turned into two, then six, then a year and still no baby. I was in denial that something could be wrong for a few months and couldn’t bring myself to see my doctor at the one year mark. After a couple months my husband finally was the one who said it’s time. This has gone on long enough and is consuming you. It was…completely. Two of my sister-in-laws who are my best friends had both gotten pregnant and had their babies since we had started trying. I love my niece and nephew to death but it was painful to be around them because it made my heart long to have my own baby. I never knew it was possible to feel two intense emotions so strongly at once – to love someone so fiercely, and be so sad and broken at the same time.

Holidays were the hardest. I remember one particular Easter being over at my in laws for a big family dinner. All the kids had gotten their Easter baskets and were headed to the basement for an Easter egg hunt that my mother-in-law had put together. Everyone went down stairs but I was frozen in place and couldn’t move. I tried to hold back my emotions but seeing all the little kids with their parents enjoying the festivities was more then I could take. I broke down sobbing.

So in January 2018 we met with a fertility specialist for the first time. After a couple months of cycle monitoring and testing for both my husband and I it was time to have our follow up appointment to review the results and hear what the best plan would be moving forward. Our doctor told us that everything was fine with my husband and that everything was fine with me except one thing. One of the tests I had done revealed that I had a polyp in my uterus. He said it was not dangerous to my health, but in order to have a baby I absolutely needed to get it removed. He said because it was large it took up too much space for a baby to grow, which was probably part of why I wasn’t getting pregnant; there was not much space for an embryo to implant.

He referred me to a surgeon who specializes in removing polyps. Whenever you hear that you have a growth the first thing you think of is, “Is it cancer?” I asked him and he said the chance of it being cancerous in someone as young and healthy as me would be 1% and that I didn’t need to worry. I was relieved to hear this and excited to finally get some answers and have a plan in place to move forward. I felt like I was one step closer to my baby!

In April 2018 I had my consultation with the surgeon. He also agreed with the fertility doctor that this polyp was causing my fertility problems.

My surgery took place on May 29, 2019. It was thankfully just day surgery and I felt back to normal in just a couple of days. I couldn’t wait for the next six weeks to go by so we could then be cleared to start trying again! My fertility doctor wanted us to try for a couple months on our own to get pregnant because he thought that the polyp really was the problem.

I was ecstatic to know that maybe after a year and a half of struggling to get pregnant I might be able to get pregnant naturally after all! Ten days later, on June 10th, I got a call first thing in the morning from one of the surgeon’s nurses saying they had received my pathology report for the polyp (it’s procedure to always send a growth of any sort off to pathology just to be safe). She said that the results had abnormal cell growth and that the doctor would like to meet with me today if possible and that I should bring a loved one with me. That’s all she was allowed to say on the phone.

I hung up and was dumb-founded and shocked. She hadn’t straight up said it was cancer, but she said abnormal cell growth, which is what cancer is. I quickly called my husband and told him we had to go in to the doctor. I spent the rest of the day consulting Dr. Google (never a good idea!). From everything I found, it sounded like I would have to have a hysterectomy. A million thoughts were racing through my head…is it cancer? Am I going to have to have chemo and lose my hair? Will I ever be able to have biological children? What stage is it? Oh I was an absolutely basket case on the inside because I was at work and had to hold it together. The irony in it all was that it was my grandmother’s birthday that day who died of cancer when I was a kid.

As my husband and I drove to the doctor’s office, I remember praying in my heart not that I wouldn’t have cancer but that I could have the strength to face whatever was ahead. I felt a lot of peace. I didn’t feel like I knew how everything would work out but I just knew that I could handle whatever it was.

We met with the doctor and he said he about fell over when he read my pathology report to see that I had Stage I Endometrial cancer. He said most women who get this kind of cancer are old and obese. It's rare that anyone who is pre-menopausal gets it, let alone someone who is under 30 and healthy. I had psyched myself up inside that he would say I needed to get a hysterectomy.

He said it was a miracle that they caught it and at the earliest possible stage. I had zero symptoms that are associated with it. He said by the time I would show symptoms and they figured out what it was it would probably be vary advanced. He said my infertility for the last year and a half ended up saving my life. And in an instant, my perspective shifted. Such a trial became a blessing.

I was quickly sent to an oncologist who was able to offer me an alternative to removing my uterus. Because my cancer was caught early, I was able to do an alternative hormone treatment that would has been found to be effective in early stage cancer of young healthy patients.

In November 2019 I found out that treatments had been successful and I was cancer-free and could resume fertility treatments. I was sent to a special fertility doctor who deals with women who are survivors of reproductive system cancers.

I am currently going through cycle monitoring to figure out the best course of treatment.

My journey to getting my baby is not over yet. I’m still in the trenches. But I am filled with so much hope. Even after two years of this, I know my baby will come. I want others in the trenches to know that there is hope for you too! Every infertility story is different and unique but we all share the same feelings of longing to be a mother and have our baby to love. I hope that wherever you are on your infertility journey you can find hope, peace and strength to help you through this difficult time!

UPDATE: Since I submitted my story I am happy to report that my baby girl is on her way! After two IUI’s and trying different combinations of meds we had success! I have never been so grateful for anything in my life then to have this little life inside of me. Although the road to get to this point was long and wildly unexpected it has all been worth it. I know God has a plan for each of us and as we trust in him and his timing (although often different then our own) we will see miracles and feel joy no matter where we are in our journey. 

Facebook: Alexa Kuettel 

Instagram: @alexaruth20

☀️ CLICK HERE TO BUY THE BEST SOCKS ON THE PLANET TO HELP WOMEN WITH INFERTILITY! A portion of every single sale will go to an incredible woman experiencing infertility. They make the BEST gifts for women experiencing infertility to remind them they are loved OR to wear to your own appointments while working hard to grow your family to remind you that you have this community of women linking arms with you. You are incredible, sister!

CLICK HERE to join our safe, private Facebook group to meet other incredible women who are walking your path. ☀️

 To read Janeen's PCOS and IVF journey, click HERE

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