Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma survivor grateful for fertility preservation

I often joke that parenting is more difficult than cancer treatment. Some days I feel that statement holds true, but fatherhood is a challenge that I never take for granted. In November 2007, I was diagnosed with stage IV Burkitt’s lymphoma, a rare and aggressive type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. At the time, I was 29, and my wife and I hadn’t yet started trying to conceive. Fertility preservation before non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma treatment My diagnosis felt like we were thrown into a tornado inside of a hurricane twisting in opposite directions. So much information was coming at us so fast that it was almost too overwhelming to prioritize anything. Thankfully, fertility preservation was one of the first topics that my doctors broached with my wife and me. During my first appointment at MD Anderson, my care team mentioned the importance of preserving my fertility because the chemotherapy I needed could cause infertility. Luckily, I’d already banked my sperm at the recommendation of my initial oncologist in North Texas, where I lived at the time. I’m glad I acted quickly because my cancer was fast-spreading, and Dr. Jorge E. Romaguera urged me to begin an aggressive chemotherapy regimen immediately. My non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma treatment Undergoing chemotherapy was one of the most difficult experiences in my life. In addition to nausea, fluid retention and horrible headaches from the spinal taps that I received as part of my treatment, I also dealt with infections, the flu and shingles across my face. I was hospitalized during much of my treatment, including on my 30th birthday. As a precaution, I completed eight rounds of chemotherapy even...