Last month, Real World/Road Rules Challenge contestant Diem Brown was diagnosed with ovarian cancer for the second time.
Brown, 30, must have her one remaining ovary removed in a few weeks, but first, she is undergoing controversial fertility procedures with the hope of freezing her eggs. “I know the risks I might be taking with hormone shots as a current ovarian cancer patient,” she tells PEOPLE exclusively.
“But for my own sanity I just want to have something ‘normal’ before going through this cancer journey once again. For me something ‘normal’ is having my eggs in a freezer somewhere or knowing in my heart I have exhausted every fertility preservation option possible.”
Brown will be documenting her journey for PEOPLE.com, starting with her quest to ensure that she’ll be able to have a biological child one day, and how she’s coping with her shocking diagnosis:
One reason I want to share my ovarian cancer journey with you is because I’ve had a really hard time finding information about egg freezing, early menopause and chemotherapy. By sharing my story, I hope others going through similar paths can see that they too are “normal” and that help is out there!
I also want to make cancer patients aware of an amazing resource from LiveStrong called Fertile Hope. It helps pay part of the fertility drugs costs.
Currently I am focused on my own fertility preservation and the egg freezing process. It’s too scary for me to take in my future ovary removal surgery, menopause and chemo all at once, so I’m tackling one obstacle at a time! Right now that obstacle is freezing those lil’ eggs.
I believe I am one of the first current ovarian cancer patients to try egg freezing. The effects of the fertility hormone shots on the ovarian cancer cells are unknown, but I told my doctor I’m okay with being a case study because for science to progress case studies have to take place to help advance the technologies.
As of yesterday I am on day seven of my shots. My latest results show that my estrogen levels are increasing and egg follicles are beginning to form. This is good news because it means that my ovary was not traumatized by my last surgery so I am on track for successful egg retrieval!
I’m on a tight deadline. This week I will find out when I can have egg retrieval surgery and also an estimate of how many eggs the doctor thinks he might be able to extract during surgery. I am keeping my fingers crossed and hopes high!
I am scared about my ovarian cancer journey, but I know everything happens for a reason. No matter what you go through in life, if you keep saying “I will be fine” in any forum, your mind will dictate your body and your words can become true.
Check back for updates: Diem will be chronicling her journey through fertility treatments, chemotherapy, and her quest to educate others about ovarian health exclusively for People.com