Quality of Life Programs Provide Support Beyond Cancer

Pictured: Caryn Domzalski and her husband, Erik Stein, enjoy life as new parents.

Caryn Domzalski will assure you that she has the best baby in the world. But there was a time when she was worried she wouldn’t be able to conceive naturally.

A survivor of Hodgkin’s lymphoma that was discovered when she was 16, Caryn, now 35, has stayed active in Roswell Park’s Adolescent and Young Adult Program, a support group open to all survivors of pediatric, adolescent and young adult cancers. Through them, she heard about Roswell Park’s Oncofertility Clinic, which provides information about the risks of infertility from cancer treatment and the options available for fertility preservation and treatment.

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“It was amazing that it was available. That is a really awesome service, because it is about quality of life. I had cancer when I was 16, and granted, that's going to be a part of me the rest of my life, but I don't want it to dictate everything about my life.” The clinic was opened with the support of donations. Caryn had never been able to get pregnant before, but after only a few weeks of acupuncture — which is also supported by donor giving — she took a home pregnancy test. It was positive. That same day, she had an acupuncture appointment, and the very excited medical team ran blood work for her. They called her later pretty much crying themselves, “confirming I was pregnant.”

“I threw all sorts of drugs into my body that helped save my life, but in the end, I didn't know what that could mean for having a child. It's always been my dream to have a child. To be able to have that, he's a dream come true. He's the best baby in the world. I could not ask for anything more. He is so calm, and happy, and he's yelling, and he's just perfect.”

“Living in Buffalo all my life, I knew what a blessing Roswell was to patients and survivors,” says her husband, Erik, “but I had no idea how deeply Roswell as an organization — not just as a hospital — cares about the quality of life of its family. I have to say ‘family’ because I see how much everyone cares for their patients. It is not just wanting you to feel better, but wanting you to feel the best you can.”

Are you a young adult cancer survivor between the ages of 20 and 39?

Interested in finding out more about Young Adult Program Services at Roswell Park? Do you want to be a part of our young adult cancer support network and find out when all of our events are? If you answered yes to at least one of those questions, then sign up today to receive further information about our program and how to join our community!

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Editor’s Note: Cancer patient outcomes and experiences may vary, even for those with the same type of cancer. An individual patient’s story should not be used as a prediction of how another patient will respond to treatment. Roswell Park is transparent about the survival rates of our patients as compared to national standards, and provides this information, when available, within the cancer type sections of this website.