Friday, May 25, 2007

Status Report

Strategic Planning Retreat - successful, and more importantly, over

HSG - Over! Results en route to the clinic.

Email received from my nurse practitioner today confirming
  • results of pap, sperm and all other cultures and tests received
  • report from genetic counselor received
  • she'll be looking for the HSG info in the mail
  • and no, the egg transfer does NOT hurt like an HSG
She left me with these little lines:

Let's go over things next week to review next steps. Have a great holiday weekend!!!

Who knows what 'next steps' entail? Is it time to order the meds? Start synchronizing cycles? Put in our final payment? All of the above? My gyn warned me that the clinic might want to do a laparoscopy since the HSG wasn't as thorough as it could have been. I hope not. I think that's a lovely uterus, don't you?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


For the second time this week I find myself lying nearly naked on a table in a state of semi-consciousness. Only this time, the room is warm not chilly. Inviting not intimidating. Soothing instead of shock-inducing. It smells much better too.

After yesterday’s events I decided to join my co-worker and close friend and take advantage of the spa facilities that happen to be part of the hotel where we are having our three-day business meeting. She’s off to get a manicure and some reflexology. I am waking up from my 55-minute full body aromatherapy massage.

Sigh. It was awesome.

As the young technician’s hands are rubbing out my stress and anxiety I can’t help but wonder, what makes people choose a profession that brings them in such close and intimate contact with strangers? How can she bring herself to touch and manipulate strange bodies day after day? Old, young, sinewy, doughy, hairy even – all needing and wanting to be touched and in a sense, healed? How does she do it without gagging?

There’s a joke (that’s not really funny) between hubby and I about how my parents place doctors in such high regard and the fact that I went to a very good university and didn’t emerge as one is a source of eternal puzzlement and disappointment to them. But the truth is, I don’t do well with other people’s bodies. I am not sympathetic by nature and (until yesterday) I always considered myself to have a high tolerance for pain. Hubby tells me my bedside manner is pretty awful. I am sure he is right. A career in medicine, nursing or healing of any kind was never in the cards for me.

But this young woman must have some sort of gift. Something that I definitely do not have. Everything about her presence is comforting and her hands were strong! I was surprised by her firmness, even in her handshake. During the entire massage I kept thinking of scenarios or reasons why massage therapy became her chosen career. Obviously, I am making some huge assumptions here that it even is – it could be a summer job or something to get her through the rest of school for all I know. But I don’t think so.

In Alice Walker’s The Temple of My Familiar, one of the characters finds herself so sad, so jaded, so hateful to the whole of humankind, she quits her job and begins a new path as a massage therapist – forcing herself to touch and make contact with other human beings to remind herself that they, too, hurt and need healed, just as she does. I lay, face down, on this table and wonder if this sweet thing pushing on my heels and kneading my calves is jaded? Or someone who is seeking to reconnect with others? Or someone naturally drawn to a healing profession? Or just someone who doesn’t dig a 9-5 office environment kind of gig and would rather spend her days among scented oils and people who are truly appreciative of her attention?

I wonder and wonder and before I know it, my time is up.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


So, today was the day. H to the S to the G.

Got up our usual time but instead of heading to the gym, hubby shoved my face full of waffles and Special K so I could take my antibiotic and 2 extra strength Tylenol. Then off the hospital we go.

Hubby waited and read his Gogol. I stripped from the waist down and went to chill out in one of those chilly rooms with big X-ray type equipment. Doctor arrives. Utensils and tools get prepared. They clean off my cervix. Which frankly, I didn’t know was untidy, insert a huge ass needle full of dye (when I say huge I mean longer than my forearm.) Injection begins. I scream and yell because it hurts like nothing I have ever felt and I am absolutely blown away by the pain.

And that’s the last thing I remember.

I passed the F out.

Oh yes girls. Lights out. No one home. Apparently the nurse had to use smelling salts (no response), started pinching me (still no response) then started yelling my name, which I responded to with an annoyed, “what?!?”

I had no idea.

Once I came to, both my doctor and the nurse start laughing in relief because they thought I had gone into anaphalactic shock which, obviously, would have been no laughing matter. My doc stopped mid-injection when she realized my legs had gone totally limp but got enough dye up in there to complete the test. How can 10 cc’s wreak that much havoc?

The screen shows us that my uterus looks fine but instead of the shadowy bits where fallopian tubes and egg sacs should be, the dye spread across my whole lower abdomen making all kinds of Rorschach-type shapes, causing even more concern to doctor and nurse. They call the radiologist to have a look. Not only am I dripping in sweat and still reeling from the pain but now the thought that we just might need to rethink the whole donor egg thing is creeping into my mind faster than that bleeping radioactive dye into my abdomen.

Radiologist comes in, looks at the tape and says, ain’t no thing. I’ve seen it before. Dye just got absorbed into my veins. No big whoop. His nonchalance makes me almost joyful.

We spend the next twenty minutes waiting for my dizziness and nausea to subside enough for me to walk to the dressing room and get dressed. I feel bad because clearly these two women have better things to do than watch my eyes dilate and my face turn colors and I tell them this.

“I’m fine. I’m not dizzy anymore. I can go”

“Are you sure.”


“Are you lying to me??”

“Yes. I think I need to lay down again.”

Bless their hearts, at this point now that they (and I) know that I am not going to go into cardiac arrest, they think it’s all very funny. My doc does me the disservice of telling me she’s never seen anyone pass out from the procedure before. Nurse agrees. My pride now hurts more than my throbbing gut. I tell them my hubby is waiting outside so I have a ride home and help in the dressing room if I need it. They say, oh, he could have come in while we were doing the procedure. I say, is that some kind of joke? Just how many packs of smelling salts do you have?

So sweet hubby and I drive home and I actually have about an hour to lay down before I need to leave for my three-day meeting. He brings me water and more Tylenol, my favorite stuffed animal and lots of hugs. He also acknowledges that he will not be able to complain about his allergies or any other kind of minor aches and pains for quite a while now.

Damn straight.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Is my little secret out of the bag? Maybe.

My entire office got new computers this week. Sweet little laptops stocked with all kinds of gadgets and tools like the new Microsoft Office Suite 2007, which, if you haven’t seen it, looks different enough from previous versions to cause panic in colleagues that are resistant to change.

To avoid that panic, my boss asked if I would do a quick training on the basics yesterday afternoon. Not like I’m an expert, but since my old laptop was making noises like a sick Chevy Nova when I would try to start it, I got my new computer first and had been playing with it all weekend.

So, in walks me to a conference room full of co-workers, plug my laptop into the LCD projector and promise to guide them through the promised land of Microsoft bliss. Word – no problem. The new Excel – I may have even heard some oohs and ahhs. Outlook – ah here’s the rub.

How could I forget that while items and events marked “private” won’t show up on shared calendars and folders, they will appear when you yourself are viewing your personal ones? Never mind that my personal ones were projected on to the wall in my boss’s office. How was Microsoft to know?

So, there we were reviewing calendar settings and how to move things here and there when I realize that on the wall for the world to see is this calendar entry: “HSG. 7 am. _______ Hospital.”


I am hoping that my co-workers were so overwhelmed by their new toys and how to work them that they didn’t register that one event out of so many others. I am hoping that HSG is cryptic enough that the colleagues that don’t know about this little adventure (almost all of them) still won’t. I could be overreacting. It could be that folks weren’t even looking at the wall. Perhaps their noses were buried in their keypads and settings. At any rate, I’m an idiot.

If that weren’t bad enough, as we’re still in Outlook, a new email from a friend pops up in my inbox. Subject? Yesterday’s NY Times article about the rising price for egg donors and coinciding ethical concerns.

We’ll talk about that later.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Can't Hold Back

I know Mother’s Day is still two days away but I’m no good at waiting.

Congratulations to a fellow cancer survivor and traveler on this egg donor adventure, Rae!

Let me shout another Happy Mother’s Day loud enough so another childhood cancer survivor H can hear it all the way across the ocean. 14 weeks and counting!

Rae found Maybe Baby shortly after my first post. I am so glad she did. Through her blog, I found Mi Historia, the story of a fellow “wanna be earth mother” which leaves me crying and laughing and believe it or not, longing for London. I love these blogs. I love these women. I love that there really is hope for a full and fertile life after cancer.

Happy (early) Mother’s Day to all the hopeful maybe mommas.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

What's Next?

I find this whole egg donor process absolutely amazing. What’s even better is that the few people that I have confided in about our little adventure feel the same way. I received a couple of sweet emails this week asking me, so, um, what’s happening in maybe baby land? reminding me to share a little more with you.

The answer right now is not much. In twelve days I go for a hysterosalpingogram, HSG for short. My gynecologist will meet me at the local hospital, inject dye through a long needle into my uterus and then take a series of X-rays to see if there is anything that would prevent a fertilized egg from finding a nice, cozy home there.

I’ve been told that there will be some cramping and bleeding and my gyn strongly suggested I start the day with some breakfast and a substantial dose of Advil. Swell. I am sure that I will be in the best of spirits as I sit through a three-day long Board of Directors strategic planning retreat which begins just a few hours after my procedure.

On the other side of things, our donor is going through the rest of her screening process. More tests, more appointments. After our frustrating visit to the genetic counselor I felt incredibly bad knowing our donor would have to sit through the same thing. Sorry donor.


You know, 19 years ago, after I had finished my chemo and radiation and it was pretty obvious that both had made me infertile, my doctor would tell me things like, They told my mother she couldn’t have children after her appendectomy and she popped out three of us! and, With all the advances in science and medicine, you really don’t know what options will be available to you by the time you want to have children.

The first statement I believe was more of a warning against unprotected sex because I would hear it well into my twenties. The second I think was meant to console my parents more than me because frankly what 13 year old gives a crap about having babies?

19 years later, whodathunk my kind doctor was right?

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Is this thing on??

Imagine my surprise when I went to check my blog a few minutes ago only to find an ugly ERROR 440 where my page should be.

Is this thing on? Testing. 1-2. Sibilance. Sibilance.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

The Party's Over

Damn. My birthday’s over.

And now after an action packed week, it’s back to work. With a cold.

I’ve got the Monday blues and it’s Tuesday.

Other than my thumping, stuffy head and my absentminded boss, there is really no reason for my malaise. Maybe the fact that I now need to wait 360 more days until my next birthday is what’s getting me down.

Did I mention what a great party I had? Now I have had some stellar birthdays – hiking in Zion National Park, free tickets to a Yankees game in NYC, raving in Berlin, but this, my friends, just may have been the best birthday party ever.

My favorite local band played for me at my favorite local club. Tons of people were there. Some were casual acquaintances. Others, friends I have known since adolescence. Not counting me and hubby, only two other guests know about our little adventure.

In MY mind, it was my last hurrah before potential (hopefully, maybe) motherhood. And I partied like a rock star. From the pictures, it looks as though lots of other people did as well. I had such a great time I feel almost obligated to give birth to something.

It was so hard for me not to share the news with my other close friends. Especially seeing that they came out to be with me, for me, on a midweek night. That is some love. They’ve got jobs, classes, other things they need to be doing on a Wednesday night, yet they came to spend a little time with us. I was incredibly touched and maybe feeling a little emotional anyway and all I wanted to do was blurt out in the middle of this smoky punk rock bar, “Hey, guess what? I’m gonna try to have a BAY-BEE!”

But I held it in. Kept it in check. Got ready for my solo.

My poor hubby. While he had a great time too, I know his mind was elsewhere. Specifically, focused on the semen analysis he’d have to give two days later. After a day of recovery on Thursday, we hopped in the car early Friday morning for another round of tests and consultations at our clinic, the “skeet skeet test” as we like to call it being one of them.

Now, ladies, I tried to be supportive. I am sure that this is a very stressful thing for a boy to undergo. But forgive me if I’m not too sympathetic because he needed to get it up and go in a cup. In case he’d forgotten or misplaced the pages and pages of instructions and lists of medication, this here body will be undergoing some significant discomfort over the next few months. If I am gearing up for a parade of needles in my ass, the least he can do is skeet, skeet, skeet. Right?

So, with that over and done with, we headed to our genetic counseling appointment. This is where you meet with a counselor; they draw your family tree and tell you things you already know. My family tree, as always, is branchless. A stump. Hubby’s takes up the whole damn page. It was nice to sit in a medical consult where hubby has to do all the talking because the opposite is usually the case. It was not so nice to arrive after battling an outrageous amount of traffic and torrential rain only to find that the counselor was completely unprepared to see us, didn’t have our charts or the chart of our donor and in fact, wasn’t quite sure she had the right donor number as a reference. I was furious. Especially after it became obvious that the entire conversation could have easily occurred over the phone.

Whatever. Shake it off. Check that task off your list. Genetic counseling? Done. What’s next?

All other blood work and lab results have come back normal. Hey hubby, guess what? I don’t have the Clap! Yes! Side note: I love my gynecologist. In order to have my insurance pay for the extra tests I needed done during my last annual exam, they had to do some “creative coding.” This seems to be the case with just about any procedure related to infertility. My nurse was so concerned that I would be upset if she coded the lab work for “risky sexual behavior.” I just thought it was funny. The riskiest we have gotten lately is getting a little too close to a lit candle in the bedroom. Look out! You’re taking unnecessary risks!

But the nurse’s concern was unfounded. My fabulous doctor came in with another creative coding suggestion that was far less illicit. All was well.

So that was a quick summary of birthday week 2007. I wonder what next year’s celebration will look like.