Thursday, June 28, 2007


Surviving And Moving Forward: The SAMFund for Young Adult Survivors of Cancer has recently opened their 2007-2008 grant and scholarship application process. The grants and scholarships are for post-treatment, "real life" needs such as rent and other living expenses, tuition and loans, car and health insurance premiums, residual medical bills and prescription co-pays. The organization will provide up to $5,000 for fertility options/procedures. Applicants must be between 17 and 35, finished with treatment, and residents of the United States.

For more information and to download the application, please visit The SAMFund website.

Best believe I am applying.

Monday, June 25, 2007


Weekend was sunny and fabulous. More on that later.

I'm delaying that post because it's all I can do to keep my eyes open right now. It's day 10 of Lupron and I think I am experiencing some extreme fatigue. Made it to the gym this morning, but barely. Did some light weight training hoping it would wake me up. No such luck. Stumbled home and back to sleep until hubby gently woke me in time to get ready for my morning meetings.

It's 3 pm and at least three times today, I found myself stumbling again, but on words. I was chatting with a co-working and for the life of me could not remember the word that means that time of day that someone is supposed to be at work, oh right, shifts. We're not talking rocket science here. I suddenly cannot remember words that are part of my daily vocabulary. And that is a HUGE problem when my job is all about communicating. With words.

I hope this goes away.

Friday, June 22, 2007


In case you haven't noticed, I am a big fan of celebrating. Birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, remissions - all fair game.

Today is our fifth wedding anniversary. Nine years ago, I met hubby halfway across the globe even though we grew up just a couple of miles away from each other. We've been inseparable ever since. Awwww.....Disgusting. I know.

This weekend, we head out of town to help my awesome friend S and her hubby celebrate their new house. Ok, we missed the official house warming a few months ago. I never said I was timely.

This will be my first time traveling with my meds. All kinds of needles and drugs driving across state lines. Does that mean I'm moving weight across the tri-state, like Mobb Deep? Good times, man. Good times.

Can't wait to see you bubby.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

To Put it Bluntly

Last night, hubby noticed some bruises on my leg and asked sincerely,

Honey, are you sure you're doing those shots right?

I had to laugh. Not at his concern but at the location of the bruises - my hip and my calf. nowhere near mid-thigh injection sites.

This goes to prove that after all of this angst about needles, its really me and blunt objects that have issues.

Day 6 of lupron shots. So far so good.

Sunday, June 17, 2007


Doesn't it just figure. Just days after the "now don't take any meds without asking, especially antihistamines" talk with Nurse, my nose starts running like a faucet, my face swells and my teeth ache. Sinus infection? Great.

I've spent the day walking around with a roll of TP in hand, pieces of it shoved up my nostrils like some hideous face tampons because seriously, its that bad. The minute I stop blowing, drips of snot litter my path. Gross. I know.

I know I can take advil or tylenol or aleve, but I can't remember which one. I have an email into Nurse. In the meantime, any advice?

Update: a steaming hot shower helps. Definitely helps.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Google This?

Sometimes I toy with the idea of adding GoogleAds to my blog. Simply because I am so curious as to what products and services they would contextually connect to this subject. What would Google find as "relevant" to us ladies trying to have babies?

Pregnancy tests? Fertility clinics? Or would my potty mouth and discussion of bodily functions veer them in a different direction? Shall we try it?

Friday, June 15, 2007

Needles and Pins

It arrived today. Just like they said it would.

A big box of meds. And needles. Lots of needles.


Have I mentioned my unhealthy fear of needles? Have we talked about that? I know poor hubby is sick of hearing about it.

I cried at our training yesterday afternoon. Not because anyone was doing anything cruel or unusual to me, I was just wigging out at the prospect of daily injections for the next four months. four months! And that's if everything goes well.

What's the problem? You're wondering. It's just a little prick and then it's done. And think of the potentially wonderful result!

Yes, yes. You are 100% correct. But that doesn't change the fact that the times in my life when I have been in the most pain, in the worst way, can all be attributed to needles. Blown veins. Bone marrow aspirations. Chemo sessions gone bad. Multiple attempts to insert IVs only to hit nerves and then watch as they try again. All of this shit that I have managed not to even think about over the last 20 years comes flooding back at the sight of those fucking bags of needles.

I know my girl Rae knows what I'm talking about.

My pal S, who somehow always says the right things to soothe me and get me thinking straight, said this to me a while back during one of my first needle freak outs: She reminded me that all of those other times were imposed upon me. I had no choice. It was someone else inflicting their cures and treatments on me.

This time, it's all me. It is my choice. My decision. And that in itself should be empowering.

It is. Kind of.

We invited our pal H to dinner last night. Ok, we called her up and forced her to meet us downtown so we could ask her a huge favor. H, you see, just graduated nursing school, is getting ready to pass her boards and is almost a fully qualified nurse. She also lives across the street from us. Both hubby and I knew we would feel better if she were willing and able to walk us through our first couple of big shots (not the Lupron. Don't think all of this is over the Lupron. Its the big "P" that has me shaking.)

This also meant that we had to expand our little circle of folks in the know. Which we feel a little better about now that things are actually happening. Out of the theoretical, into the logistical.

She was completed unsurprised when we told her we were trying to have a maybe baby (which surprised me). She was honored and thrilled at the idea of being asked to shoot me in the ass. She loves this kind of stuff. She, like S, did a lot to allay my fears. I can tell she and hubby are already planning a progesterone poking regiment.

We are also planning to spend some time together this weekend celebrating the great things that are happening in our lives. New career for H. New love interest for our mutual pal C. And possibly, maybe, you know what for us. Good times, man. Good times.


"Wow! The last time I came here they gave me porn and today they send me home with a bag full of syringes. I wonder what I get next."

-hubby, referring to our fertility clinic.

Lupron injections begin tomorrow.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Near the Beach, BO-YYYY!

In an unprecedented and bold move, me and hubby are F-ing off work and running away to the beach tomorrow morning. For the week.

Completely irrational: it's nearing the end of the budget process in the state where I live and I should be here, pacing, reading the wires, thinking of more media angles and ways to mobilize my association's members, biting my nails and waiting for news of whether or not the line items that matter to me are appearing in later versions of the bill or if they've found themselves on the cutting room floor, negotiated away for someone's pet project or someone else's motorway.

But, as NadaSurf sings, "aww f*ck it. I'm gonna have a party."

The way I see it, I have less than a week before my life might possibly maybe change forever. I am going to my happy place. I am going to drink beer and eat Thrasher fries and shellfish and butter. I may even get sunburned.

I whispered the plan to my pal and co-worker (also mother of a gorgeous 13-month old girl) and rather than tsk-tsking, here was her response:

HAVE FUN DUDES! ENJOY AND SOAK IT UP. we went to yellowstone right before i got preggers w/ rosemary's baby and it was the best decision we made. last hoorah for a while.... so have a blast, get drunk and scr*w and eat fries and lard and chocolate and sleep on the sand. oh and sleep, and sleep, and sleep and sleep. :) AND DON"T WORK FOR CHRISTS SAKE!

Why that sounds like a joyous idea. Here's the plan: my parents have a little camper in a campground in Slower Lower Delaware. Weekends are crazy there, filled with kids and families, but weekdays are sublime. Just us and the retirees. The little camper is cozy, but plenty enough room for hubby and I to work and write and relax. I won't be shirking all responsibilities - there are conference calls to call into and meetings to prepare for, but for the most part, we plan to work on our never-ending book proposal (on a completely unrelated topic) and muse about what life might be like with a maybe baby.

On the way home, we'll stop and pay a visit to our clinic, say hello to Nurse and get trained on how to begin my life as a pincushion.

Stay tuned.

Saturday, June 9, 2007


So then, I am not the only one who was duped by the "mild cramping" line.

"Mild cramping my *ss."

Wednesday, June 6, 2007


Hear that?

That's what left in our piggy bank. Nothing but air. We just made our final payment to the clinic, spread across three credit cards especially cleared for this purpose.

I am scheduled to begin Lupron in 11 days.

I'm slightly dizzy and I'm not sure if it's because I've never threw down that much dough in one sitting before or if things are beginning to feel real. And that's a little scary.

And exciting. But still, scary.

Whoooosh. That's me. Trying to breathe.

Monday, June 4, 2007


Yesterday was National Cancer Survivors Day. This year marks the 20th anniversary of this celebration of survivorship.

Survivorship rates are increasing every year. And that's fantastic. I'm proud to say that I am one of the first generations of adult survivors of childhood cancer. What's not so great is that those of us who were on the cusp of new and different (and admittedly, successful) treatment techniques are now growing up and dealing with all the other effects of injecting toxic chemicals (aka chemotherapy) into our bodies while at the same time willfully exposing ourselves to radioactive materials.

That sounds about as modern as leeches if you ask me.

Most of the times, our doctors knew that treatments would render us sterile. In the case of Stage III Hodgkin's, even the clinical guide from the American Cancer Society admits, Girls receiving such therapy will not be able to bear children; boys will probably be sterile. However, as the potential for cure is quite real, this therapeutic regimen can be recommended for children over 10-12 years of age, provided the probability of sterility is accepted.

Provided the probability of sterility is accepted.

Who asked me?

At a young adult survivors retreat held a few years ago, I was reunited with several people who had received treatments with me. Leukemia, Hodgkin's, brain tumors, bone cancers, all of us, we had seen each other puke, cry, wince, and finally celebrate when x-rays and scans finally started coming back with some good results. Now, there we were, circled around the free buffet commiserating like old war veterans.

Many of us now had significant others. Most of them came with us to the retreat. There was one theme that day that found its way into every seminar, every discussion group, and I don't think it was one the organizers were really that prepared to discuss: How can I cope with (my partner) never being able to have kids?

In one of the sessions, one of my former nurse practicioners asked us point blank, are you angry with us? Do you blame your doctors?

What can you say?

I said what I was truly feeling at that time, which was, how can I be? You saved my life.

Hubby reported that the sessions for spouses were a little more brutal, with lots of tears and angst and anger and frustration. Some had known their partners through treatments, others, like hubby, had met long after the needles and scans and surgeries were through. Hard to say which set bore the brunt of infertility harder. Those who had watched their lover suffer and now must see them suffer again or those who knew cancer only as an abstract, something in their partner's past, like an old boyfriend who had left permanent scars. Either way, they were now living with the baggage (or lack of, so to speak).

At that time, honestly, hubby and I had already resigned ourselves to life sans baby and found most of the day pretty draining and overwrought. I had convinced myself, as I had when I fully understood the implications of my no longer getting a period, that I really didn't want a baby anyway. I wasn't cut out to be a breeder. Who needs kids anyway.

Things change.

After a series of events, long talks, lots of tears, and some serious soul searching, we decided to pursue (again) the idea of egg donation. You see, we had tried this a few years ago but we were dissuaded after a consultation with a doctor/fertility specialist who we have now decided must have been clinically depressed. Not only was he completely opposed to the concept of anonymous donors ("ethically questionable," he said, "an uncomfortable market," he said), he asked us if we thought "the world had enough babies in it anyway." I am dead serious. We left his office slightly stunned and certainly rid of any thought that we might someday be parents.

I began, like most of my fellow bloggers, looking around online for some leads. Search after search pulled up articles and exposes about the growing price of "designer" or Ivy League eggs, reports on the lengths desperate couples would go, the money they would spend, for the promise of possible conception, or even worse, blogs from people who felt victimized or hoodwinked by their programs or clinics.

This was not at all what I was looking for. Not what I hoped to hear.

There MUST be someplace reputable out there, I thought. I KNOW I am not the only person in this situation. I cannot be the only woman who had cancer as a kid and now wants a kid of her own.

Click. That's the light bulb finally going off in my head.

I revised my searches, I started where I should have started in the first place. I called my pediatric oncologist and my old child life specialist (aka social worker). I dug up my materials from the survivors retreat and started calling the nurses and specialists listed on them. I found fertileHope.

fertileHope is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping cancer patients faced with infertility. Their primary mission is education and assisting those about to undergo treatment plan for the future. But they also have a great Cancer and Fertility Resource Guide, which lists all of the fertility specialists in your area who are familiar with the issues surrounding cancer survivorship. This is where I found my clinic.

Hope, at last.

Happy Survivors Day.