Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Making half-babies - part one

Sitting in the IVF clinic with my wound gunge bag and my mother, surrounded by couples, it struck me that I was not your typical IVF patient. The doctor was very kind, sensitive and laughed at all my jokes - so I liked him immediately. I had gotten used to being poked and prodded around my top half, now the same was going to be down to my bottom half. We had to start the IVF process that day. It was a big decision to make, but I felt that it was something that I would regret not doing, but not something that I would regret doing. It wasn't something that I could decide to do later, staring down the face of infertility. I wasn't put off though, I thought I don't have any issues (that I knew of), so things might be ok.

Speaking through the process with the IVF nurse, the emotion of the past week hit me. The fact that I was discussing egg harvesting because I had breast cancer and facing chemotherapy which will make me infertile - I broke down and cried. I am not a big crier, but this was all getting too much to deal with. Even now, a few months on, I still get emotional when I think about that first day. Going through the forms, the nurse was crossing out all the parts which referred to sperm, fertilisation and partners, since that wasn't relevant. It made me sad to think even my eggs were single and at a disadvantage. Unfertilised eggs have a lower success rate of thawing, but I thought it was worth the risk. I have friends who have gone through the IVF process. Some felt it was very ambitious aiming for 20 eggs in one cycle. One friend's response was 'bullshit' when I told her the outcome we hoped for! I was told to prepare for mood swings, headaches and cramps. I started twice a day nasal spray and daily hormone injections. For someone who has a strong aversion to needles, I wasn't looking forward to sticking a needle in myself each morning. That week was a busy week. Going to the fertility doctor every other day and the surgeon in between, this being sick business was a full time job! The egg harvesting was going along well and the eggs were growing at a good rate. My tolerance for the hormones surprised me - I had no side effects at all. Either I am very lucky or the other women are soft! I was hoping that my tolerance for the hormones would transfer to chemo and I would be side effect free through that process as well.

That week was my 35th birthday and I was hoping to have my wound drain removed so I could go to the Powderfinger concert. I had been planning a four day birth festival - but those plans were changed. The day before my birthday I was back at the surgeon hoping that he would remove my drain. Living with the drain was very limiting. Going from living alone to having my mother help me shower and dress was strange. I hated losing my independence, but was aware of how lucky I was to have such a supportive family. Since I was still unable to drive, it was a good thing that my mother and I get along so well, because we were spending a lot of time together. We were still able to make each other laugh, even in the face of breast cancer. The surgeon was a little concerned about how much fluid was still coming from my wound, but said he would remove it if I had a really good reason for wanting it out. I appealled to his softer side and said it was my birthday and I wanted to see Powderfinger that night. He said that was good enough for him and removed it. My goal of going to the concert was reached, with the help of an afternoon nap, a few pain killers and a lift door to door. To celebrate my birthday the next day, I had planned a quiet day - or so I had told my mother! However, it involved breakfast with my work team (including an awesome present from the Queensland Reds!), morning tea with another friend, lunch with some other friends, afternoon tea with my sister and her kids and dinner at home with some friends. I was very spoilt that day. I have to say having breast cancer ups the ante on birthday presents! The Reds are one of our clients and our contact there knows what I fan I am and very generously put together a present for me. I rang her to say thank-you that afternoon and she was asking how I was going and if I was going to manage to go to any of the games next season. I told her that I already had my season ticket and was hoping to make all of them! I told her to tell the boys that I was going to get out of my chemo bed to make it to the games - so that they had better win! She laughed and said that the boys were coming in for a meeting that day and would I mind if she told them that. I was very happy for her to give them some motivation. I don't want to take all the credit, but the Reds are having their best season in 10 years!!!!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment