Saturday, March 23, 2013

Frozen Egg Insurance (Also Known as Our Personal Easter)

So we finally reached out for financial help from our far-flung community and froze some eggs. Asking for support was a good idea. The oncological psychologist had encouraged me to ask for financial help from family and friends if we needed it, and at the time I'd felt relieved by her confidence. It is hard for me to ask for financial help. But she said the last thing I should be worrying about is money - and she was right.

Not only did this help us financially, but we were flooded with messages of support, love, and enthusiasm. Some of the things people wrote are still ringing confidently in my ears, reminding me that I am strong, brave, capable and not anywhere close to alone. These are powerful feelings.

For about 10 days, Joshua injected me with hormones twice a day. He used to be a shepherd and, having injected thousands and thousands of sheep, he is confident with a needle. I told him that I am not a sheep and probably the sheep can't give feedback about how the injections feel. He reminded me that not being able to speak is not the same as being incapable of feedback. He did a very good job with all those needles. For the procedure to remove the eggs, I got to go under again, and when I woke up the doctors had used a big needle to pull out 5 viable, and now frozen, eggs. Insurance.

This is not only baby-making insurance. For us, the decision was almost more psychological. We could not make a different decision. The other choice was to decide that we'd leave it all up in the air. There was this awful possibility of knowing, in the future, that frozen eggs would have been the only option. Having the choice to decide later meant foregoing the pain of giving up now. It was a huge relief. Plus it gave us a fun type of doctor visit, a hopeful and positive doctor visit. Very different from the rest. And of course our friends told us things like, 'anything I can do to help the possibility of a Ram-oshua baby on the world is a good investment.' Thank you for the smiles and happiness.

Of course, sadly, dramatically, having some eggs on ice does not mean we will be having babies. There are many uncertainties. First, there's the obvious possibility that when they defrost, the eggs will break. Or that they will not implant in the uterus. There is also the radiation that will almost certainly damage my uterus. I may be able to get pregnant, but the damage from the radiation makes the uterus not as flexible, making twins a terrible idea. The uterus may not be able to grow to support even one full-term baby. Pregnancy could present more and bigger risks than usual.

Nonetheless, they are a sign of hope and optimism, things that a cancer patient needs in order to deal with the rest. One less thing to be sad and sorry about, one less depressing certainty. 

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