Want to see a picture of my future family?
The fertility doc handed me this little keepsake at my follow-up visit today, and I’m tempted to ask if he has any wallet-sized prints. I mean, these are my kids, after all.
There they are, all 15 of my little frozen eggs. It’s so strange to see how perfectly round and plump they are (except for that adorably dented one in the corner), so weird to think that each and every one of us started out with one of those single cells. Looking at them, I’m reminded yet again of what a strange miracle the body is – and I can’t help but be so grateful for mine, even though it went a little haywire for a second there.
I had the best weekend. A couple of my amazingly wonderful high school friends were back in town for the weekend, so we ate tacos (not burritos – are you surprised?), gossiped, walked around Old Town and enjoyed some espresso while petting my friend Harry’s tiny golden dachshund, Mr. Bates. I wish that I could shave Mr. Bates and make a wig out of his perfect fur to replace my soon-to-be-erstwhile hair, but alas. Synthetic wigs it is. Shaving dachshunds is probably some kind of animal cruelty, and Mr. Bates has been through enough, as I think I put him down for about 25 seconds all day on Saturday.
Yesterday my bestest best friend in the whole entire world, Katie Bo, came down to LA to visit me. We had a stunningly normal Sunday strolling along Third Street Promenade and relaxing in the sand by the Santa Monica Pier, drinking a couple of beers and eating popcorn shrimp and loaded fries and, obviously, Mexican food. (I have to get it all in now because tomorrow, my taste buds will be obliterated by chemotherapy.) We looked like lesbian lovers taking a romantic walk on the beach thanks to our matching pixie cuts, but it’s honestly difficult to overstate how little vanity I have left after all that I’ve been through, so I don’t care.
I’ve got about 14 hours left before the doctors start pumping my body full of toxic chemicals, but I’m oddly relaxed. Maybe it’s because I have 40+ Ativan pills in a nice little orange cylinder ready for consumption whenever the anxiety gets to be too much, or maybe it’s because I’m going to have a burrito for dinner (again), or maybe it’s because I just believe that everything is going to be alright and that my doctors are going to take care of me and make me healthy and whole again when all of this is over. I don’t know. And really, isn’t that the genesis of fear? I just don’t know.
Will I coast by with just minor aches and pains? Or will I fall victim to the bone marrow flares many patients have described as worse than childbirth – a metric I can’t even understand since the only thing I’ve given birth to is 15 eggs plucked from my overstimulated ovaries, but a metric that terrifies me nonetheless? Will I be fine, with barely any nausea to speak of, as many people on my regimen seem to be? Or will I be sick to my stomach for days, clutching a metal bowl to vomit into in between episodes of Law & Order: SVU? Also, how is even possible that there are SVU episodes I haven’t seen yet? They’re like starfish limbs; every time I watch one, a new one regenerates in its place. And most importantly, of course, is the real question on everyone’s mind: Will this cure me?
Here’s another question that’s bugging me – why is no one at USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center bald? I swear, I go to that hospital at least 4 times a week, and I never see anyone who has lost their hair. It’s a cancer center. Everyone there has cancer, but they all look ready to shoot a Pantene commercial! I’ve decided that this is an encouraging sign that my wigs will look extremely realistic and other new cancer patients will be jealous of my photoshoot-ready locks.
Anyway, I’ve found one way of looking at the situation that never fails to cheer me up, and that’s this. By this time tomorrow, I’ll have one chemo session under my belt, and only five more to go ’til healthy, happy freedom.