Yesterday, while I was doing Pilates, I realized something. I’ve spent the last fifteen months curled up. My body has literally taken on the fetal position as my go-to state of physical being. It probably started with how much I slept during chemo and then got worse when I consciously curled in to protect my chest after surgery.
As a result, my shoulders are hunched, my hip flexors and quads are tight as violin strings, and my calves require encouragement for me to walk in the morning.
Something interesting happened when I met with Northwestern’s onco-fertility lovely woman in August. I mentioned my blog, and she got all excited.
“Oh! I tripped across your blog post about your experience with fertility on LiveStrong, and I’ve been trying to figure out how to respond! I’m SO SORRY that you had such a chaotic experience. I’ll make sure that you never see any of those people again if you have to go through this again. I was really worried that I would never hear from you again, and I couldn’t figure out if any of the people were me until I reread your file and figured out that they weren’t but no one should have to go through that experience.”
Gulp. “Oh, boy. I didn’t mean to step all over you — you personally have been absolutely amazing. It was just upsetting that not a lot of the fertility people understood the multiple layers of emotion going on with fertility and cancer and chemo and…”
She nodded. “I get it. But I wanted to let you know that we’ve made some changes as a result.”
(Note: it took me a while to write this. Chronologically, the conversations in this post happened 3-4 days after the evening described in “Fertility, Part Two.”)
It took me almost three full days to recover from my hangover. Undoubtedly a combination of not drinking very much in the last year and, well, being 34.
On Monday morning, I called the onco-fertility specialist at Northwestern in a state slightly calmer than full-blown panic. This woman, since the first day she walked into my hospital room over a year ago, has been simply lovely. Empathetic, knowledgeable, calm. Everything a person needs who manages women who are simultaneously dealing with cancer and the possible loss of fertility.
“Gah! Blood tests! Infertile! Gynecologist wants me to get an egg donor!”
“Hi Lydia. Um, what?”