Four

My doorbell rang just as I was talking to my dad this afternoon. Tears streamed my face as I explained the outcome of today. He listened to my obvious disappointment and tried to encourage me……how much I wish I could reach through the phone and have him hold me.

This morning after my roommate drove me back home and went back work I laid in my bed and wept. Both physically and emotionally I am drained.

After being admitted for surgery around 8 am, I found my way to the operating table. The nurses carefully placed my legs far apart and strapped me in, so my I would not fall off once I was put to sleep. Talk about your dignity thrown to the side. A dear friend of my bosses (who happens to be a nurse in the office) came down to visit. She simply wanted to say hello, encourage me and tell me how glad she was that I found my way to their office. The tears began to fall as she spoke. The nurses asked about my story, how I found my way to the fertility office…. I gave them a cliff notes version of my breast cancer journey. Unlike most of their patients, I was a cancer patient preserving my fertility prior to chemotherapy. My friends were out in the waiting room (not a husband or partner like most). I became overwhelmed by my whole story and the procedure getting ready to take place. I tried to take deep breaths as I waited for them to begin. The doctor, not my own (the one on call) introduced himself and I quickly found myself asleep.

I woke up in the recovery room hazy. All I heard though and all I remember is that they got three. My roommate and best friend were sitting in the chairs across from me as we listened to the nurse recap on how it went. All I could hear was number 3. 3 eggs. As soon as the room emptied and it was just me and my friends I began to cry. 3? Just three I thought? Rachel and Candice made their way to my bedside as they helped me wipe my tears since my hands were trapped by my IV and monitor….. this was my one opportunity and this was the outcome.

I am at home now resting. I am not in much pain but my heart hurts. There are so many things I could explain, and questions to be had….. but I am trying hard not to go there. I do not mean to be ungrateful for the eggs they retrieved… It is just not the outcome I had hoped for.  Fertility as a cancer patient is a very different journey than that of a woman trying to conceive, so please know that I in know way want to assume I know what that journey is.

The reality is that eleven days ago I had a resting follicle count of 13 eggs. (considered low for someone my age). Over the course of ten days I began taking medicine (shots) to stimulate my ovaries. Last Thursday,  I had close to 8-10 follicles (eggs) responding well to medicine and growing large. Saturday evening, I took my trigger shot to give the final boost to the follicles to mature for extraction today. I had been told many estimates throughout the simulation regarding the number for retrieval. Some estimates were high, based on my age and my health. Once my resting count was set at 13 the estimation dropped. The lowest range I had been told was 4-6 follicles. Last Thursday and Friday it was looking more like 8- 10 follicles. But none of that matters because today, the final frozen number was 4.

The nurse called this afternoon and confirmed that they froze four healthy, mature eggs for me. (they confirmed one more after I left their office). You may be wondering doesn’t it just take just one for a baby? Yes that is true. (with many asterisks).

Four is not the number I expected to hear but four is what I received.

I am going to try and rest my eyes easy tonight knowing that this part is complete…. and the next part is chemotherapy.

For the most part I have compartmentalized my cancer journey to process one thing at a time and I honestly think part of my emotions are knowing that the fertility step is complete and I am on to the next step….. chemotherapy.

The certainty I once had, I am not sure I have anymore. I used to dream big and look to the future as though it were mine to grasp. The one thing I know for certain is right now, I am given today. I have today to embrace and today honestly was a hard day. Perhaps someday I will get married, and I may decide to have a child. But today, I am not doing that, I am not sure I may ever want to do that. But should I decide and should I not be able to conceive on my own….. I have four healthy eggs to give me that opportunity.

I am sad. I am disappointed. I am relieved and I am scared of what is next.

Tomorrow morning I am back to physical therapy…. Thursday I go back to the plastic surgeon. More doctors appointments await, but the daily ultrasound/shots/blood draw are complete.

Here are some pictures from today. Thank you again. I appreciate your kind words, and to those of you reading struggling through infertility know how dear you are to my heart.

Love Kristina

My puffy eyes from my tears and wheelchair photo I am getting used to taking.

Fertile Hope a program through the LiveStrong foundation and heartBeat by Walgreens, provides all medication for fertility preservation free of charge for cancer patients. (it was delivered straight to my house). These programs gave me more medicine than I needed and I was able to donate this back to the fertility office, to give to another cancer patient who was denied by the program. 
Fertility preservation was not covered by my insurance so the gift of medicine that would have otherwise cost me thousands of dollars was such a gift. Thank you to both of these organizations. Below you will see that I wrote a message to the recipient of my medicine from one cancer patient to another. (we have to stick together).
My medicine all prepped for me one morning.
Lastly our live Christmas tree, adorned with popcorn strings compliments of my roommate and her boyfriend.

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