Well, this post is nothing but shit. So if you’re not in the mood for shit — stop reading here. This will not end with rainbows and pots of gold.
I started a draft blog post about a week ago and decided to hold on posting it for fear of jinxing the whole damn thing. The post was all about how in all of this shit cancer crap, our silver lining is that our donor was cleared to move forward with her stimulation on October 19th. We were a little worried about getting away to Kauai before my surgery because we would likely miss her retrieval. But, Dr. Schmidt and Angela were in constant contact, updating us and reassuring us that we had a few work arounds if we really wanted to get out-of-town for a bit. So, we opted to get away to regroup. The morning before we left, Paul visited Nova to leave a little present for freezing. While in Kauai, Angela texted us that the donor was ready and that her retrieval would be Thursday (today). As a certified expert on retrieval — having had 4 of them myself, I know that retrievals tend to happen between 11am-1pm. Mornings at Nova are reserved for blood draws and monitoring appointments. Shit, I could work there at this point — I’ve been through the process so many times!
So, when it rolled around to noon Kauai time, I started to worry. That’s 3pm San Francisco time. Why hadn’t Angela called or texted? About an hour later my phone was ringing, it was Nova, I went to pick up and the line went dead. We were shopping at the time. So I put the loot I was about to buy (a cute onsie and baby book for Kim’s newest bundle of joy — I’m supposed to go to her baby shower on Sunday and didn’t want to show up empty-handed — and what is cuter than surfer baby gear?!) down on the counter and asked the shopkeeper to just hold them for a few minutes while I took a call outside.
I called Nova back and told the woman who answer that Angela just called me but missed me, could I please speak with her. She asked me to hold. She came back on the line a few minutes later and said, “Hi Andrea, I’ll transfer you to Dr. Schmidt now.” Those are NEVER the words you want to hear. NO, NO, NO. I want to talk to Angela, not Dr. Schmidt. Whenever he gets on the phone, it’s only to deliver bad news. He is a nice doctor and would never leave it to his nurse practitioners to deliver that crap news. As soon as I heard that, I pulled Paul by the arm and we went to a bench, away from the Kauai trade winds so that we would be able to clearly hear him on speaker phone. (Kim, sorry, we never did go back into the store to buy the cute onsie and book for your shower — I’ll have to make that one up to you!)
Paraphrasing from stunned memory: “Hi Andrea?” “Yes, it’s me, I have you on speaker phone — Paul is here too” “Hi guys, are you driving?” “No, we’re sitting” “OK, well, do you want to talk now or once your home from vacation?” “Now” (we just look at each other and know where this is headed) “This is not the call I wanted to make, especially with all that’s going on with you two and the breast cancer etc. We did your donor’s retrieval this morning and it wasn’t great. Out of 20 follicles, she only gave us 3 small eggs. I’m not loving the looks of the eggs. They seem immature. If they continue to look good, we will put them with sperm and call you with the fertilization report tomorrow, but I am really not liking the looks of this at all. I am so sorry to have to tell you this.”
I am literally speechless. I hear Dr. Schmidt ask after me — “Andrea? Are you still there?” I mutter yes. Paul takes over and goes on auto pilot. We make light of it to some degree because that’s what we do and that’s our coping mechanism. But after a few minutes of disbelief lightheartedness, I begin to get sad/angry. Dr. Schmidt so sweetly told us that he is with us, in our corner and he will see this through until we get our kid. But, his words are literally of no comfort in that moment.
Why the FUCK is this happening to us? To me? What the hell did I do? It must’ve been really, really shitty. People have their goddamn limits and I have absolutely reached mine.
We got back to our condo after picking up copious amounts of alcohol. I immediately put on my jammies even though it was 1:30 in the afternoon and I crawled into the closet. Literally. I know this sounds ridiculous/pathetic. But I am in unfamiliar surroundings. I don’t have my dog, My things — nothing. When I was little, I always played inside my closet (must be a blue collar Buffalo thing!). It was like my little secret space. I felt comfortable in there. It was so confined and nobody else could possibly fit in there. Yes, for those of you know who know Paul, this was somewhat of a dick move. We probably should have held each other and cried together because this pain is as much his as it is mine. But I just needed to be alone and in a condo — that is virtually impossible. So I found myself on the floor of the closet (sad, I know). Eventually Paul honed in on me, opened the door to the closet and revealed my hiding spot. I suppose my sobbing gave it away. He came with a peace offering of wine. He opened the door and I cried and cried and cried some more on his shoulder.
I seriously don’t know why this is happening anymore. I thought that the silver lining that would get me through a bilateral mastectomy and chemo would be the thought of my totsicles waiting to be thawed and put inside me for safekeeping until I grew it/them to full term. That pot of gold was crushed today. I am literally stunned (and SERIOUSLY drunk right now).
Don’t feel too badly for me though. I am writing this post poolsode, gazing out at the ocean, sipping wine and listening to some of my favorite songs (I’m going with Desi songs all the way this afternoon! Soundtrack to K3G, Kabhi Kabhie, Jimmy Jimmy Jimmy Aaja, Jhumka Gira Re and, my dad’s fave: Ramaiya Vastaviya).
Honestly, I’m tapped out. I’ve literally got nothing more to offer any of you. I am lost, absolutely lost. Hopefully a few days from now I will find my way. But for now, I am empty. I’ve got nothing for you. I’ve got no ending to this tale. It’s all fucking shit.