what a difference a day makes

Updated with Option 4 (see below).


As one of my friends tells me all the time: "Always start from hope."

Yesterday we met with two docs over at Local Research University (LRU), and turns out there IS one study we qualify for! But I'm jumping ahead of myself in our story...

Remember the nice receptionist who told me everything was going to be okay? She made good on her promise to help us out. Two days ago I got a call from a doctor who introduced herself as the new reproductive endocrinologist, freshly arrived from Penn (where I had my melanoma-metastasized-to-my-head scare. She knows my doc from there) to set up the new Reproductive Endocrinology Center at LRU. Small world.

She said between the melanoma, the PCOS and now uterine cancer, I'm a very interesting case study. I couldn't agree more! I'm a medical abnormality, study me people! Our options, based on our wonderful meeting yesterday with Dr. Hope and Dr. Professor:
  • Option 1: Harvest my eggs. Since we're about 6 weeks out from surgery, we still have an option of harvesting my eggs. It would mean 2 weeks of taking birth control pills, then 2 weeks of "hey eggs, HAPPEN" pills, then harvest! (Hope at end of post.) Obviously the optimal choice, but the priciest one (see earlier post about $14k price tag).
  • Option 2: Donate my ovaries. This is actually one of the first things I thought of when I was diagnosed. When I got my driver's license, I happily placed the organ donor sticker on my card. It makes me happy to think I can do this option, if nothing else. Plus, given my history, Dr. Professor said he would "love to study" my ovaries. Of course, he said he'd love to give me a baby and my health comes first, but still, my ovaries beckon. I get it; they're whacked.
  • Option 3: Follow the 80/20 rule. There's this brilliant study out of Northwest University where an investigator hypothesized that they could do better than to try grow embryos in a 2D dish. Why not try to mimic the natural state...where it's more like how seaweed flows in water. So that's what the study's about: grow the embryos in synthetic algea/seaweed stuff. If we did this option, they'd get 20% of my ovary tissue for the study, and 80% of it would be mine, stored away next to the Ben & Jerry's in a freezer until the day comes when this study proves itself out. That could be years, and years, and years though.
  • Option 4: Leave the ovaries in. Turns out Dr. Professor and Dr. Man are buddies. The former's going to call the latter and see he's comfortable leaving the ovaries in (since the cancer's in the uterus). If there's no health threat to leaving the ovaries behind, they'll leave them in and try to harvest my eggs after I've healed from the surgery.

They also told us about the wonderful people over at Fertile Hope, "a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to providing reproductive information, support and hope to cancer patients and survivors whose medical treatments present the risk of infertility." With aid from the Lance Armstrong Foundation, they help defray the costs associated with IVF for we cancer-type peeps. Turns out we make a little more than their range.

Last night IT Geek and I talked about the options -- and consulted with Nurse Mom -- and decided to do a mix of Options 2 and 3. One of my ovaries would go to Dr. Professor, who's interest lies in my PCOS and the other one would go to the Seaweed Study.

Except...when Dr. Hope called back today to see what our decision was, she replayed her comments again that IVF is still the best hope for making a baby for us. I began crying, again, because it just wasn't financially feasible. I told her I'd hoped there was a loophole in the financing, a kind of, "Hey, it's shitty you have cancer, so we'll take pity on your soon-to-be-barren soul and help a sister out."

I was made to be a mommy. And a kick-ass one at that.

You don't grow up as Daughter of Nurse Mom to not be a stellar mother. I told her as much, and that it looks like we make a tad more than the range to qualify for the financial aid. Her response?

"This is just crap. You make a little too much, but not enough to cover it yourself. It's shitty -- sorry for the language, but it's just shitty. You deserve to be a mom. I'm going to figure this out for you. Give me until end of day tomorrow."

Dr. Hope. You've got to love her.


KPC said…
Routin' for you, Kara!
Jackie said…
Sounds like you are encountering AMAZING people...which is probably a nice feeling in the midst of everything! Who knew there were so many resources out there? Keep us updated! ps - I love the egg pics :-)
Gretchen said…
Crying for you both! LOVE that Dr.! Will be following for news with baited breath! You're kids are going to be some lucky little widgets!
Sara said…
A friend is going through IVF just now and learned during her financial consult that although the paperwork says IVF is completely uncovered by health insurance, Personal Choice usually does cover bits and pieces. Her HR person was able to switch her over to Personal Choice even though it wasn't their open enrollment period, and around $4K of the drugs were covered. It might be worth a shot to see if the same tactic could work for you.

So much to digest when you have limited time. I will be praying for the best possible outcome to all of this.
Michelle said…

You're right. You would and will make a kick ass mom. I know you will do this. I don't know how, but I know you will do this. Somehow. In some unexpected, surprising, wonderful way, you will be a mom. Keep up the POSITIVITY. It does wonders for our soul, for our bodies and for the people around us who we inspire with our good energy. Positive energy can transform outcomes. Thinking of you!!!
Kara DeFrias said…
Thanks everyone, for your support and suggestions! :)
Happy A. said…
Your phone call today made my WEEK! Love you!!
Gingerbreadmama said…
Hope is very powerful. So happy that more good news is coming your way! xoxo
Wishing you better health news with each passing day. Good luck on 04/12/10; do not bring Sharpie to write snarky thoughts on self... a laughing surgeon requires better aim.

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