July 24, 2010

unexpected hysterectomy side effects: crying uncontrollably

Not too long ago I bragged how I skipped menopause after my hysterectomy. I have noticed, though, one thing that's changed: my propensity for histrionics of the aquatic kind has rocketed.

Photo credit: Healthy Tips

Last week I was up North on company business, and stayed at my BFF Will's house which is right down the road from work (how convenient!). To give you an idea of our relationship, here's a conversation we had shortly after my surgery:

Will: How are you feeling?
Me: Good. I'll be back to normal in 2 weeks.
Will: You've never been "normal" -- don't hope that you'll start now.
Me: True.

As the Will to my Grace, he's never minced words (and I'd have it no other way). During my visit, we were both tooling away on our respective MacBooks (of course!) and Extreme Home Makeover came on. This particular episode revolved around a mom who had inoperable cancer. While I tend to cry at sad movies*, it's usually during an actual sad part where the crying occurs. These days, during recovery, it takes just the thought of something sad and the waterworks start up. I'm such a freaking sissy. And it's not just the mopey crocodile tears. It's full on heaving sobs. Gak...

Will, bless his heart, turned it right off. I apologized for being a wuss, but in his wonderful Will way he told me how strong I am, how I've beaten cancer twice, and how I'm allowed to cry now and then. Cut to today, when I watched The Express, the fantastic movie based on the life of college football hero Ernie Davis, the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy.

### Spoiler alert ### After winning the Heisman, he gets drafted by the Cleveland Browns, but dies at the age of 23 of leukemia before playing a single down. Yes, the leukemia that's cancer of the blood or bone marrow.

Cue the waterworks, and the heaving, and the sobbing. Our poor puppies got confused, so they came over and began giving me love. Maybe as I get further away from this particular bout with cancer and closer to our new baby next year, it'll get easier. For now, I'm just avoiding sad stories.

*Let's be honest, I cry at anything sad, dramatic, romantic or emotional.

July 9, 2010

celine dion talks openly about struggles with ivf

According to omgYahoo! Celine Dion is expecting twins. Normally, this would be ho-hum news and I'd breeze right past anything to do with her, since really, who hasn't had a major Las Vegas casino build a monument to their hubris?

In this case, I need to give Dion, 42, props.

Trust me, I'm as shocked by that revelation as you are. In this article, Celine cops to undergoing in-vitro fertilization treatments (IVF). I can't tell you how many celebrities of, ahem, advanced age become pregnant and say, "Oh, it was natural" or "Oh, we weren't even trying" or "Oh, we got multiples by chance."

Bullshit. By pretending you got no help in the matter, you're in turn not helping the thousands of women who face these difficult situations every day. (Yes, J-Lo and Julia, I'm talking to you.) Because if you talk about it, it becomes easy -- and okay -- for others to talk about it. (I've long said that we, as women, need to talk to each other more about these exact issues.)

I did a little digging, and it seems Dion has been quite open about her struggles, revealing in the article that "she underwent six in-vitro fertilization treatments, staying in New York City for a month and also getting acupuncture, before getting pregnant with twins. Rene-Charles was also conceived by in vitro after six years of trying. Last year, Dion revealed to Oprah Winfrey that she had suffered a miscarriage after another IVF attempt."

While it's obviously disheartening and I'm sad for her loss and struggles, I'm grateful and think it's very cool that she's been so open about it all.

Even her husband chimed in: "We're living the reality of the majority of couples who face these procreation techniques."

It's a reality, indeed, but one that becomes more common each day. And the more we're open about the topic, the less shame that shrouds it.

July 1, 2010

the biggest phone call of my life

So I've been keeping a little bit of a secret.

No, not that crazy book that preaches if you think positive thoughts you'll get rich. A secret about our baby making plans.

Today, I come clean.

Back in April, right before my mom came to visit, she told me that she'd found a surrogate for us. A friend's daughter, who liked how she felt being pregnant - but didn't want any more of her own kids. SCORE! At the time, we didn't want to get excited about anything, since the surgery was still ahead of us. I needed to focus on one thing at a time, so we put off thinking about surrogates until June.

Now that I'd had time to enjoy being cancer-free and my birthday had passed, I called her over the past weekend and left a message. Tonight, as I left work, I saw a voicemail on my phone. I listened to it, and it was her. Our potential Easy Bake Oven.

I took a deep breath, and dialed her number. We got through the initial introductions and pleasantries, and then I nervously asked the question I'd been holding on to since April: was she still interested in being our surrogate?

She said, "Yes." SHE SAID YES.

We talked for another 20 minutes or so. She's great. And nice. And awesome. Did I mention she said yes?! For next steps, both of us have a bunch of questions. I'm going to look into an attorney so that we can get everything settled from that perspective. And, because she's in a different state, we're going to have to figure out that whole thing. The good news is, she's in Nurse Mom's state, so Baby DeFrias will have its grandmom close by while it grows! Wait...I'm getting ahead of myself.

But dood: we've got our own personal Easy Bake Oven!