when motherly instinct overrides cancer

A year ago this weekend was a pretty big deal for me: I attended my first South by Southwest (SXSW). But that wasn't the big deal (who are we kidding, it was freaking cool - I sang Bon Jovi backed by a live band).
Me rocking out Bon Jovi's "Wanted: Dead or Alive" with the live
band at #TechKaraoke. Yes, he's wearing a puffy shirt.

The super-fun part: one year ago I began injecting myself with a cocktail of drugs to get my eggs ready for the in vitro fertilization (IVF) process. While I was at the biggest gathering of geeks in the country. Half a continent away from my husband. And my doctors. Who, of course, I made it crystal clear to that there was no way in hell I was missing South By just because of these silly little needles.

Lucky for me, I had a fantastically wonderful SXSW roomie, @iizLiz, who kindly supported me in those first few days of doing my shots.

But oh, the unexpected things that happen to your body while going through it all. Like walking down 6th Avenue in Austin with a coworker who attended the festival with me. As we headed to one of the multitude of parties, I said, "Slow down, I need to rest." When asked why, I could only reply, "My ovaries are bouncing." Cue puzzled look. Me: "No, really, I can feel them bouncing with each step I take."

Chatting with Pete Cashmore at the SXSW '10 Mashable party.
And that's pretty much how the week went: awesome sessions during the day, even more killer parties at night (with all the free booze you could drink...and I couldn't have a drop), and twice a day meds and needles. It's hard to look hip in low rider jeans with a needle marks pinching your belly button area. (Unless you're Britney Spears or Xtina, in which case it's par for the course.)

Surreal, party of one, your table is ready. Though, to be fair, not as surreal as the multiple ultrasounds that led to feeling rainy with a chance of baby, but still.

All because I'd been diagnosed with uterine cancer 5 weeks earlier, and the only thing I could think of wasn't, "I need to save myself and have a hysterectomy." No, the first, foremost, and only thing I kept thinking was, "How do I protect my future kids?"

When faced with the loss of fertility, I shouldn't have been worrying, "How will I pay for this?" But I was, because my BigHMO doesn't cover fertility preservation. I learned quickly that money's not an object when you're running out of precious time to save your eggs before the cancer steals them from you.

And so began weeks and weeks of monitoring, shots, drugs, time off from work to do all these things, and the love and support from an awesome circle of family, friends, and gals who either had or were going through it. All to end up with 6 kidsicles who are patiently waiting on ice for us to find the right Easy Bake Oven.

As for my big stage debut? Make no mistake: I rocked a mean Bon Jovi. Just ask @SteffChilds.


So inspired by your strength. Wishing you lots of luck and love in your search.
Gingerbreadmama said…
You are one of the bravest people I know and have the best attitude even when life is stinky. I know that you will find a way to get those babies born, I believe in you and you are going to be an awesome mom. xo
@SteffChilds said…
Why yes, actually, Kara did totally knock it out of the park with her version of Wanted: Dead or Alive. If I recall correctly, I may have also demanded an encore. =)
Gretchen said…
you make my heart squeeze. LOVE you sista. that instinct will be put to GREAT use!

CaliforniaKara said…
@Steff - Why yes, yes you did. ;)

@Melissa - Congrats to you on your new little one!

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