March 27, 2011

rei and the glass half full mentality

I headed over to REI to pick up some supplies for our upcoming Australia/New Zealand trip. It just so happened I also needed a t-shirt to wear to the SDBloggers meetup because I knew I'd be burning up in my sweater.

I mulled around the store, in a cool-stuff overload daze, and saw maybe two shirts that were kind of okay. Bored, I picked a plain green tee that looked good with my red hair. On my way to the register, though, I saw the Life is Good display and found this baby:

Who's the geek excited about her new Half Full t-shirt?
Oh yeah, it's me. Photo credit: Roman Castro.
It's a rather plain shirt, with a glass on it that says, simply: half full. How perfect for my frame of mind in life! Could my sitch be half empty? Sure, but why? Life's much better when viewed with the half-full vision. I was so excited, I wore it to work the next day, too. That led to this conversation between me and a coworker:

"Some would say the glass is half full, others half empty; 
either way we're running out of vodka." 
- Kara & Tedder Tot

Want your own Glass Half Full shirt? Here you go:



March 12, 2011

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.



March 8, 2011

so a hysterectomy patient walks out of an elevator...

Some pretty geese (unlike those awful poop-all-over-the-place
Canadian geese). Photo: Wisconsin Week for the Animals.
May Rachel Berry strike me dead, but some things even Glee seemingly can't fix.

Earlier today I headed down to BigHMO to pick up a note from my oncogynecologist. I'd requested one that states my hysterectomy was medically necessary due to cancer as I plan on petitioning BigHMO to cover my fertility preservation treatments (they currently only cover artificial insemination, but do review IVF requests on a case by case basis - fingers crossed!).

Since I hadn't seen the nurses in awhile (they always greet me with a smile and a hug - yay!) I was looking forward to saying hello to them. As I slowly glided up a 2,000 year old elevator to the 4th floor with my earbuds in place, my head bopped along in tune to the Glee cover of Cee Lo's danceable ditty "F#ck You" (which, of course, being Glee, they used the PC-version "Forget You." Still a happy, yet appropriate song as I was in a cancer kicking state of mind).

Imagine my surprise, upon stepping out of the elevator, to walk smack dab into a gaggle of 10 very pregnant women and their spouses. I attempted to wade through them, to no avail, because it appeared I was in the wrong place: no gynecological oncologist, no waiting area, and the reception windows were rolled down for the night. Perplexed as what to do, I could only stare at all these peppy, own-baby-carrying women.

Sure my thai iced tea didn't
look this pretty, but that's
cool. Photo: CA Donuts.
Through a sea of baby ovens and slowly filling eyes, I saw a sign: "We've moved to the 2nd floor." Finally, the kind soul of a tour guide saw me looking confused and asked if she could help. I mumbled through tears, "Need...looking for... oncoOBGYNdocgyno... have...need.... note."

She told me they'd recently moved to the 2nd floor, and that she'd happily take me there except for the fact that she was giving a maternity ward tour to "all these excited new mothers-to-be."

I raced back into the elevator, got the note, and sat in my car for 20 minutes sobbing. Then did the obvious next logical step that anyone in my situation would do: went across the street to my favorite quick-service Thai place and gorged on tom kha soup, pad see ew, and 20 ounces of sugary Thai iced tea goodness.

What? Don't hate.

Now, excuse me while I go watch tonight's new episode of Glee to laugh a little -- it's Gwyneth Paltrow as a sex ed teacher, bee-yotch!