Today marks 30 days since the lump discovery, day 7 of IVF, and T-2 weeks before chemo begins, the last of which is dependent on how my follicles are doing. Not that I have any idea what that means. The doctor has tried explaining it all in finite detail, but no matter - we just stare at her like idiots.
There are two angels in the fertility office and their names are Jill and Nancy. I see them for blood work and/or ultrasounds or talk to them, sometimes on their cell phones, 4-5 times a week. Word to anyone who may go through IVF: it requires lots of follow-up and time.
Nurse Nancy is lovely but has a voice volume problem, and she tends to shout instructions and lamentations loudly for the whole office to hear, such as the girl in the Tory Burch flats who cut me off in the parking lot and snatched a sign-in sheet before I could, and was probably now sitting in the room beside ours with her ear to the wall. I imagine Tory Burch Flats Girl to have a medically unnecessary hangup about wanting to have kids before 30 and her father paying for the $14,000 process out of pocket. This is probably grossly untrue, but it's what I imagine.
"Oh," Nancy shouts, as she sifts through our paperwork. "All this with your cancer and everything, oh! Oh. Gawd. You poor things." Her decibel level rises and her Boston accent grows more pronounced, "And when do you staht your chemo treatment?" (Still shouting).
We answer quietly, hoping she'll match us.
"Oh!" she shouts back, "Oh, my Gawd. This is just too much."
She shifts gears. "Okay, now listen up!" She shuffles some papers and slips instructions in a folder. "Have your husband inject 150 IUs tonight and 250 tomorrow morning and no unprotected sex." She turns to Mike, puts her finger on his shoulder, and joke-screams, "You got that? Stay away from her!" Then she cackles, and we all cackle, and she sends us on our way. Mike takes a while to warm to people, so after coming to terms with the volume of Nancy's voice, he conceded later that night, "I like that Nancy lady. She's funny."
I keep thinking about that Tory Burch Flats girl for days afterward. I imagine her feeling terrible for us, feeling just terrible for snatching that sign-in sheet. I imagine her brooding over wronging that girl with cancer (but she looks so healthy! And young!) all day at her office, which is some financial firm or something. I imagine her realizing her problems are not that bad. Imagining this comforts the crap out of me.
Most other days we see Nurse Jill, who is a bit more subdued, but tender and clear. She also has a dog named Lily and gave me a long hug after a meltdown on the day I was forced to promptly decide yay or nay on the frozen egg business. I had told her every fiber of me didn't want to do this right now. She looked into my blotchy face and with a firm voice told me to take it one day at a time. I could always stop if I wanted to. I followed her advice.
Oh! A spot of good news came yesterday - I tested negative for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, and a host of other pernicious mutations included in the test kit. I'll take whatever relief I can get.
Things that have been helping me:
Those are "things" that have been helping me. They don't include the people quotient, which is almost everything, like of course Mike, and my friends, and everyone who checks in on me.
And my mother, though it's been difficult navigating that one, I have to be honest. It's a vicious cycle of us worrying about each other, and it's not healthy, nor fun. But after a tearful exchange the other night, she wrote me this, a quote she says has helped her:
"'The world breaks everyone - but afterwards, some are strong in the broken places.'
That is us - I know it in my heart - you are my heart."
Welp! Reading that brought the face river flowing right fast. This week's been a roller coaster. Just trying to hold on.