Yesterday I received word that a fertility specialist could see us this morning to discuss our options about harvesting some eggs before I start chemotherapy. There hasn't been a ton of research done on chemotherapy and fertility (that I know of) because there aren't a lot of people of child bearing years who have cancer, or those who are still able to have children already have completed their families. This morning, Mike and I headed out to Vancouver to check out our options. We arrive at the reception desk and are asked to fill out very personal histories. The doctor then called us in (another woman, how cool!). She told me that before we started, she wanted to do an ultrasound. She asked me to empty my bladder then disrobe from the waist down. I'm thinking, "Odd. Usually they want the bladder full when doing ultrasounds. And why do I have to take all my clothing off from the waist down?" Well, I got into the ultrasound room only to find the lovely chair with the stirrups and an ultrasound tool that was thin and rod-like. Unbeknownst to me, they can do internal ultrasounds! Did you know this? I certainly didn't, nor was I expecting it! I didn't know what to expect when we went in there, but it certainly wasn't a full on inner probe! At any rate, it would appear that my ovaries are very healthy with a large store of eggs to be harvested. Happy days.
We then headed into the office where we discussed more personal info and got into the details of the procedure. We discussed the cost. Yowza. I can understand the desire to have children. I've been there. Fortunately, I didn't have the issues that so many men and women have, and I was able to conceive and carry to full term with no complications. My desire in all this is to participate in that miracle of God once again. I loved the feeling of a baby doing summersaults in my tummy, of kicking my sides, and yes, even the pressing up against all sides of my body in the final few weeks. It was an honour to be a vessel for the miracle of life and to experience the sacrifice of body that every mother makes. It's not just taking care of and giving up your body to this other person for the duration of the pregnancy; it continues far beyond that with the lasting proof of the stretch marks and the sagging breasts, the loose skin and the wider hips. A mother's body image has to adjust first to the distension of their youthful body during the pregnancy and then adjust again as the body reverts and converts after the birth of the child. It's an amazing and very challenging time. And, boy, do I relish the thought of doing it again!
This is why I can understand paying the amount of money that it costs to have these procedures done. Now, in my situation, I already have a child and there is only a slim chance that the chemotherapy will render me infertile. This is what Mike and I ended up discussing in between our talk with the doctor and the orientation that they wanted us to do with the nurse directly after. We sat down, both tired and hungry (we had no idea that we would be there that long). We didn't know how we could put the money together to pay for this procedure that wouldn't even be a guaranteed pregnancy. Mike had to go plug some money into our meter and while he was away I prayed fervently. I was just straight up honest with God (like He doesn't know what's going on in our hearts anyway...). I do want another child, but I love my daughter so much that I could honestly say that I would be satisfied with only her. If I knew that it was God's will that I only have Gwen, then so be it. All I could hear while I was praying was "Trust. Trust.", and the lyrics "Que Sera, Sera. What ever will be, will be". When Mike returned, I said to him, "We really only have one question to ask ourselves. Will we be content if Gwen is our only child?" He responded, "As much as I would like another child, I would be happy if Gwen was it." That's all it took. We both decided to let God take control and leave it in His capable hands.
When the nurse arrived to give us an orientation, we were forthright with her. I didn't want her wasting her time so we told her right away that we had decided that this probably wasn't for us. She told us to wait until the end of the orientation and then decide. We both cringed inwardly (we were VERY hungry and tired by this point), but we decided to stay. What ensued was one of the most romantic experiences of our life (dripping with sarcasm). She walked us through the exact days this month that we would have to administer certain drugs and the amounts of each drug. She then pulled out a syringe and some bottles and asked us which one of us was comfortable giving needles. I have absolutely no problem receiving needles, but NO WAY have I ever wanted to stab someone with one! Mike seemed to be in the same boat. When I told the nurse that I didn't think I could administer one to myself (I can't even rip my own bandaids off my body), she turned to Mike and told him that he'd have to learn. Mike learned how to mix the drugs with a water solution and prep everything for the jab. I had to pinch the flab on my tummy to give him a good spot and then, with some hesitation, he stabbed me. I tell you, this should be an activity for the tv show "Fear Factor". It is a scary thing to see your spouse coming at you with a needle when they have never, ever used one before. I think, at the end of the day, Mike enjoyed it entirely too much. His needle didn't have any actual medication in it though. That came later from the nurse. I know, lucky me, getting two needles in one day. I ended up having a slight allergic reaction to the medication. No fun.
So, after all this excitement is over, we are itching to get out of there because we still needed to rush back to Maple Ridge to get some blood work done for my oncologist (on top of the new requisitions from the fertility specialist). We were told to go ahead and think about it over night and give them an answer the next morning. Then the financial nurse came in. Duh duh duh. The moment of truth. The nurse started going over the costs so matter of fact-ly that I almost didn't catch what she was saying. They were offering to cover the costs of the drugs and absorb some of the procedure costs. On top of that, there is a foundation out there that helps people out with some of their fertility costs. I guess, because this really wasn't a fertility issue so much as a cancer issue (and most cancer treatments are covered by the Province), they decided to discount things as much as they could. I was in tears! I couldn't believe what I was hearing! This was truly a miracle. The price was reduced to the point that it is within reach for us at this point, even with Mike in school and me not working. Don't get me wrong, it's still a pretty penny, but I am astounded and amazed that this has come together in a way that I could never have planned or even hoped for. The relief and peace that I feel is incredible. The question of fertility was one of my biggest, if not THE biggest worry I had. I can go through my cancer treatments with one less stress. I can feel at peace with one of my biggest concerns. God has taken care of me in such a big way, at a time when I needed Him most, in a way that I could never have imagined. I know that there are probably hundreds of scriptures about how God provides in our times of need, but I don't think that I have ever in my life experienced His provision in such a big way. I am so incredibly blessed!
Mike and I experienced another small miracle on the way home; we made it from West Broadway in Vancouver, all the way back to Maple Ridge in an hour...during rush hour! No small feat. We ended our date with getting our blood taken at the same time at the bio lab. (He only had 2 vials, I had to have 12 taken. Yuck. I should get a gold star for that.) After that, Mike thanked me for such a romantic day, but he asked me if he could plan our next date. :)