Monday, March 28, 2011


I return to my desk after helping a guest and see a missed call on my phone. Damn, it was the nurse from my OBGYN. She tried to call me with my lab results on Thursday and I missed the call. I called her back, but as of Monday morning she still hadn't returned the message. Until the two seconds I am away from my phone.

I call the office, patiently navigate my way through the automated phone system (which tries as hard as it can to prevent a patient from speaking to an Actual Person) and wait on hold for Nurse.

She picks up the phone an apologizes profusely for us missing each other so much, but she has my lab results. My LH was normal, and my FSH was high.

That's it.

I have to prod her for the actual numbers (13.1 in case you're curious - lower than last time and thank God not higher). She then says, "Wait, she (Dr. A) has some notes here..."

I wait.

When it comes it comes in a babbling, blathering storm.

"She wants you to go ahead and see your fertility doctor, Dr. C, about getting some eggs frozen."

I see. Except that I. Don't. HAVE. A fertility doctor. Never heard of him. Never.

I say as much to Nurse.

"Oh, well maybe she just wants you to have it done since you're still undergoing treatment (for cancer)."

I see. Except that I. Don't. HAVE. Cancer. Not anymore. Haven't had a treatment for more than 10 years.

I say as much to Nurse.

"Oh, well maybe she's just thinking that fertility drugs like Clomid aren't going to work so she's going to send you to him."




My doctor has not once even mentioned fertility drugs. These blood tests were a pre-screening process before we started trying to see if my chemo regimen had damaged my ability to have kids.

Me to Nurse: "I'm sorry, I'm just confused here. I don't have a fertility doctor and have never even heard of him. I have a meeting with Dr. A on Thursday to discuss my results."

Nurse: "Oh, okay, well just talk to her about it then!"

I hang up the phone and the silence in my office is thick. I feel coolness on my legs and realize that I have been crying for God knows how long and haven't even noticed. I raise my trembling hand to write my new FSH level down. I set the pen down.

I break.

Huge, gasping sobs come flooding out of me, racking my body. I can't breathe. I am so terrified. So scared.

A terrifying future looms in front of me - a future full of shots and tests and hormones and terror and grief. I don't know anything about infertility. I don't know how the treatments work. I don't know how the diagnoses are made - except I can't help thinking that it should involve something a bit more intensive than an FSH test.

Once I have myself calmed down, I leave work (with permission), drive home, gather my dogs and my overnight bag and head to my grandmother's house. She raised me and is my complete rock. I call her to tell her that I am coming, and two hours later I am in her arms, smelling her wonderful familiar smells and finding the comfort than can come from no one else, not even Mr. M.

I sit, exhausted, at her kitchen table while she and my (disabled) mother finish their lunch. The cozy familiarity of my surroundings, the house I grew up in, soothes me. A few hours and a splash of cold water later and my eyes have lost some of that deeply haunted look.

That phone call shocked me. I was prepared to hear my numbers, and that's it. I have been trying to mentally prepare myself for the consult with the doctor tomorrow, and all of these words, thrown so carelessly at me by an equally careless nurse, knocked me to my knees.

Mo co-workers know something is wrong. Yesterday I stumbled in two hours late, huge dark circles under my eyes. I tell them I'm having some health problems, reassure them it's not cancer; not life-threatening, but that's all I can say.

Today I am exhausted but seem to have recovered at least some of my equilibrium. I'm spending the afternoon writing down questions to ask Dr. A. tomorrow. And yes, I WILL be speaking to her about Nurse's careless attitude and her penchant for opening her mouth when she has NO IDEA what is going on and it only making assumptions.

The terror hasn't returned yet. I'm fairly calm at the moment.

But I can still see the dried saltwater stains on my desk. And I know they'll be back.

Think of me tomorrow, friends. I will write about the experience as soon as I am able.

Oh, and I do have two dear friends lines up to babysit me after the appointment, when Mr. M has to go back to work. Our plan is to get thoroughly drunk and screechy, then have Mr. M drive us home.

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