A comedy mate joked that the only disease that could stop me would be "boneitis" crumbling the bones in my fingers which would stop me writing. But the "brainitis" that is happening right now is also making things a small but hilarious challenge.
I started taking Tamoxifen 3 days ago (for reasons I will explain below), and today I felt its first menopause-like effects - the very cute flushing of my cheeks along with a complete lack of comprehension as to how to back out of my own driveway and which lane to back out into. OH YEAH!!! Bring on that sweet sweet menopause brain!
I literally sat there for a good few minutes trying to work it out. Australia = Left = this is my left hand = when I back out, which side, where, what? Oh God. Tyson just looked at me like I was an idiot. I think perhaps I should get him to drive from now on. I hear dogs can drive cars these days.
I also lost my car in a tiny car park that I had only parked there 2 hours earlier. And I just spent the last 10 minutes replaying The Swimming Song from my previous blog post while watching that gif of Fonzie dancing in the next post down. If you press play on the song and then scroll down to the next post, you'll see what I mean. It's almost up there with playing Dark Side of the Moon to the Wizard of Oz: freakishly in synch. I highly recommend it as the latest form of entertainment for underground media hipsters.
Anyway, Tamoxifen is mimicking the effects of menopause on my body, because it is blocking my cells' uptake of oestrogen. I will be on T-mox for realsies after radiation, but for now I'm on it temporarily. I wasn't meant to start it until Radiation finished, but I made an important decision about a week ago, to do something I NEVER ever thought I'd do: Harvest my 41 year old eggs.
If you haven't read my post called "Fertility Schmertility", I recommend you do that first as it will inform this post for you.
In it, I talk about how I have never really wanted kids, but if I did, how having one now would be detrimental to me due to the sheer volume of Oestrogen during pregnancy. And that even harvesting the eggs would be dangerous - turns out that if I take Tamoxifen at the same time then it's kind of OK. And that at 41 years old, my reproductive system is not likely to be producing many Ovarian follicles and high quality eggs anyway, making the whole process a little redundant. But even that turned out kind of OK.
You see, I had some tests done, because, well... why not.
Turns out my boobies might be diseased, but my reproductive system is in tip top shape. Like, in really amazing shape for a 41 year old. I swear to god, I have now renamed my uterus, "Michelle Bridges", and my ovaries, "Michelle Bridges' Biceps".*
"What a waste. What a stupid utter waste", I thought to myself as the radiologist counted out my ovarian follicles: 10 on one side and 12 on the other. And bloody typical that I should have a perfectly healthy system that I have no intention of using when there are so many women out there who would kill for it. Not that I'm prepared to give mine up mind you! But the thought of the waste made me sad and a little angry. Kind of like when you buy a box of the best organic groceries, and then you get dragged out on tour somewhere, lock the house, and forget to give the fruit and veg to someone else to enjoy. It's just frustrating and a bit sad.
So now that I knew about my overly healthy ovaries, I had a decision to make. Do I harvest or don't I? And if I do, WHEN do I harvest?? Before or after radiation?
Everything about the logic of it told me not to bother:
1. I've never wanted my own kids, so what's the deal?
2. The harvest is not without its risks.
3. Even if I freeze my eggs, I will then need to find a donor and pay to fertilise it via IVF.
4. IF I can find and afford that, I then will need to find a spare uterus to actually carry this child for me. Not an easy thing to find in Australia. Don't think I haven't been vaguely following the Thailand "Gammy" case. A surrogate in Australia can currently only legally be an altruistic surrogate - a family member or friend - doing it for zero financial gain. As I understand it, you cannot advertise for a surrogate, nor is there a regulated Australian agency or official register. Although you can't pay a fee to the surrogate, all medical and legal costs must be paid for and surrogates are NOT COVERED BY MEDICARE btw, so this is not a cheap thing anyway.
5. Oh, and again, I've never wanted my own kids, so what's the deal?
But what's logic when weighed up against those old Eastern European genes that urge me to not waste anything, the force of which is strong in this one? This would be like me buying that box of organic groceries, but choosing to eat a pizza while sitting in front of the box of groceries to watch them decay in front of my eyes. So those logic points above mean little, especially when you weigh it up against this one pervading niggley thought:
1. What. If. I. Change. My. Mind?
Clearly the fact that I have held much the same view for most of my life does not factor into the equation: people change their minds all the time. Case in point, our government.
So what if I change my mind about kids, just like Joe Hockey did a 180 on his thoughts about University Fees?
I mean, it's not as if Mamamia is gonna write an article about me saying I'm a hypocrite for changing my mind, therefore the only thing questioning a possible about turn is myself. But what if I do? What if? What if what if what if??? The "What if" is why we all pay for insurance right? But even insurance doesn't always cover us (DON'T GET ME STARTED!!!). And sometimes you're not allowed to not have insurance. And god.... You know? I can't answer this question. I really can't answer it. I am a logical woman with checks and balances and relatively OK occasional grammar, and even I can't answer the question of why I chose to do it. Why I chose to inject myself every single night at the exact same time to make my follicles all grow. Why I'll have a procedure to whip those eggs out and pay a 6 monthly fee to freeze them. It doesn't even make sense to me either. I mean, I am pumping my body with hormones and medications that are at complete odds with each other and I am bloated with ovary stimulating hormones and yet menopausal at the same time and all I am saying is I HAVE NO IDEA WHY I'M DOING IT I JUST AM AND JUST DON'T CROSS ME RIGHT NOW OK????????? COS I AM NOT IN CONTROL OF WHAT FLIES OUT OF MY MOUTH!! But at least I know that if my mouth opens wide to yell at someone, it won't be a full of pizza.
Just so you are all updated, I now start radiotherapy on Sept 1st at Sunshine Peter Mac Centre for a month. Until then, I am busy making eggs.
**Menopause brain, caused by the medical cocktail, almost caused me to miss my nightly hormone injection just now. How very "meta".
***Please now enjoy these two videos of dogs driving cars, and of the Pythons defending Stan's right to have babies if he so wants to whether he can or not.