Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Long Hard Summer

This summer has been long and hard. Usually when I say that it means we've been through oppressive heat wave, smoggy air pollution and an overbooked schedule but not this time. This summer the weather has actually been kind of cold and we haven't been overwhelmed with an overly busy life. This year, however, we've had some unusual complications.

This started with a bang in late spring when we got a phone call from my dad saying some blood work had come back abnormal. Really abnormal. There was a long list of disturbingly low numbers but a lot of attention was being paid to the extremely low hemoglobin and the barely existent white blood cell count. The family doctor had called him in on a Sunday to explain that this indicated his bone marrow wasn't working, leaving him without an immune system to speak of, and that he needed to isolate himself from the general public immediately. A CAT scan and bone marrow biopsy later revealed cancer, specifically lymphoma that had spread into the bone marrow.

A few people initially wondered if this news would mean me making trips out of town to be with my parents but the answer to that is actually no. I work with the public and that means that even though I myself may not be sick I could easily be a carrier of a virus or bacteria that could unknowingly be passed on. A few friends who live closer have gone for short visits while wearing masks but I have opted to stay away for the time being. In the fall we will see where things are at and reevaluate the situation. For now I am just greateful that we had been able to spend some time together right before the diagnosis was made.

In the meantime I have been occupied with infertility. The desire to have children took on a fresh poignancy after finding out my father had cancer. It's a reminder that my own biology is not the only clock that's ticking. Even though we've been told to be very hopeful for a good outcome in my dad's case we don't know how long any of our parents will be with us. Both my grandfathers had died before I was born so it had always been very important to me for my children to meet theirs.

Unfortunately everything we have tried so far has failed to make that happen. We have spent the summer going to and from the fertility clinic trying increasingly aggressive treatments. None of it has worked. The current suspect is endometriosis but that needs to be diagnosed - and hopefully treated - with surgery. The fertility clinic doesn't do that surgery so they've been trying to find an OBGYN to refer me to but quite a few of them are either full or have stopped doing that surgery. Currently it looks like we've found someone but wait times are so long that it's going to be many months before it will actually happen.