My egg-cellent news

Not to brag, but apparently I have great ovaries.

That’s what I was told on my first visit to see a fertility specialist. Probably the weirdest compliment I’ve ever received, but hey, I’ll take it!

The first time I met with my oncologist, he told me I should look into getting some of my eggs harvested because there’s a good chance that chemotherapy will make me infertile. This alone was hard to hear, but it was the first of many tough conversations I was about to have.

The next day I met with a doctor specializing in reproductive endocrinology. He walked me through the steps of egg harvesting, talked about the success rate, and overall, it seemed like a fairly straightforward process. Then we talked about pricing.

I would need to pay for the various medications and hormones, the actual procedure to have my eggs removed, the monthly storage fee for my eggs, and eventually, going through the in vitro fertilization process once I’m ready to be a mom. Each of these things were thousands of dollars. Just the medicine alone would set me back about $9,000. He told me an estimated ball park total cost and once the number came out of his mouth all I could remember were tears pouring out of my eyes. There’s no way I could afford this. On top of that, I’m not even in a relationship and I’m expected to make a huge life decision like this all by myself. He told me there are programs that I could apply for that would knock a few grand off of the price, but still, that’s a LOT of money. I left feeling like I just got kicked while I was down.

My mom came with me to this appointment and had an idea. I’m 25 years old and still covered under her insurance for about four more months. She gave her insurance company a call and it turns out, they cover just about all of the expenses of this procedure! Even the clinic was shocked to hear this. They told me they’ve never seen an insurance company cover so much of the cost before. Now of course, I’ll still need to pay the co-pays, the monthly storage fee for my eggs, and I’ll no longer be covered under her insurance when I’m ready to use the eggs, but I’m so grateful that this financial burden has been lifted for the time being and I’ll figure out the rest when the time comes. In this very unlucky situation that I’m in, I felt like I hit the jackpot. I still can’t believe that I got so “lucky” with her insurance and the timing in my life. Now that I knew I could go ahead with the procedure, it was time to move forward with this whole egg harvesting process.

My doctor walked me through what would be expected of me over the next couple of weeks. I had to take hormones on a pretty strict schedule. There were specific time windows that I had to stick with in order for this process to be the most effective. Also I would have to get blood work taken every 1-3 days along with an ultrasound to monitor how my body was responding to the hormones. It didnt sound too bad so we went ahead and ordered the medication… which came in the form of injections. Wait, injections? Were they telling me I’d have to come in every day to get multiple shots? Nope- it was worse! I’d have to give myself the injections! No, no, no, there has to be another way! I’m the type of person that looks the other way when someone else gives me a shot or draws blood. If I can’t even watch someone else stab a needle into me, how am I supposed to do it to myself?

I had to take a step back. There are so many women out there that can’t have children. There are women who aren’t given the option to have eggs harvested and there are women who simply can’t afford to. I needed to focus on the bigger picture. I wouldn’t call myself lucky, but in an already unfortunate situation, things could certainly be worse. I also realize there are people that need to give themselves injections or draw blood on their own every single day and I only had to do it for several weeks. I can do it. I had to give myself some pep talks, but I got this.

When I got the injections in the mail, I prepared the shots as directed. I had to give myself two injections a day in my lower abdomen between 5-7 PM and eventually it would go up to three injections a day. The syringes were filled and ready to be used by 5 PM, but I put it off until 6:45 because I was so nervous. I FaceTimed one of my good friends who works as a paramedic in Cheyenne, WY who helped to calm me down and walked me through it. He gave me some advice: jab the needle in as fast as possible and don’t hesitate! Umm, that sounds awful, but OK. Then he counted me down: 3, 2, 1 go! Nope I didn’t do it. He must have counted backwards from 3 about 20 times. Finally, my two hour window was coming to a close so I had no choice but to just go for it. He counted backwards from 3 one last time and in the needle went.

My first thought- “wow, that wasn’t bad at all!”

Time for my second injection. I’m basically a pro at this point, this is easy! …Or so I thought. My friend counted me down again, 3… 2… 1… Ok, this one hurt a little bit more and when I squeezed the syringe I could feel every bit of liquid going in. It stung! I learned from this point forward to do the more painful injection first to get it over with and then finish up with the less painful shot.

By about the 7th day I was starting to feel really bloated. My ovaries were swelling and I constantly felt full like I had just eaten a large meal. Speaking of eating, I would get through about 4 bites of food and not be able to finish a meal! The doctors told me that was completely normal because of how swollen my ovaries were. There just wasn’t a lot of room for food in my stomach. I also wasn’t supposed to do any kind of physical activity. I was so ready for this process to be over.

Three days before my egg removal, I started to really feel the effects of the hormones. It was a Sunday which meant I had to get up and go to work that day. Right after I got done with our morning show, I went home and slept for the rest of the day. Once again, I could barely get out of bed on Monday for work, but somehow I made it through the show. Again, I went home and slept all day. I was so uncomfortable and kept waking up in a lot of pain, but I could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Tuesday morning was the day I was scheduled to get my eggs removed. I couldn’t wait! I wasn’t nervous about the procedure at all and really just wanted this entire process to be done. I changed into an ugly hospital gown, got hooked up to an IV, ad then I was wheeled into the operating room. I remember the anesthesiologist walking me through each medication she was adding into my IV. Then she added one that would make me “feel a little sleepy” and that’s the last thing I remember. I woke up about an hour and a half later and waited in my hospital bed for the anesthesia to wear off.

When the doctors retrieve eggs from a patient, they hope to get between 8-10 eggs. The nurse told me they got 21 eggs from me! I guess they weren’t lying when they said I have great ovaries!

I’m sitting in bed right now writing this because the procedure was done this morning. The after effects of it have been pretty bad so far, if I’m being completely honest. I’m in a lot of pain and I can hardly stand up. They said tomorrow I’ll feel even worse, but after that I should slowly start to get back to normal. I still can’t do any physical activity for 2 more weeks, but I’m glad that I don’t have to give myself any more injections!

Overall, the process wasn’t too bad until the last couple of days. If I had to do it all over again, I absolutely would. I had a lot of factors working in my favor for me to be able to get some eggs frozen: My mom’s insurance covering most of my expenses, my age which allowed the egg retrieval to be so successful, my job for being so flexible and allowing me time off for the procedure and my almost daily blood draws and ultrasounds, and my oncologist who allowed me to hold off on starting chemo for about a month so that I could go through this process. I’ll say it again, I’m the “luckiest” unlucky person… if that makes sense 🙂

My next step is to get a port surgically implanted and then it’s time to start chemo. I’m so ready to get this over with! Stay tuned!

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42 thoughts on “My egg-cellent news

  1. So Happy​ for you Crystal with the egg retrieval….God Bless you as you begin your journey. I will be praying for you daily.. journaling a really good thing to do..

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    1. you lovely lady you it’s very nice meeting you my TV I really wish I could meet you in person cuz I’m sure you’re a fabulous adorable person as you are on TV may I ask is it ovarian I have a personal reason for asking a reason I’d assume not divulge it this time God bless and I’m praying with every fiber of my being for you

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  2. Wow!
    Crystal Harper, I am saddened yet inspired by your story. I feel really bad for you and your current health situation but you have so much strength and will power. It’s inspiring to my core! You’ve been in my prayers and thoughts since the first day I heard of your story. I am hoping and praying for you and your health. When days seem so bleek and dark, remember, your joy and strength is a light for others, and you may never know it. And that’s what you do for me! My name is Jose Cruz, I am a Weather/Traffic Produce here at Fox26 in Fresno CA.

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  3. You are truly an inspiration and I know god is watching over you Crystal! I look forward to reading your next entry and will send jokes to you if it will make you smile.

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  4. Great Blog! Thanks for letting us take this journey with you. I’m so happy your eggs will be safely tucked away waiting for you when the time is right. You did a great job doing this – I’m sure it was tough, but like you said – so worth it! Great job – we can put this one in the done column. Now to get the port and get this chemo behind us – I say “us” because we are right here with you kiddo! Please let me know if you need me to go with you/meet you to have someone to talk to and laugh with at any of your appointments! I worked for years and took an early retirement and take classes now so I’m free quite often so I would be happy to help in anyway. Hang in there – you are doing great!

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  5. Continued prayers for you. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. Our journeys can certainly help others even during the hardest days. A positive attitude, determination, courage and faith. You can do this!

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  6. My prayers are always with you Crystal to go through. What an ordeal for such a young lady.Thanks for being so honest with us and keeping us updated. Is there anything we can do to help you?

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  7. Such a fighter. The choice you made to go public with your illness is helping so many in giving them hope and knowing what to expect. Praying for you

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  8. I’m glad that this worked out in your favor. I’m still standing by my offer for transportation to/from chemo.

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  9. You Crystal you make a great mom and beautiful kids like you i wish i knew what hospital youre in i come visit and support you talk and make u feel calm ❤❤💋💋🌹🌹🐶🐶🐶💋💋❤❤❤❤❤

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  10. God Bless You Sweetie. You are blessed beyond measure, as you have already experiened. Keep the faith and I’ll keep praying!

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  11. I am so happy that you were egg-cellent❤️You are so blessed to be covered by your moms insurance! We love your blog Crystal and love you too!❤️

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  12. Kudos for being open and honest about your journey. I watched the news yesterday and couldn’t tell that you were struggling inside. Your a true warrior!!! Keep pushing forward and soon you can call yourself a cancer survivor. Judging by the comments and well wishes, there are thousands of supporters that love you like family. You’re not in this alone!

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  13. May God continue to watch over you and guide you through this process. I really enjoyed reading your blog. I wish you a quick recovery. There will be some tough days ahead of you but always remember there are so many people out here praying for you.

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  14. Crystal, Stay postive and you will do fine. I was diagnosed 10 years ago with breast cancer. Shocked me. I made it thru chemo and radiation. Had great support from family & friends and got thru it. You will to

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  15. God doesn’t give you more than you can carry.You will come through this stronger and even better than you already are. Buy being so honest and open about your situation you might already be reaching, and saving , lives that you will never even know you touched. Because you are your Mother’s daughter, you will stay strong and get through this. God Bless.

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  16. I can’t believe you wrote that while lying in the hospital bed recovering! You are a gifted writer, Crystal, and I’m sure I’m not the first person to tell you so. Thank you for sharing your life with us the way you do. I’m sure many people who follow are struggling with just what to say lately, just as I am. Just know for certain that you are in countless prayers, on our minds and in our hearts, and I believe everyone is as optimistic as I am that this will be one of many chapters, albeit a quite dramatic one, in the long and fascinating life of Crystal Harper.

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  17. Good job Crystal. I agree you are a gifted writer and thank you for sharing. You will probably help someone else gain strength by your blog. Wishing you a quick recovery!

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  18. Good evening how are you feeling. in hospital with an anroysim on my hip. and kidney stone and artery clogged in princess Ann hospital good night

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  19. Good evening how are you feeling. in hospital with an anroysim on my hip. and kidney stone and artery clogged in princess Ann hospital good night

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  20. Good morning Crystal how are you feeling im ok waiting on 3 doctors ti see whats going on have a good day crystal

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  21. You are so sweet to be so open about your journey to being cancer free.put your trust in the Lord, and lean on those around you to carry you through.

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  22. God Bless you Crystal, I’ve watched since the first day you started here. We too have our young son on our insurance. You’re loved and God walks us through it all. I will be here with you because I care I’m a mom that Loves as well.Take care and enjoy every hug that mom gives and sends.🙏🏽🌹❤️

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  23. Much love and positive energy headed your way Crystal. You have a long and rough road ahead of you, and thousands of people sending prayers up for you. There are times when it becomes overwhelming. That’s when your sisters will step up and be your strength until yours returns. I can personally vouch for their support.

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  24. So proud of you I know you will get through this👍 Sending you many well wishes and prayers hang in there! You can do this I so admire your strength.

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