Someone Told Me It’s All Happening At The (terato)Zoo(spermia)

All clear again two weeks ago for my quarterly tests!  Despite being in a relative safe zone,  my sense of relief and comfort always deepens when I get the news and my gratitude and joy ratchets up.

As I sat in the waiting room at MSK a young man huddled with his parents after receiving some bad news and I could sense the weight of it, the fear, the sadness, and the determination to move through it.   I guessed that he was a TC guy and I just wanted to jump into the trenches with him and help push back this dark force that was menacing his life.

I suppose I have been able to channel some of that intention into this year’s Cycle for Survival campaign.  The Nutcrackers have raised over $53,000 so far and we are still a week away from the ride!  Tom and I also have the honor of being joined by our oncologist, Dr. Feldman, who is riding with us this year.  I want to share a little bit of what he wrote on his Cycle fundraising page:

Although we’ve made great strides in managing germ cell tumors, up to 15% of patients with advanced disease are still not able to be cured with the best treatments. Furthermore, due to their young age at diagnosis, death from germ cell tumor accounts, on average, for the greatest number of life years lost of any adult cancer type.

Approximately 50% of all cancer patients are fighting a rare cancer. Yet, the rarity of each cancer limits the interest of pharmaceutical companies and other funding organizations from sponsoring research on these diseases. This limits the treatment options available for our patients and increases our dependence on philanthropy to support lifesaving research for these diseases.

Both Jay and Tom participated in clinical trials at Memorial Sloan Kettering that wouldn’t have been possible without philanthropic funding. They were fortunate enough to get into remission but others have been less fortunate, some of whom didn’t have the same clinical trial opportunities that Jay and Tom had. I carry the memories of these young men and women with me every day and am inspired by them as well as Jay and Tom to continue working tirelessly until every patient with this disease can be cured.

Thank you to the team and everyone who has donated and if you haven’t please consider supporting this cause at any level -every dollar counts.  To donate, click here.

In other news, we’re pregnant!  It came as a real surprise.  I had my post-treatment semen analysis about six months ago and was diagnosed with teratozoospermia which is not uncommon after chemo and also sounds like a planet in a Star Trek episode (if you go to the Greek root terato you will find out it actually means “monster sperm”). Basically the casing of any functioning sperm was malformed and even if they could complete their odyssey to the egg they would not be able to get into the stadium for the games to begin because of their shape (importantly, however,  the DNA package within the container was fine and there is no increased risk of birth defects or any teratogenicity).

We did a lot of research into adoption and finally settled on trying fertility treatment and IVF.  We were waiting for KR to have her moon time so we could get started and it just didn’t arrive!  100% au natural! Dr. Feldman and the fertility clinic were pretty surprised (also because KR is still nursing which is said to decrease the chance of getting pregnant).  I guess one of those funny-looking guys got past security.

I am still wrapping my head around it and trusting the reality of it but it moves me to tears when I sit with it.  It is the next joyful sentence of a light-filled paragraph in a story that had some very difficult passages and an uncertain plot.  It is an expression of Life.  It is, on a primal level, redemptive for a man who is only shooting with one barrel.  And, hopefully, come October 10th or thereabouts there will be more tears of gratitude and Juniper will be a big sister.

Thank you , thank you, thank you.

 

P.S. If you happen to live near Maplewood, NJ I am reading from BLOOM tomorrow night, Friday, at the [words] bookstore at 7:30.   The book is also being reviewed in Chronogram next month and I have been asked to join a group of poets for a reading at the Woodstock Playhouse in Woodstock, NY on April 15th.

 

Comments

  1. Claudia Jessup says:

    Jay, Thanks for the update & congratulations to you & Katie Rose1 I seem not to have received anything about contributing to the race this year, but if it’s not too late, then wed like to. Please send pertinent info. Thanks, Claudia

    >

  2. Emily (Kalkstein) Carville says:

    Wonderful to have second babes on the way, as we do as well…Juniper and Eleanor will be excellent big sisters!! We are no strangers ourselves to the miracle of natural conception (vs. a planned IVF route, thanks to high cystic fibrosis risk for us) –what a joy when it simply happens, even while BF! :) I feel a kinship among our shared baby journeys and hope to meet your girls (and new baby) in 2017 if not before! Love you. xoxo

  3. Jane Ringer says:

    Great news! Congratulations!!!

  4. Such great news on both fronts! xot

  5. Kristina Gates says:

    Such wonderful news! Congratulations! xoxo

  6. Linda Puiatti (via gmail) says:

    Such wonderful news. Ps… My dear Erik was conceived while i was breastfeeding. Where there is the will, there is a way. Love

    On Thursday, March 3, 2016, Adventures In Testicular Cancer wrote:

    > Jay posted: “All clear again two weeks ago for my quarterly tests! > Despite being in a relative safe zone, my sense of relief and comfort > always deepens when I get the news and my gratitude and joy ratchets up. As > I sat in the waiting room at MSK a young man huddl” >

  7. Kirstie Benedict says:

    “I guess one of those funny-looking guys got past security.” i can’t tell you how happy this makes me. all. of. it. 😘

  8. Dearest Jay & Katie Rose. We couldn’t be happier for this news, on all fronts. In the center of Pawling there is a very special woods, in a clearing there is pond on which there is an island… magical tales have sprung from this island and if we all listen closely it will share it’s radiant secrets with us. Life long and prosper my loves! Love & Brightest Blessings! Nadiya & Steve

  9. Mary Ludington says:

    Congratulations to you both on both news items!
    Love, Mary & Kevin in Minneapolis

  10. Robin Lester says:

    BRAVO, BRAVA, TO YOU BOTH!!!!!!!

    LOVE,

    ROBIN & HELEN

    P.S. Katie Rose, be careful with the upper reaches of your new path that comes down into the Mountain Club’s property; I have found the path slippery enough to take a couple of tumbles during A.M. walks. Even with temps in the teens and low twenties, it appears the sun beats into the slope and thaws just a milimeter of the top with slick ice base.

    On Thu, Mar 3, 2016 at 10:27 AM, Adventures In Testicular Cancer wrote:

    > Jay posted: “All clear again two weeks ago for my quarterly tests! > Despite being in a relative safe zone, my sense of relief and comfort > always deepens when I get the news and my gratitude and joy ratchets up. As > I sat in the waiting room at MSK a young man huddl” >

  11. Aline Haynes says:

    Jay and KR, this is just the most wonderful news. So very happy for you and for that new little child that you are carrying. Thank you so much for sharing such amazing and joyful news.
    Love,
    Aline Haynes from Princeton

  12. Sebastian says:

    So awesome!! Congratulations! So happy for you guys!

  13. Congratulations Jay and KR –
    Thrilled with all news of joy filled life!
    All love, Lynn

  14. farrelldesign@aol.com says:

    oh jay oh kr oh joy as your miracles won’t give up!!! we are so thrilled for you , both… jay…the relief from your recent tests AND now your new baby. and you katie rose…your love and power is explosive… and you …big sister …juniper… the halleluia chorus is reaching a crescendo in my -our-heads and hearts.. oooooo,,,,love pat and tom

  15. Bethany Booth says:

    Congrats, congrats!!! We were just talking about #2 at Cate’s bday party!

  16. patty giesecke says:

    Good news….and more good news. So happy for you, KR and Juniper, I could burst!

  17. Courtenay B. Carella says:

    Just such beauty and life and strength. Thank you for sharing. Congrats on so many fronts. The energy keeps rolling.

    Spring/ summer i would love to connect our families! Maybe with Shergalis crew as well if you are ever up for heading our way for brunch and play!!

    Love you, brother and all that light you bring.

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  18. Such exciting news all around. XXX NBH

    >

  19. HOBSON BROWN says:

    Congrats Jay! Such awesome news.

    -H

    >

  20. Elliott Holt says:

    What joyous news! Congratulations to you and Katie Rose on the pregnancy! You’ll soon have two beautiful babies!

    Love and light from Paris,

    Elliott

    Envoyé de mon iPhone

    >

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