Tuesday, January 7, 2020

The next chapter

The image is still engrained in my mind. It was midnight on New Year's eve of 2010 and Grey and I were standing on the top balcony to our condo, toasting in the new decade. We were both excited for the future, as the stroke of midnight marked us officially venturing into actively trying to become pregnant and making plans for our careers in academic science. 

As fireworks were being set off around us, I suddenly noticed a dog sprint into the street. A young Golden Retriever who had somehow escaped the yard and will visibly upset by all the booming and smoke. My heart immediately collapsed into my chest as the dog rocketed down the street, heading straight for the downtown area of our neighborhood that was heavily trafficked and where we knew more noise awaited. 

There was nothing Grey or I could do but watch, knowing we were too high up to get down to the dog before it disappeared; knowing no one would hear us.

For the last decade, that scene with the dog has been an omen for all that was to come. Family building, which we naively believed would be easy, lead to an unexplained infertility diagnosis, fertility treatments and 3 years of pain that changed who I was and how I saw myself in the world. After Maddy and Teddy came home, we faced the city around us rapidly changing, forcing us to leave the place we had called home for almost 11 years as neither of us could find work. There was living in poverty, job loss, workplace abuse, and harassment leading both Grey and me to decide to leave academia entirely. And most recently has been the collapse of my health, with me spending the last 4 months battling gastrointestinal issues that no physician had an explanation for, only to be resolved through me pushing a working hypothesis that turned out to not only be right, but has now lead to me gathering a group of medical providers who are eager to dive into cutting edge medicine with me.

The summary of all of this is that a decade later, life looks entirely different from what Grey and I imagined that night. Like that Golden Retriever, everything we thought we knew and dreamed of sprinted off into traffic, only to be killed or terribly mangled over the last 10 years. But what is left isn't something to be sad about and those that meet us today actually see we are living what is considered a charmed life.

Instead of owning a condo in a neighborhood that was transitioning (and happens to now be a very desired place to live), we're renting a house with a nice yard in a quiet suburban town with an amazing school district.  

Instead of a career in academia, Grey and I are both working in biotech for a company that not only went public this past autumn but is setting the standard in the field for genomics and precision medicine. Grey is not only well-respected but is becoming well-known for his work. And though the transition was rougher for me, the feedback I've been getting on my performance has been very positive and their movement for expansion within my role. 

Both Maddy and Teddy continue to thrive, loving their school and their teachers. 

And as mentioned above, I figured out that the root of my chronic and acute hemorrhoids was linked to autoimmune disease, all resolved when I had my cooper IUD removed. A 2-week journey that ended up looking like a crude abortion after they couldn't find the strings, but within hours lead to pain relief and resulted in me not needing any surgery. 

All that said, life still has its hardships. My family is still largely absent from my life due to boundaries that were established and there are still days where life seems abnormally hard. The current trauma is watching Grey's sister beginning to navigate a divorce after her husband of 12 years announced he no longer wants to be married, hearing about the affairs he's actively engaging in that are hurt both her and her son. And there are all the memories of loss. Some scars, though healed, still ache.

2020 ushers in not only a new decade but the promise of a new chapter. Though I don't know what lies ahead, so far there haven't been any omens. Other than the overwhelming desire to sleep.


  1. I am SO GLAD TO HEAR FROM YOU! Isnt' it wistful to look back that far, back to when we were more idealistic and with fewer scars? But look at us now, all we have triumphed over.

    I'm glad you have settled in well career-wise and school-wise, and that your hunch about your health has led to relief.

    And boy, to I get the desire to sleep. Here's to a new chapter of balance and wellness. xo

  2. You put this so elegantly. Man, it seems like a lifetime ago, but I can still remember so much about those years.

  3. I am so glad to hear from you! Happy New Year, friend. I'm glad things are going reasonably well with no running out into the street. I'm glad your jobs have changed to promising opportunities with no abuse. I'm glad you have a lovely house rented with a good school district (How wonderful for Maddy and Teddy, and what a relief for you!), and that you found out what was wrong and avoided surgery. A friend of mine actually had symptoms of her autoimmune disease radically decrease with the removal of her IUD... That seems so messed up that it can have that effect and you funny hear much about it. I'm glad you're free of that and the pain of your issues.

    Here's to a well rested, non-hectic 2020!

  4. Happy belated new year, Cristy, and here's to a wonderful decade ahead for you!


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