You Don’t Have Tomorrow: On Limits And Living Your Life to Its Fullest

Suit and Jacked – Unplugged” by Judah and the Lion 🎵

The dichotomies in one’s life give great perspective.

First, we don’t have tomorrow. It is not a guarantee.

It’s easy to think we do.
It’s easy to think there will always be more money.
More time.

That those sitting across the table from us will have more too.

That we can continue to benchmark and stay in the same test for years.
That moving on won’t come for us when we least want it.
That all options will always be on the table – that the investments we make are perpetual.

On Monday, I spent 7 hours in the ER. I have had trouble breathing for a week and a half on Estrodial, an estrogen manipulation drug, starting before New Years.

By the end of January, I will have experienced 10 different drugs on my body for hormone manipulation and hopefully have 30 eggs. I finally decided to write about it directly.

Oh no, Molly’s trying to have cHilDrEn! Whatever will happen to her caReeR! Other women might read it, feel safe, and want to work with her because she’s so damn honest and sassy, has a thick skin, and a high tolerance for being vocal about and for women and parents!

That’s my hope anyway.

I wanted so bad for my primary care physician to say that I could go home. I wanted her to say I could continue with my IVF protocol after failing 4 other medically assisted pregnancy attempts in 2023. IVF is the next option for me. I needed that to be her answer. But she wouldn’t. The problem wasn’t that I failed the EKG (I passed), but in lying down to take it I could only comfortably breath on my side.

She knew that often when women are having a real problem they will just be told “Solve your work life balance. Reduce your stress! It’s a panic attack.” by those around them – instead of “Holy crap my E3G is so high…it no longer displays in the app because it can only go to 640! Not great. Absolutely terrible.”

She sat down in the chair in front of me, sighed, and said “You don’t want to hear this but you have to go to the ER. The problem with these drugs, and really any estrogen drug, is that they can cause blood clots and we aren’t comfortable telling you it is okay.” I refused to be driven a few times and then, I drove myself.

2 EKGs, 1 D-dimer, 1 chest xray, and 3 O2 sats tests later I passed. No one would say “It isn’t a blood clot” nor would they say it was anything else… I got “The tests are normal. You’re discharged, but you have to check your O2 everyday and come back immediately if it falls below 94%.” “Can we just say it was a panic attack or something? Can you tell me if anyone else has ever had this happen on Estrodial?” The MD at the ER, behind her mask, said something along the lines of, “I’ve been through what you’re going through and with these drugs…people just don’t feel normal. I did not feel normal.”

Tuesday, I was allowed to continue my IVF protocol, where the next step was “Stop taking Estrodial.” My O2 fell below 94%. It fell to 91%. 96%. 93%. I’d stare at the ceiling and try again 10 minutes later not wanting to land back at the ER knowing I was coming off Estrodial. Over 72 hours after stopping the drug, I now feel fine, with most symptoms going away about 24 hours after stopping. I can talk without random moments every 20 minutes of feeling like don’t know where my next air will come from trying to hide it on Zoom and routinely test at 100%. I still am not confident I fully understand what happened. I do not ever want to be on Estrodial ever again.

On the way to the ER though, I thought two things.

  1. Yes. I am okay with everything I’ve accomplished.
  2. I am scared I haven’t done enough for those around me to prepare for when I’m gone.

It was strange to feel complete. I remember thinking, Well, I am lucky – I was going to have to live the rest of my life without some of you if you went first and that was going to suck. and calmly parked.

‘Cause everybody I know, everybody I know
Is growing old, is growing old too quickly
And I don’t wanna go
No, how am I supposed to slow it down
So I can figure out who I am?

“Suit and Jacket” by Judah and the Lion

This whole experience in the last 6 months has been out of body while feeling trapped in it. I wish I had been diagnosed 20 years ago with PCOS and had known that I’ve been living my whole life with it.

I’ve stopped caffeine (everything is decaf). I have stopped any drinking since November 4th – you’re allowed to have a glass of wine or two when you’re in between trials, but I’m not even doing that anymore.

I have felt the transformative effects on my sleep from both 0 caffeine intake and normal Progesterone levels. Progesterone is like nature’s best drug that I never had in normal levels – I’m living my best life when I get to be on it. Full REM Sleep. Coming off progesterone is supremely unfun.

Currently, I am stabbing myself twice a night with needles filled with Menopur and Gonal-F and I feel fine.

My actual work-life has seen little impact – which is a surprise to me. I think I got lucky with timing. There was one day where I had to blow up meetings due to an unexpected blood result that pressed gas on the protocol. Working from home has been a lifesaver because 7-9:30 AM is my time for either completely focusing with no interruption or if it’s one of the protocol days, to get my blood drawn, not consumed by 2 hours of rush hour traffic. In/out fast. Then I have a normal day. Sometimes I take meetings at 6:30-8 AM with my India colleagues and those days are very long. Working from home has made that better. It matters to me that I try to make global communication work in a respectful way for others’ time zones, but it is hard. Often we ask the opposite of others and expect them to conform to US standards which is also hard.

I knew before starting this journey the challenge. My mother had twins at 36 years old, almost died from grand mal seizures, and spent 3 days in a coma. She was found passed out on the ground on the way to the mailbox. The difference in her living and us living was maybe 30 minutes. My brother and I were born with blue feet and hands from an emergency c-section. I’ve been dealing with infertility for 3 years. I think about how the first procedure ever done for IVF was in 1978 – that so much of this is still new.

Turns out, having a stable job and healthcare is important in being diagnosed with PCOS and stress is not the root cause of all infertility issues.

Being employed with stable, not jealous, kind people changed my life.

Certainty is what helped me find out I had a real diagnosable issue that causes infertility – Polycystic Ovaries. Getting a fertility doctor was what I needed to try to make any progress in how I feel day to day and what my options are.

Infertility is an extremely difficult trial one where you will feel, sometimes, better than you’ve ever felt in your entire life and at other times, extremely scared something is wrong. You will go through failure that transforms you on a deep level. And you will know at some point you will have to stop and can’t keep going.

Every single day counts.
Every investment counts.
Nothing is limitless.

The messages we send about supporting those we care about should be our number one priority. I figure if this doesn’t work out, I will travel and have to rethink so much. I’d really like to see some friends and colleagues across the country after February because this has challenged and isolated me in many ways.

Observability over who we are and the people we are responsible for requires constant cultivation – you or they may not have tomorrow. It’s on you to try to figure out if you are truly living life to its fullest based on how you define that – I now know for certain it’s to answer “Have I done enough for those I immediately care about to live without me?” I can say with complete confidence: I tried and always have and I hope I have done enough.

Making today count won’t be what you accomplished, or how much money you accumulated, nor the things you had; rather, it will be you wondering did you do enough for those around you to prepare them when you aren’t there.

You don’t have tomorrow. You have today. Make it count.

Some of us surviving
Some of us just roaming
Some of us just hoping the world will move more slowly

“Suit and Jacket” by Judah and the Lion

RIP Industry Legend, Jennell Jaquays. This industry will be lost without you.

In celebration of MLK’s legacy, I’d like to ask you to donate to Every Girl Shines, a 501c3 in Atlanta I support run by the wonderful Carrisa Jones to ensure young women are supported for their careers in STEM and as they pursue opportunities at university through mentorship, sponsorship, and scholarship.

Header Image Credit by NASA from the James Webb Space Telescope in October 2023. More images can be found on Flickr. This is an image of The Crab Nebula by NASA’s Webb (NIRCam and MIRI). Specifically “6,500 light-years away lies the Crab Nebula, the remains of an exploded star.”