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On Being On The Ass End of the Fertility Curve

Written by Alison | May 29th, 2015 at 6:32 pm | Comments

When you first go to a fertility clinic, which we did on the advice of an OBGYN after six months of trying naturally netted us zero babies, they don’t really diagnose you like you expect they will. Instead they do tests and they try to fix the things they can fix and then when that doesn’t work they make comments in passing about what they think could be causing the infertility while also, when pressed, saying, “It’s probably a combination of things.”

The things it’s a combination of?

1) I  have endometriosis.

2) I had surgery for endometriosis 4 years ago which removed some eggs and may have left scar tissue on my ovaries preventing the fallopian tubes from picking up the eggs. (NOTE: I didn’t realize the surgery might complicate matters to this degree. At the time it seemed my hand was forced because there were masses on my ovaries and they had to rule out cancer which no one really thought it was but surgery was the prudent thing or so I’ve been told. Even my dad who’s the most overprotective father/conservative doctor in the world agreed it was the right call and at the time I was just happy I woke up with a womb still inside me NEVERMIND THAT IT WASN’T FUNCTIONAL AND WAS ONLY ONE OF THOSE TRENDY DECORATIVE WOMBS.)

3) I  have a short luteal phase which means from the time I ovulate to the time my next period starts is shorter than it should be meaning it’s possible I’ve been getting pregnant every month and miscarrying every month although I really don’t think this is likely as I feel like I would know if I were pregnant and it’s my belief that I’ve never once been pregnant.

4) I traded my fertility for a beautiful singing voice and human legs ages ago.

5) I’m one hundred and eleven years old.

6) I had polyps but those were removed and while no one knew if removing them would allow me to get pregnant, they did know that leaving them in would prevent me from getting pregnant except I just talked to two women who had babies while they also had fibroids/polyps so go figure.

But back to this age thing.

For the longest time, I saw myself as something between a whippersnapper and a prodigy. I was an extremely verbal child. I was holding conversations, interviews really, with adults at the age of 3. I wrote for the Los Angeles Times while I was still in high school. I was a professionally published writer all throughout college and I was published in People and Rolling Stone immediately after I graduated. I was in advanced classes and my friends were older and I always fell for older guys. I put an immense amount of stock in being and seeming older than I really was, which in retrospect is a sign of immaturity.

The thing with being so precocious in a professional sense is when something pulls ahead like that, something else probably always lags behind. For me what lagged behind was truly, in earnest, going through all the rites of passage and the stages necessary to become a mature, centered, fully integrated adult. My dating life and social life in general was nascent. Hold while I look up nascent.

Hm. Not sure that’s what I mean. Latent? Hold please.

Yes, that’s more what I mean. Dormant.

“Have you had much experience?” the first guy I ever kissed asked me on the phone a few days later. I was sitting in my childhood bedroom, which is where I lived, chatting on my duck phone which quacked instead of rang. Also, its eyes lit up red. Satan-style. The truth is I never liked that phone (sorry mom/dad!). It smelled like shellac and looked like it belonged in a hunter’s man cave. Before receiving the duck phone as a gift, because I liked all duck-related things, I had a pretty white trimline phone with keys that lit up. That was an attractive phone. But then I received the satanic duck with its brown keys and brown cord and I felt like I had to both use and like it because I’d made a big show of liking ducks. When you’re young what you like is who you are and I was the girl who liked ducks, and so I kept it while my pretty white phone sat unused in the garage.

The phone that got away

Back to the making out. For the record, it did not come naturally. It was very awkward and forced and I feel uncomfortable just thinking about it.

“Oh, I mean, sure I’ve slobbered on guys at parties,” I said as if this were neither a ridiculous nor disgusting thing to say. To me this seemed a perfectly reasonable, entirely fabricated answer suggesting my makeouts with men had happened at such a fast clip I barely could remember one sesh from the next. It was just a blur of lips and, apparently, saliva.

I wish I had access to my parents’ collections of family photos right now so you could take a gander at what I likely looked like as I was having this conversation. A few keywords? Big, frizzy hair, clear braces (clear on top, metal on bottom, natch), black leggings, an oversized shirt or sweatshirt, possibly a felt fedora and in general, fat.

“Huh,” he said. He would later break up with me because I was too “sarcastic” but what I think he meant by that was that I was too “unwilling to have sex.”

It’s not that I was a prude, it’s that I knew my limitations and I was barely able to kiss a guy without seeming like a spastic uncontrollable and unrelatable dork. The idea of ratcheting up the level of intensity up and down the amount of clothing terrified me.

What was I saying?

Oh yes, my friends were dating and beginning to have sex and getting to know themselves and other people and growing and maturing and I was wearing a silly hat a la Blossom and coming up with ways to lie to guys I met at coffeehouses while searching for even bigger and boxier blazers to pair with leggings and chatting on a duck phone.

Speaking of phones, which I just want to do for a few moments longer before returning to all the other stuff, at one point we had a beige cordless phone the size of a baguette. Not the size of a french roll which would be an appropriate size for a phone but I’m talking full on baguette that could serve 7-9 people. If you were talking on this phone and wanted to walk through a doorway you had to turn sideways. It’s possible I’m exaggerating a tiny bit although it’s also possible doorways were narrower. I mean, this was the 1840s when people were 17 pounds and you were lucky to see your 30th birthday and phones were the size of giant baguettes and no one had one in their covered wagon.

Being that this was the 80s, and I was in love with squiggles which you’d know based on my earrings and brooch, I grabbed our family collection of paint pens and metallic markers and besquiggled the fuck out of this phone. By the time I was done it looked like the opening credits of Saved By The Bell. And my parents were totally ok with that. I think they take a lot of heat in my stories for things like yelling a lot when I was young and not telling me I was Jewish until I was in my early 20s but when it came to encouraging expression on phones, they were tops.

So anyway, I guess what I was saying is I seemed mature for my age from a certain vantage point but I was also very behind for my age if you looked at it another way. But I think I still identify with the former so it’s weird to find myself on the ass end of this fertility curve.

I also have a zillion million more things to say and explain regarding my decision not to freeze my eggs, the way I never chose to have kids late in life but maybe refused to make having kids a priority in the way I should have, thoughts about 5 year goals and how my answer was always just “to be happy,” reasons why I didn’t prioritize having kids as I feared that would introduce a whole bunch of desperation into my dating life which I think we’ve established wasn’t going gangbusters and other stuff including but not limited to bangers and fizzies. Actually neither bangers nor anything fizzy (other than my personality and my urine if I’ve been holding it for a loooong time and am letting it out with maximum velocity) will be mentioned but I just felt I needed to rope you in.

Ok, this all will be continued. DON’T GO ANYWHERE.*

*unless you need to. I’m not unreasonable.

An open letter to my parents, with whom I am now living

Written by Alison | November 30th, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Comments

Oh hey guys. I just saw you a few minutes ago in the family room.

First of all I wanted to thank you for allowing me to broadcast my show from your living room and/ or kitchen. I appreciate it and I will give you a couple points on the back end once I figure out what that means.

Recently something has come to my attention though, which I can remain silent about no longer. It’s that you hang two fly swatters on a hook attached to the inside of the pantry door where you keep the garbage.

Exhibit A: the pantry (no indication of the Jack-in-the-box of swatters concealed within)

This is where the fly swatters live, which is fine. I’m sure the insect world is very aware and frightened of you two vigilantes keeping their population in check. If bugs had terrorist threat levels our house would be code red and tiny swatter-sniffing fleas would be nosing up against the pantry doors. My problem is not with the swatters so much as their placement.

Due to the laws of physics (an object in motion tends to stay in motion and also centrifugal force), the mere act of opening the pantry door launches these swatters up and away from their hooks, their balletic arc impeded only by contact with an object: me. They are essentially daughter swatters.

Exhibit B: swatters

Not only that, as I am the one who often is asked to take out the trash which involves leaning down and pulling the bag out of the can, my face is at prime swatter level. Taking out the trash for me involves a delicious one-two punch of trash smell and then bug guts. It’s as if I never left New York.

I’m hoping we can move the swatters because if they attempt frottage with my body or face one more time, they’re going to accidentally end up in the trash.

Thank you.


Stationery conundrum!

Written by Alison | October 2nd, 2010 at 1:02 pm | Comments

Need to jot down some notes. Can’t decide if I should use the blue-spiral-notebook-from-the-80s I found in my parents’ house, with the blue-lined paper (wide rule) or the yellow-spiral-notebook-from-the-80s I found in my parents’ house, with the pink-lined paper (wide rule). They both have a toucan wearing sunglasses, so presence of stylish tropical bird can’t be a deciding factor.

Also, posts about LOOK and the LOOK premiere with photos and clips forthcoming. Cancel all future plans.

A sad and not very funny at all blog post which is also long

Written by Alison | September 4th, 2010 at 5:24 pm | Comments

This will be a surprise to no one, but one of my defenses is to make jokes. It’s also one of my hobbies and oftentimes part of my job and something which brings me joy. But it’s definitely a defense, too. Recently Marvin and I were at a support group for people with parakeets and they were talking about portacaths. For those who don’t know, a portacath is a catheter implanted under the skin for people who need to be given IV drugs frequently or whose veins need to be accessed often (as in chemo or apparently hemodialysis, thank you wikipedia) and it saves unnecesary wear and tear on the veins and skin and instead puts it in the chest. See, I just made a joke and it wasn’t even funny. The point is everyone recommends these portacath things even though Marvin was resisting but more on that later. So there’s also something called (or referred to) as a “power port” which is like a portacath but has two areas that needles can be inserted into, or something. There was some discussion in the group about the differences. “What else can you do with a power port?” asked someone. “You can plug a hair dryer into it!” I wanted to yell, time and time again. I’m pretty sure everyone appreciated my biting the inside of my cheek instead. Then later a woman was talking about how she’d had a whole bunch of stuff removed and if she needed surgery again she wasn’t sure what was left to take. “Your money!” I wanted to yell. I’m pretty sure that one would have been met with laughter and applause and quite possibly the entire support group (“for patients, caregives welcome”) would have fallen at my feet and asked if I’m a professional. Then they would have told Marvin how lucky he/she is to have me around since my effervescent outlook surely keeps the dread at bay. I tell myself and Marvin this all the time. But I didn’t say it on the off chance that instead of making me queen of the support group they might turn on me and wonder who let this person who doesn’t even have The Marvins speak.

Anyway, Marvin availed him/herself of the portacath mostly because he/she was being pressured into it and it turns out that it was not the big nothing kind of outpatient procedure we’d been hoping for but instead the doctor was right when he said it would feel like someone punched you in the chest. I mean, it was outpatient and on the scale of procedures at the hospital not a major one, but Marvin was in pain after and was also kind of angry and just not having any of it.

So then the day after, Marvin and I went to a meditation class a the hospital not because Marvin wanted to but because he/she though it would probably be a good idea since the class is to reduce stress and learn to manage anxiety.

Though I don’t regularly meditate I’m fairly open to all that airy hippie shit and read self-help books and have had my head shrunk on numerous occasions and think it’s important and so it wasn’t hard for me to get into the groove. To grok it. To dig it. To vibe with it. To feel it. I’m noticing that apparently the only phrases that are coming to me are ones I’d never use because I’m not an asshole. Or rather I’m not that kind of asshole. Language has turned on me! Anyway, you get my point. Marvin on the other hand is trying to be open to meditation but I’m pretty sure fell asleep and slept through the class. I meanwhile imagined myself in a tiny canoe made out of a peapod, like the kind a mouse would ride in a Disney storybook, and I was bobbing along peacefully in the gentle waters in my peapod boat, listening to myself breathe in and out. The sky was reddish and I’m pretty sure my friends, The Rescuers, were nearby.

But then the woman leading the class told us to imagine we were standing on a beach, either in the sun or in the moonlight, and I chuckled a little to myself because couldn’t she tell I was in a boat? I was really enjoying the boat, too, and I didn’t want to have to come in to shore. Bitch kept talking though and before long I had to drop anchor  and stand on the beach, which is not a euphemism in this case.

Then I started thinking about little Marvin and how I’d walked in on Marvin wearing an old, faded oversized pajama top that buttons in a way that doesn’t irritate the portacath, eyes red and rimmed with tears beneath his/her glasses with a bereft look on his/her face that said, “I’m breaking, I don’t know how to do this anymore,” the daily bullshit suddenly stretching out into a path of discomfort so total it obliterated the ability to hold out hope, to cling to small pleasures, to imagine a time the calendar won’t hold a series of frightening and possibly painful appointments, to feel safe in his/her body again.

And suddenly I ached to hug Marvin, to protect Marvin with my own body. And I began crying, thinking about how I wished I could just pick Marvin up on my own back and carry him/her until he/she was strong again. I imagine this is how a parent feels when their child is in pain. And the fusing of me with Marvin was so complete it simply became a situation where I’m in pain because Marvin is in pain. And then I wasn’t really meditating anymore, I was just sobbing.

This house is a very sunny tar pit

Written by Alison | August 25th, 2010 at 11:31 am | Comments

I’ve likened my parent’s house to a tar pit before in that when I’m here I find it hard to get out and also I smell vaguely like gasoline and feathers stick to me, but usually that only applies to my relationship with the outside world. I get stuck in the house. As if there’s an electric fence surrounding it. An electric fence surrounding a tar pit. Today though I’m noticing an inability to go into the other room to get my portable hard drive which would allow me to edit a couple videos. Without it? Videos will not be happening, at least not at this computer. So then what’s stopping me from lifting my ass off this chair and using my legs to go into the other room and then sitting down and opening my laptop and ejecting the hard drive and then using those same legs to walk back into this room and diving behind this computer (over the pen jar and wastebasket and careful not to knock off the post it notes stuck to this computer) and plugging it in and then sitting back down in this chair? I fell asleep just thinking about it. Plus the other room is really sunny. Like too sunny to have to endure this early, which incidentally isn’t very early. It’s as if I’m hungover though I haven’t had a drink since August 8 or August 1. I can’t remember but it was after a show and it was one beer. Before that I hadn’t had a drink since months before. I make a beeline for fun and then I take a left turn right as I get there. So what I’m saying is I’m not hungover, I’m just lazy. But it’s not true laziness, it’s paralysis. This house paralyzes me and whereas previously it only kept me inside but free to move about, overnight it’s acting like insecticide, or maybe it’s nerve gas, in that I take a movement and then get stuck. Dammit, that would have been a somewhat decent metaphor if I remembered the science behind insecticide and nerve gas.

See, part if it is that I’m currently at my mom’s computer which is big and nice and orthopedically correct and has a nice big chair and though she’s left handed and I’m right handed which means I have to move the mouse when I sit here, I’m ok with that. This is juxtaposed to me sitting on the couch in the family room with my feet up on the coffee table and my laptop in my lap, squinting because the sun is beating the left side of my face through the picture windows and then trying to concentrate even though the TV is on, loud, and people are in the room talking or possibly arguing. Usually I get about as far as checking twitter and then I decide I’m done with whatever I’m doing, or maybe I sit like that for awhile and then I stand up and everything hurts. And then I realize I’m far too young for everything to hurt but I’m pretty sure the coffee table is at the exact wrong height to not create some kind of lumbar chaos. And while we’re on the topic, pretty much everyone in my family has orthopedic problems but I don’t. I have some kind of disc problem which I’ve had forever, ever since getting thrown from a horse when I was 9 or possibly I was born with it, we don’t know, but it very rarely if ever gives me problems. And I like to pride myself on being someone who isn’t complaining about physical ailments all the time, with the exception of that left eye twitch a year ago which I just had to talk about. It’s not that I don’t complain, I just like to only complain about superficial things or feelings/thoughts.

What was I saying? Oh yes, I’m squatting at this computer. Not literally. I’m in a chair. But I’m a squatter. I’ve done a land grab. I’ve annexed it. I’ve absconded with it except I’m pretty sure I’m using that word incorrectly. Let’s check. Yes, that’s not at all what I mean.

And if I get up to get my hard drive? I will quite possible lose this computer. So my plan is to sit here until plate techtonics cause the family room to move closer to the computer room. It’s unfortunate that I already need to pee.

And now I’m overhearing some bickering over which parent I’ll be driving where later. I’m like a yo-yo, only my parents aren’t divorced. They’re just irritable.

You guys, remember when I used to be fun and funny? I miss that!

A list because you love lists

Written by Alison | July 28th, 2010 at 11:18 pm | Comments

So I’m back in New York after six intense weeks of Marvin care and I have so many things to say it’s making it hard for me to say anything. This is a hazard when you’re a blogger who is known for sharing the details of your life. Also when you’re known for being achingly beautiful. I’m telling you, spending nights in the hospital did my complexion no favors. And that delicious hospital cafeteria food went straight to my hips. I think I should make a list of things I need to tell you:

1) I trust you’re all coming to see me Thursday in News Distillery at the 92Y. Here’s a story about Faith Salie that mentions it if you want more info which you probably do because you’re so like that.

2) I’m really proud of the ARIYNBF shows I put on in CA and I’m glad I did that even though at times it was hard.

3) Perhaps you’re reading this and you’re new to me and you’re wondering what I’m talking about.

4) Soon I will be able to speak about it, I think, but for now I have to be all vague and elliptical but here’s what you can know: one of my family members whom I’ve named “Marvin” was just diagnosed with something no one wants and so I’ve been helping out.

5) Not crabs, though no one wants them.

6) Or Jordan almonds.

7) Before the Mad Men premiere I kept wanting to write a list of “Mad Men inspired drinking games by someone who doesn’t watch Mad Men and doesn’t understand drinking games.” That person isn’t me, of course, since I watch Mad Men and love to drink till I puke.

8) It would be a persona. A device. A trope, if you will.

9) You won’t.

10) By the way, I don’t actually love to drink till I puke. In fact I seldom drink these days which is all part of the way I don’t have fun and am letting life pass me by.

11) woe = me

12) I’m actually tired of the Goldenrod Footbridge. Can you believe it?

13) In the past going home to CA was taking a break however a few days before I returned to New York it was suggested to me that I should return if for no other reason than I clearly needed a break and needed to get strong again before coming back to CA. This idea that New York is now the place I go when I need a break is doing all sorts of funky things in my head.

14) Specifically it’s doing the electric slide.

15) “A Marvin being sick marks the true end of childhood,” said a therapist.

16) Or maybe she said, “A Marvin being sick truly marks the end of childhood.”

17) Well, you get the point.

17.5) Not MY therapist! What use would I have for therapy? My brain is perfection and my emotions are a thing of beauty and my thoughts conform to the Platonic ideal of thoughts and my feelings are so appropriate you only WISH you had my feelings.

18) It’s hot in New York. I kind of hate that.

19) True Blood is now my favorite distraction and I’m sad I’m all caught up.

20) Also? I’ve been cheating on Splenda with Truvia. Just a little though.

21) I miss Tobey.

22) Congrats to Natali Del Conte on the birth of her baby boy!

23) Thank you all for the encouraging words you’ve sent my way.

Cute conversation I just overheard between a mom and daughter

Written by Alison | March 8th, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Comments

Mom: Honey, I told you I was proud of you five times

Daughter (probably age 7 or so): I was JUST JOKING

Mom: Why are you joking?

Daughter (exasperated): I don’t KNOW! I JUST LIKE JOKES!

Mom: Is it because I didn’t give you enough accolades?

Daughter: You are ACCOLADE-ANNOYING!

One more photo, I’m neurotic, my dad on Twitter, George Clooney

Written by Alison | February 15th, 2010 at 11:22 am | Comments

photo by Eric Fischer

Okay so there’s one more photo. Actually there are a lot more, like a zillion more, but there’s one  more (above) that I should probably include with the others I posted last night however I have this weird hangup about the right side of my face—I think the left side is more attractive. Unfortunately I didn’t quite realize how strongly I felt about this, in fact I thought maybe it was something I could get over, but now I realize it’s not a fleeting neurosis, it’s a permanent one. This must be how Phantom of the Opera felt!

Perhaps you are thinking, “But many of these photos are taken from the right side,” and yes, this is true, however what I don’t like seeing from that angle is on display more so in the above photo than the others, and  yet I also recognize it’s a good photo. Sort of like if you have a shirt which is orange and it’s a perfectly good shirt and you just happen not to like orange.

Sometimes I feel like the world is full of fun house mirrors because the truth is I don’t really know what I look like. My own sense of my looks is very wiggly, and yes I realize wiggly is not exactly the word I’m going for. The first time I ever saw myself on TV I was enormously relieved because I really liked the way I looked—as in I felt I looked a million times more normal than I feared I might—because I think I had this hidden fear that I looked freakish. I realize these feelings aren’t quite in accordance with reality, but they’re stronger and deeper than the visual cues which, like I’m saying, are wiggly. And I’ve always said that if I hadn’t like how I looked on TV that first time I probably wouldn’t have wanted to continue doing it. The handful of times I’ve  been unhappy with TV appearances are so unpleasant that if that was the norm–if going on TV was a hardship or something I had to really psych myself up for—like having surgery or going to Kinko’s, say—I’d never put myself through it. Instead it’s validating, which I realize suggests some deep schism or emptiness inside me which is setting me up for never feeling contented later in life, but I’d argue that everyone who puts him or herself in the public eye to a degree is dealing with some combination of these feelings deep inside.

I should add though that I don’t think about this stuff all the time—when I do my Ustream show I often do it without makeup and I trust that I’ll look fine and how I look isn’t really the point anyway. It’s more like all the above feelings are in me somewhere and periodically they flare up.

Also, thank you for all your comments last night! Something weird is happening with the blog where when you click on the permalinks for the photos posts (as opposed to viewing them from the URL) all the photos aren’t showing up so I just want to make sure when you indicated which ones you liked  you were seeing all of them. There should have been 11 photos in all (6 in the red sweater and 5 in the black shirt).

Let me know if this changes anything!

And yes I realize there is a world outside of me and my face however I’ve spent some time in it and frankly: not that impressed.

Oh and in other news, I’m going to get my dad on Twitter! Should he be JohnRosen, PapaRosen, AlisonsDad or something else?

Oh and also also, I watched Up In The Air last night. I liked it! And then I was thinking that for most people it’s probably this weird bit of trivia that George Clooney was in Facts of Life however for me, since I’m freakishly well acquainted with FOL, when I see him onscreen I just think, “Well, good for George The Handyman!”