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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Fertility, Menopause, and Banana Nut Bread

Yep, the conversation in the Chemo room turned to fertility and eventually menopause. Ingrid started asking questions about the effects of chemo on fertility. Of course they are not good; depending on your perspective. A quick scan of the participants includes Ingrid (40+), 1 chemo nurse (30+), 2 couples (70+), and me and Eunice (50+). I mentioned that loss of fertility wasn’t necessarily a bad thing and that some of us actually look forward to it. One woman receiving chemo chimed in that the “8 golden years” of menopause weren’t so golden. Her husband agreed that menopause isn’t good for anyone. I should add at this point people are laughing and enjoying this conversation. The women seem more comfortable than the men.

Ingrid is reading from a copy of an article on the side effects of various drugs. It seems some of hers have the possibility of rendering her sterile and facilitating early menopause. She does not have children, doesn’t want to have children, but still wants everything to work so the "possibility" exists. The rest of us have children and having more isn’t really an issue or desirable. What does this say about us? Life is a paradox.

Ingrid concludes with the website recommendation to harvest your eggs/sperm prior to chemo. This seems to go beyond functionality and more to implementation. I don’t bring it up because it's a message of hope and really the whole conversation is a lesson in hope. Here are four people with cancer actively discussing the future with no expressions of doubt that they will be participating in it. The chemo room is a hopeful place.

Another thing fascinates me. It’s the perspective of different generations. The people in the conversation represent 4 different generations: the silent (b. 1928-45), baby boomers (b. 1946-64), Gen Xers (b. 1965-80), and Millenials (b. 1981 +, the chemo nurse just squeezed in). I was surprised by the willingness of everyone to participate in the conversation and lack of any embarrassment on our parts. I am familiar with some of the research around generations due to working with organizations and how different generations work together etc. and this caught my attention. Our niece Emma (and I hate to drag her into this) posted a link on her blog Open-Eyed and Uffish to a Pew quiz called “How Millennial are you?” and I took it. It is a brief survey and I scored in the Gen Xer category. I was born in 1956. It’s hard to categorize people; life is a paradox.

Everyone is different except you and me, and sometimes I’m not too sure about you.

Eat Good Food, Be Kind, Tell the Truth
Click below for the collection of recipes or for an easy to print copy of a single recipe.

Collection of Recipes

Banana Nut Bread: My father’s (b. 1917) recipe.

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