This anomaly is due to a serious spine surgery I had when I was eleven years old. My rib was used to replace the cartilage between my vertebrae, and then my spine was fused with a rod and several large screws.
But I digress.
As a teenager, I always thought that because I have 23 ribs instead of 24, I was practically a man. After all, God took one of Adam's ribs in order to make Eve, right? I had heard that, as a result of that divine act, all men have one fewer rib than women do. Which would explain a lot about me: low voice, flat chest, total inability to craft.
Years later, I was quite disappointed to discover that men and women do in fact have the same number of ribs.
I guess I'm a woman after all.
Or so I thought.
One of the lovely revelations of my fertility tests is that I have an excessive amount of testosterone coursing through my body.
When I told my little sister the good news, she burst into raucous laughter and asked, "Why did they tell you that? Did they just want to give you a complex for the rest of your life, or is there something they can do to fix it?"
I assured her that there is something they can do to fix it: prescribe me a steroid to take twenty days out of the month. Now, not only am I a manly woman, I am a chubby manly woman. Most women gain twenty pounds when they are pregnant; I've gained twenty pounds trying to get pregnant.
Anyway, the other day I had to meet with my fertility doc to discuss different options for treatment. My body is no longer responding to the medicines I've been taking, so we're changing to a different drug.
"Does this mean I get to stop taking the steriod?" I asked hopefully.
He looked at my chart. "No," he answered simply. "With testosterone levels this high, you definitely need to keep taking it with the new drug."
With testosterone levels this high??!! What is that supposed to mean?
I left the office with his disturbing words ringing in my ears and contacted my friend, Rachel Shaw, who is a whiz with hair.
I needed to feel like a woman.
Rachel curled every strand and poofed and bobbypinned and hairsprayed. Then I went to the mall and entered Sephora for the first time ever (are you proud of me, Laura?) and bought some eyeshadow and blush.
Then Ryan and I went to a formal dinner/dance put on by the Alumni of the Dental School. I got to hang out with a few of my fun girlfriends, Candice and Rozannah, while Ryan got to hang out with their husbands, Ezra and Chris.
Ryan and I got Shirley Temples, and the bartenders laughed at us.
It was a fun night, and wearing patterned nylons, heels, and a fancy hairdo, I almost forgot that I am a he-she.