Kesha almost died after freezing her eggs, spent 9 days in the hospital

Is it me, or is Kesha glowing lately? Not in the pregnant way–in the ‘I’ve been working really hard on all my baggage and am now at peace with myself,’ way. Part of that is the look she’s presenting with the release of her latest album, Gag Order, that came out last month. It’s a dewy, no-makeup look (although I’m sure it takes a careful application of makeup to achieve it), and it’s on full display in her photo shoot for Self magazine. In the June cover story, Kesha is once again searingly honest, and breaks news on recent health issues–Common Variable Immunodeficiency (CVID), and how it impacted a recent reproductive health procedure:

‘You need to go on a mountain and scream’: Kesha is striving to be more forthright about what she’s going through, rather than trying to keep things hyper-positive for others’ sake. “I’ve never, ever been in touch with my anger, and my acupuncturist told me, ‘You need to go on a mountain and scream.’” At first, Kesha didn’t identify with that kind of fury–”I was like, ‘No, I really don’t feel angry,’” she says. But when she followed this advice, just to see, and poured her voice out in nature, she was surprised to find that, yes, she did feel angry–ferociously, explosively angry. She realized she needed healthy ways to regularly release the pressure valve on all the rage that had mounted inside of her.

On what led to her CVID diagnosis: Initially, Kesha sought medical care because she felt alarmingly fatigued and run-down on a daily basis, which she assumed was a consequence of overextending herself. “When you’re lucky enough to have a song that catches on, you’re just trying to keep up. I had a really hard time saying no to interviews or photo shoots because I didn’t want to let my one chance fall away by not being able to fulfill every request. It led to severe exhaustion physically and mentally,” Kesha says. To preserve her health, Kesha had to do away with her yearslong practice of saying yes to everything and everyone. Instead, she’s decided to change course and try something novel: rest.

Her near-death experience: “I almost died in January,” Kesha begins. She’s speaking deliberately, alternately staring into me and casting her eyes down. Last year, she froze her eggs. Some weeks after, on New Year’s Eve, she performed in the Bahamas, and after the show, she found she was too weak to walk. She went to the hospital, where doctors discovered that she had developed an uncommon yet serious complication from the fertility procedure, which they attributed, in part, to her weakened immune system. (Kesha chose to share some of the specifics off the record.) She was transferred to a hospital in Miami, where she spent nine days. “I finally feel recovered, but it took a couple months,” she says. “It was horrifying.” It was a wrenching outcome for a hugely personal decision–one she’d made because her album was coming out, and she wanted more time to think through what it meant to have a child in the world today without feeling rushed or distracted.

This is so sweet: Kesha knows life is painful. Just as much as she accepts anger and sadness and illness, she’s striving to let in whatever shred of bliss comes her way. As a part of that, Kesha sends gratitude to the former selves that ushered this one into being. “One of my practices is, on the back of my phone, I have a picture of myself as a kid, and I have to look at it and send love,” she says. “I look back in the same way at pictures of me when I was 22.”

Treat yourself with kindness: “If I just am kinder to myself, everything seems way more manageable,” Kesha explains. “When I first came out, I had this bravado, and it seemed like I don’t give a f—, which, there are elements of that, but I’m only human. After receiving so many comments about what was wrong with me, I started taking the meanest commentary as the truth and my higher power. I started internalizing it.” That’s over and done with, Kesha says: “I had to start talking to myself like someone who loves me.”

[From Self]

“I had to start talking to myself like someone who loves me.” EGADS I’m a wreck. Yes, yes and yes to this–not because I practice it but because I need to hear it. Throughout the article the writer takes note of Kesha’s doubts on whether to open up about her very personal experiences. I’m glad she decided to share all that she did, because she gave so much that resonated with me, as I’m sure it did with many, many more. We all benefit when women share their stories.

One thing I’ve come to realize about myself is that I can get easily overwhelmed with big ideas, and what’s actually helpful is to find small, actionable steps to get going. Kesha has graciously offered some help with that, too! So, if anyone’s looking for me, I’ll be taping baby pictures to my phone and screaming on a mountain. Look, we all have to start somewhere.

photos credit Backgrid and via Instagram/Kesha and Self

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12 Responses to “Kesha almost died after freezing her eggs, spent 9 days in the hospital”

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  1. It Really Is You, Not Me I’m says:

    Kesha has been through so much, so to hear that she almost died from complications from fertility treatments, something she was doing to move forward from the awful things that happened to her, is just gut-wrenching. It seems like she has found some peace and I am so glad for her.

    • BrainFog 💉💉💉😷 says:

      I’m rooting for her. She really had way too much crappy stuff happen to her over the last couple of years. Girl needs a damn break!

  2. Nlopez says:

    I love myself even more when I look at old pictures of my former people pleasing self. Learning to say NO was life changing for me. Life is so much sweeter now. Great article!

    • wordnerd says:

      As a lifelong people pleaser, I’ve been working hard to curb those habits. Any tips?

      • Nlopez says:

        Hi WORDNERD, it’s not easy but you can do it. When people catch you off guard and ask you to do something, you can say let me check my schedule or I’ll get back to you. That gives you time to tell them no later. After a while you will be able to say no up front. I also stopped telling people when I had a day off so they would.not plan things for me to do for them. I also don’t answer my phone after 9pm unless it’s family. Many of my friends talk for hours even on work nights! I hope this helps 🙂

      • C-No says:

        Hey wordnerd (same), I’ve discovered that I can say no after the fact as well. Like, my knee-jerk is to say yes, but I can change my mind after sitting with it for a while. My brother asked me to sing karaoke with him and I said yes immediately because I want to support him and hang out with him, but then I called him back and said actually I can’t do that. Small, crowded, loud, dark rooms are a panic-attack trigger for me. So I told him all that and he was totally fine with it. Probably doesn’t work in all situations but most people will understand if you back out of something, especially for your own mental or physical health. Good luck!

  3. Lovely says:

    I’m so sorry for her, what she went through sounds horrible. I had a friend do this procedure and they retrieved only 3 eggs. I keep hearing about other women that have unfruitful experiences because of bad doctors. And I don’t understand it, AFAIK most eggs don’t survive the thawing, there’s a big difference between thawing eggs vs thawing embryos. At least that’s the info in my neck of the woods.

    • Layday says:

      Yes as someone who went through it before starting chemo it really is such a hard experience to go through. The first time I did it I got seven eggs, and as you mentioned you lose eggs as you attempt to go from eggs to embryos (I got a discounted rate as a cancer patient) and I still found it expensive. I tried it again after chemo because of pressure from doctors about my age. I got no eggs, which was devastating because I paid the full price (15K) and had nothing to show and felt like I through that money away. I wish more people were honest about the fertility egg retrieval process. It’s hard (think giving yourself shots and medication that is making your hormones go haywire), and expensive with results not guaranteed. I feel like it’s painted as this easy process, when it’s anything but. Many women going through it are already vulnerable, and it can be extremely difficult to cope with if you have complications or don’t get the results you were hoping for. Too many doctors seem to not show empathy when it comes to that aspect of the fertility piece. Glad Kesha is doing well now.

      • TheBayTea says:

        I don’t think people realize that egg freezing is literally the first (harder) part of IVF. We all know IVF is hard for a variety of reasons, but so many people don’t realize they are signing up for the same thing when they freeze eggs. And, the success rate is lower because embryos freeze better than eggs.

      • Lovely says:

        I’m so sorry you had to go through that, I wish you health and happiness. On my end, I’m on my last leg of ovarian stimulation, if this doesn’t work I’ll have to do ivf. I’m giving myself injections and taking pills. I’m still not minding much the huuuge weight gain, because the mental effects keep me busy. I never thought it would be so bad, and they tell me that for egg retrieval they use higher dosage than when I have now, so I’m hoping it works now. Rollercoaster is an understatement, luckily I’m still not divorced, but I’m not sure how long my SO will be able to stand me. And yes, I’m lucky because my country has a program that basically pays for either all IVF or at least the main tests and procedures. Unfortunately I don’t trust the clinics I should go for free, because of my age and success rates, so if it gets to that point, I’m going to a different country for it. Ladies, don’t doubt it, if you want a kid, don’t wait, it will never be a good moment in life, but it will possibly get harder unaided.

  4. Nikki says:

    Reading this reminded me to always be patient and loving to people, even if they seem brash on the outside.

  5. Lizzie Bathory says:

    Amen to prioritizing rest. It’s so important & so discouraged in the US.

    I also totally relate to her difficulty accessing anger. That was not an emotion I felt comfortable engaging with for a long time, but once I did…oof. Turns out there was a lot under the surface.