Endometriosis

The Brown Paper Bag

Beneath my bathroom sink, there lives a brown paper bag. The contents of which were too large to fit in my mirrored medicine cabinet. It’s been residing there for the past four-plus years, maybe seeing the light of day once. Okay … twice, when I organized everything in that bathroom sink cabinet.

The only other time I took it out, was about two years ago. At that time I was debating what to do with all the syringes, needles and vials of medication that inhabited that brown paper bag. The first thought that came to mind was to donate its contents to the physician’s office of whom originally prescribed such medication to me. But then I thought of the last time I had been to his office, and memories came flooding back; quite like a tsunami hitting the coast of an otherwise tropically calm shore.

I thought of how many months I stuck myself in the thigh with those needles to deliver those extra doses of hormones. And I thought of those times I made sure I gave myself the injection at around the same time each night. I even thought about the small bag that contained my “supplies” that I carried on those nights when we knew we would be spending much time with family; for young cousin’s birthday party, or another relative’s baby shower, or a baptism where Hubby & I would be named as Godparents.

I thought of the multiple trips I took during a given week in my cycles to get poked for blood. And thought of how many times I had “dates” with the Ultrasound Technician and her “magical wand.”

And finally, I thought about the multiple trips I took to three separate specialists office at different times in my life. The first of which fed me month after month of Clomid for a year; which now I wish I would have questioned earlier. The second that thought by doing a laparotomy followed by six months of Lupron would jump-start my system. And then put me on more than 8 months of medicated cycles; and after each cycle told me that this month, with the changes of medications or dosages in these injectable meds, that “this would be the month.” And whenever I brought up the idea of doing an IUI or an IVF cycle, pooh-poohed my thoughts. And finally, the last specialist who actually listened to me. And ran just a few more tests on me to diagnose me as “insulin resistant;” not quite PCOS, as I was still cycling every month, but enough that I was finally put on metformin.

Things started to feel better after being with this third specialist. The metformin miraculously made me “feel” better, if that makes sense, and the low-carb diet did wonders for my weight. It was then, that Hubby & I decided to go for In Vitro Fertilization; or IVF. Or the big guns; as I call it. And we were told that our best bet was to have it done with ICSI; meaning that IUI (intra uterine insemination) wouldn’t work for us. So Hubby & I found creative ways to finance that IVF cycle, and well … we all know the end result.

Because, quite frankly … I wouldn’t be writing this kind of blog if the results were any different.

About two years ago when I initially took out that brown paper bag and briefly thought about donating it back to my RE’s office … well, I got angry. And then I thought about how much money Hubby & I actually spent for those supplies and still didn’t end up with the results we wanted. And I ceremoniously shoved the bag right back under the bathroom sink.

Today I stumbled back on that bag, which had found its way to the very back corner of the bathroom sink cabinet. Without thinking twice, I opened it up once again and looked at its contents. And in the two years since I’ve seen it, I realize that it looks the same. Again I thought about donating it back to my RE’s office; whom now I haven’t seen in over four years. But as I glanced at the two boxes full of vials, I realize that the medication had officially expired over the past year.

So what did I do this time? Well, I took out the vials of expired medication and threw them away. And I closed the brown paper bag once again, this time with just the needles and syringes, and stuffed it back underneath the sink.

Well … at least I made a little progress in moving past my one (and only) failed IVF attempt. At least I think I did.

Two Steps Back

So recently there was this really honest post that Duck put out in the blogiverse. It had to do about wanting to want to adopt. It’s one that apparently remained stuck in my mind, despite it being posted over two weeks ago.

I’m at the point in my life where I’ve really got to start figuring out what to do about adoption. I know it’s my next step, but yet every day there seems to be something that pops in my mind that puts me back another step or two. Especially these last four months.

First there was my Hubby’s grandmother. Then there was the news about another pregnancy for my SIL. And, of course, my Dad’s hospitalization.

And in between all these events, my good friend, Endometriosis decides to come back and nestle into my nice warm body. Oh, and shortly afterwards, Aunt Flo comes for the visit from H*LL. Nothing like emphasizing that I can’t get pregnant. It’s like an exclamation point (in this case, a “period”) at the end of me shouting “I am infertile.”

So yeah, like a said, a few steps back.

Not that I’m blaming any of these particular events for my recent train of thoughts. It’s more what I’ve somehow managed to have each separate event represent. (I over-analyze things, if you haven’t caught on by now.) SIL’s pregnancy? That’s easy … and obvious. Dad’s hospitalization? How precious and fragile life can be; and how things can change in the blink of an eye. Hubby’s grandma? How one’s life affects so many others … especially their kids and their grandkids, and so on and so on.

And all of this relates back to adoption and back to Duck‘s original post, how? Well, I honestly think that those going through IF need to fully resolve their issues of not being able to biologically produce their own child before they look to adoption.

At first, I thought I was there. I thought I could simply give up the notion of not being able to produce a biological child of mine. And when I talk about biological child … I’m strictly talking about a child that looks like a mixture of Hubby & me. One that might have certain features or personality traits or even habits similar to us. One who would know his or her family tree and complete health history.

But then there’s the other aspect of not being able to produce my own child. It’s the feeling of being pregnant. Of watching my belly grow. Of craving strange things or claiming that I need more ice cream or chocolate for “the baby.” Of experiencing the joy of a positive pregnancy test and sharing that moment with Hubby. Of seeing my baby’s heartbeat on an ultrasound. Of being the guest of honor at my very own baby shower. Of people rubbing my belly. Of strangers coming up to me and asking when I was due. Of touring the hospital’s birthing center. Of going through lamaze. Of hearing the cries of my baby after he or she was just delivered. Of holding him or her in my arms for the first time. Of breastfeeding. Of coming home from the hospital with my precious cargo and my Hubby standing right next to me.

All that and much much MUCH more. Probably more than anyone who has never experienced infertility could ever understand. Empathize, yes. Completely understand, no. But then if we’re also talking about walking in someone else’s shoe, I also wouldn’t understand what it was like to lose a child. Or worse, the love of my life.

In any case, I find myself suddenly back to where I was before January; knowing that adoption is our next step … but once again scared to move forward.

After all, to want to want to adopt is a big thing. And to do that means I could possibly have utterly and completely given up on that dream to become pregnant. And that’s a pretty damn scary thing.

Posterior Side Effects

If one more person says, “You’re too young to have hot flashes!” I’m going to puke.

As if having the hot flashes isn’t bad enough, I get the whole lecture about how they didn’t start having these “issues” (a.k.a. menopause) until their late 40’s after children left the house. (Uh, thanks for reminding me I’m struggling through infertility!)

Check out my “cooling unit”
for them night sweats!

And these same people seem to feel it necessary to tell me how they’ve had so many other “issues” as they were going through “the change.” Like insomnia and night sweats (check). Or horrible headaches (double check). And the general lack of energy (triple check). Not to mention the general lack of filtering when it comes to saying what I think (quadruple check). And finally of course, those monstrously ginormous horrible mood swings (quintuple thru decuple check).

Never mind that my poor Hubby’s been getting the brunt of these side effects. Like those nasty mood swings. And the lack of desire to do anything (if you catch my drift). For Pete’s sake, the poor man has to sleep under layers and layers and layers of blankets and clothing just to keep warm while I suffer through yet another night of “hot flashes”!

So heed this warning … the next person who tells me I’m too young to be having any hot flashes … I am going to take my next dose of Lu.pron and shove it in their posterior.

 

Un-Veiled

First of all, I just wanted to say “Thank You!!” for all the bloggy-love as I officially celebrated my first blogiversary yesterday. I am truly lucky to have such great blog friends!! Reading your blogs and especially your comments to my posts have definitely got me through this past year …. -)

Moving on …

To shake things up at work, our bosses decided to do something different. Today was “Hat Day,” where we could all wear a silly hat, a nice spring hat, or even a “Cat in the Hat” hat. What did I decide to wear? Well … check it out!

 

Yikes! Check out the luggage under my eyes!

Okay, so it wasn’t silly or spring-y … but I figured, “Hey! When am I ever going to have the occasion to wear my wedding veil again?” What I really wanted to do was wear a simple white dress and white patent leather shoes with white tights and be a “First Communion” gal. Wouldn’t that have been a hoot?

Over the weekend while at my parents’ house, I went into their cedar closet and dug my veil out of the plastic bag it was in. (Yes, the wedding dress is still hanging in there, too. You think after 11-plus years I might actually get it preserved …) So rather than post our wedding picture once again … and as an homage to my Dad, I figure I’d post this picture of our Father-Daughter dance. (Plus, I think it shows off the details of my dress and veil a little more than our wedding pic … okay, maybe not!)


Dad & I danced to "Unforgettable"

But seriously … at work when I brought out my veil, many of my co-workers thought I was nuts to do so. “What about keeping it nice and preserved?” or “Don’t you want to keep it safe for when your daughter gets married?” Even when I correct them and say, “I don’t have any children” or “There isn’t a daughter to pass it down to” they always say smugly all-knowingly, “You never know …”

“Duh,” methinks to myself, “You’re right. I’ll never know. And damnit, you don’t know either.”

Do people honestly think that it’s easy for me to think in those terms?! “You never know…” Is this supposed to give me some sort of hope that maybe in the future, I will be able to pass on my bridal veil and/or my bridal gown to my future daughter?

Do they know that this is one of the things that I fear I’ll never be able to experience? To be able to be a “mother of the bride” or to see my husband have his moment in walking his daughter down the aisle? To possibly even have grandchildren?


Yes, this is me ...

Sheesh, I’m still trying to get over my fear of not ever being able to dress a nursery, let alone buy baby clothes for a baby that may never come. Or seeing our child go through his or her First Communion. Trying to imagine anything past those moments just seems (and no pun intended) inconceivable.

Okay. Enough of my ranting. Really, I was actually just trying to post a funny post and it turned into this.

Hmmm … must be the damn Lupron that’s got me hot under the collar, literally and figuratively (damn hot flashes)!

Hey Peeps!

One of my favorite things to have around Easter time are Peeps. Yeah, I know … all that marshmallowy- sugar … but I just can’t resist!

So imagine my surprise when I found these at my local pharmacy. How awesome is this to combine both Easter AND St. Patty’s Day?! Yep. Had to buy them …

Of course, I was at the pharmacy to pick up my latest dose of Lupron. Ugh … with all that’s happened this past month, I didn’t even get a chance to look for a new OB-Gyn. Must. Put. That. On. Things-To-Do. List. Immediately …

But first, must wish everyone out there a Happy St. Patty’s Day! May the luck of the Filipino-Irish (hah!) be with you all.

Oh, and Happy 1st Blogiversary to me. Woo-hoo!

And now … time to devour those Peeps.

Not Stirred or Shaken … Just Chilled

This morning I’m taking a little time for myself. I woke up just a tad later than I usually do for work. And I’m doing it because it’s officially my scheduled day off from work. Not one of those days I had to call my boss in the morning and let her know that I wasn’t coming in because of my Dad or because I was waiting for a service man to repair our furnace.

Nope. Today was a day that I officially scheduled off because of a previously arranged doctor’s appointment. And for once, that appointment had nothing to do with the “nether regions” of my body.

So today, before I make an appearance at the hospital, I’ve decided to stop by my local cafe and chill. Catch up on some blogs. Do a little knitting. Do more research on finding that new OB-Gyn I need. And hey … maybe read the paper and catch up on some local (damn Kwame … ) and national (and now the ex-NY governor?!) news.

Because to tell you the truth … I’m feeling just a little anxious. And exhausted. And I want to take a moment to sip my Leprechaun Latte and enjoy the sounds and smells of my favorite cafe.

Blogiversary

Thanks AGAIN for everyone’s well wishes for my Dad’s speedy recovery. I am so incredibly grateful for all the blove (blog love) I’ve received. I will update you on my Dad’s condition in another post, but today I figured I’d blog about something else.

I just got done reading BabyBounds latest post, and it reminded me that a year ago this month is when I started blogging. Okay, so officially it’s not until March 17th but … whatever.

Anyhoo … the reason BabyBound’s post reminded me of my blogiversary was because she was talking about the reason why she started her blog. And what has transpired (or hasn’t transpired) since taking a break from fertility treatments.

For me, the reason I started this blog was to find an outlet to express how frustrated I was with my infertility. At this time last year, I was going through quite a bit of angst and frustration. Shall we recap? Yeah, why not.

  1. Mid-March would be the 3rd anniversary of my one (and only) failed attempt at IVF. Since then, I had not done anything active to pursue further infertility treatments. Nor was I moving forward in any direction towards adoption. It terrified me to move forward (and in some ways, it still does today).
  2. My SIL, who had just gotten remarried less than a year ago at that time, was already 5 months pregnant. And, of course, after trying for well-over 10 years to start our own family, I fell into a deep dark abyss of feeling like shit.
  3. Same SIL found out just two weeks prior that her baby was showing signs of abnormalities (US was indicative of a cleft lip and omphalocele) and of course, I was feeling guilty that I probably caused it by all my horrible feelings of jealousy and anger.
  4. The slimmest of slim possibilities of a quick and painless Philippine adoption was quickly and ceremoniously stripped away. (Come to think of it, I don’t think I even blogged about that. Hmmm … maybe a post for another time.)

So yeah … I think I had enough to vent about and just had to find an outlet for it all. And hence, Apron Strings for Emily was born.

A year later, I’m still writing. And I’ve enjoyed writing. It’s given me an opportunity to share and exchange information and emotions with people that I’ve never met IRL (in real life). And even those IRL people that do read my blog, it’s an opportunity for them to read exactly what I’m going through. Because in my real life, I’m not good at showing my real emotions.

And a year later, this is what’s going on in relation to the above-mentioned recaps:

  1. Yep; it will be the 4th anniversary of our IVF attempt. I’m still saddened by it, but the grief has lessened considerably since last year. I still have no desire to pursue any further IF treatments, but instead am now dealing with the return of some unfriendly and unwanted GYN issues.
  2. My SIL remained pregnant and in May (at 31 weeks), prematurely delivered Liam. In his short life (he lived only 4 months), he touched all of our lives with his beautiful eyes and incredible strength.
  3. Same SIL announced this past January that she is once again pregnant (and due in August). Yes, it still hurts. No I didn’t fall into that abyss again. I’m dealing with it the best I can , which is to accept it for what it is. I do have to add that this time around, SIL has been wonderfully conscious about how her pregnancy affects me … and for that I am grateful.
  4. Adoption. Yes, this is our next step and I’m actively taking baby steps to get there. I’m still quite overwhelmed, but taking even just these little steps is more than I have taken in the four years since our failed IVF.

So, if you’ve kept reading to the end of this post … I applaud you. And I thank you. Thanks for being the ears (or in this case, the eyes) that I’ve needed to get past the most difficult times in my life this past year. I’ve learned that I am not alone in feeling the way I do. I’ve learned that others also share the same warmth, compassion and empathy that I have. I’ve learned that I am a much stronger person that I give myself credit for. I’ve learned that my husband continues to be and will always be my best friend in the world. And I’ve learned that blogging is therapeutic for my soul.

Happy Blogiversary to me!!

When is the Best Time … ?

When is it time to look for a new OB-Gyn? My current one has seen me through quite a bit of my medical history. It was with his direction that I experienced my first of many pelvic ultrasounds (and oh, what an eye-opening experience that was). He was the one that started the initial infertility work-up. He was the one that started me on the “Evil Clomid.” And he was the one to tell me when it was time to seek an RE. Not only that, but after so many years of “cheating” on him with specialist after specialist, he’s the one that took me back in when my attempt to successfully reproduce on my own failed.

So why am I questioning why I should change doctors?

As I mentioned in previous posts, I’ve been experiencing increased pain with my periods. I had an US two weeks ago, mid-cycle, that apparently looked picture-perfect. And the plan was to restart me on Lupron to help treat my endometriosis. And then Aunt Flo visited me with a vengeance.

And as an update to my last post where my doc basically gave me the “Take two of these and call me in the morning” speech … I called this morning to let the office know that yes, I was still having this intense pain. And no, the Darvocet I took (two tabs at a time, by the way) did not help the pain. So I was directed to go into the office for another exam, but this time it would be one of his partners since he was working out of his “other” office, all the way on the other side of town.

Well, let me tell you … Dr. Partner seemed to be much more attentive. He asked more questions, he seemed more interested in my symptoms. He seemed to want to figure out what was causing my pain. Unlike Dr. OldyShmoldy, who seemed to chalk up my symptoms to my endometriosis and that the Lupron injection should just “take care of it all.” So when Dr. Partner ordered another US thinking that something must have definitely changed from two weeks prior, I was more at ease knowing that something was being done. And when that US came back showing a 3.5 cm ovarian cyst (which, Thank God, was not ruptured), I just finally felt some justice that I wasn’t going crazy.

So what’s next? Other than the Lupron, which is supposed to help reabsorb the cyst … nothing. That is, unless the pain gets even worse. Which means that there’s still the possibility of a rupture. But not very likely.

Anyway, after this experience I’m seriously thinking that I need to change doctors. And change practices as well. I just don’t know how to go about doing this. I suppose I should wait until I finish my Lupron therapy. Or should I?

Argh. Any advice would help. And if anybody knows of a good OB-Gyn in the Detroit-Oakland Co. area …

Pain in my side …

No, I’m not talking about Hubby or any other particular person that I might think is a pain in my side. I am literally having pain in my side. Particularly my left lower abdomen.

It started early this morning as Puppy woke me up to let her out at 2(frickin’):30 in the morning. Got out of bed and felt a little twinge. Went to lie back down after letting Pup back in and the pain just got worse.

Oh, I guess I should add that I’m CD2 today. And even though I’m used to the usual cramps (okay, I lie … I hate them and will never get used to them) and even the dull pain I usually feel on my right lower abdomen during the first two days, this pain is just … different. Sharp and intense. Localized to what I’m assuming is my left ovary.

So come (actual) morning time as I was trying to wake up in order to get ready for work, the pain was no better. I made a sad attempt to go to work and then ended up going home after only two hours. But not before making an appointment with my GYN for later in the afternoon. Which … I was going to head there today on my lunch hour anyway for my first dose of Lupron.

The end result? Take this Darvocet prescription and take as needed. Call in the morning if I’m not feeling any better. Oh, and let’s poke you in the rear with Lupron while you’re here too.

Well, it could be the drugs since I’m feeling pretty loopy right now (am I babbling or what?), but I’m still not feeling any better. Crampy? Check. Bloated? Check. Lack of appetite? Check. Pain in my side? Check … although the edge is gone a bit.

I guess stay tuned to see what happens next. Or not. Or maybe I should just go back to doing what I did best today … nap.

Dream A Little Dream

I had an incredible dream last night. One that I haven’t had in at least three years.

Last night I dreamt I took a pregnancy test and it came back positive. It was such a vivid dream in which I could literally see the second line appearing in front of my eyes. I was in such shock that I literally climbed back into bed, pregnancy test in hand, and woke Hubby up to confirm what I was seeing was NOT a mirage. And as he slowly woke up and opened his eyes, he confirmed that I wasn’t “seeing things” by the silly lopsided grin he had on his face. Both of us were in complete awe because Hubby & I hadn’t even been trying.


Nope. Never had one of these. Ever.

In the dream, we were so excited about the results that Hubby made it a point to take the day off from work to be with me as I went to doctor’s office. I didn’t even bother calling to make an appointment because apparently I already had one scheduled for that day. So we went into the office and as the nurse brought me into the room, she asked me where my Lupron prescription was. You see … in my dream, that appointment was supposed to be the day I was going to receive my first dose of Lupron. Instead, Hubby & I first looked at each other with these all-knowing grins, turned back to the nurse and said in unison, “We’re pregnant!”

And that, sadly, was the end of my dream.

I know why I had that dream. I know that all the recent events that have transpired over the past two months, let alone the past week has got my subconscious once again thinking about pregnancy … or rather, the lack of pregnancy. I know that the news of multiple co-workers’ who are about to become first-time grandmothers is affecting me. I know that the news of my SIL and our good friend in Portland’s pregnancies are also affecting me. And I damn know for sure that the whole endometriosis / Lupron thing is weighing heavily on my mind. Not to mention that these next few weeks are all leading up to the fourth year anniversary of our one attempt at IVF.

Those are the realities of my life. Those I understand and can make sense of. What I can’t grasp on to is that after three frickin’ years of not having any type of pregnancy dreams, why must I still continue to have them?

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