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The chair of disappointment.

25 Aug

wetsuits

I have no idea what it’s like to sit in this chair and feel anything but fear and devastation.  The fact that the majority of women associate this with utter joy is unfathomable to me.  As a result, it’s impossible for me to believe it will ever be that for me.  I climb up bracing myself for what will come next.

Today the nurse asked me if I’ve ever had an internal ultrasound and I actually laughed.  I told her I’ve had so many, there’s no way to count.  I did, however, refrain from calling my intimate friend LaWanda (ahem) even though I really really wanted to.

The appointment was just as I expected – she found nothing new and told me all we could do was to try again.  She did confirm that I had endometriosis and the cyst that has been ever-present on my left ovary will be there for life.  I’m thinking I need to come up with a name for it since I’ve become so familiar with it and it’s apparently not going any where anytime soon.  She said it shouldn’t be a problem pregnancy-wise for me since I can still get pregnant, but eventually I may want to remove it or go on birth control pills to suppress the symptoms of it (which for me is constant severe on-and-off pain all month).  We also did more tests since the majority of mine were a year ago after the third loss, so we’ll see what they show, if anything.  I’m betting everything on the latter.

I certainly didn’t expect to have so many emotions today.  I couldn’t stop the tears from falling…there was just a constant stream.  I know I’ve said this a thousand times, but I’m just so tired of it all.  I was walking down the street after the appointment and a man was getting into his car and said to me, “You look so tired.”  A stranger.  Awesome.  He then offered me a ride, which was a little uncomfortable, but whatever.  Later a student asked if I was okay today.  I thought I was faking it okay, but apparently not. Or maybe I just can’t fake it any more.  Two years of faking that I’m okay for 8 or so hours a day is getting old.

Two more days of this course and then I’m going to sleep for the next two.  Or maybe I just won’t wake up for a month or ten.  Will you wake me when it’s all over?

I need to get all of this out.

25 Aug

I haven’t been able to blog much this month besides the photos, and it’s been frustrating because the things swimming around in my head haven’t been able to get out and that doesn’t make for a very settled feeling inside.  I keep trying to find time to get on here and it doesn’t come, and it’s been very disappointing.

Today I’m meeting with a Reproductive Endocrinologist at one of the top reproductive clinics in the country and I can’t figure out how I feel.  I can’t remember if I’ve admitted this yet on here, but I honestly feel like I’m not going to be able to do this.  That I’ll have one more loss and that will be it.  I can’t do this for much more.  This sadness and grief that is ever-present is just so tiring and to think about prolonging that for another 2 years…it’s too much to bear.  I’ve felt a weight pulling me down for two years now that I can’t even remember what it feels like to be truly happy.

If I can’t do this, I need to move on.  I need to find a way to get my happiness back and I honestly know that won’t be possible until this chapter has been closed.  I’m scared to death that the last page will turn and there will still be no baby there to fill this hole.  I’m scared to live with that hole that will undoubtedly never go away for the rest of my life.

I feel like the only other option for us will be surrogacy.  But the cost of that is frightening; the only way for us to do be able to afford it would be to find someone we know – friend or family – to do it for us.  But how do you ever ask someone that?  How would you ever repay that person for giving you the biggest gift imaginable?  I would forever feel indebted, unable to show them how incredibly grateful I am.  I wonder how I would handle it.  I’m the type of person who thinks about others before myself, to the point where I will do whatever it takes to keep them happy, at the cost of my own happiness….how would I ever be able to handle the pressure I’d put on myself to show my appreciation?  I don’t see it being possible.

Yet I don’t see another way to do this.  Adoption is out of the question, and I would most likely just miscarry an embryo through IVF, so it’s down to these two options – trying one more time and most likely miscarrying, or surrogacy.  What the hell.  Do you know how shitty that is?  I’m supposed to be able to do this.  I’m supposed to be able to procreate, and yet I’m failing.  I know it’s not me or my fault or blah blah blah….but ultimately, how can you deny that my body has failed to what it’s supposed to do?  How can people honestly see a way around that explanation?

I’m excited for the appointment only because I’ll finally be able to talk to a specialist, except my excitement stops there because my gut is telling me they won’t be able to tell me anything new.  That they’ll say I just need to try again while we cross our fingers.  How long will they tell me that?  How many more losses will result in that very same approach?  I think I have one more in me, then I’ve reached my limit.  I just can’t do this to myself any more.  4 losses are more than any one should ever have to go through and 5 is an even more overwhelming number.

I realize this has been just one long release of emotions…but they’ve been bottled up in me for a while now because I’ve been working so much I’ve had no time to get it out and that’s what this blog is supposed to be for.  I’m afraid the RE is in for an emotional meeting with a very upset patient in a few hours.  I can’t believe I’m at this point where I need help doing this.  How did I get here?

* Enter Journey Song Title Here *

22 Jul

believe

The genetic counseling appointment turned out nothing like I expected it would.  Actually, that’s a lie…the part where I had a feeling they’ve already done all the genetic testing they can do, was completely right on.  But the part that I didn’t expect was when towards the end of the conversation, I mentioned that I had been looking on the practice’s website and saw a doctor who specialized in pregnancy loss and asked if I would be able to meet with her eventually.  She stepped out for a moment and stuck her head in the doctor’s office and asked if she could meet me real quick.  The sweetest woman then stepped into the office and immediately took me back to hers to talk.  When I told her I had just had my fourth miscarriage, she looked me in the eyes and said how sorry she was.  A doctor!  Here’s where it gets crazy – she’s had four miscarriages and is now pregnant and in her 2nd trimester (the genetic counselor had given me a heads up about the pregnancy before she went to get her, but none of that mattered after Dr. W told me her history).  I may have recently stopped believing in signs, but this right here might have me questioning that choice (or maybe it’s a sign I should keep believing in signs?).

We talked for almost half an hour, free of charge.  She went over my history and discussed what my next steps most likely should be.  She gave me three names for Reproductive Endocrinologists that she recommended and thinks my insurance will even cover them.  She called my doctor that afternoon to tell her what she thought the course of action should be (Heparin, progesterone) and wants to see me as soon as I’m pregnant until the 2nd trimester when she’ll hand me back over to my OB.

I wanted to take her and her pregnant belly home with me I loved her so much.

What I thought was only going to be a step in the right direction, turned out to be just what I needed.  I can’t tell you how good it felt to be in an office of a doctor who knew everything I should do and what will most likely work*.  By the end of the appointment, I knew she was already rooting for me.  I even felt like the counselor was in my corner.

And see that necklace above?  Maybe I need to start believing again.

courtney

(Necklace is from Kyri at littlejarofhearts.  I bought the last one of it’s kind, but please do go and check out her stuff because she’s a real sweetheart.  I bought an exact version of this necklace for a friend of mine that said “Hope” and then decided I needed one as well, but all she had available was “Believe” — apropos, no?  The Hope necklace went to one of my best friends, S, who just experienced her first – and hopefully last – miscarriage a few weeks ago.  I was devastated when I found out because I honestly thought I had taken all of the miscarriages away from our group of friends (shouldn’t four have that benefit?).  Apparently it doesn’t work that way.  I just didn’t want any one else I love to experience this pain.  It’s just not fair.  If you can, send her some love and strength.   I love her dearly and remember all too well how it feels after that first one, and you need hope any where you can get it.   I love you, S.  I’m here for you. )

* I love my doctor, but even she’ll admit someone else might be able to help me more at this point.

The next step.

20 Jul

Tomorrow I’m going to meet with a genetic counselor* as our first step in having to do this with assistance.  It’s been a long time getting to this point, and even though I’m still pissed that my body can’t do what it’s supposed to naturally, I’m looking forward to finding out what our options are.  Although I’ve been in this world for almost two years now, I have no idea where to start.  I guess because up until now, I haven’t had to look further than crossing our fingers and jumping in.  This part of the world is overwhelming.  I just hope I can keep it together enough tomorrow to have a coherent conversation.  Hopefully they’re used to tearful meetings being that this is their specialty.  I don’t know even know what to expect from a genetic counselor, have any of you seen one?  What are they even going to test for?  Mine and the hubby’s chromosomes have already been cleared as compatible, what’s left?

At least it’s a start.  I need to put my big-girl pants on and be okay with where this path is going now.  It’s just that they’re really hard pants to fit into, and they certainly don’t look nearly as comfortable.

* Updated: the genetic counselor is at a Perinatal practice..I guess that is important to know!  Thanks, Eggsinarow.

Growing cysts like a champ since 2010.

12 Apr

Turns out that cyst on my left ovary didn’t go away like I had previously thought.

Instead of going away, it grew to 4.25 cm and is now a hemorrhaging cyst on my left ovary.

So in other words: just another day for Courtney!

The good news is that there is still blood flow to the ovary – which means as of now, there’s no risk of torsion like I feared.  I just have to wait to see what my doctor wants to do, which will be either wait it out or surgery.  I’m fearing it will burst again before we even have a chance to decide.  That wouldn’t be all that bad in and of itself, I know I can handle the torture pain if it does, I’m just worried about excess scarring at this point.  After almost half a dozen of these, my ovary must be looking like a war zone by now.

Then, of course, there was this: as I was giving the technician my history, I mentioned that I’ve already had cysts during both my most recent pregnancies, she said, “Oh, well at least you have 2 cute babies to make up for it!”

Ouch.

I must be used to comments like these at this point because after the initial blow and my honest reveal of the truth, I quickly  transitioned back to talking about my cysts.  It helped that she was really helpful in describing things to me, something I don’t find common among technicians.  I just really wish they would include all of my history on the orders the doctors send in to avoid comments like that.

The best part of the visit was that I saw follicles of varying maturity on my right ovary!  I can’t tell you what a relief this is.  I really thought that my right ovary wasn’t functioning because of Ole’ Lefty stealing the show.  I’m on CD11, so it was perfect timing for follicles and I couldn’t have been happier to see them and know that at least that part of my body is functioning properly.

I’m really glad I went in to get checked out, even though it didn’t necessarily tell me anything I wasn’t already familiar with.  It was just such a different pain than the “normal” cysts pain that I usually experience, so I think I had the right to be weary.  I’m proud of myself for going, I usually wait these things out.  Maybe I’m turning a new proactive leaf.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, my uterus is still the most beautiful uterus in the whole wide world.  And the tech told me I got an A+ in water consumption.

It’s good to know I at least excel in something. I may not be any good at baby-making, but at least I can fill a bladder like nobody’s business.  Go me!

Where I ask you to be my Dr. Google.

11 Apr

For over a year now, since my February miscarriage, I’ve had painful ovarian cysts.  For a while there, it would hinder everything I did.  It felt as if someone was holding onto my ovary and wouldn’t let go as I walked away from them.

They went away for a while, but then came back again in full force.  I’ve had 5 bursts now…all on which I believe were on my left side.

You all know that last cycle, I had a 38-day-cycle, something that has never happened to me before.  I took about 5 pregnancy tests, so I wasn’t pregnant.  But I had a cyst, I could feel it.  As far as I know, it dissolved and didn’t burst because once I got my period, the pain went away.  I also had a cyst the cycle before.

Now, I have a new pain.  It’s different than my cyst pain because it’s lower.  It’s still on the left side, but it feels like it’s in a different location than my ovaries.  It’s been here for a few days now, ranging from annoying to almost gone to back with a vengeance.  So much so that I just called to make an appointment with radiology and I’m going in at 3:30.

I’m scared.  It’s a new pain that making my mind wander to not-so-pleasant diagnoses.  It’s pulsing, and I don’t like that one bit.

Has anyone had this?  I know I’m not explaining it very well, but I don’t even know how to describe it.  All I know is it’s lower than where my normal cyst pain is…but from what I can tell from anatomy charts, there’s not much directly below our ovaries but ligaments and bone.  And it’s not in my uterus.

I just don’t know how much more of this I can handle.  I want my body back.

 

Your liver has daddy issues.

9 Apr

Two months ago, I met with an acupuncturist for the first time in over a year.  The last time I saw one, it was for the cysts that appeared during my pregnancy in February of 2010.  After I miscarried, they left me with a severe amount of pain and the only thing western medicine wanted to do for me was put me on birth control.  Not exactly something I wanted to do considering we were trying to have a baby.  It worked.  The cysts started to go away and I got pregnant again a few months later.

Fast forward to this year and another miscarriage, and I felt the desire to go again.  I needed to know I was doing everything I could to prepare my body for another pregnancy and hopefully get the next one to stick.

Some friends of mine had been urging me to go to this particular acupuncturist for a while, so I finally made the call.  He happens to be in the same exact office as my therapist, so that makes it an building devoted just to my healing. I figured it was a sign.

The first time I saw him, it was the week of my due date and anniversary of my second miscarriage.  It was near impossible to control the tears, as I’m sure you can imagine.  But I felt like it was the perfect time to try and make a change.

After an initial conversation of my history and my reason for seeing him, I hopped up on the table.  While he felt my pulse, he explained to me what causes a miscarriage according to Chinese medicine.  He started by describing how they view each organ with it’s own personality, but each working towards the same goal of keeping the body alive.  Among them all, the liver is kind of the big shot.  The liver helps controls the blood supply and determines where is should flow, and it plays a key role in a pregnancy.  When a woman miscarries, it’s because the liver feels the pregnancy is compromising the blood supply to the rest of the organs and shuts the pregnancy down.  So in other words, it believes the pregnancy is threatening the health of the rest of the body, and it does something about it.

What a jerk!

He asked me a few more questions regarding my liver, trying to put the puzzle pieces together on why my liver would do that.  One of those questions was what my relationship with my dad is; because apparently, the liver is a good indication of how you feel about your father.  I am very lucky to have a  great dad that I have a wonderful relationship with, so for me, that wasn’t it.  But I did find that rather amusing that various relationships in your life take a toll on specific parts of your body.  (I wonder who is in charge of the reproductive system, because whoever that is, I need to mend that quickly.)

In essence, our goal will be to trick the liver into thinking that at around 8 weeks, that the pregnancy is actually beneficial to my body, rather than detrimental like it has thought in the past.

He had no idea what he had given me with this simple idea.  For over a year I had been angry at the fact that during my last pregnancy, I had spent so much time envisioning a healthy and inviting environment in my womb for my baby, and it did nothing.  I had honestly believed it would make a difference, only to be proven completely wrong.  What was the point then?  I had thought.  But now, if this were true, it all made sense.  I had done the right thing all along.  Maybe my positive thinking had given the baby a healthy place to grow, but that bully liver took over and stopped it.

I could finally let myself off the hook.

I realize to some, this may sound like a bunch of crap.  But I’m willing to believe him.  And there was something specific that really convinced me:

During each ultrasound in the past year, every technician or doctor has told me I have a great looking uterus.*  While my acupuncturist was doing his exam, he looked into my ear and said, “Well, your uterus looks great!”  Besides the fact he was looking in my ear and could see my uterus and that in itself is just crazy, that was all I needed to hear.  I could believe him.

There’s hope my uterus will allow a pregnancy to thrive.

I think he’s going to be able to help me.  I truly believe in his power.  And at this point, I’ll do anything.

Even if that means dressing head to toe in green (it’s the color of the liver) or calling my dad every day to tell him I love him, I’ll do it.  So far, Western medicine isn’t proving very much to me on its own.  I think I’ll trust the man that can see my uterus through my ear.

Hey there, Dad!  Why aren’t you looking awfully handsome today!  Have I told you how much I love you?

*Not quite sure what a great looking uterus entails…but I’m beginning to question if they’re all just judging the book by it’s cover.