Tell Me More

I’m going to go out on (a very close to the ground and safe) limb and say that I think if you’re reading my blog, you probably like Michel Martin and her show Tell Me More.  If you don’t know Tell Me More, go listen, ’cause again, I’m pretty sure you’ll like her and her show.

Yesterday, she featured a discussion with 3 women who have breast cancer.  One of the women, Ann Siberman, has terminal cancer (and she has a blog).  Her son is 15, and she’s just hoping that she can make it to his high school graduation.  She talked about how in life nothing is guaranteed and that she’s living, but also grieving, grieving those moments she’ll never have, like being there for her son’s wedding or the birth of her grandchildren.

At the end of the show, she gave some advice to women who have just being diagnosed and told them that her story would likely not be theirs and that they should have hope. And, she urges them that once they’ve been healed to move on.  I’m including her words here:

Well, I want to talk to newly diagnosed women. I know that you’re all afraid that you’re going to end up like me, stage IV. But you have to realize that 80 percent don’t. And I want you to give yourself permission once your treatment is over, to believe that you’ve been healed and move on.So many women live breast cancer years after their treatment is over, and I really don’t think that’s mentally healthy or emotionally healthy. I think that to become a true survivor you have to move on from this experience. You know, our attitude is everything. All the worry in the world you do today does not affect anything. It just makes you lose today. Whatever happens happens. So try to enjoy every single day you have, because they’re all beautiful, there’s something funny in every single one of them. And I would highly encourage everybody, whether you’ve had cancer or not, to try to live their life that way.

Oh, wow, I can’t even type or read that without starting to cry.  In our world, of infertility and infant loss, I see so many people who need to take this advice to heart, including me.  I want to tell all the women who are just starting and worrying about their chances: most women won’t be me (in that very small percentage who can’t ever get pregnant).  I want to say to them, “you won’t be someone who can never get pregnant, who will spend thousands (tens of thousands) on treatment to never even make it to two pink lines.”  After time and heartache, you’ll get pregnant and you’ll have a baby, and you should move on from that experience.  You don’t have to grieve that loss forever.

AdoptionThe sad news for me, I guess, is that I will always have to live it.  I’m excited about moving forward with adoption and I’ve stayed mostly focused on the happiness that I will have through my motherhood down that path.  I saw an adoption quote the other day: adoption is when a child grows in Mommy’s heart instead of her tummy.  My heart is open and ready and full of love for these children.  But, oh, I still grieve those embryos that didn’t grow in my tummy.  I still feel such heartache for my loss.

I know that I’m not experiencing what those women with breast cancer are, have or will, but I do think that we all share some common needs and goals.  And, while I want to reassure those women with new diagnosis, I still want to be mad that I have to be part of that small percentage who won’t get pregnant, who barely received any insurance coverage, and who gets no walks, no pink bracelets, no pink ribbons, but still feels an acute and aching loss:

Infertility is not cancer. But it is debilitating. And some activists argue that infertility desperately needs the kind of awareness effort that helped bring cancer out of the shadows two decades ago. Breast cancer has its pink ribbon. AIDS has its walks, multiple sclerosis its bike-a-thons. Resolve does sponsor an awards gala honoring achievement in the field, but it draws primarily doctors and other professionals from the infertility world, not patients, and most important, it raises no money. Complains one Resolve member who walked out of last year’s event, “Everyone gets up and tells their success stories. Infertility treatment isn’t always about success. And that’s the problem with how infertility is being handled; as with any other disease, some people won’t be cured. That’s why it needs more recognition and funding, so people can get help. But no one wants to recognize the failure.”

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38311820/ns/health-womens_health/t/many-couples-struggle-infertility-silence/#.UIhZWcXA-So

But, I’m going to go back to those words of Ann Siberman and remember that every day is beautiful and every day has something funny it.  Today, on my list of beautiful and funny: the Daily Show episode I missed last night, time with my dogs, some relaxation, catching up blogs, and dinner with my sweet man.

 

IVF #2, Stim Day 3

ETA:  If you’d like a 15% off coupon for Circle + Bloom, email me at eighteenyearsblogger at gmail dot com.

Today is Day 3 of Stims.  I went for the ultrasound and bloodwork on Saturday morning.  All systems were go.  So far, things are going well.  I will have been stuck with or stuck myself with 11 needles so far by the time today is over.  It feels like more.

Here are the medications I’m doing now:

Morning:

  • 225 IUs Gonal F (3 vials), given intramuscular IM
  • 50 mg DHEA
  • 2000 IUs D3
  • PNV with 1 mg Folic Acid
  • 2.4 mg Folic Acid
  • 81 mg ASA (1 baby aspirin)
  • Doxycycline

Evening:

  • 225 IUs Gonal-F (3 vials), IM
  • 15 IUs low dose HCG
  • Metformin, 50 mg
  • Doxycycline
  • Flax seed, fish oil, tonalin (all healthy oils)

So far, I feel fine, just keep getting hot when no one else is complaining of the heat.  I’m almost completely off caffeine (1 small tea today, will be down to none tomorrow).  I’m drinking tons of water too in hopes of staving off some of the terrible bloating that happened last time.

I go for another check in tomorrow — more bloodwork (another needle stick!) and a visit with Wandy, oh, how Wandy missed me.  The RE reminded me last time that we want quality not quantity.  I have to think though that all these medications, including the pretty high dose of  the Gonal F indicates that we’re trying for quality too.  I have to do the Gonal F IM because I think that they worried my body was using up the medications too quickly (last time I did 3 vials of Follistim, only in the afternoon, subcutaneously with the low dose HCG).

I saw my rheumatologist yesterday, who thinks it’s highly unlikely that Medrol had anything to do with my flare last time.  He thinks that dumping this much hormones into an autoimmune disease person like myself is bound to lead to all kinds of wacky stuff.  So, I hope the prednisone/medrol combo will combat some of that.  I wish I knew an easy way to find other folks with autoimmune conditions who are doing/have done IVF.  Dr./Mr.Fixit Google is letting me down on that one.

I’m also going to download the Circle + Bloom meditation files I think and listen to those at night.  It will be good to have something positive said to me to block out any worries that might creep up.

Oscars and 2nd IVF

So, the big news is that the Oscar nominations will be announced tomorrow.  I saw The Iron Lady in theaters this past weekend and was simply blown away by Meryl Streep.  She’s amazing, awe-inspiring even.

And, in not so big news, I’ve started spotting.  I predict that I’ll be calling to start the 2nd IVF this week.  I told DH that he should be excited — soon, I’ll be on BCP.  We can have sex anytime we want without the fear of getting pregnant (ha).

3 Days Till Doomsday

I go into find out the news of my bloodwork on Friday.  I’m so worried that the RE’s going to say that I’m so completely fucked up that there’s no help for me.  I can’t even think about what all could be wrong — killer cells,  clotting factors, MTHFR (or something like that), ANA, TNF,  and a whole bunch of other letters that mean my immune system just doesn’t work right.

I woke up this morning and felt like someone had dropped a brick on my head.  Now, I think I have a cold.  Can worry cause you to get a cold?  I bet it can.

Some good reading out there now:  Hanna Wept, Sarah Laughed

And, just because today feels pretty heavy…

Fat Injection

So, I went for my “failed IVF appointment” today (they love the phrase “failed IVF” there). I went in with the negative reviews floating in the the back of my mind, but, really, the whole office was great.  I think the negative reviews I talked about last time are from people who don’t understand the process and that sometimes when we’re all stressed out, it seems like a good idea to think “they should’ve done more” but that may not be possible or reasonable.  The RE was totally nice, offered lots of options, listened to me and was, in general, awesome.

The verdict seems to be that my wonky immune system is striking again.  Because, you know, the gift of psoriasis at age 5 and psoriatic arthritis at age 17 weren’t enough… we have to add this little complication in the mix.

It looks like my body is likely stopping implantation.  I do have “slightly older ovaries,” but my eggs were all metaphase 2 (or something) and “perfect.”  Combined with the 80% fertilization rate, and you have the makings for a good baby…in other ladies.

I have another big round of bloodwork  (my “failed IVF bloodwork,” they call it) coming up, this time looking for Natural Killer Cells (scary sounding, isn’t it?) and other immuno issues.  I have to fast for 16 hours again (such fun)  before the bloodwork, then make an appointment for follow up after that.

Then, depending on what that says, I’ll be changing the protocol next time.  To include:

FAT INJECTION.

No, I’m not kidding.  Next time, I’ll add in having fat directly infused into my body because it’s supposed to help immuno challenged ladies like me.  Who knew?  I didn’t. In all my blog reading and IVF research, I never saw anything about being injected with fat to help get pregnant.  But, apparently, it works for lots of women.  So, now, I have a new search word and new blogs to catch up on.

You’d think, if you saw me, that I already have enough fat cells, but apparently, getting them IV infused is a bit different than just eating 6 Krispy Kreme doughnuts every 20 minutes or something.  Mmm, doughnuts.  Since I’m doing weightwatchers again, I think just writing about doughnuts means I’ve used my extra points for the week or something.