Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Glimmer of Hope for 2010

As I look back to before this torment of loss and infertilty began, I am struck by how pathetically my hopes have declined. I'm sure many in this community can relate. You start with hopes and plans for building your perfect family and find yourself years later a desperate wretched wreck waiting by the phone for your latest beta numbers.

Just over three years ago I was hoping my baby would be born healthy. Instead he was born dead.

But there was still hope for happier days ahead.

Then I hoped during my next pregnancy that this baby would be born alive, but he wasn't.

Hope plummeted.

After working up the courage to try again, hubby and I hoped I could get pregnant again quickly, but I couldn't.

Hope took a gut-wrenching dive.

Next, on to infertility treatment, where hope revolved around blood tests and follicle counts.

And hope made a comeback for three short days, in the form of a positive pregnancy test that quickly turned into another loss, and killed off a little more hope.

Since then it's been a few failed cycles and multiple painful cysts that prevented any hope of even trying for pregnancy.

Hope was at the end of its rope.

And then ... a glimmer of hope to start this new year? There was decent news from the doctor today. While my ovary is still not "clear", it is "good enough". I no longer have a cyst, but a "follicle" since it measures 1.5 centimeters. That means we are cleared to go ahead at the infertility clinic, assuming the situation either stays the same or, hopefully, improves between now and Day 3. I'll stay on the pill a few days more in hopes of getting off to a better start. I'm pretty terrified of getting anywhere near hope these days, but like the hapless fish in this picture, I just can't help it. It's so...pretty.

My hope for 2010 is that this year will involve a lot of needles. First, Follistim to get pregnant and then Lovenox for the duration. If anyone had told me a few years ago that my hopes would one day consist of becoming a pincushion, I would have thought they had a sick sense of humor.

I'm also hoping 2010 will end this whole ordeal, preferably with a series of miracles resulting in a live baby or at least a live-baby-to-be in my belly. But if that can never be, then I hope that 2010 will put hope out of its misery for good so I can try to move forward without it. Either way, hubby and I hope to go on an exotic vacation at the end of all this as a reward for surviving. And I'm certainly hoping that airport security doesn't involve a full body cavity search by then. That's just the sort of thing I want to get away from.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

In Suspense

Christmas, happily, has passed without any major life-altering tragedy occurring and my kids had a very nice Christmas, as they've once again been spoiled by Grandma. Despite all the horrors of Christmases recently passed, I am proud of the fact that my children have only happy Christmas memories. Hubby and I do make it a point to shield them as best we can from our own distressing issues.

Currently, I'm in horrible suspense due to an ultrasound that will take place this coming Thursday to check on the status of my suicidal cyst-producing ovary. It has produced multiple large painful cysts in the past year, resulting in 8 months spent on the cursed pill. The latest bout of it has lasted three months so far. Luckily, it's rarely intense pain and I can go through the motions of a normal life, though admittedly not in a normal state of mind. It's the seeming endlessness of it and the fact that I can't even try for a desperately wanted pregnancy that drives me to the brink of insanity. And, let's face it, three months of constant pain can turn even the nicest girl into quite the bitch at times.

So... you can imagine my relief when the pain became less intense and frequent after last month's scan. Just prior to Christmas I had several painless days, during which I was in pretty high spirits and began to hope that this upcoming appointment would show me to be CYST-FREE, thus clearing the way for this chronic drug-user to switch from this:

To this!

Now, however, I am a nervous wreck. The last few days the pain has been back. Currently it is just a subtle intermittent ache, but I can't let myself be stupid enough to hope for good news. Best to avoid ups and downs by just staying so far down that there's really nowhere to go but up! That's some seriously messed up thinking, I know, but sound logic in a really twisted way!

Before I close this rant, I would like to thank Barrenblog for providing hubby and I a much-needed, though unavoidably bitter laugh with her post of several months ago entitled Operation Turkey Baster. We could relate to it all too well thanks to many similarly dismal attempts, including one disaster eerily similar to hers. Oh, the desperate things we do... if we couldn't laugh we'd just sit here and cry our eyes out.

Annie's Sound Advice:  NEVER buy a turkey baster from a garage sale.  You don't know where it's been.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Not-So-Craptastic Christmas?

This picture pretty much reflects the way I see Christmas these days. It scares me.

The last three Christmases in a row have been downright horrifying for me, so I am pleased to report that thus far this December, no calamitous new misfortune has befallen my family. Well, my husband did learn that his job is in jeopardy, but at least for now he still has one.  Could 2009 be the year we finally have a Not-So-Craptastic Christmas? Here's a quick review of our last 3 craptastic Christmases:

Christmas 2006: In late December 2006, our son Jeremiah died at 5 months gestation, though we didn't find out until January 2 of 2007. I can't look back on that Christmas with any degree of fondness knowing that my son was dead inside of me.

Christmas 2007: After losing Jeremiah, I was able to get pregnant again quickly and our son Miles was due at Christmastime 2007, but instead he also died at 5 months gestation. Christmas 2007 was abysmally depressing because I didn't get what I wanted for Christmas - a new baby under my tree.

Christmas 2008: Having just been diagnosed with secondary infertility, hubby and I were finally able to bury Miles' remains with his brother during a visit to my hometown. Jeremiah had been buried, but we had to have Miles cremated due to logistical and financial issues and unsupportive family.

I very much doubt that Christmas can ever again be the joyful time of year I once loved. Instead a happy Christmas is now simply one where nothing tragic or traumatic occurs. This year has been far from gleeful, thanks to several failed fertility treatment cycles, eight months (!) spent on the PILL thanks to painful cysts, a miscarriage, and the recent sudden death of my brother, but we've suffered no additional loss in December. I'll take what I can get.

For my family, this Christmastime is an improvement on the last three. We chopped down our own tree, which my 6-year-old David likes to "bask" under and has declared "exquisite". My adorable four -year-old Tania has been singing "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas" over and over. We hosted a fun gingerbread-house-making party at our house, which was the social event of the season. AND the cyst I'd feared would wreck this Christmas by landing me in the O.R. again instead still has me in wait-and-see mode and in pain - but not surgery. Hooray!

Here's hoping that my family and yours can have a happy trauma-free December this year, and that next year will be far better still.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Doctor Dammit

When you're just fed up with doctors
Who don't listen, care, or try
And pain has made you go insane,
Lose your cool and cry.

When every doctor's clueless
And your future is in doubt
Then here's a little dammit doll
That you can't do without.

Just grasp it firmly by the legs
And find a place to slam it.
And as you whack the stuffing out,
Yell "Dammit, dammit, dammit!"

If "dammit"s not a word you say
Then wring its little neck
As as you rip its head off
Shout "Oh heck, oh heck, oh heck!"

You may have gathered that I'm a bit frustrated with doctors. Yesterday was yet another disheartening visit to check the status of my "functional" cyst, which measured 6 cm last month and just under 5 cm this time. By the way, the five weeks between these two appointments is the longest I've gone without a doctor appointment in 3 YEARS! I wish I could have enjoyed it more, but I was in pain more often than not.

No doctor has ever had anything more useful to say about these frequent painful cysts than "Huh. I dunno". So very little is known about functional cysts that there's no effective means of preventing or even treating them. To make matters worse, my other issues - endometriosis with resultant infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss - also leave doctors stumped. There just isn't enough known about these conditions (why they happen, how they work, how to treat or prevent them) for doctors to be of much help to me, even if they tried.

Endometriosis has long been recognized as a serious disease in women, and yet there is still so much about it that is unknown. Certainly progress has been made, but you'd think it would get more attention and research given the fact that 10-15% of women suffer from it.

Imagine that 10-15% of men suffered from a painful, chronic, and progressive disease of the reproductive system. Imagine that the drugs to treat it made them hormonal basket cases and killed their sex lives. Imagine that the disease would often lead to multiple surgeries and the lopping off of a testicle or two just for starters. I suspect that enormous amounts of money would be devoted to the cause. The best and brightest in the field of medicine would be on the case. The road would be long but they would act swiftly and boldly to find effective treatments and ultimately, a cure.

Great advancements would have been made by now if men suffered this way. Instead, women are still being dismissed and patronized when they talk to their doctors about the pain they are suffering. And there's no hope for a cure any time soon. Dammit, dammit, dammit !