Thursday, September 21, 2006

Twits and Tits

Last week, Swami's office requested that I update my annual pap smear/boob mashing. Seems like I just had one.. but after calling my OB/GYN and having them double check their records (No, really.. can you check that last appt again? Cos I'm sure he shoved something up there and swirled around a bit). Apparently, I'm just losing track of who's been up in my vajajay and for what purpose.

So, I was able to get a last minute appointment with the Nurse Practitioner/NP (who I really liked, very cool woman) and low and behold.. what did she discover? A lump. In my boob.

Now, I have an image in my mind of how most women react to such news while sitting in an exam table, essentially naked save that thn robe that seems to have a mind of its own. It goes something like this:

"WHAT?! Oh. My. God. How bigisitwhereisitisitcancerwhatdoIdo?"

My response was a little less enthusiastic: "Oh, ok. I guess I ought to get that checked out." At first NP was unconvinced that I understood the importance of having this thoroughly checked out ASAP. She also emphasized that a clear mammogram and boob ultrasound was not sufficient. I have to see a "boob surgeon" (Boobologist?) and have the lump, poked, prodded, aspirated, biopsied or cut out. She provided names and numbers and again re-emphasized the importance of it all, especially considering our IVF starts next week. I felt the need to explain, see.. um.. I'm all spent right now. Emotionally and physically. Thanks to school and IVF. I really just don't have the time, nor the energy to break down and freak out.

So, I made my appts from the lobby of the OB's office. Thankfully, both the imaging center and the Boobologist are able to see me right away. My first appt is Monday with the imaging center and then the boobiewoman on Wednesday morning.

And then I immediately headed off to school for a course in Qualitative Research Methods, where I am expected this evening to deliver a presentation on Sampling Selection as part of a larger presentation with two other students. And Girls, I'm super prepared. I mean, I really am. I am all set to go. My slides were ready on MONDAY and I reviewed them this morning along with all of my neat little talking points mapped out.

I started off our presentation and got through about 4 slides of the 14 that I needed to cover before realizing that I was totally unfocused. I couldn't remember what the hell I was talking about. So, I stopped for a second to compose myself and then the fucking stupidiest, most humiliating thing happened. Tears welled up in my eyes and I had to excuse myself FROM THE ROOM, where I proceeded to hide in the bathroom and cry. And then I got pissed off at myself for my lack of self control, and then I cried some more. My stupid face gets really red and splotchy when I cry and it seems to take forever to go away.. So, my body wants to cry, my head is refusing to let it happen (this little war has been going on for the last few months). I managed to make it through class without having to finish my presentation and my professor and group mates were understanding. But I have to be honest, I was horrified that my classmates would leave thinking that I had a mini-breakdown from the stress of presenting. I'd rather share my personal medical shit with almost strangers than have them think that I am inept. So, I did share with the few that saw me crying in the bathroom and they were most supportive. But still. I'm sure someone went home tonite and told their spouse/roommate/fuck buddy, "Oh. My. God. This girl in class today, TOTALLY lost it when presenting. What a twit!"

More tomorrow, cos I have to get busy with some reading. Also, received over 90 syringes in the mail today along with enough injectible medicine to start a smallish pharmacy out of our guest bathroom. I'll take a picture and post it.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

A little case of sour grapes

If beauty is REALLY on the inside, then holy shite... I'm hideous today. Hideous. Hideous. Hideous. Gawd. I hate everyone today. People are stupid fuckity fucks and I'm in the mood to let everyone know exactly why and better, how they can fix their fuckity fuck problem. Mr. Ax has taken to calling me Little Miss Anthropy (a play on the word misanthropist and anthropology).

Here are the highlights of today, and it's only 2pm:

First: I don't care how awesome your embryologist is.. he/she ought not stink (and I'm talkin' about the smelly, not sucky sort of stink). He/she especially should not stink if you and your DH have to sit in a insty winsty teeny tiny room with this smelly person for over an hour discussing how embryologists make babies (which was a total waste of time anyhow, because this info was for the most part, redundant).

Second: Dont' bring your gdamn kid to the Reproductive Endocrinologists (RE) office. Seriously. This is so fucking rude and it amazes me that our RE's office does not have an explicit policy on this sort of thing. It's bad enough for me, someone who hasn't been to the left side of the menu of services offered by Dr. Swami and Friends (which includes: miscarriage, DNC, and negative beta -- um.. that's when your IVF goes belly-up and your embryo is on its way down the toilet), but for those women who have experienced all of these things in the RE's office, it just feels gawd awful to walk out into the waiting area and see kids climbing on furniture, howling, pooping or otherwise being "cute."

Third: As an IVF RN, you should be compassionate and warm. I don't care how many infertile women they deal with daily, annually, and throughout their career. A little warmth and understanding is expected. When I am upset and crying because I've been sitting in a waiting room in a RE's office with two kids climbing all over, and another patient at the counter who triumphantly exclaims: "We need to make our first OB appointment" do not think that I need you to hug me. I just met you, bitch. And when I tell you, "I don't want you to hug me" do not get all huffy. Need I remind you that you are in a medical field and just because your office gets all kinds of interesting access to my "parts" and "privates", when my pants are ON I expect that all of the rules regarding spatial boundaries are in effect.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Some clarification needed and asking for support

I thought I ought to clarify something about our decision to go for one round of IVF and if all goes to pot, move ahead with adoption. I would hate for people to think that we are entering adoption with as cavalier attitude as it sounds (as in, we're of the if you can't have your own, then you should just adopt mentality). Mr. Ax and I have always wanted to adopt a child, but we never agreed on whether we should first adopt, or first try having one of our own genes. Well, as my endometriosis progressed, it became clear that having one with his smile and my fabulous hair was quickly becoming NOT an option. My disease helped force a decision about ART that we felt unprepared to make. What I've realized is that infertility can change you in a short period of time and this can be very unsettling.

I'm moving towards making this blog a place where a few invited friends and family can come to keep up with our adventure. I have a hard time asking for support or help and my hope is that by keeping the blog updated, I can keep those in the know informed and only have to go over the details once and also let you guys know that I do need support and this is how you can help. Checking in with the blog, commenting or sending an email is helpful and appreciated. Calling to speak with Mr. Ax or me after a procedure or surgery, not necessarily to discuss the details but to let me know that you're thinking of us is IMMENSELY helpful.

Here's what's not (and these are kind of the ground rules for dealing with most folks experiencing infertility):
Telling us....
- it's ok, you can always adopt
- or just relax and have lots of sex
- it will work out in God's time, not your own
- any suggestions on bedroom behaviours, positions, dirty diapers under beds, etc. (All wonderful stuff I'm sure, but we're not making babies the old fashioned, or free way. There's no sex involved.)
- how you know it will work out, and we'll be taking a baby home.
- how my life is otherwise wonderful, and I ought to be thankful for all that I already have (because I know that it is, I already am).
- Be grateful you don't have kids... (they suck the life out of you, are expensive, etc etc blah blah blah)
- Call me with news of someone else's pregnancy or birth of their child when this person or couple is not an immediate friend or family member of ours.

And finally, and especially..
- Telling us you don't agree with a particular treatment, or are concerned with our treatement plan unless you are:
1. A Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE)
2. An IVF nurse
3. or have gone through IVF yourself

I hope those reading this will understand that I'm not trying to be bitchy, rather these are the things that a lot of people who are not experienced with infertility will say or do assuming they are being supportive and helpful. And I think most people have good intentions.. they want to help and know what to say. Unfortunately, the types of remarks above are the most common dished out and they happen to be those that make most infertile couples whince with frustration and pain. They're the kind of remarks that create bigger boundaries rather than tearing them down.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Getting down to bidness with the Swami

So much for blogging on a regular basis, eh? Thank goodness my non-existent readership is so patient and understanding! Suffice to say that the past two weeks (ok, well almost three weeks) have been very.effin.busy.

We met with Dr. Swami to discuss our first round of IVF, post-surgery meet-up. In a nutshell, here's our stats going in:

Our success rate for IVF: 20%
Our chance of being cancelled: between 30% and 40%

Keeping in mind that "success rate" as defined by our RE is something along the lines of, "did not miscarry before such-and-such date post transfer" and does NOT mean, you take home a live baby. I suppose that I could look at the dismal cancellation statistics and say, "well, jeez, Asha, you have a 60-70% chance of NOT being cancelled." Dr. Swami is amused by my dilligence in trying to view my statistics in a light that is um.. dang, what's the word? more upfliting? Positive? Truth be told, the stats don't really matter. I read a blog out there that said something to the effect of, when you're going through it, your statistics are either 0% or a 100%. All of the stuff inbetween doesn't matter much.

I almost forgot to mention that he nearly fell out of his leather and brass studded chair when I asked about the likelihood of developing OHSS. And I quote the sentiment and not the words, "If we can stimulate your ovaries to the point where you develop OHSS, then I'm going to be pretty dang excited.. cos it means that there's something left in your ovaries to stimulate. Actually, OHSS wouldn't be the worst thing ever."

On the brighter side, it's been almost a week since I've ruined a pair of undies with freaky post-surgery bleeding. I am taking a low hormone BCP this month in preparation for our first cycle which starts in October. I was particular *excited* to learn that part of my protocol will include taking a med that is typically prescribed for breast cancer patients. If I were a better blogger, I'd have my sheets and nifty flow charts drafted by Dr. Swami infront of me, and I would actually tell you the name of this particular drug, and probably provide a link. Yeah, well.. those sheets are downstairs. Or maybe somewhere in my desk that is cluttered with binders, pdf printouts, post-its (they are migrating towards the walls) and starbucks napkins that currently litter my office. Sad, isn't it? The last thing I have time to research right now, thanks to week 3 of graduate school and still don't have a handle on the mother-tome of reading I have each week, is IVF. And really, is there reason to go gung ho on this? Mr. Ax and I have agreed to go for one round and see if the twice daily injections actually make it to stimualted ovaries that produce eggs. I have no expectation that I'm going to get past the stims. And before you tell me to "think positive" this isn't about fatalistic, negative thinking. I do have to be realistic. We might never make it to the embryo stage because I might not have eggs that are worth anything for making babies. And if that's the case, the plan is to move straight to adoption.

On the happy side, both Mr. Ax and I really like Dr. Swami. On another happy note, a few of my girlfriends, the ones that really know what's going on have been in touch. I guess we all handle things a bit differently and I need to be open to seeing things in shades of grey, rather than black and white. We all have our own shit. However, I did decide to start seeing a therapist in conjunction with IVF. This is largely in part to not feeling as though I have a genuine support network amongst some of my friends and family. I think that they really try -- but just don't know what to say, or have limited knowledge on the subject and I feel like I am constantly in educator mode among them and trying to keep their spirits up about our situation, "Oh, it's not that bad. Really.. 20% is a good statistic, considering the chances of us conceiving on our own is currently 0% for any given month." and then having to explain why that is, etc etc etc. And it's not that I mind explaining all the nitty gritty details.. it's just that sometimes I need to be able to speak with someone who knows exactly of what I speak, who understands that it isn't about relaxing, or being positive, or having a glass of wine and jumping in the sack with Mr. Ax, or that my troubles are because this is my fair share of sorrow due to my otherwise fabulous life.