May 25, 2009

Turns Out Infertility Is Good For Something After All...

The first time I received an infertility diagnosis (PCOS), it was a painful thing to hear. A few months later, when my OB called to tell me about R's practically non-existent sperm count, it felt like the world was crashing in around me.

Almost exactly a year later, when we experienced miscarriage #1, it was absolutely impossible to even fathom how it would be possible to wake up one day and not have my first thought be of the baby we lost, impossible to think that we would ever be able to even laugh again.

But the thing about infertility - when cycle after cycle fails, diagnosis after diagnosis hits, baby after baby dies - is that eventually you deal with so much devastating news that handling it actually starts to come automatically.

My dad was diagnosed with leukemia on Thursday.

When I heard the news, of course it was like a punch in the gut. His symptoms came on quickly; I talked with him a week or so ago, and he was fine at that point. (Or at least if anything was bothering him, he didn't mention it and he sounded totally normal.)

Six years ago, this news would have leveled me. Instead, I haven't even cried, haven't even teared up. It's not that I don't care or that I'm not concerned, because I absolutely am. It's just that this is how far infertility has brought me - instead of falling apart, I automatically went to "What type of leukemia is it? What are the doctors doing for him immediately? What is the longer-term treatment plan?" etc.

I don't know the answers to most of those questions yet, other than that it's AML, which is the kind that has a less favorable survival rate. It's tough, because I'm used to being in the center of all the medical stuff and pushing to get answers, but this time I have to take a step back and respect that as his wife's role. She's not as pushy as I am. :-)

My dad lives in a very small town, and he started out in that town's hospital. However, he was supposed to be taken by ambulance last night to one of the best medical complexes in the country, which is three hours away from where he lives. I'm thankful he's going there, because that's one of the very best places he could be. But it's probably also a sign that the situation is pretty grave.

I expect we won't have much more information until toward the end of the week, because I'm sure it will take at least a few days to do the initial tests that his new hospital is going to want. I'm trying to figure out when to go see him.

14 comments:

DAVs said...

Gosh Rebecca, I'm really really sorry. I am glad he has access to a huge medical complex (MD Anderson I'm hoping?) and I guess I'm glad (?) that all your medical issues have left you better able to deal with this news. But it still hurts. And it still sucks. Push for the right treatment, help him to fight hard. I'm thinking of you and your family right now.

Carrie said...

Wow, I am so sorry about your dad.

I experienced fiance's cancer diagnosis and then years later me and my husband's infertility diagnoses (PCOS and male factor as well) and you are right... it all makes you better prepared to handle news like that. I honestly don't even cry at bad news that effects my personal life directly any more. Like you said, it's not that I don't care... it's more like I automatically go into "what needs to be done" mode. Or maybe we're just numb to the pain. :(

Paige said...

Oh Rebecca. I'm so sorry. I know what you mean about the devastation of infertility preparing you for dealing with stuff. My father had open heart surgery after our 4th failed IUI and then again 3 months later. Yep, a failed open heart surgery I didn't think that was possible.

Please remember to take care of yourself and it is ok to cry if you need to. Tons of hugs for you and prayers.

Blossom and Her Fruit said...

Rebecca, I am so sorry to hear of the illness your father is fighting right now. I hope you get some encouraging news soon regarding the diagnosis.

MrsSpock said...

Yikes! I 'm so sorry! I will keep you all in my good thoughts...

Me said...

I'm sorry to hear about your Dad's diagnosis, and I hope he'll be getting the treatment he needs to beat it. Take care of yourself.

Rebecca said...

I am so sorry to hear of your Dad's diagnosis. He and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers as you navigate this. (((HUGS)))

projectkjetil said...

I'm here from LFCA to offer support. I'm so sorry that your dad was diagnosed and that there are so many unknowns right now.

If and when you're ready to gather information or get support, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is a great resource. (Disclosure: I work for an LLS chapter in WA.) If you'd like to talk to someone about details, the Information Resource Center is staffed by social workers: (800) 955-4572. You can also request a First Connection Match, which matches patients and/or family members with someone who has "been there" for a phone call.

Enough with that. Just know that I'm thinking about you and your family and hope that he gets great care and responds well.

Callie said...

Over from LFCA to express my sympathies about your dad. Having dealt with the effects of cancer both for myself and within my immediate family, I know all to well the devastation the news brings.

I am sending virtual strength and prayers to you and your family.

kayjay said...

I'm so sorry your Dad was diagnosed with leukemia and yes it is sad that your IF has given you excellent medical coping skills. I know you said that some of the questions and pushing for care should be your father's wife's role but don't discount how valuable your ability and experience is in dealing with this medical crisis. Don't be afraid to speak up and ask questions too. Again, I'm so sorry to hear this news and I am keeping your family in my thoughts.

Polly Gamwich said...

I just wanted to say that I'm so sorry. This is a huge blow, but I get how you are weathering it a little more prepared had you not dealt with IF.

It's already hard enough not to have control in a medical situation - ultimately there's nothing you can do - but even being removed (as your Dad's wife sound like she's leading the efforts) that makes it even tougher.

I'm so sorry for what your family is going through.

areyoukiddingme said...

I'm so sorry. I hope that there is a good treatment plan available for him.

When they say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, you don't expect to be able to prove it like this, do you? I'm sorry.

Hopeful Mother said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your father. Prayers are on the way.

jaded said...

i am thinking of you and i am very sorry about your father. no good words here.