September 29, 2009

Dipping My Toe Back In

Today I took a tentative step back into the waters of treatment and e-mailed our cycle RN to let her know that we're possibly thinking of doing an FET in the second half of February. It was probably a bit premature (pardon the pun), since it might take a few months to get my thyroid meds adjusted and since February is five months away.

And honestly, I'm glad it's still that far off. Obviously, at some point we have to give it another try, seeing as how we have all those frozen embryos. But right now I'm okay with that try not being tomorrow.

That's so different than when we first started this process - whenever a cycle failed, I immediately wanted to jump into the next one. We've been at it for so long, though, that apparently I needed a year off. And while childlessness is never fun and the painful reminders can come from anywhere (i.e. dinner with R's cousin from the same generation last night, who has an 18-month-old grandchild when we don't even have a child yet), it's actually been kind of nice in some ways to have this time.

I also had my annual pap today. My ob mentioned that he has a patient who's had more than a dozen msicarriages. However, she also had success after the first three, then success again after the next several. And, she knows what's causing all of her losses - she has a balanced translocation.

I know he was trying to be comforting and encouraging, but it's just not the same thing. For one, she knows what the issue is. Secondly, her issue is a crapshoot - if she keeps trying, occasionally she'll have an embryo that isn't affected by the translocation. (Or so he made it seem; I don't know anything about translocations, so I'm only going off of what he said.) Third, she doesn't seem to have to spend $20k a pop to try to get pregnant - that just happens the natural way. And, last but definitely not least - she. has. a. kid. Two, in fact.

Still, I couldn't help but wonder, will that be me someday? A woman whose heartbreak numbers in the double digits? Will I know when to stop? Heck, will I even know how to stop?

September 22, 2009

Trust Issues

It seems infertility has made me something of a paranoid freak.

I'm having a hard time remembering what life used to be like - you know, before 90% of my waking thoughts were consumed with infertility, thyroid issues, and R's rare heart condition. And an even harder time having faith that there will again be a time when life isn't so much about all of that stuff.

I think a large part of it is because I don't have a lot of trust anymore - not in our health care system (I won't get started on all of its problems), not in doctors (hello, missed diagnosis for at least 7 years), and sadly, not even in our own bodies (all the miscarriages, R's Brugada syndrome). I keep waiting for more loss, for the next horrible diagnosis, to be right around the corner.

What's put me in this mood is that I've scheduled my first baseline mammogram.

Though there's no history of breast cancer on either side of my family that I'm aware of, and though I do BSE regularly and have only discovered one suspicious thing that turned out to be nothing, a part of me still can't help but think "What if they call me with bad news, and we can't do a transfer in February because I have to do chemo instead?"

I know the fear of cancer is common - it's not like I'm the only one who's ever had that thought. But I think I've reached a point where I'm a little more of - like I said, a paranoid freak - than most people are.

I plan to have a discussion soon with my family physician about regular screenings for ovarian cancer, even though there aren't really any great options, because I'm at higher risk since I have PCOS and haven't had any kids. I make R check for testicular cancer. (We have a friend who had it; he survived, thankfully.) I'm constantly checking him for signs of skin cancer, even on his scalp, since he's very fair skinned and burns in the blink of an eye.

And since I don't reside in his body and therefore can't notice any abnormal symptoms he may be feeling, I ask him every couple of weeks if he feels okay, because I'm afraid he's just going to blow off some random symptom that results in fatal consequences. (You can imagine how thrilled he is with all the questioning and skin examinations.)

Not that my paranoia in that area is entirely unjustified. He told me he wanted to be in charge of his doctor's appointments for his defibrillator, and I agreed. He was supposed to have appointments every 3 months for the past year, alternating between over the phone and in person, then it's supposed to be every 6 months, again alternating, forever.

I hadn't heard about an appointment in a while, so the other day I asked him about it. When was his last appointment? He doesn't remember. When is his next appointment? He's not sure he's scheduled one, but if he has, he doesn't remember what date (or even what month) it's for. When was the last time he actually went in for an appointment? He's unsure, but his best guess is December. (If the first-year plan had been followed appropriately, it should have been May...)

I guess it's no wonder the paranoid one is in charge of all the medical stuff.

September 15, 2009

Sometimes it's the Small Things

There's unlikely to be anything momentous on the infertility front for several more months, while I work on getting the thyroid replacement meds regulated. So, in the meantime, I'm focusing on the small stuff.

Such as, standing on the scale this morning and having it tell me I weigh 30.6 pounds less than I did back in March. Yea! Happy, happy day. I still have a ways to go - ideally, I'd like to lose another 50 pounds before doing a transfer.

That may not be totally realistic, but I'm hoping that in a couple of weeks I'll feel up to exercising, which I haven't been doing in any sort of strenuous form because of the heart issues my thyroid had been causing.

I'm also hoping that having my thyroid removed (effectively becoming hypothyroid) also won't cause the weight to pile back on. But I think given how little I usually eat (1,300-1,400 calories per day), now that my body isn't requiring 3,000 anymore, I should still be able to keep on track.

So, for now, here's to the small stuff.

September 12, 2009

Home After Surgery

Thanks for all the well wishes for the surgery. There were no major complications, and I was able to go home after 24 hours.

Because I've been having high blood pressure (thought to be caused by the hyperthyroidism), the anestheologist took some extra precautions during the surgery. Ironically, my blood pressure was fine, but I wound up having a few heart rate issues. Apparently my heart rate sped up a couple of times and then dropped significantly just as the surgery ended, but they were able to deal with all of that.

This was my first time staying in the hospital overnight. I can't believe the lack of sleep you get when sleep and rest is probably the thing your body needs the most! There has to be a better way.

I had an interesting roommate. She was nice enough, but there were constant visitors trapising in and out, and they were loud. I think they thought they were at a party instead of in a hospital. At one point, I heard her ask one of the visitors what she had planned for last night (Friday night), and the visitor said, "We're waiting for Jose to be released from prison today, then we're going to the bar tonight", as if it was a common, everyday occurance to be waiting for someone to get sprung from the joint. I was just hoping Jose didn't come to visit...

My calcium levels dropped a little bit, to 8.0 and then 7.9. (They're supposed to be at or above 8.5.) So I'm taking calcium supplements four times a day for now. My fingers seem to be a bit tingly, which they said is a sign of low calcium, so I'm trying to decide if I should call the doctor or not. If it continues, I probably will.

I was hoping to wake up yesterday morning and magically have all my symptoms be gone. Perhaps that was a bit overoptimistic (ya think?) as I still have the tremors, but my heart rate and the overall jumpiness seems to be less noticable. The surgeon said that thyroid hormones have a long half life, so he said it would probably take a week or so before the hyperthyroid symptoms really start to abate.

The pain hasn't been all that bad. My throat is a bit scratchy, and my neck is sore, but I took the pain pill last night more to help me sleep than to reduce the pain. Interestingly enough, one thing that I've found to be much easier since the surgery is swallowing pills! I used to struggle just to get one small pill down at a time, but since the surgery even large pills just slide right down without effort. I guess it's because there's more room in my throat now.

The next step is going to be getting my thyroid hormone levels regulated with medication. That's a challenge for some people, so I'm a little nervous about it, but hopefully I won't have issues. Once that's stablized, we can look forward to a transfer. I'm thinking maybe February...

September 09, 2009

Here Goes Nothing (I Hope!)

At this point tomorrow, if all goes as planned, I will be thyroidless. So far, I haven't been too terribly nervous about it. When I had minimally invasive knee surgery 16 years ago, I spent the evening before telling R that I had changed my mind and trying to convince myself that I could just live in pain (and on crutches) for the rest of my life.

And that just involved them poking a few tiny holes in my knee! This time, someone is slicing my neck open. (My mom finds it funny to make the slitting throat motion with her hand at least once every few days...But I suppose she has some grounds to be amused by it, since she went through it 50 years ago.)

Oddly enough, the thing that has me most stressed about the surgery is that I am supposed to not eat or drink anything after midnight, yet my surgery isn't scheduled until 1 p.m. By the time it's done, if all goes well, that would be 15 hours without water! And I don't think I'll feel much like swallowing immediately after surgery.

So I called the nurse today and asked her if it was really necessary to observe the midnight rule given all that. She wasn't happy about it, but she extended the deadline to 4 a.m. Which means I will be getting up at 3:45 a.m. to chug down a couple bottles of water...

Wish me luck!