Posts Tagged ‘Conditions & Diagnosis’
So finally, after battling insurance requirements to get to the testing phase of my pre-IVF life, it’s time for a saline sonogram to investigate the condition of my uterus itself. The reason a good RE will do this test before moving forward with IVF is to ensure that the home we’re going to place defenseless embryos into, is a good one, with ample parking and whatnot.
So what is a saline-hysterosonogram? Basically, it’s an ultrasound. The doctor inserts saline into your uterus while performing the ultrasound, so that the saline will coat the area and provide a clear image of the shape and lining.
Now, silly me, because I’d had a d&c and hysteroscopy a year ago, which pretty much cleared my uterus out completely, I thought this would be a minor procedure just to get out of the way. I mean, I just had my uterine reset button pressed, what bad elements could have moved into the neighborhood in such a short time?
Well, apparently, a polyp.
Wait, what? Seriously?
Because if I haven’t learned in this infertility battle, I’ve learned that NOTHING on this journey can be simple for me. NOTHING.
So as we’re all looking at the ultrasound monitor, I can see there’s one small portion that won’t allow the saline to spread. And THAT little, pebble sized dent, is what my doctor said was a polyp. In fact, she and the technician went back and forth about whether it looked like a polyp or a fibroid, but I just shook my head and faded out for a minute, because fibroid or polyp, to me, it was a roadblock. One more thing I’d have to get around. Great.
The next step would be yet another d&c and hysteroscopy.
So we sat down with our nurse after my sonogram to get some directions about where we were going next. As the doctor had already said, my first trip would be back to my regular ob/gyn to schedule the hysteroscopy. I was hesitant to ask, because I didn’t want to seem as time-obsessed as I actually am, but before she continued, I asked her how long after that would I be back in business. Thankfully, she said two weeks is the recovery time, and that the IVF consultation meeting I’d have to do next would line up with that. In the meantime, all our bloodwork was back and fine, with the exception of my thyroid because its a jerky mc jerkface, and it was time for me to restart Metformin.
So a couple days later, it was back to the gynecologist I went. True to form, this too could not be without dramatics.
So let’s see, the appointment was at 10:30, and there was no traffic getting to the office, but when I got ONE block away, traffic was stopped. 10:50. Finally got around the traffic debacle and parked, the office had moved, and I went to the wrong building first. 10:55. I get into the office, get signed in, and of course my insurance has changed so I have to call to make sure I’m even able to see my doctor at all. After arguing with the automated system for 25 minutes, I finally talked to a person who finally found the doctor in network. 11:30. And I STILL didn’t see the doctor until 12.
It’s a blessing to have a doctor who knows you, or at least knows enough about you and your journey to be fully on board. I have that blessing. Every visit, she asks me how YOU Eggshells are doing, and speaks to how great it is that I blog about this. We chatted for a while about how many patients she gets who don’t consider their fertility until it’s just about too late, and the number of those patients that happen to be African American.
Listening and talking to her reminded me that beyond my frustrations about having to stop and go so much, there are so many other women who haven’t even started. More even than that, I think about the ones who probably never will, out of fear or procrastination. So I took that as encouragement to push through this roadblock. I could look at the polyp as a pebble in my way, or an opportunity to exercise a mustard seed of faith.
I chose the mustard seed.
I scheduled the hysteroscopy surgery and told myself not to complain. I’d taken the time to take a step that was necessary to reach my goal. If for no other reason, that was enough to feel a little satisfaction. I then took that high and used it to walk myself over to the other medical building and leave word for my other doctor regarding my thyroid needs. Hell, I was already on a roll, may as well take it all the way, right? With every little step, I was reclaiming just a sliver of my control, and it felt good.
Once again, I felt like an infertility gangster. LOL I pulled off feeling ten times better than I had when I got there, and blasting my motivation playlist.
I hope you’re learning to take your small victories, too! They add up.
Mustard Seed image courtesy of olivcris/ Flickr.com
While much of a woman’s journey into fertility treatments is invasive and frustrating, there has to be something said for the guys who have to endure their own little corner of TMI. Aside from the stereotypical machismo and pride associated with men having their fertility checked, there is also the embarrassing and intrusive aspect of having to visit a doctor’s office to have their sperm collected and checked. Fear of the results themselves, and the actions necessary to receive them, could leave some couples waiting much longer than they need to.
So I am super excited to offer a way around that. The SpermCheck Fertility Monitor is a private, easy, and convenient home sperm count test, and I’m pleased to announce that the good people at Fairhaven health have given me a free one to pass along to one of you!
The test is super easy to take. Here’s the quick rundown:
- Collect a sample in the cup provided, and let it sit for at least 20 minutes.
- Using the transfer device(syringe) provided, stir the sample 10 times, pull the plunger back and collect the sample till you get to the black line on the tube.
- Transfer the sample into the solution provided.
- Let sit for 2 minutes
- Open the testing tray, drop 6 drops onto the opening marked with “S”
- Wait 7 minutes and read your results!
That’s it. A positive result indicates that the sperm count is above 20 million sperm per milliliter, while a negative result signifies that the count is under the 20 million sperm per milliliter threshold, and you may want to schedule a follow-up test with your doctor. Don’t panic! The doctors will do that same thing even if you’d have taken their test first and gotten similar results.
Today is my birthday, but I feel like giving presents rather than receiving them, so get in on this giveaway! I want to help you break down another barrier to your success.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
I haven’t done one of these in a while, perhaps because everyone has been pretty darn quiet on the infertility front celeb-wise. But Dawn Robinson deserves a nod.
A few years back, I had the displeasure of sitting in a radiology waiting room with a 40 year old black woman who was being tested for fibroids. She had no idea what fibroids were. She was scared and alone, with a look on her face that said clearly how terrified she was about the x-ray itself, but also these tumors her doctor carelessly told her she may have. My heart broke for her, and for the countless others who had probably sat in the same seats, thinking those same terrifying thoughts.
So tonight, for Dawn to openly discuss her removed fibroids as well as the endometriosis she’d also been diagnosed with, was huge. But let’s not just stick with that. No. Dawn has done so very much in the past few weeks of R&B Divas L.A., with just her honesty and vulnerability, that I don’t know that I could have asked for a better spokesperson. (more…)
I’m frustrated today.
But somehow at some form of peace.
Maybe it’s one of those levels of grief people are always talking about.
My follow-up appointment for the hysteroscopy was yesterday morning. I waited it out! I behaved like a good girl and didn’t flip out and call the nurses anymore. I just waited out those five days and bought that next two boxes of Always.
I knew that if had been something serious they’d found, they would had to have called me sooner, but somehow my mind just kept saying that they’d return with something god-awful, and that I should be terrified. Around Tuesday, I was kind of freaked out, but for the most part, I kept it to myself. By the time Thursday came around, I was financially, emotionally, and mentally broken, but I got up and went anyway. There would be answers! There would be direction! There would be something drastic!
There was none of these things. LOL
In my gyne office, I am a medical anomaly. This rebellious uterus of mine was cause for great head scratches and squinted “you’ve gotta be kidding me”, facial expressions. From the results of my tests, there is once again “nothing gynecologically wrong” with me to be causing this newset bout of menorrhagia. No cancer, no fibroids, no polyps, no infections, no nothing. That being said, she did speak in great grotesque detail about the amount of lining she’d had to remove, and the size of the pieces removed (think small kiwi fruit. right, I know, tmi). But aside from learning that my body basically stockpiles lining like its waiting on Y2K, I left with the same information I’d had going in.
I’m just numb at this point. And cold (can someone say “Anemia”). I was flustered, but not really angry. I just got in my car and went around the corner to work.
And that’s pretty much still where I am today.
Many times I’ve gotten private messages from those who wonder if I personally have a spiritual take on my own situation. They ask me if I have a relationship with God. I do.
I don’t post much spiritual word on this blog, or on the Facebook page for a few reasons. First, I don’t want to ostracize anyone who believes differently than I do, who may still need the support this place provides. Secondly, I would like to refrain from being anyone’s spiritual or religious spokesperson, because sometimes, when I’m really struggling, I may not say what a church girl should, and that freedom to feel, is a huge part of what this site is built on.
BUT, just to quell the curiosity, He(God) and I have wrestled with this things for a while. Close to eight years with the irregular bleeding, and close to six with the infertility. I’ve had seasons of silently trying to hear and follow His will, and others of being quite angry with Him. Today, I’m just listening.
But because the question has been posed so often, I wonder if that conversation is one we should be having, Eggshells. How has your faith been tested? How have you overcome? HAVE you overcome?
This will be one of those TMI, tell-all posts.
Let me give a couple of you some time to clear the room if that’s not what you’re here for:
So, I’m annoyed and confused today.
Purpose of D&C & hysteroscopy – To diagnose and stop irregular bleeding
Result of D&C – 9 days more of irregular bleeding.
Now, I know what you’re thinking:
Be patient, Regina! That’s completely normal! These things take time… blah, blah, blah.
But let me hip you to something I’ve been keeping silent for a while out of embarrassment, frustration, and a self-destructive need to make sure no one sees the kinks in my armor:
Out of the past 90 days, I have bled in some form or fashion for a total of 67.
I have bled longer than Chad Johnson and Evelyn Lozada were married.
If I bleed another 6 days, I will have also outlasted the nuptials of Kim Kardashian and Chris Humphries.
In the time that I’ve bled, cats, armadillos, bobcats, mice, rabbits, some dog breeds, and many other animal species have fully gestated.
Are you seeing why I’m pissed? Just a bit?
I’ve taken Estrogen supplements, Glucophage, Birth Control Pills, Thyroid meds…and yet nothing.
I’ve purchased approximately EIGHT boxes of Always…each with 32 pads included.
See these special Always boxes that come with the free Modeez Sanitary packs? Yeah, I got FOUR Modeez now.
I’m tired of being tough.
I’m tired of being resilient.
I’m tired of acting like I’m not feeling like I’m literally bleeding to death.
I’m tired of nurses saying, “Yes, but are you bleeding through more than one pad in an hour”, in condescending tones.
I’m tired of feeling eeks and squeaks whenever I sneeze, or stand up too fast, or at random times while sitting absolutely still.
I’m tired of EVERY television show, magazine, book, and conversation being about sex and babies….to point out that I can have neither.
I’m tired of looking at my husband and HATING that he deserves better that what I am capable of providing at the moment because I’m depressed, and infertile, and uncomfortable, and hormonal.
I’m tired of feeling like I’m wearing a diaper every day.
I’m tired of being angry.
I’m tired of being sad.
I’m tired of being told to pray.
I’m just tired.
And I felt it necessary to say that today.
Out loud for a change.
Because who am I helping with this website that I’m paying for, if I don’t tell it all? Especially since that’s what I started the site for. And how am I even helping ME, if I’m not using this website that I’m paying for, as my venting space. And what more damage will I do to myself if I don’t shout?
I called my doctor today. Because once again I felt that I’d reached my breaking point. I was told that this is normal. This post-op “spotting” as they call it. And I don’t know, maybe under different circumstances I’d be okay with that answer. Maybe if I hadn’t already been experiencing it for the past 60+ days then I could not feel so defeated when the nurse once again tells me that “if it isn’t bleeding through one pad in an hour, I can just wait until my follow-up appointment next THURSDAY”.
Next Thursday is 5 days, 127 hours, 7628 minutes, 457706 seconds, and another 30 Always pads away.
At this point in my life, next Thursday is practically a year from now.
And I have lots of curse words floating around in my head to punctuate my feelings about that.
I just don’t understand any of this.
Ladies, (and the ever-elusive gentlemen), we have a verdict.
The jury was out for a good, long while, but within 45 minutes, the final decision was finally made.
BOTH of my tubes are completely blocked.
There is a weight on that sentence that has been rolling around on my tongue for a while. But before I get into that, let me break down how I got this long-awaited answer. Things started with an HSG test.
My appointment was at 9am, and I was actually taken back sometime around 9:30. After undressing from the waist down, I was led to the x-ray room by a very nice nurse named Tammy. Prior to getting things started, Tammy had me sit down so that we could discuss each thing that was going to take place.
First, she asked if I’d taken any pain relievers prior to coming to the appointment, which I hadn’t. She then double-checked to make sure that they had been recommended by my doctor. They had. I have a pretty high pain threshold in my opinion, and couldn’t see how two tylenol an hour beforehand were going to make much difference, so I didn’t take any. After those preliminaries, it was time to break down the procedure itself.
My doctor, Doctor C., would be called down to the room to insert a catheter, Tammy would remain at my head to keep me calm and explain what was happening, and a radiologist would be called in to perform the x-ray itself. Through the catheter, my doctor would use a syringe to push dye directly into my uterus, while the radiologist simultaneously photographed the process with the x-ray machine. Done correctly and without complication, we all would be able to see the dye travel through my uterus and tubes by way of the monitor placed beside the exam table. She asked if I had any questions. I didn’t. Then it was time to sit on the table and wait for the doc.
My doctor came down, as explained, asked me if I was comfortable, and went over the details again. Then it was time for the catheter. Okay, now I have a pretty high pain threshold, like I said, but this was very uncomfortable for me. It didn’t “hurt”, but it was extremely jolting. There is a precise feeling of someone pushing or pulling on a tender part of your skin, but it feels somewhat worse because it’s internal. I was pretty cool I think, but according to Tammy, I was definitely tensing up, so she sat beside me and talked me through a few calming breaths. I stared up at the arm of the x-ray machine, where there was a sticker that read: “7/2”. I focused on that sticker because it is actually my wedding anniversary. I found this, combined with the “breathing exercises” to be maddeningly ironic, considering the situation, but I shook it off.
Once the catheter was fully in, I couldn’t feel any other discomfort. I forgot it was there actually. In about three minutes, the radiologist was there and turning on the machine. Tammy moved the monitor closer so that I could see. Lights, cameras, action!
Only, there was no action. LOL
I watched the screen, I felt Doctor C. push the syringe harder, and none of us saw a damn thing. My lady bits basically flipped us all the bird. I remember vividly that there was one moment when Doctor C. said, “I really can’t push any more. I think they’re both blocked.”
And that’s when shit got real.
I don’t know. The picture in my head was of the dye showing up brightly on that monitor, and of my leaving there with a new script for Clomid. I fully intended on beating this thing with the most minimally invasive procedures as possible.
Instead, she walked to the head of the bed and told me flat-out that I would need to call the RE, and that the most viable option for me would have to be IVF. She put a hand on my shoulder and said, “You did what you said that you wanted to do. You went as far as WE could. This test, was that last thing that WE could do. Now, you go further. Call the doctor I told you about. She’s a great person, who is very honest and personable. This is fixable.”
And I don’t really remember much after that. I mean, it isn’t that this wasn’t frustrating or painful before. It was. But somehow this felt more devastating. There’s something very definitive about the moment you’re told that this thing you didn’t want to do, this path you were avoiding, is the ONLY way to your goal.
Bring me the slippers of the Wicked Witch of The West!
I do remember some things.
I remember getting dressed.
I remember telling my mom, who was in the waiting room.
I remember her taking me to breakfast, and asking gentle questions about what to do next, and sitting there for almost two hours.
I remember her taking me shopping.
I remember holding on to my facade for hours.
I remember watching every mother I encountered, even when I told myself not to.
Mostly, I remember feeling really confused and shitty.
I also remember feeling like I “had” to be positive.
I remember thinking to myself that I didn’t want anyone “worried”, “concerned”, “feeling sorry for”, or “uncomfortable about” me.
So I just shut it off.
I was about to think of the finances. But I shut that off.
I was about to think of the frustration. But I shut that off too.
I just, completed the day.
Fill in the bubbles completely on this standardized test. If you don’t know the answer, after using your study and test-taking skills, make your very best educated guess.
And that’s what I did.
And that’s what I’m still doing.
There’s a plan in here. I always have one. But at the moment, it’s tightly buried beneath my anger and frustration. I’ll pull it out in a bit. But at the moment, I’m frantically filling in these blank test bubbles.