Biopsy: A Change of Plans

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Never one to wait, I cancelled my remaining two cervical cauterizations and went straight to uterine biopsy. The bleeding had become too much and too often so I wanted to rule out anything terrible, cause that’s just how I roll.

The Before

There’s just no way around it: biopsies hurt! Although it’d been 13 years since my last lady-parts biopsy (colposcopy), I still vividly remembered the searing pain of cells being scraaaaaaped away. *shudder*  However, since my uterus has seen lots of action since 2004—what with surgeries,  hysteroscopies, HSGs, pregnancies and the like—I hoped that, like a well-exercised muscle, it’d toughened itself up and the pain would be minimized.

So, onward I soldiered to my latest biopsy…. with the benefit of hindsight and armed with ‘narc painkillers. I like to think that maybe I’m getting smarter (just a little).

The During

Doctors have a funny way of measuring time: Dr. Maryland completely lied when she said it’d last “ten seconds.”  Don’t believe the hype, people!  Biopsies take a few minutes—REAL minutes, not doctor minutes.

There was pain. There was blood. There was tensing of my leg muscles as I gripped the edge of the exam table throughout the entire interminable procedure.

I was literally thanking God when it was over. Still am.

The After

And the results are in. 

 

*drum roll please*

 

I met with Dr. Maryland in person for my results. The appointment was brief:

  • Biopsy results were normal (anticlimactic, I know).
  • Intermenstrual bleeding is coming from my cervix, not my uterus.
  • While the bleeding is abnormal, there’s nothing that Dr. Maryland or any doctor I’ve met with can (or will) do about it. The only way to fully stop the bleeding is with hormones—i.e. birth control.
  • Dr. Maryland has no solutions for me and suggested I return to my RE and ART (even though I’ve told her umpteen times that ART isn’t something we want to pursue right now).
  • Then she “wished me luck” and said to call her when I get a positive pregnancy test.

I felt utterly dismissed. It was the closest someone’s ever come to saying, “I can’t help you. Now get out of here” without actually saying the words themselves.

The Finale 

One year later, the medical chapter of my unexplained bleeding ends, although the bleeding itself does not end.  I still have this crazy notion that there’s a doctor out there who can help me, but whoever she or is he, it eludes me.

Am I just chasing rainbows? Do I really “just have to live with it?” Is this my body’s new normal? After how much I had to fight just to get a simple biopsy performed, I feel pretty defeated. Normal results are so reassuring; lack of a solution, not so much.

When doors keep shutting like this, I believe it’s God trying to tell me something. Now onward to figure out what that something is. My hope in medicine is dashed; but thank God medicine isn’t the final answer. That’s the only thing I know for sure amid all this uncertainty.

*Chapter Ends.*

 

 

The Slow Demise of an Infertility Blog

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My 2017 New Year’s resolution to step up my blogging started off with a genuine burst of determination. Then—carrying on the tradition of 90% of New Year’s resolutions—it plummeted before winter had even ended. Now I think that my blog is growing stale, sitting stagnant, full of crickets, or any other euphemism that fits the bill. I begin drafting posts only to have them linger, eternally unfinished.

Mostly I’m unsure about what to write. I’m not in the throes of treatment, nor am I pursuing adoption or surrogacy. It’s just the same old “natural” TTC (for lack of a better term) over here at Marixsa’s crib. No major updates to report. We’re closer to our dream only in the passage of time.

I’m still on the bandwagon—or perhaps it’s a roller coaster—of teas and supplements, OPKs and basal body temping, timed intercourse and pineapple cores, ad nauseam (also known as the stuff that I gleefully gave up for most of April and May, though in vain).  I just cannot seem to stop: well, either can’t or won’t. I’m a creature of habit, and these small tasks and meager efforts have been my habits for so many years that they’ve become like my friends. Or maybe they’re not all that friendly after all… I’ll settle for frienemies.

None of those things is worthy of its own blog post. And, aside from February’s surgery, the only real noteworthy TTC changes I’ve made this year have been:

  • Switching to half-caff coffee.
  • Adding serrapeptase to my supplement regimen.
  • Limiting alcohol to one 5-oz. glass of wine 2 days a week… three days if things get stress-y.
  • Convincing Jake to add DHEA to his supplements.
  • I’m looking into adding maca root for both Jake and I.  I read (mostly) good things about it. It may or may not screw with my thyroid though, so I’m still uncommitted.
  • I’m also investigating adding wheatgrass powder for me. It’s so hard to know what’s just a fad and what’s for real when it comes to supplements touted to help fertility. I’ll be stalking online forums and perusing scientific studies before deciding to sink big bucks into yet another supplement.

Does all this give an idea of where my lack of blogging is coming from? Or are you totally snoozing yet?

So, I soldier on. I pray and trust the Lord for a pregnancy in His perfect timing, which lately has been taking a greater priority over anything I can do on my own for a pregnancy. I drink my teas, swallow my pills, live as healthily as possible, and—much to her delight—keep pestering my doctor about my mystery bleeding. I continue living my life as fully as possible, loving those around me, growing and learning and laughing.

What else is a girl to do?

As for pestering my doc about the mystery bleeding, update to follow in a few weeks on that. Having a biopsy next week and completely unsure where we’ll go from there.

Peace to you all. ❤

 

 

Infertility and Job Interviews

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Lately I’ve become frustrated at work and have been casually applying to jobs that I find interesting. You know, just to see what’s out there. I recently went on a job interview even though I’m—at best—noncommittal about actually taking the plunge and leaving my current employer.

The interviewer, “Mr. Boss Man,” asked if I was married only minutes into the interview. Although his question is in direct violation of both ADA and Civil Rights Act laws due to its discriminatory nature, I chose to answer just to be polite. Then Mr. Boss Man asked if I had children. Strike two on illegality, sir! I paused, considered my options, experienced a sudden deep pang of pain, and answered no. His purported “reason” for asking was to make sure I had adequate child care during the workday. Since he knows I’m presently employed, if I did have children then I would clearly already have childcare arrangements, no?

When Mr. Boss Man next proceeded to ask if I planned to have any children, I felt myself mentally begin to check out of the interview. Many of you—especially those of us who’ve suffered miscarriages or early loss—know that very same feeling when asked this, The Dreaded Question. The inevitable pause to decide how to respond tactfully. The feeling of slight churning panic. The debate of answering “Yes,” then having explain yourself. The debate of answering “No,” then waiting for Dreaded Question #2 of when you’ll “start your family” and still having to explain yourself.

I clamped my mouth shut about how his line of questioning was inappropriate. Then I resisted the urge to spring out of my seat and end the interview on the spot.

Because what I REALLY wanted to say was, “You know what, Mr. Boss Man? I suffer from infertility and can’t have children. Thank you for your many reminders of that fact during this interview. My maternal status (and marital status) is a personal topic that’s, quite frankly, none of your business, not to mention absolutely unrelated to the position you’re interviewing me for. However, I’m praying and believing God to give my husband and I the desire of our hearts and bless us with a child. Would you like to add us to your prayer list?”

That would’ve ended the interview for sure. Maybe I should have said just that. But it wouldn’t have been very Christlike, which I’m aiming for these days in all my interactions with others… even if my initial reaction (as stated above) wasn’t very Christ-like. What can I say? I’m very much a work in progress.

Instead, I replied, “It’s complicated.” 

Multiple times throughout the two-and-a-half-hour (!) interview, Mr. Boss Man kept alluding back to my potentially having children. He helpfully informed me what school district I should move to when I have kids. He strongly implied that my position with his company might be endangered if I had a sick child and no childcare.

Mr. Boss Man then told me he wanted to hire me. He offered me a ridiculously high salary to boot. I told him that I’d consider his offer. In reality, my mind was made up less than thirty minutes into this, the longest interview of my life.

How did the story end?

I turned down the job.

Certain things in life just aren’t worth it, no matter how much money’s on the table.

And questions about one’s procreation status during a job interview? Never cool. Fertile or not.

male hand in a suit showing the stop gesture

 

Update: Cervix-y Stuff, Round 2

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I’m regretful to report that the cervical cauterization I had done last month was a fail.

Having my cervix cauterized with silver nitrate (let’s call it a CC to keep things nice and short) was supposed to stop my ongoing intermenstrual bleeding . But—like every month since last summer and despite the fact that my cervix is apparently unable to bleed outside of a period—the mystery bleeding showed up on cycle day 21 this month and decided to hang for the duration of my cycle. Sometimes the bleeding begins as early as cycle day 13 or 14. I never know from one month to the next which cycle day I’ll randomly just start bleeding.

Since we have a new cast member here on The Endo Zone (my newest doctor), she needs a pseudonym.  My new doctor just came to the Philly area after having practiced in Maryland for the last 25 years.  Hence, I dub her Dr. Maryland. I really, really like Dr. Maryland: she’s extremely kind and warm and patient and truly wants to help me. She did my CC last month.

Dr. Maryland thinks that my bleeding could just be my “new normal.”  Before we know if it truly is my new normal though, a biopsy is in order.  The month before the biopsy, Dr. Maryland says that Jake and I can’t have sex ALL MONTH, since uterine biopsies and pregnancy don’t bode well. When I protested that sex for an entire month is totally unreasonable—considering that there’s only five possible conception days—Dr. Maryland wouldn’t hear any of it.  *Sigh.*  I’ll do the biopsy, but her command of full abstinence? No thanks. I’ll take my chances.

I can have two more doses of silver nitrate CC’s before we move on to the next step of biopsy. My second CC procedure is scheduled for next week.

I’m believing God that round two will be the final CC and stop this bleeding entirely.  I believe that this ongoing interruption of bleeding is not in His best plans for my life.

Besides that, my copays are pricey. I’m beyond over this incessant bleeding. And I’m definitely not stoked about the possibility of three rounds of CC, only to have to do a painful biopsy at the end of it all.  Because continued intermenstrual bleeding after three rounds of effectively sealing my cervix shut means that the bleeding is coming from my uterus… which is a whole other party for Marixsa to get invited to.

So, my friends, I ask for your prayers that this problem will at LONG last be resolved. And I’m expecting in my next update to have nothing to report other than nice and normal… maybe even better than normal.

Peace.

 

Shiny Cervix and Other Nonevents

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Oops… was my last post seriously back in March? I took a much-needed hiatus from the infertility blog world, which was kind of refreshing actually. And who knows? I just might take another one immediately after this post! Fertility’s just hasn’t been on my mind lately.

Not only have I stepped away from the blog, but I’ve also bid adieu to daily basal body temping, raspberry leaf tea, ovulation prediction kits, timed intercourse, avoiding alcohol and caffeine, and all the other crap that comes along with TTC. And you know what? I don’t even miss it. I like feeling normal again. Living life.

We have now officially reached the 6-year TTC mark and I’m tired: tired of the stress, the all-consuming-ness of it all, the fact that it’s been on my mind way too much than is healthy.

Since I’m here and all though, here’s the scant highlights since my last post:

  • My yearly gynecology appointment showed questionable lumps in each breast. My doc sent me for a mammogram, which was fortunately clear. For the record, mammograms (this was my first) are not as painful as the interwebs allege. And this coming from a chick with the lowest pain threshold in the universe. *breathes sigh of relief*
  • I turned 35. My period came on the day of my 35th birthday, which was either a real kick in the teeth or just a failed scare tactic to mess with my head. Anyway, I guess I’m now officially “old” when it comes to fertility stuff. Whatever.
  • Cervical cauterization. My cervix is quite shiny these days! I’ve started treating with a new gyn (this makes like the 20th gyn I’ve seen: no exaggeration) who recommended having my cervix cauterized with silver nitrate. Silver nitrate—picture that black stuff boxers use on their face to seal up cuts in the ring—should stop my ongoing mystery intermenstrual bleeding. With nothing to lose, I had my cervical cauterization procedure done this week. It was uncomfortable, similar to an extended PAP smear, but, like the mammogram, not nearly as painful as the Internet warned. The only side effect I had was grayish spotting and cramps for the rest of the procedure day.  Silver nitrate acts as a seal for the cervix’s tiny blood vessels, which is supposed to prevent blood (except menstrual blood) from seeping through. Sperms still makes it through I’m told. Sometimes it can take two or three treatments to be effective. Results to follow if it will stop the bleeding.

Back in 2011 when Jake and I were all, “Let’s have a baby!” we naively figured we’d be pregnant by the end of the summer. I had no inkling that we’d still be sojourning toward that same goal six years later. We knew back then that I had endometriosis. We knew I had only one ovary. We knew it might take a few months longer than most people. But we never in our wildest dreams imagined that 72 months later we’d still be trying.

So be it. It’s in God’s hands now. It always has been. I’ve not gone down without a fight—I’ve not even really “gone down” at all—but I’m done with the weird supplements and teas and stick peeing and other fruitless endeavors toward something I’ve literally no control over. I continue on with hope—expectation even—but choose to live and enjoy my life as a normal person in the meantime, whatever the outcome may be.

 

Share Your World: March 30, 2017

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I’ve been seeing  posts in my feed lately which are blogging challenges from Cee’s Photography. Some posts are Q&A’s, others are photographic. It’s so easy for me to run out of topics to blog about: the struggle is real! Intrigued, I checked our Cee’s site, which can be found here, and decided to take a blog challenge myself.

This blog challenge is called Share Your World. So, here’s sharing a piece of my world:

Does your first or middle name have any significance (or were you named after another family member)?

Yes! My middle name is: 1. my mother’s first name; 2. my maternal great-grandmother’s first name; and 3. my paternal great-grandmother’s middle name. Whew! I’m not exactly sure who of the three I’m named for. But I like to think it’s after my mother, which lets a part of her live on through me.

Music or silence while working?

Definetely music. It feels so eerie to work in silence. I’m in the habit of playing Pandora quietly in my office all day at work, and it’s worth the $4/month subscription fee. It’s usually tuned to instrumental, hymns, chill, country, or spa, depending on my mood.

If you had a special place for your three most special possessions (not including photos, electronics, people or animals), what would they be?

I think this question is asking what the special possessions would be and not where they would be, but it’s kind of hard to know by the way it’s worded.

Anyway.

Books: I heart my books, and would be so upset if I ever lost them.

Memento Box: Technically, these are plural memento boxes. I have a few shoe boxes filled with cards, letters, event programs, pet collars and tags, ticket stubs, etc. that I’ve collected since childhood. Opening them up is a blast of nostalgia, so I only do so every few years.

Kitchen Stuff: Sorry if that sounds lame—but after eliminating pics, electronics, people, and pets, I struggled to come up with a number three for this list. I picked my kitchen gadgets since I love to cook so much. I’d be majorly bummed to come home to a house full of healthy food, but no way to prepare any of it.

The Never List: What are things you know you will never do?

Walk away from my faith. God’s been way too good to me to ever consider not seeking after Him daily.

Go to an Eagles game. For years now, my best friend has been pestering me to to go a game with her. But I just can’t summon up enough oomph to even remotely care about football. I think it’s some kind of law that Philly people are all die hard obnoxious Eagles fans and I missed the memo. But I just…can’t… yeah, sports will never interest me.

Own a reptile. I love animals, but reptiles kind of skeeze me out. They’re either slimy or terribly dry, and some come with forked tongues(!). *shudder.* No thanks.

Optional bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Last week was full of small moments of gratitude, from a healthy vet checkup for Kitty to the first day of spring.

On that note, one of my personal challenges in 2017 has been to keep a Jar of Gratitude. Essentially, my jar of gratitude is a repurposed spaghetti sauce jar which I blinged out with scrapbooking supplies and glitter so I’d enjoy looking at it each day. I keep a small notepad and pen beside the jar and jot down what I’m grateful for each evening and add a slip to the jar. It’s become a family affair, as Jake has been doing it too (I’ve yet to catch Puppy adding to the jar; his only interest in jars is if they hold dog treats. And I don’t think the cats are grateful for much of anything… ever). At the end of the year we’ll empty out the slips, put them in date order, and look back over all the blessings small and large that 2017 held…. Or maybe we’ll do it on Thanksgiving. We haven’t decided yet.

As for “What I’m looking forward to in the week coming up,” I’m looking forward so much to Jake and my trip this weekend! He’s whisking me off to a mystery location, so it’s like mind-wracking to pack: Do I bring a sweater or a sundress? A bathing suit or hiking boots? My solution might just be to bring some of everything! I’m the worst trip packer in the universe, because I tend to over-prepare for any remote possibility. Anyway, I’m looking forward to our mystery trip weekend and time spent with my wonderful husband.

Peace.

Two Year Blogoversary Musings

Whaaaaa? How has it already been two years?! Wow: time has flown. I wouldn’t have even known about this anniversary unless WordPress hadn’t sent me this the other day:

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In hindsight, I wish I’d started this blog two years before I did. I had no clue that there was a niche forum for fertility bloggers… or that anyone even blogged about this kind of very personal topic at all.

Starting this blog in 2015 came at the end of an informal six-month deadline I’d given myself. We’d already been TTC for several years, but I’d told myself back in September 2014 that—if we weren’t pregnant in six months—then I’d go back to see a new reproductive endocrinologist. I’d just have a quick tune-up surgery for me and some testing done for Jake. Presto chango,  we’d be all set to go, right? How I wish it’d been that simple.

When I began blogging here, I’d just scheduled a consultation with an RE, the ill-advised Dr. B who I eventually fired. I was choosing to reopen the door to reproductive medical intervention. Until that time I’d only had an antral follicle count and several surgeries, after which my docs would give me windows of either six months or a year to get pregnant naturally (maybe ‘naturally’ isn’t the best choice of words, and I hope no one takes that the wrong way). When I began this blog, three years had passed since my last operation, much longer than the little sliver of time promised after surgery.

I never imagined that infertility would lead me down the road that it has, though God has laid a path for me that I would not have chosen to walk myself. I feel humbled by this road, as it has given me greater empathy and compassion for women facing this struggle and caused me to seek deeper into my faith.

On a lighter note, this infertility sojourn has also taught me a whole new language to decipher—all in acronyms nonetheless!—which I kind of like to think that I’ve mastered by now. Conquering that makes me feel all medical-like, like I can read message boards and blog posts without having to refer back to a list of acronyms to know what it was that I’d just read.

My endeavor lately has been to thank God in all circumstances…. including and especially infertility. Among other things, had it not been for infertility and this blog, then I wouldn’t have been able to connect with such amazing women all around the globe over a common goal. I wouldn’t have borne witness to so many of your miracles and triumphs, or been able to pray for you in your times of waiting , or lent a shoulder to cry on during the tough times.  I feel privileged to have met so many genuinely wonderful ladies through this medium who are sojourning through the same battlefield.

Next year though? Next year when WordPress sends my three-year achievement, I plan to be blogging about my pregnancy or sharing the birth story of my baby, and to give God all the glory for it.

And even if my time still hasn’t come by then, I’d like to stay awhile and read about yours.