Biopsy: A Change of Plans

biopsy-under-microscope

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.*

 

 

Update: Cervix-y Stuff, Round 2

silvercervix

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

silvernitrate2

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.

 

Back at Square One

img_2131

I ended up in the emergency room this weekend for, well, a bit of an embarrassing reason. So glad for an anonymous blog right about now! Without spelling it all out, I thought I had a cut inside of my vag—yep, inside—and was worried about infection or needing stitches or something horrifying like that.

It all started four days ago during some rough foreplay and the fact that Jake isn’t the best at keeping his fingernails trimmed….you get the idea. Anyway, after this foreplay, Jake and I were working on some baby making when we realized that I was bleeding, significantly. I’ve never had such scary bleeding mid-cycle before, even during the worst of my intermenstrual bleeds of the last six months. It was literally gushing out of me for hours. Utterly freaked out, we stoppped. This was cycle day 17 for me, which is a common day for me to have IM bleeding, so the bleeding was either caused by Jake, or it was regular IM bleeding (is that an oxymoron or what?) that had been exacerbated by our, errrrm, bedroom activities.

But the bleeding continued for four more days, unrelenting. Finally we made the call and I went to the ER. I’m generally the type of person who only will go to the ER for, say, a severed limb, so I was clearly feeling terrified that I had some monster vag cut going on. I was also ever-so-slightly embarrassed to explain why I was there. But, seriously, so many countless medical people have seen my undercarriage at this point in my life that I also mostly didn’t care. I can discuss cervixes and vaginas and sex with just about anyone, anywhere and it totally doesn’t phase me, so I wasn’t as embarrassed as some people might have been.

Fortunately, the hospital staff was very discreet and cool and didn’t make me feel weird in the least. When the doc came in and started talking about vaginal stitches I kind of mentally checked out. A super pleasant and comfortable speculum exam—because they always are super pleasant and comfy—only showed lots of blood in the canal and some “raw” areas in my vag, but no abrasions or cuts, thank the Lord. The doctor diagnosed it as dysfunctional uterine bleeding (story of my life anymore *sigh*) and told me to refrain from sex for a few more days and instructed me to follow up with Dr. Din since I’m only a month post-op.

Here I am then, back at square one with more unexplained intermenstrual bleeding. I’d been so positive that the surgery would’ve stopped it from returning, or at least provided some type of answer for it. Not so.

I’m pretty bent with Dr. Din right now, because we’re no closer to knowing why I’m bleeding than we’d been in the last six months that I’ve had it. Part of the investigation into my IM bleeding was supposed to have been a biopsy of my uterus. On either two or three occasions, Dr. Din assured me he’d biopsy me during surgery to rule out any unseen lurking medical predators. I found out the other week though that he strait up did NOT do a biopsy, like we had previously agreed to! His reason? He “doesn’t like to biopsy premenopausal women.” Huh?! So now we still have no answer for the IM bleeding, even after all those surgical procedures. To say that I’m PO’ed about this is to state it kindly.

I’m not even hopeful that this is some kind of crazy implantation spotting gone awry. I know what my body is like when it’s pregnant, and this sure ain’t it. I’ve already called in a towel throw for this cycle. Silly me to have imagined a right-away pregnancy.

Next month if the bleeding returns yet again, I will email Dr. C and ask for [another] hysteroscopy  and for the biopsy he was originally going to perform months ago. It’ll cost me a hefty copay, which I’m definitely not keen about, but I trust Dr. C far more than I trust Dr. Din, and I feel he’s better qualified. If Dr. C can’t/won’t see me for this, I will ask for a referral to another specialist, maybe a RO.

I’m so beyond over doctors who don’t take my concerns seriously. I know that something is still wrong here, and I won’t rest until I’ve exhausted every avenue of diagnosis to find out what’s it is.

Forgive the rant-y tone of this post. The battle is wearying, but I’m not going down without a fight.