Kicking off a new month
So I made it a week before starting up another post related to “all of this”. Ah well. After last week’s events, I really did want to up and take off and go into full avoidance mode. Every other day my husband and I were saying to each other, “well maybe the country life wouldn’t be so bad…we’d never see another pregnant person ever again!” Ok the last part of that sentence was in my mind rather than out loud, heh.
Then the sun came out.
The bees were making their way in and out of the new hive. I had two great coaching sessions that reminded me why I love what I do. And my freakin’ awesome husband showed me every single day just in who he is and how he looks after our relationship exactly why I married him.
Maybe it was all the posts I read around #NIAW. Maybe it’s because I watched, yet again, the last scenes in What to Expect When You’re Expecting where Anna Kendrick’s character finally smiles again after her miscarriage when she sees Chace Crawford at the hospital, and when Jennifer Lopez rubs Brooklyn Decker’s belly hesitantly and remembers why she wants to be a mum, and then in Ethiopia at the end when they hand Lopez’s character and her husband their baby and proclaim, “Congratulations – You Are Parents.” Maybe it’s just what Chris Rock’s character says about being “ready” for it all.
Some mock the over-simplicity of certain aspects of the movie (Elizabeth Banks’ character getting pregnant after they “stop trying”), but I found an awesome amount of cynicism (i.e., Rebel Wilson’s comment about Brooklyn Decker’s character in stilettos carrying twins being a “magical pregnancy unicorn” was classic), tremendous sensitivity (Jennifer Lopez’s character Holly apologizing to her husband for everything being ‘her fault’ – spending their 401(k) on IVF that didn’t work, etc.) and a whole lot of reality in the feelings that the two characters who’ve experienced infertility go through…and their partners.
So yeah, we’re confirmed for Cycle 4. Final Round, two embryos to transfer. If it doesn’t work, the rest will stay in the freezer until our adoption finally goes through then we can decide after our little girl from Ethiopia joins us if we want to dispose of them or try again. If we two implant, we know that we have the option of reducing via SR to one. But hopefully we won’t need to. Hopefully there will be one embryo turning into an actual human after 9 months.
Mammography misses up to 20% of tumors overall, and is ineffective statistically in women with dense breasts…Studies have shown thermography can find tumors up to 10 years before a mammogram in 70% of the cases. (source)
Ok so those who’ve followed my blog for a long time know that I’m a huge proponent of breast thermography, which I first wrote about in 2013 after taking a class in women’s health at the local college, where our textbook was Christiane Northrup’s Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom.
Having a long family history of breast cancer on both my mother and father’s sides of the family, I was first ordered by a doctor to get a mammogram at the tender age of…28. Yeah, that’s not a typo. Because of my high risk, I had my boobs diagonally squished every year for the next 8 or 9 years, being told that and self-exam were the ONLY ways I would stay alive. I cried every time. Five years ago I was told I could do it every other year since I’d always had perfect results, and three years ago, I learned about mammography, and have never put my bosoms in one of those machines since, opting instead to use my FSA account to cover the $200 cost of breast thermography.
“In 1981, Michel Gautherie, Ph.D., and his colleagues reported on a 10-year study, which found that an abnormal thermogram was 10 times more significant as a future risk indicator for breast cancer than having a history of breast cancer in your family…Studies have shown that by the time a tumor has grown to sufficient size to be detectable by physical examination or mammography, it has in fact been growing for about seven years achieving more than 25 doublings of the malignant cell colony. At 90 days there are two cells, at one year there are 16 cells, and at five years there are 1,048,576 cells—an amount that is still undetectable by a mammogram.” (source)
Yet because of the massive amounts of money made by mammography, there is a super creepy cycle of pinkwashing by the companies who manufacture the toxins that contribute to cancer, build the machines that diagnose it (while blasting your body with radiation thousands of times stronger than a standard chest x-ray), and fund Susan G Komen, the biggest pinkwashers of them all. (GE by the way is involved in all three.)
Anyhow, so I got my annual, painless, radiation-free thermography, and this time around? My leftie has been graded TH5, which is:
“Highly abnormal (high index of suspicion). This rating a high risk that disease is currently present or will develop in the future. This rating does not guarantee that disease is present, and needs to be evaluated by other imaging to determine its significance. Additional testing should be performed.”
So basically, I need to get my ass (or bosoms, to be more specific) to a doctor to get a closer look. My primary care MD, who’d recommended a breast MRI last fall (instead of mammogram due to my family history risk and tissue density), suddenly decided that she won’t see me unless I make (and pay for) another appointment with her to get that referral. Yeah like I’m going to wait 6 weeks to get in with her for literally no reason at all (besides for her to charge my insurance for a visit) before then being allowed to make an appointment with the actual diagnostics office. Fortunately my ND was very different and within an hour faxed my thermo results to the oncology department to review and make a recommendation.
“If you have dense breasts, and more than 50 percent of all women do, then your risk of breast cancer is increased and mammograms will miss early breast cancer 75-80 percent of the time — making mammograms almost worthless in detecting cancer to women with dense breasts.” (source)
But here’s the thing. The New York Times reported just in 2014 that “a large, 25-year study of Canadian women aged 40 to 59 found no benefit for women who were randomly assigned to have mammograms.” The Swiss have already stopped recommending mammograms. And radiation-free MRIs are becoming more and more recommended for women with family history and/or dense breasts.
“In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2004, Dutch researchers followed 1,900 women with a risk of breast cancer greater than 15% due to genetic mutations or family history. For nearly three years, the women received yearly MRIs as well as semiannual clinical breast exams and yearly mammograms. Mammography detected 18 cancers but missed 22 that were found on MRI. MRI found 32 cancers and missed only eight that showed up on mammograms.” (source)
So of course, it’s been a stare-at-the-ceiling-and-wonder-what’s-it-all-mean kind of afternoon to put it mildly. Because here’s the thing: just because a test says things look ‘highly abnormal’ doesn’t mean they’re going to stay that way, because my results also say “thermal changes in the breast and chest areas are often associated with estrogen dominance and hormonal imbalance.”
And I’m left with the big giant question mark: is this all related to the DEIVF doses of estrogen and progesterone I was finishing up the week I got the thermography photos taken? Do I get an MRI (if the oncologist approves it)? Or do I wait and see how IVF goes and hell, if I’m pregnant, will it do me any good to know results until after that’s all said and done?
Lots to think about. Because I didn’t have enough on my plate, right?
So in the meantime, I’ll end this with a picture of the very first time I held a baby in my arms at the tender age of eight. This was my stepfather’s daughter-in-law on the right, with her new baby boy. While I hated dolls (fake babies), I was already a sucker for the little living breathing ones. Today was no different, as I walked my dog and a little tiny girl came up to my Ruby and planted a kiss right on Ruby’s forehead and my girl just blissed out. I almost lost my shit I was so in love. It’s hope, right?
Life is a flame that is always burning itself out, but it catches fire again every time a child is born. ~George Bernard Shaw