Big Exhale, Big Thanks
So before I start prattling on about where we are this week, I just gotta say that I am so incredibly humbled by the responses on my last post that addressed the elephant in many rooms, secondary infertility (which I notice I shortened in my blog post to SF instead of SI, now realizing that sounded either like secondary fertility or San Francisco, hah, oh well). For the most part, I’ve learned and am continuing to learn that when something is grating on me like that yet I feel nervous about posting it, that it means a) if I’m feeling so strongly about something, someone else probably is as well but hasn’t said it, and therefore b) I must post it. I also learned that there are a lot of wonderful women out there who are going through secondary infertility who agreed with me…something that upon googling the term one wouldn’t automatically guess! So, yay for that, and yay for all of you who wrote such thoughtful, empathetic comments. I appreciate it more than you know.
So with that I just want to encourage all my blogging buddies out there to speak up. Vent however you gotta vent. And know that if you are feelin’ it, someone out there is as well – no matter WHAT you read on the forums.
Prepping for Numero Cuatro
Heh. So this morning I called my doc because he’d said that I’d be kicking things off next week after getting back from our mini-vacation that’s coming up, and I still didn’t have my schedule. (Let’s say far-in-advance-notification is not their specialty, but hey it is what it is, I know that from late May through the month of June, my ass is theirs. Or, more specifically, my uterus. And my mental.)
So anyhow, I’d let him know about our 4 days coming up where we’d be out of town, and of course naturally he suggests that I do my endometrial scratch during that time period because he already has his sedation person coming in that day so I could piggyback with someone else and get sedated during the procedure. Whaaaaa? I had the option to get sedated, and I’m just hearing about this now? Argh! If I’d known any of this ahead of time I’d have moved things around on our schedule, but whatever, we can’t get our money back now and as we’ll be in the high desert celebrating our 2 year wedding anniversary. So it’s scheduled for the 31st and I’m just going to get hopped up on valium and vicodin that day instead…and hope that I don’t kick him in the face when it’s happening. 🙂
But we’ve got an idea at least of our schedule now, as the 29th I’ll be off the pill (what a fucking ironic shit sandwich going on birth control…I still can’t get over that part of the protocol, even at try number 4…especially since I’m not exactly anything close to an egg factory, but whatever!), and so a few days later will be back on those beloved Delestrogen booty shots every third day. Ahh, just the thought of it. This time for fun I got glow in the dark Sponge Bob bandaids. I know, TMI, but deal with it, this is an IVF post.
In Other News…
Yeah so I thought, why wait til June to inflict pain and discomfort on myself when I can kick that off early?
As I think I mentioned before, I had my skin cancer
sawed off removed last week and it looks like I was burned with a cigar. So more like a nickel scar than a quarter, but let me tell you, it’s nothing but sexy either way. It hurts. Estimating 3 weeks recovery time for the wound (my husband is taking full advantage and calling me his Wounded Warrior, heh…those who know how much we fucking hate that hero-worshippy term will see the humor), it’s something that if I sit completely still I don’t feel, but because I use my legs to walk (go figure), whenever I’m in motion I feel the sharp twinges. It’s fun, try it! And of course I’ve regressed into a paranoia about every mark on my body, pretty much assuming I’m going to be covered in lumpy cancerous lesions by the end of the summer. Perky, I know.
Tomorrow the fun really begins though, as I have my breast MRI to look at my girls after getting “highly negative” results from my thermography last month. So as you can see, a super relaxing pose that I get to hold during this – especially for a gal like me who hates sleeping on her stomach. And yep, as you can see in the picture, you go in the tunnel half naked with your boobs sticking through two holes. But that’s not all! Gee I’m so glad I read up on this! It’s not like a CT scan where it’s a quick in and out in a couple minutes. Breast MRIs take between 60-90 minutes, as they do up to three images, each taking 15 minutes. So I’m in claustrophobic space, in this weird position, where it’s loud and they give me earphones because it’s loud in there as well. Oh joy!
Oh yes and you have to make sure every metal item is off you, I mean everything. In these glorious days of the internet you can see what happens if you wear magnetic items in an MRI machine. Yep, jewelry literally ripped off your body. Exxxxcellent.
So yesterday I had a bit of an anxiety attack thinking about the potential results, the what-ifs. Our great hopes are the thermo results were because of the high estrogen quantities that were still in my body at the time during DEIVF #3 and everything is peachy keen, but the alternative is something that makes me want to vomit every time I think about it. But then I come back to reality.
For those still getting traditional mammograms, while pinkwashers like Komen try to tell you it’s the only test that will save you, it’s been shown that MRIs are the far safer and more effective compared to mammograms. While MRIs have a harder time finding DCIS, which mammograms find more often, it’s been proven time and again that DCIS (sometimes referred to as “stage zero breast cancer) does not always require treatment, as fewer than 1% of the women in studies with it have actually died from breast cancer over two decades (source). It’s super easy to go from zero to ninety and have parts or all of of your breast removed “just in case” but I’m so so so against that. A lot of people flip out when I say I’m tremendously against preemptively chopping off your breasts simply because you are high risk (read here why).
The Journal of Clinical Oncology explains why MRI is the better choice compared to mammograms. Here are a few excerpts:
“Breast MRI does not use radiation, cannot induce cancers, and is exceedingly safe even though it does require intravenous contrast. Unlike mammography, which generates images based on the density of tissue, MRI creates a “blood flow map,” detecting tumor neovascularity and peritumoral inflammation; this explains its high sensitivity. Therefore, unlike mammography, MRI relies on alterations that correlate with proliferation and possibly metastatic potential.”
“It has been shown that the false-positive rate of MRI can be lower than mammography.”
“We need to embrace breast MRI screening…and offer it to our patients who are currently eligible as it is inarguably the best available screening test. It is a disservice to our patients not to do this.”
They also address the ultrasound advice many doctors give as a follow up to mammograms: “Ultrasound is a comforting test, but we need to recognize that compared with other available technology, it is not very good, with marked limitations in cancer detection and excessive false positives.”
Back to Optimism Mode -at least for our Adoption
Enough of all that health stuff. It’s good, but now I want to focus on the other side of our family-building efforts, our international adoption.
For a while we were so devastated from the DEIVF failures and the slowdowns in Ethiopia that we just stopped all optimistic actions related to our future as parents. And this past week I just said fuck that. We have got to look forward with positivity. We have got to keep moving forward and not allow ourselves to feel stuck. Just because we cannot see wheels turning doesn’t mean they are not. The MOWA employees are back to work now in Addis Ababa and hopefully that will give us some kind of news before the year is up.
We are reading again to prepare for our daughter, like this book I am showing above.
We are learning again about the culture from multiple perspectives, last night being Anthony Bourdain’s trip to Ethiopia as part of his show Parts Unknown, as he accompanied chef Marcus Samuelsson and his wife back to their birth country.
We are eating again, with plans to try our hand at making Ethiopian food at home, not just enjoying the assortment of offerings at local restaurants in our area of town.
We are building again, with my husband tasked next with cutting up scrap wood that I’ve measured and marked so that I can make ABC blocks for our girl with the woodburning tool I picked up at the craft store earlier this spring.
Maybe it’s just too tiring being sad. Maybe it was the little girls I’ve read to over the years, from seeing my girl Aaliyah who I read to in kindergarten 2 years ago now “graduating” from the program, to the run-at-me-and-hug-me-hard sweetness that Minnie gave me every time she read with me, to watching my husband turning to putty whenever he’s around his kiddos Nevaeh and Mahoganie at school. It’s time to think of possibility again for our family.
We are allowing hope to return.