Thursday, May 31, 2012

Who Is In Control?

You know that you've been to the doctor's office one too many times, when you have an in-depth dream about being in the office's waiting room forever.  When you do get into the exam room, you get poked and prodded over and over again. . .  

I feel like this is my life right now.  Not mine.  It has been committed to the medical field for poking, prodding, testing, evaluating.  No fun.

Did I mention that I went to the Dr's office again?  This is the third time in a week and a half.  Today was my physical exam...don't we know that I am an overall healthy person?  I just happen to have a 'lemon' for internal female organs.

While sitting in the waiting room today (for real- not my dream),  a girl who was obviously there for the same reasons as myself...says to me, "Cute shoes!"  I said, "Thanks, Target!" just like that.  She then says to me, "Oh, I LOVE Target!"  So not a big deal for a conversation, but the friendliness just caught me off guard.  Have I joined some type of sorority? A sisterhood of infertiles?!  NEVER have I had a friendly conversation with a fellow patient, whilst in the waiting room.  So strange, but at the same time kind of nice. . .especially in this town!  I told my mom about this.  She told me that there are support groups for this, and that my dad sends his patients all the time.  I don't know if I'll go that far...I'll wait for my final prognosis.

**I should mention that I look like the youngest person there...depressing!

Everything checked out normal...just as I suspected.  I'm scheduled to go back in for another ultrasound on Monday.  Dr. D is putting me on a drug called Aygestin to help induce my cycle, which might just put a damper on our upcoming vacation.  Feeling crappy is not my idea of a good time!

On an excited note, we are leaving for Maui two weeks from today! 

We decided that this is one of the ways we are treating ourselves for a rough year.  Our good friends, Megan and Rishawn are joining us! They're celebrating their five year anniversary and his graduation from his apprenticeship.  We are all looking forward to some relaxation, good company, delicious food, sun, sand, and the ocean!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Don't Get Me Wrong. . .

I would be lying if I said, that I have been positive on this whole journey.  Trials have their way of strengthening your character, but also breaking you down.  Let me illustrate:

1.  I am not the most pleasant person to be around.  I find myself to be hugely sarcastic and highly cynical these days.  I'm impatient with people, when most of the time; I am pretty tolerant.

2.  A lot of the time I take my frustrations out on my husband.  So very bad, I know.  I need to remember that it is just as much of his issue as it is mine.  

3.  Sometimes, I say that it is my issue and not ours, because we know that the problem lies with me.

4.  I reacted TERRIBLY when my brother and sister-in-law announced that they were pregnant, back in March.  I will share that story another time. . . although, I don't really want to because your perception of me might change! Eeek!

5.  I have shut Steven's family out from what has been going on.  I'm not saying that I will forever...I just feel like because they are so happy about example #3 (happens to be the first grandchild), and if they were to know about all the details--then (I kind of think it's already there) there'd be a huge elephant in the room, named "Pity".  However, I feel resentful due to the things that are said, because they think that everything is alright.  I have put myself in a bind with this one, since they all live in town and we see them often.

6.  I'm obsessive about my weight.  I don't have an eating disorder - I eat.  However, I find myself constantly worrying about how much I'm eating.  I'm more conscientious about my intake - which is good, but at the same time I could relax a bit.  I know it's because I feel like it's the only thing I can control about my body right now.

7.  As the process continues, I kind of feel like the news I get is worse and worse.  I'm optimistic, but I feel like I was more positive the days following my surgery than I am today.
8.  I've seen a counselor.  There is nothing wrong with getting counseling, in fact it's probably the healthiest thing to do, but I have had moments where I am so in my head; that I have needed that unbiased person to help me sort out those thoughts.

I promise that there are good things, too!  I just don't want to pretend like I have this trial and that I'm taking it better than the next person would.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Lessons Learned On A Sunday Afternoon

We got these cute little magnets at church today.  It's pretty, insightful, and has found it's place on my fridge.

Great lesson on a great talk.  I (and everyone else for that matter) need to be reminded of this!

They all mean something to me because I fall short in recognizing/practicing all of them, but I was really struck with #1 and #3 with our whole fertility ordeal.  I think it's normal to feel impatient with yourself, with your loved ones, and maybe everyone else around you when faced with infertility.  And finally, I need to remember to be happy with the here and now and not think "I'll be happy when..." scenario, because every stage in life has it's beauty.

It's amazing how you can "plug-in" the things that you are going through, with the lessons taught in church and come out feeling much better about them.  I honestly don't know what I would do without a faith-based perspective!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Plan of Action and A Little Saturday Productivity!

Steven and I woke up super early this morning to do our Initial Female/Male Labs at the FCLV.  We had to fast...yuck.  Last night I was so nervous for today, that I didn't even think about eating; but by this morning my stomach was grumbling, I was so hungry!  This was our first step since Monday's consultation with Dr. Daneshmand.

Initial Work-Up is as follows:

Initial Female Labs - check!

Physical Exam - Scheduled for 5/31

Vaginal Cultures - TBD

Initial Male Labs - he was a trooper...check!

Nutritional Consultation - I think I'm okay on this one.  $100 not covered, no thanks!

Cycle Day 3 Labs - haven't gotten there yet. TBD

GYN Ultrasound - Really? Another One? TBD

Sonohysterogram - sounds a lot like my HSG test.  No fun.  TBD

Hysterosalpingogram (HSG) - check!

Follow-Up Consultation - TBD when all of the rest is said and done.  REALLY nervous for this one.  Note to self and all others....Bring Steven (in your case, your husband) with.  Initial Consultation was a lot to take in alone!

Initial labs went pretty well, all in all.  Steven was a champ, where I was quite squeamish.  The lab tech kept asking me if I was alright.  I can't stand to see my blood filling in small vials...especially on an empty stomach.  She told me that usually, it's the other way around.  The husband usually has issues with having his blood drawn and the wife is just fine.  I guess I better get used to it!

We treated ourselves to breakfast at The Cracked Egg.  Delicious....Steven had the most savory omelet!

Star Nursery is heavenly!

After breakfast, we headed over to our local nursery and snagged some sod.  When I say "snagged", I mean "snagged".  Apparently, it's hard to find grass in this town and everyone had already pre-ordered theirs.  After 10am, it's free game!

With our backyard (more like patio) under construction, it was fun to be at the nursery and dream up ideas for our small yard.  Gardening/Home design has become a sort of hobby for us.

So, we FINALLY have grass, thanks to my huz and father-in-law! It's pretty exciting to have REAL grass here in this town!

Hopefully soon, this will not look so patchwork quilt-like!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Reflections After Surgery

I wrote a brief post, back in January, on our little lifestyle blog to let friends and family know that I had just been through surgery.  Remember, I told you that I was pretty vague about what type of surgery it entailed?  I thought I would share my thoughts just right after surgery:  

 I'm back in Vegas after a quick 4 1/2 day visit back to Rockford, Il where I had surgery. . .yes surgery. Not a fun reason to go back to see your family, but was good nonetheless! I won't bore you all with the details, but if you are interested in whether it was life-threatening. . . it was not. . .but had to be done. Let's just say that, ironically, I was a patient in my Dad's field of medicine.

My Dad felt that I would get the best answers, method of surgery, before/during/after (mom and huz) care, and least amount of recovery time if I made the trip back to the good ol' midwest. So I did, and I am now on the mend!

Some things that I learned/were confirmed to me from all of this:

1. Rockford, IL has GREAT physicians - I may be a bit biased but it's true. In fact, I'm quite discouraged with the doctors here in town and am on the hunt for a new one. I am open to suggestions, as I have only lived here for a little over a year. Dr. Lenox was thorough and overall brilliant. I will forever be grateful to him. I think he and my Dad have a good plan in place proceeding this surgery.

2. I have the best family and friends - My close friends and family have been very supportive of me during all of this. It was so nice to receive the texts, calls, posts, tlc, and gifts. It's always good to have a good support group when you are going through the down times.

3. I love being around my family - No matter how old you are, you will always be your parents' little girl. At the ripe age of 28, I think this still holds true. My family is so fun to be around. . .I love them more than anything in this world and am glad that my husband fits in so well! I can't wait to be an aunt in the next few months! It's always hard to leave my family, but I look forward to seeing them on many occasions in the next year :)

4. I have the BEST husband - I know. . gag me on a blog post about how wonderful my husband is, but he really is the best! There is nothing better than waking up from surgery and being surrounded by your husband and parents with big smiles on their faces as if you've just conquered something big. My husband didn't have to be there, but he was and he took great care of me after. He is always so supportive and takes great concern over things that are important to me. He also might be the cutest nurse out there ;)

5. Pain Killers are overrated - I will admit that I was excited to be in "La La" Land for a few days post surgery but was hugely disappointed. You still feel the pain while on them, they make you drowsy in a weird way, and have horrible side effects - ie. constant itching all over for no reason at all. (Sorry Mr. on the plane-who probably thought I had some freaky disease)

6. I have the BEST Dad - He is pretty brilliant and I am grateful that I have access to his wisdom so closely. Right before the surgery he gave me a blessing that all would be well. A dad that can give physical aid as well as spiritual aid. . .How lucky does one get?! I truly feel like from here on out, everything will be okay and that I will get to have children of my own.

It Dawned On Me...

A certain thought recently came to mind. . . Actually, a lot of thoughts have been going through my mind for quite some time.  It dawned on me that I should probably journal about what I have been feeling and what I have been experiencing.  Something that I could show my future let them know that they were VERY MUCH wanted; to someday remind myself that they were VERY MUCH wanted. . .when I felt like I was reliving my mom's stressful mothering moments with us.  I suppose this is the result!

Our Engagement Photo - 2005

Steven and I were married on November 19, 2005 in the Mount Timpanogos LDS Temple.  We are LDS or more commonly known as Mormon.  "Don't Mormons have a million kids?", you ask.  Maybe it's our sense of not wanting to fall under stereotypes; but we were young (barely 22 and almost 22) and so we made the conscious decision to finish school (are you really ever done?!), have fun, save money, and WAIT to have kids.

Wedding Day - November 19, 2005

The August before our five-year mark was when we decided that if it happened, it happened.  Fast forward to February of the following year and still, nothing.  I always had this feeling that it wouldn't be easy for like it.  I had never had regular cycles and so with my prior knowledge and fears (due to my knowledge), I felt like it would not be an easy task.  I made an appointment with an OB/GYN here in town to discuss my options.  My doctor determined that I probably had ovulation issues and put me on 6 months of Clomid, with no prior testing or monitoring.  Bad news.  I should have seen the red flag, when my dad told me that doctors should never just hand out a prescription without any prior testing.

**The bad thing about having a father as a physician is that you tend to not take their word too seriously. You either feel like they are just brushing it off or are being way too dramatic over your symptoms.  Either way, you as the afflicted, are usually wrong!**

Fast forward to December 2011.  After six months of Clomid and nothing but discouragement and pains on my left ovarian side, I called my dad a little worried.  He told me to get into my OB/GYN as soon as possible.  I got in right away and my doctor felt around my abdomen and noticed that it was enlarged.  He determined that I probably had uterine fibroids and ordered a pelvic ultrasound.  That time in between my doctor's appointment and the results of my ultrasound felt like forever!  The results came back and revealed that I had a 10cm (about the size of a softball - yikes!) cyst somewhere between my ovaries.

My dad warned me of 2 things:

1.  This will not go away on it's own and needs to be surgically removed, very soon.

2.  If the doctor mentions anything other than laparoscopic surgery, you are coming home (Illinois) for the surgery.

Well, sure enough, the doctor mentioned that it could (yeah, right) go away on it's own and that the only method would be to cut me open, much like a c-section, and remove the cyst.  Recovery time would be anywhere from around 4-6 weeks.

No, thank you.  I flew home the following week. . . 

I went in for surgery on January 26, 2012 and came out with one less endometrioma, one less fallopian tube on my left side, and a prescription for 6 months of Lupron Depot (the Devil's drug...not really, but kind of - I have since, quit this drug).  It shocked me that this could be a possibility, but apparently the tube was 4 times it's normal size.  My surgical photos make it look like a bowel intestine and not a thin-like tube like the right side.

My surgery also revealed that I have Stage 3 Endometriosis and possible Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.  That explained all those years of horrid cramps during my period!

The doctor who put me on Clomid, and then wrote my situation off as unimportant? I got rid of him.

I found a new doctor, who I love. . . Dr. Keith Brill knows his stuff, is attentive, and sent me in for further testing.  A hysterosalpingogram (HSG) test performed in April, confirmed that my other tube was patent (clear) and I finally felt like I had achieved a small victory!   

That's how we got where we are today.  Tomorrow we go in to The Fertility Center of Las Vegas to get our blood drawn for, yet again, more testing.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

What's In A Name?

We are Steven and Stephanie.  We basically share the same name; they mean the same.  We've been married since November 19, 2005 and have enjoyed the time that we have had growing up and growing together.  We made the decision to postpone having children until were a little bit settled in our lives and when we felt the time was right.  I guess you could consider us somewhat of 'control freaks'! Unfortunately, my husband and I, like many other couples, learned that we struggle with infertility so my mind has been clouded with "What Ifs?", "Whens?" and "Really, Why Us?".

Am I shocked that this is even a possibility?  No.  I have been around this field of work/couples who deal with these issues for as long as I can remember.  Ironically, my dad happens to be a Reproductive Endocrinologist (Fertility Specialist) and if you want, you can look him up.  Dr. John P. Holden, M.D....he runs his own practice; Advanced Reproductive Center in Rockford, IL.  I may be biased, but he is brilliant at what he does and has brought much happiness to couples, who are looking for that "missing piece".  Okay, this post isn't about my's just to make a point that I am very aware and find our situation to be one of life's many ironies.

Steven and Myself - March 2012

 A thought came to my mind recently, "Share your grief, sorrow, anxiety, and confusion about your journey."  "If it doesn't help others who are going through the same thing, it can at least help you."

I post regularly on a blog about our daily lives, but I have kept posts about our struggle quite mum.  Am I embarrassed about not being able to conceive?  Heck no!  Saddened?  Yes.  In many ways I look at it as our trial that we get to go through together.  It is very much a part of me that is helping me grow and gain wisdom and strength.  That should never be an embarrassment.  I have just decided that our 'lifestyle blog' was not going to turn into our 'fertility battle' blog.  Maybe someday the two will meet, but until then I would like for this to remain a positive tool for those struggling with infertility.

And so, 'My Rosy Reverie' is born (no pun intended).  The road has been long and exhausting, and I feel as if it might continue to be something we have to endure; but I'm feeling quite optimistic!