Wednesday, September 24, 2008

::out of pocket::

No posts anytime hard drive crashed. :(

Thursday, September 18, 2008

::the old college try::

Last night during our prayer service at church, we read Psalm 113 right before spending time in corporate prayer. This is the first time I have read this passage since becoming a mom.

1Praise the Lord!
Praise, O servants of the Lord,
praise the name of the Lord!
Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth and forevermore!

3 From the rising of the sun to its setting,
the name of the Lord is to be praised!

4 The Lord is high above all nations,
and his glory above the heavens!
5 Who is like the Lord our God,
who is seated on high,
6 who looks far down
on the heavens and the earth?
7 He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap,
8 to make them sit with princes,
with the princes of his people.
9 He gives the barren woman a home,
making her the joyous mother of children.
Praise the Lord!

After my husband read that last verse aloud to the group, my heart was immediately overflowing with emotion. Praise God--that is ME! I am a barren woman whom He has given a home and made the joyous mother of a son! I know that this verse is not a promise for every barren woman, and indeed--I have not been made "unbarren" (although I pray He sees fit to do so one day), but He has still made me the joyous mother of a child. And this.....just astounds me! I feel very blessed.


As far as how things are going post-op...well, I have had my first cycle since the surgery and I have to that's what a normal cycle feels like! That's nothing! I didn't realize that my pain was so much greater than a regular person's cycles. I am so glad to be pain free, although I guess my pain tolerance was greater than I realized. We are doing everything within our power over the next 6 months to optimize our chances of conceiving.

Vitamins....they never sit well in my stomach. But, we are both taking a handful of vitamins that I have researched for both of our fertility issues. My husband is so good about the small army of pills he has to take. He happily downs them every night without a complaint. We are both exercising regularly, too, and trying to eat well. I don't really know what else we can do. I have a book on Traditional Chinese Medicine, but I don't have access to acupuncture or herbalists where we live, so please don't make that recommendation.

It feels strange to be thinking about all of this again. I had really gotten out of the habit once our adoption plan was well underway. I tucked my BBT thermometer into a drawer and stopped obsessing about charts and graphs. I don't know if I can do the thermometer thing with a baby who still wakes often at night, but I'm curious about what my chart will look like now that my endometriosis has been cleaned out. I used to have a saw-tooth like chart, but I read that that is very common with endometriosis or growths.

At any rate, we'll do what we need to do to try to conceive naturally...or, as my doctor says, "to give it the old college try." Please do pray for us over the next 6 months.

Also, you will really have to convince me to post the surgery pics of the Stupid Tumor; I will only do it if you REALLY want me to. I feel kind of strange exposing my insides to the world, yet it is strangely fascinating.


Thursday, September 4, 2008

::demon of infertility, thy name is endometriosis!::

I had my post-op appointment today. I wondered what all my options would be considering that I wasn't conscious the last time I saw my doctor and my husband couldn't remember all the details. He was understandably focused on me and whether or not any cancer was present (thank the Lord, it wasn't!). One thing he DID tell me (& that I remembered from my pre-op appointment) was that medically induced menopause was a treatment option. Lupron (which many of you are familiar with). But....I just wasn't real excited about that being my option for the next 6 months. Understandably so since common side effects are mood swings, hot flashes, and weight gain. Bleh.

My doctor did an exam and checked all my incisions. Everything looks to be healing correctly and I was given the go-ahead to resume normal activities, minus any heavy weightlifting at the gym (because we all know there was a huge danger of that happening!!). No problem. Before I get to our options, I'll share about my pictures. I have two pages of pictures (in color!!) of my insides. It's a little gross, but kinda cool. What's weird about it is that the right ovary (which is no longer in my body, thanks to the surgery) was more than three times the size of the left ovary. I thought there had been a tumor growing like on the outside of the ovary, but actually the endometrioma had sort of "taken over" the ovary and had filled it with this nasty liquid (think melted chocolate; yes I know that's gross) that is endometriosis. For this reason, the ovary is gone. No saving it. The other ovary was a little enlarged, but was nothing compared to the right one which was almost the size of my entire uterus.

But let's not forget to mention that my entire reproductive area was a "mess," to quote my doctor. Endometriosis everywhere. Some adhesions in my uterus as well, but the D&C took care of that. My doc burned off nearly all of the endometriosis (which, by the way, is uterine lining that is growing outside the uterus. Right tissue, wrong location, in other words.) except for the little bit that was growing on the wall of my bladder, which I greatly appreciated. No holes in my bladder, please.

Now. Options.
  • A. Birth Control pills for six months or so to stop the growth of the endometriosis and to alleviate pain. Obviously, no trying to conceive.
  • B. Lupron for 6 months to essentially shut down the production of estrogen (which causes the endo to grow and spread), and to "kill off" the endometriosis. Also, no trying to conceive because I will not be ovulating.
  • C. Do nothing. Try to conceive "on our own" since we're not pursuing IVF or ICSI (if we were pursuing those things, now would be the prime time since I've been "cleaned out."). Re-evaluate in six months.
After talking with my doctor, we have decided to C. Do nothing. Why? Well, pain has never been a real issue with me. My endometriosis was not causing a lot of pain, which is the tricky thing about endometriosis. Some people have a tiny bit of endo, but major amounts of pain. Others, like me, have a lot of endo and no pain. Some have lots of endo and lots of pain. It's different for each person. My main problems were from the uncomfortable bloating that was a result of the endometrioma which was removed from my body. So, I don't need to take option A or B for pain management since I haven't had much pain. I REALLY want to avoid the drugs if I can. My doctor was okay with that, but I have to call her if I do have pain. So, for the next six months, we'll just give it the "old college try", as my doctor likes to call it. ;) And we'll pray and fast and hope that the Lord will bless us with pregnancy. Because, not only do we want biological children, pregnancy stops the growth of endometriosis.

It's strange timing of course since we have this precious little one at home, our miracle through adoption. And we haven't been focused on trying to conceive since we have him in our lives. He, in every way, is our beautiful child. We are already parents. And frankly, I'm a little overwhelmed at the thought of having another baby so soon, but, because of the diagnosis of endometriosis, we feel that it's a good time to really pray for a child through pregnancy. And pray we must since we already have male factor infertility throwing a mean left hook at us.
If, in 6 months, we have not gotten pregnant, we'll re-evaluate our options. If pain becomes an issue, we'll re-evaluate our options sooner.

But...for the record, that's what's going on. Endometriosis. We would not have known about it if I hadn't had all the bloating from the endometrioma. No wonder we haven't gotten pregnant. I mean, even with serious male factor infertility, there is still always a chance we could conceive "on our own", but with the mess that I saw on the wonder we haven't. I'm thankful it was discovered, that my doctor took my complaints seriously, that I took my discomfort seriously, and that much of the disease has been removed from my body.

All we do now......try and pray.


**disclaimer: yes I know that I don't have all the terminology correct, but I am trying to explain this in a way that is not too full of medical jargon, that the average IF sufferer can understand, that makes sense to me. comments about my kindergarten explanations, please. ;)

P.S. I am not opposed to posting the pictures of my insanely large tumor/ovary and the endometriosis that has taken over my insides. All you have to do is ask. ;)