Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Becoming your own best advocate, Asherman's and beyond

So perusing CNN during my lunch today, I came across this article, "5 questions to ask before surgery".  Needless to say, WTF, they have left off the most important questions anyone should ask of ANY doctor before any SURGICAL procedure! Drumroll:

How many of these (insert surgery here) have you performed?  What were the outcomes for these patients?

One of the most unpleasant things I discovered when my uterus was unceremoniously sealed shut from a D&C (why did the ark of the covenant just flash before my brain?) was that my doctors - the same ones who stated outright that this wasn't a common side-effect of a D&C*  - also turned right around and said they would fix me in the OR. 

So please stop and think about this for a moment: I'm a supposedly rare case (which is debatable and merits own blog post), yet I should let someone who hasn't seen this kind of case before put me under anesthesia and try to undo the damage.

That doesn't sound right, does it? 

Ladies, this is your uterus we're talking about.  Or your ovaries, or your hormone levels, or anything else you can think of that is kinda crucial to your well-being.  I am not being hyperbolic when I say that your fertility - and all of the hopes and dreams that go along with it - is on the line here with your decisions. 

The Asherman's website has incredible tools for women who are concerned about AS and are wading into these conversations with their doctors, and one of the best is the "Questions to ask your doctor"

I know from talking to scores of women with fertility and reproductive issues that it can be really uncomfortable to put your doctor on the spot.  They have a degree.  They have training.  They are "Board Certified."  They may be in a "Top Doctor" issue of your local magazine.  Who am I to question their skill-sets, you wonder when you're sitting there, vulnerable and gobsmacked by their diagnoses and jargon?

I have laid my own experiences out before the world on this blog because I am on a mission to IMPLORE women to understand that the certificate on the office wall is not the be all and end all of expertise.  Yes, it can be uncomfortable to have these conversations, but they are necessary and you are worth it.  My RE was absolutely incredulous that I would fly off to another fucking state to see a doctor to unseal my cervix - this despite the fact that I later learned he had another patient in my boat who did exactly the same thing!  (BTW, that makes me not-quite-so-rare, doesn't it?)  His physician assistant, the kind lady who attempted to ram a catheter into my uterus, suggested I see a "top local doctor" who specializes in uterine surgery.  I was the one who informed her that this doctor uses laser surgery to treat AS, which can actually make it worse.  She specializes in fertility, yet had no idea. 

Look, we are all walking a fine line when it comes to taking "control" of our health, and obsessively lying awake in front of WebMD or Dr. Google at 2am can be detrimental as well.  But we often have so much more power than we know.

*My own OB claimed that she had NEVER performed a D&C resulting in uterine adhesions before. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

And they say romance is dead

Amazing how when you are trying to be among the ranks of the knocked up, at nearly any point in the month you can exclaim "it's that time of the month again!"  Between your period, pre-ovulation, ovulation, Mittelschmertz  (the Germans have such a lovely turn of phrase for those among us with mid-cycle cramps, don't they?), and the two week wait, well, it's ALWAYS some time of the month, isn't it?

Last month every bodily twinge, every trip to the bathroom, every morning headache and tingly boob was a predictor of something.  Now in reality, that something was actually the creeping crawl of obsession and insanity.  But it's a New Year Yo, Happy 5774! Let's get a fresh start, one characterized by some mental stability!

At Casa de Justonemore we are peeing on sticks again, this time ovulation predictor kits.   Nothing like suggestively waving around a double-lined stick to get one's husband in the mood.  In some bedrooms I imagine softly lit candles on the nightstands, perhaps some fresh flowers (yes, I read a lot of trash romance novels), maybe some Barry White is playing in the background?  Our boudoir is lined by OPKs  and pre-seed, the mood only enhanced by the occasional chirps of niblet singing to herself two doors down the hall.

Ahhh, bring on the sexy times.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

What not to say

I seriously wish I wrote this so I could lay claim to its wisdom.  Someone posted an excellent (snarky) piece that showed up on my FB feed today.*  There's lots of variations on the whole "What not to say to someone who's grieving" to be found all over the internet, but I heartily endorse this one, which includes sage advice like the following:

"If you find yourself starting a sentence to a grieving person with the words “Well at least”, just stop.  Don’t finish it.  Close your mouth and step away."  WORD. Or, likewise,

God has a plan.”  Never.  Never, ever, ever say this.  Seriously.  Never.  If you want to have a theological discussion about the role of God in suffering and pain, fine; but wait until grief has stopped beating the shit out of the person.   When people say this to me I have to fight the urge to punch them in the throat and reply, “You’re right.  He does.”  I couldn't have better it said.

Yesterday, I tried to offer some kind comments to someone on the interwebs who had gotten into a fight with a relative. Her relative, probably intending to be helpful, told this grieving young woman who just lost her baby, "Lot's of women have miscarried before you."  Now, this could possibly have been some poorly thought out sort of "buck up little soldier" pep talk, had it not been immediately followed by, "You are acting really selfish by not getting over your miscarriage."

Who else heard the sound of that record screeching (yes, I am aging myself with this comment).

Yo, would you tell the person who lost her grandmother that "Lots of women have lost their grandmas, so stop yer crying?"  No?  Didn't think so.  Jeesh. 

*Just a word of warning:  if you're feeling even remotely sad, hopeless or infertile based upon your reproductive history, STEP AWAY from the facebooks.  They're a fucking minefield.  Between the pregnancy announcements, ultrasound pictures, baby bump and actual new baby pics, facebook will send you into therapy if you're not careful.

Friday, September 6, 2013

A Grief Primer

This was great.  Seriously, I have been feeling more than a little unhinged as of late, and after reading this, well, I feel a little less like I am going to be sent over to crazy-town.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

How about some renewal and rebirth?

It is Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, and a time of the year that I truly love.  On the Jewish calendar, the New Year actually falls in fall, as opposed to winter.  The idea of renewal, of rebirth in the autumn has always instinctively felt right to me.  The crisp air, the leaves starting to fall off the trees, the seeds burrowing into in the earth,  it's all very tangible and invigorating. 

This is now the second year in a row that I am emerging from a miscarriage in the fall, around the Jewish High Holidays.  I've noted it before, I'm not particularly religious, but I think the traditions of my faith will bring me comfort and perhaps, some sanity and grounding. 

I am not sure that lots of folks are getting up in the middle of the night to pen two week wait haikus.  This whole week I have felt incredibly nervous, twitchy almost, and at a risk of having some reader out there attempting to track my identity down and have me committed, I have felt ill-at-ease with my ability to function the way I like.  Sleep has been elusive.  I can't think of one day where I haven't regretted saying something to someone around me, it's as if my brain is on a strange malfunctioning auto-pilot.  Walking around in a constant state of distraction, well, it really makes you question your place in the world and your abilities.  To hold down your job.  To make a lunch your niblet will eat.  To be someone that people would genuinely like to be around.  And it certainly makes me question my abilities as a mother, a wife, a friend, an employee.  To sum this week up, I am just getting life wrong

It's a cop-out to pin this on lingering miscarriage sadness, and I really didn't sit down to write intending to post a pity party.  So it's with some real hope that I welcome the high holidays.  I want a new beginning.  I don't believe you can or should ever wipe a slate clean, we are the sums of our experiences, after all - our joys, our traumas, our loves, our sadness and our mistakes.  But I am looking forward to this new year, I am really looking forward to the heavy day of atonement and repentance that's coming next week, the Jewish big cahuna, Yom Kippur.  Last Yom Kippur I said a mourner's prayer for my lost little cluster of molar cells, my cancer baby.  This year I will do the same, but the timeliness of it all is hitting me harder.

I hope to emerge from all of this in a better place, renewed and reborn.  A place where I'm not twitchy and antsy and afraid and mucking things up.  Where I'm a better and more thoughtful person.  Where I'm less impulsive and more considerate.  Where I show more empathy.  A place where I'm comfortable and at peace with the idea of being responsible for a new, living, breathing little human.

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Two-Week Wait. A Haiku.

Once again, time slows.
Hark!  Too soon to crush a dream?
Don't pee on that stick.