3.27.2014

Once Again, I Surrender (Post-Surgery Follow-Up)

Very early on the road of infertility I learned that emotions are not experienced in a mutually exclusive manner. Everything is a jumbled up mess all at once and can change in the blink of an eye without any warning or real explanation. When I say "I learned" please understand that what I'm really saying is: I fought it with everything in me, tried to force linear emotions that occurred one at a time, and I threw a lot of temper tantrums. I don't fight it much anymore, nor try to force the linear emotions. I do still throw temper tantrums occasionally.

Ahem.

So it is I find myself stuck between two emotions once again after my post-surgery follow-up with Dr. D.

There is the hope that comes from finding out my tubes are once again open (she did have to use the catheter wire to open both sides), the endometriosis that had returned was not as severe as the last time and overall things looked good. There are the good hormones from my latest hormone panel, the improved thyroid numbers (TSH is down to 1.14 - and I feel so much better!), the negative cultures (internal and external) and the ultrasound series that showed ovulation.

Numbers:
TSH 1.14 (was 4.02)
Free T4 - .94 (was .95)
Free T3 - 2.75 (wasn't checked before)
The frees still aren't great, but I figure with the testing that is most likely in my future (keep reading) this won't be the last check of these numbers. For now, I'm just glad to be feeling better!

There is hope that hasn't been there in a long time.

But.

If hope has been gone for a long time, a positive emotion without a "but" after it has been gone even longer.

There is the low post-peak estrogen and thin endometrial lining and the too-high DHEA (386.9 - but it was early in my cycle and she said they like to do it later in cycle. I didn't know that. DHEA was 148 when tested 2 years ago)) We are still waiting on 17-hydroxyprogesterone and testosterone levels to come back and then she may move forward with more advanced adrenal testing. There is a post-coital test that will be scheduled to make sure my body isn't killing or attacking The Man's "little men." I also asked to have my FSH tested to check my ovarian reserve as I turn 35 in less than 2 weeks, found my first gray hair last week, and was told by my eye doctor that I have early-stage cataracts. Any one of those on its own would have been stressful, the 3 combined has caused the ticking of my biological clock to become deafening and so I asked to have the FSH and pre-peak estrodial tested. Conveniently it was CD 5, so it was a good day to do so. There was also the phrase "chronic inflammation" which has me clinging to my ice cream like it's the last half-gallon on the planet. Finally, for now, there is the ticking clock of having to have my tubes opened for a second time and knowing they will most likely not stay that way.

Don't get me wrong, I am so grateful for all that has been fixed, ruled out, managed, etc. I am so grateful to have open tubes again and not be facing enough medications to require a full-time assistant to make sure I take them all on time. (At least not yet.)

It's just so hard.

Every fiber of my being wants to hope and be hopeful. To start thinking that it might actually be possible that we could conceive. But that is a scary thought.

I'm getting used to "Infertile Rebecca." I have my routine for each cycle and I know what to expect. I have hope, grounded in reality. For the last year, that reality was that my tubes were most likely blocked. There was little chance, save a miracle. I believed in that miracle. I rode a few crazy roller coasters because of that miracle. But, in 2013 alone, I also endured CD 1 on Mother's Day, on my goddaughter's baptism day (during Mass!), on Thanksgiving, and on Christmas. It's been hard to not take it personally.

I'm scared to go back to "Fully-Hopes-and-Thinks-Dreams-Come-True Rebecca." Petrified might be a better word. It took so much work to hold myself together through a year in which half of it I wasn't even on medications nor had any practical hope. It's easier to know it's not likely. It's easier to face the sorrow when it is what is expected.

I realize that I must place my trust in God.

To trust that He is capable of miracles.

To trust that He can lift this cross at any time.

To trust that He is enough. No matter what.

To trust that He is trustworthy.

And I realize that for all the "progress" I think I've made this year, it all comes right back to the same thing. Over and over again, always the same thing.

I am a stubborn woman.

Once again, I must surrender.

And as I write that, I realize that it was no coincidence that this follow-up appointment was on the Feast of the Annunciation.

Do I trust Him as Mary trusted?

I want to.

And so I shall.

I place myself in His hands and at His mercy.

I will embrace these new possibilities and pray that I am able to truly understand, in both my head and my heart, that He is enough.

Once again, I say:

Be it done unto me according to Thy word.

24 comments:

  1. Hugs; as you posted yesterday we can only strive to do our best and trust God is pleased by our desire to trust and follow his will no matter how effectively we actually do it.

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  2. Allowing yourself to hope is the hardest part in all of IF. And especially now that you have a lot more reason to be hopeful, it must be hard to go back to hoping, based on where past hopes have led. Just like you said, "Be it done unto me according to Thy word." Hoping through faith is the best way to go. Prayers!

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  3. What is it about grey hairs and looming birthdays? Praying that you find peace and joy in hoping and trusting in Him!

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  4. You know....The reason you feel "better" is not because your TSH is down. It's sadly the very itty bitty tiny bit of T3 you are receiving from the armour. Its about 2.25mcg of T3....Those levels are truly pathetic and you do need a raise stat.

    The TSH is not a thyroid hormone. It's a THYROID STIMULATING HORMONE. Basically, the pituitary gland has recognized that the body has received more thyroid hormones (how? it doesn't know) and it has stopped asking the thyroid to make more....So at 4 your pit gland was rocking---knocking on the door of thyroid WAKE UP and make me some hormones. A TSH of 1.14 the pit has relaxed because it assumes the thyroid has done what it has asked....

    Don't forget--top of range is where you want to be with those frees OR symptoms relieved. Aren't great is a total understatement. I truly, do not even know how you get out of bed in the morning. LOL

    Adrenal testing is something I would recommend before going ANY higher on thyroid medication. I CAN NOT stress enough how vital the adrenals are when taking thyroid medication. It will make or break this whole process.... :) JMHO Ha!

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    1. I knew I could count on a good comment from you :)! (I almost put a "Hi Sew!" note in the post :).)

      Anyway, I just wanted to add, for anyone who is reading/following along. That I agree and all of this makes perfect sense. I wanted to share some of why I made the decisions I made with regards to taking Armour and not checking cortisol, etc. first.

      I started to go down the road of checking it all and I got so totally overwhelmed at finding new doctors, dealing with insurance, paying out of pocket etc. etc., I made the decision that first and foremost I had to feel better. I have felt better on the Armour, but always considered it to be a first step (even if it's a band-aid type step. I was aware of it).

      I was also cleared to start exercising again and I'm always much clearer headed when I exercise, so I hope that only contributes to the clearer head I've been experiencing. If it does it will make all of this seem even less overwhelming.

      Now, adding in the crazy high DHEA and awaiting the other androgen results, I'm sure I'm in for a ton more testing. My doctor even mentioned adult-onset adrenal hyperplasia. So, at this point, less overwhelming sounds won-der-ful!

      Prior to infertility, I had zero health problems (other than migraines which went away as soon as I quit taking "The Pill" - it's a damn shame I had to figure that connection out myself and that 4 Ob/Gyns over 12 years didn't think to recommend to stop taking it...) Anyway, this contributes to my overwhelmedness (that is a word, now it is anyway ;)...), as 4 years ago, I was a healthy woman, with healthy looking charts, getting ready to make a baby with her husband. Even as I write that the tears have sprung to my eyes, it's all just so much. I realize I might have had underlying things going on (as I've always been cold and tired), but I didn't know it and lived in happy ignorance.

      Now I can't live in that happy ignorance anymore, but I'm still that woman who wants to make a baby with her husband and the more I find out is wrong with me, the more broken I feel and the harder it gets. For my sanity a one-step at a time approach has been crucial, but equally as crucial has been knowing what I might be dealing with - like all of this cortisol/thyroid info, as I know to not just take labs at face value and to keep pursuing it.

      All this to say - I'm so grateful to you and everyone who has walked this road - of infertility, of thyroid, of adrenals, of any or all of it - ahead of me and is willing to share their experience. :)

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    2. I just wish that I could hug you. Oh, and give you anti-inflammatory cupcakes. That's a thing, right?

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  5. I also wonder if you are in a state of low cortisol and low thyroid and that is why you are feeling better...It's such a fine balance. I love it when my thyroid meds are not competing against my HC....When I'm perfect on my HC and thyroid meds, its a beautiful balance.

    So I wonder about a low cortisol/ low thyroid balance that you could be experiencing.....

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  6. My dear cortisol is the foundation of life! Just rule it out...Its $135 4x a day spit test! ha! Truly a spit in the wind considering all you have been through! hahahahaha

    I hope I didn't come off as telling you...Just take me with a grain of salt. i don't really have a lot of time to gently put things and really it's just not my personality....ha! :)

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    1. It's all good :). I'm grateful to you for taking the time to share your knowledge.

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  7. Keep going! This is really, really hard. It's hard to feel so many crazy, conflicted emotions that you feel a stranger inside your own heart. Just keep going--one day at a time. Runners can kick the butt of any emotional & medical crisis. Go Rebecca!

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  8. Wow...lots to take in and pray about. I can understand how it is hard to remain positive from past experiences but you did this surgery to gain some new hope...and it looks like you did get some new hope. I like your line "I have hope grounded in reality." That is how I feel about our latest adoption journey...there's hope but if history repeats itself...reality sets in. I'm hoping for you.

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  9. Let's hear it for stubbornness! Mountaineers are known for that, right? :o)
    I remember my mantra was "No expectations, no disappointments" ...yeah, if only that worked. We give up, we lose hope, we vow "never again". And after all that, we get back up again and run some more. If faith sometimes fails, stubbornness just might get you there. Fighting infertility takes a lot of both. You still have plenty of time for a miracle, too. Just keep going.

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  10. That's a lot all at once. I'm happy for your good news and hopeful that the remaining things that aren't ideal will be able to be improved.

    Wait, you had your first gray hair now? I had my first at 25. :P

    Praying for peace for you (and a miracle too). :)

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  11. P.S. If you ever go sugar free to try to help with the inflammation, I have a few recipes for homemade ice cream (including chocolate) using various fruits. Just had some strawberry tonight. It's a good enough substitute for me, even though it's not the real thing.

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  12. Forgive me because I can't recall your infection hx, and am on my phone at the moment, but I too had chronic inflammation and tubes that liked to block and it was 100% infection, which led to losses. I am happy to talk more about this in detail, answer questions , or there is also a ton of infection info on my blog. I was able to have

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    1. I have a history of infection but the most recent cultures (internal and external) came back negative. I was stunned as brown-bleeding is also ever-present (both before and after AF). I'm guessing that means that the inflammation and BB must both be hormone and diet-related.

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  13. Surrender is so hard, especially when we're so used to being "do-ers." I know that I'm quite comfortable being IF JB, it's scary, but true.

    Continued prayers!!!!

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  14. Hope is such a funny thing- scary and beautiful all at once. Your doc sure seems thorough! I have questions about a lot of the tests you mentioned. Do you have any clue what problems your high dhea causes? Many prayers!!!

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  15. Wow, that's a lot of information to keep straight! Continued prayers as you navigate it all and I hope you can find your resting place in Jesus. I get you on the hope...."but"....thing. Not hoping too much protects my heart, but I know it also means I'm not trusting completely in God.

    p.s. if it makes you feel any better, I have several gray hairs already, which I blame entirely on IF!!

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  16. You have had quite a year. I like how you said "trust that he is trustworthy". It seems like IF makes us question that truth too often. Your not being afraid to hope, even in all the fears, is beautiful.

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  17. Surrender is a process...over and over again...thank you for sharing your journey. You are in my continued prayers!

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  18. I was told I had small cataracts when I was 24. The ophthalmologist said they might actually be congenital and wasn't concerned about them. No doctor before or since has ever mentioned them, and I'll be 36 soon and wear corrective lenses (so my eyes get checked out on a semi-regular basis) so your cataracts might not be related to age -- they might just be something that's always been there. Prayers for you on this journey.

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  19. Wow, I don't think it's a coincidence I'm reading this the day after updating on my private blog. Same exact emotions :) Which, of course, doesn't surprise me - but further confirms how we are all united on this path to holiness, no matter what the circumstances.
    Big hugs!

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