28 September 2007

round 3

"the train must come to a complete stop before it can start moving backwards." (or something like that...)

L said this to me referring to chilli's course of treatment. he hasn't gotten any worse (good news) but there were no visible changes on his x-rays (bad news.)

"If the medicine tastes bad it must be working." (or something like that...) J was referring to the chemo and all the terrible side effects chilli has suffered through. if this is true then our little pug is well on his way to being cured. yeah. right.

words of wisdom from my family of medical professionals.

chilli had his third chemo yesterday. so far there have been no obvious side effects (touch wood.) arrogant vet is trying a different medication this time with the hope of a slight reduction in tumor size. as with any large, slow growing tumor even a tiny bit of shrinkage would be awesome.

it amazes me how many people have a vet oncologist in their life. now that I have a dog with cancer (plural) I'm involved in a whole new world. pets with a terminal illness. arrogant vet's practice is a busy operation. sadly, there are a lot of us out there.

"my pug has liver lymphoma and an atypical thymoma in his chest. what kind of disease does your basset hound have?"
"bone cancer."
"I'm sorry."

it's like infertility. I'm always shocked at how many infertiles I see in the waiting room at cornell. sometimes every seat is taken. again, sadly, there are a lot of us out there.

"I am a poor responder with old eggs and I have a husband with a low count and low morph. what's your deal?"
"PCOS and six failed IUIs."
"I'm sorry."

canine oncology and reproductive endocrinology. my hobbies. my life.

20 September 2007

"the" discussion

b and I finally had it yesterday.

donor eggs.

as expected, "new RE dr d" did mention DE as an option. what's nice about that concept is that there is not time limit. no ticking clock. if "new RE dr d" is unable to perform his magic (but he will) we can wait 1.5 years when b will finally have an income. a paycheck once and for all! at that point I'll be a 73 year old with a newborn!

with any bad news, you learn to adjust and cope with the passage of time. when my mom passed away I thought I would never get over the pain and extreme sadness that consumed me for so long. the depression physically hurt. as time went on I was forced to "accept" the loss. you have no choice.

not having a biological child with b would be another major loss in my life. on some level I feel like I have been subconsciously preparing myself for bad news. DE talk a year ago would have sent me to bellevue psychiatric hospital in hysterics. I've been existing with a constant lowgrade grief since I had my tubes removed. there has been a lot of time to think. to mourn. we all know IVF does not come with any guarantees. after 3 spirited attempts thus far, the reality of our complex situation is sinking in. I hope we won't have to "accept" the loss of a biological child. if that is sadly the case, we have the DE in our back pocket.

19 September 2007

"new RE dr d"

is the man! he is everything (and more) that I had hoped for. I really believe that if someone out there can get us pregnant, it's "new RE dr d." b and I are FINALLY in the proper hands. experienced hands. hands that are sensitive to poor responders with sperm challenged husbands. all those persistent (no doubt very annoying) phone calls and desperate emails paid off. like mum always used to say "the squeaky wheel.."

there will be no (I repeat NO) bcps used next cycle. he suggested co-culture! that was music to my ears. I have been fantasizing and dreaming of co-culture from the minute I walked into cornell's super fancy suite. "new RE dr d" was actually a bit more hopeful than I imagined he would be. he has had successes with women like me. he just got a 43.5 year old woman pregnant! I have been lurking on an IVF board and watching her situation closely. she finally got her BFP. it's awesome.

we feel an enormous sense of relief. we are moving onward and upward -- making progress. I'm breathing again!

16 September 2007

16 sept 07

today is our wedding anniversary! 1 year!!!

today was supposed to be our ET.
((((big sigh))))

13 September 2007

IVF. cancelled.

I did it.

14 hours before egg retrieval I called off the procedure. after 12 days of stimming and daily (4 hour round trip train) monitoring in manhattan (including yesterday's 4:12 am train) at $32-$37 round trip, $4 subway round trip, $7 daily parking, and the occasional frenzied cab ($30), the cycle's a bust.

my "current" RE is on maternity leave (how selfish) and in terms of my personal care, I have fallen through the cracks. suddenly I don't have a doctor. I refused to have the temp RE take over and I chose a doctor within the practice who is known for his success with poor responders. I am the epitome of the poor responder.

after daily, numerous calls to "new RE dr d" he never called me back. his stupid ass, idiotic, incompetent receptionist assured me that he or she would return my phone calls. my biggest fear was that the transition to "new RE dr d" wouldn't be smooth. wouldn't happen. my insticts were right on. I indeed fell through the cracks and was in no-man's land flailing at cornell.

I had 2 "senior" follicles and 1 "junior." I was on the fence about proceeding with such a small reserve. I needed to speak with a doctor to get more information, facts, before I could feel confident with the retrieval. it all seemed way too risky. after at least 7 frantic calls to new RE dr d yesterday alone, I still did not get a response. I ended up ringing the main desk. this was an emergency!

early evening I finally touched base with the attending on-call. he spent 15 minutes with me going into detail my b/w and u/s results. we talked about the risks of failing and the cost. we talked about trying a different protocol next time. the point is, WE TALKED! I actually had a conversation with a doctor who addressed my concerns. halleluiah! "if you were my patient, I would suggest we not go though with the retrieval." that's all I needed to hear -- sound advice from a pro. I am obviously incapable of managing my own care and making significant medical decisions. I draw pictures for a living.

my ovaries are killing me right now. I am happy(?) with my decision -- it was the right one -- but very sad and disappointed. does that make sense? b is pretty upset and he is concerned that each delayed cycle could potentially be worse. time is not on our side. I'm old.

this last week has been total hell and complete torture for me. between a very sick, post chemo pug in diapers with uncontrollable oozing diarreah (he was eventually hospitalized), the stresses of an IVF cycle (with no doctor), and dealing with cancelled insurance coverage (I forget to send in a check-- surprise, surprise) I am completely and totally spent.

10 September 2007

baby parking

"I'm off now to get some diapers." DH said.

how I've longed to hear those exact words. yes, b returned from shopping with a package of diapers. sadly they were purchased for chilli, our dog.

the second round of chemo really destroyed our little pug. his symptoms have been extreme -- lethargy, vomiting, shaking, drooling, and the terrible, terrible explosive diarrhea. it's so bad. it's a constant uncontrollable stream that requires a diaper. I'm forever cleaning him up, mopping the floors and rewashing dog beds. it's so incredibly heartbreaking. he really seems to be suffering and I am responsible.

how do you know when enough is enough? am I being selfish by putting him through all these debilitating treatments? he had a few nauseated days with his first chemo and then he rallied. you wouldn't even know he was sick. this round has been an entirely different experience -- one I don't know if he (or I) can go through again.

I am scheduled for egg retrieval, with 3 lousy follicles, this thursday. I am totally unprepared for this. I feel like it would be a lot less trouble to simply toss the thousands of dollars out the window instead of actually following through with this cycle. I've been so focused on chilli and have completely neglected my own health and diet. waking up daily at 4 am to trek into the city for monitoring is exhausting. working (even just a little) is exhausting. dealing with multiple REs, the IVF nurses, the ER vet, the oncologist, the billing department, the insurance company AND the electrician is exhausting. feeling incredibly defeated and sad is... well you know, exhausting.

pulling into a parking space at super stop and shop in order to buy chilli some boiled chicken, white rice and pedialyte just added fuel to the fire. it was a typical non-handicapped space until I noticed the sign. "this space reserved for those with infants." in other words, "infertiles not allowed."

07 September 2007

my life

as a poor responder. more distressing news. all those promising follicles that we saw a few days ago are no longer. where did they go? I am now back to 2 (maybeee 3) on my left ovary and 1 on my right. goddammit! what the hell?! my 8 3/4 month pregnant RE said "I'm sorry." she's sorry?!

I blame the 3 months of bcps. "don't over-suppress the poor responder!" I tried with all my might to not completely fall apart in the middle of rush hour in grand central. the lump in my throat actually hurt. all I wanted to do was collapse and sob on the #6 train platform. do we continue with this cycle? the reality is this whole IVF thing is probably just a fantasy. an indulgent, exhaust the savings, challenge the marriage, risk major depression, full-on fantasy.

the realization of possibly never getting pregnant in my lifetime hit very, VERY hard. it's an "awareness" that you want to have when you are safe at home with family not running to catch the commuter train to new haven. this is it. for real. if the IVF is not a success it's an entirely new challenge that I am not prepared for. this morning when I woke at 4:00 I sincerely had hope. I believed I had multiple follicles filled with potential. it's b's birthday and I was banking on having fantastic news to celebrate. we could use some good news in this house.

happy birthday b! and I'm sorry.

03 September 2007

labor day weekend

a memory I will never forget. labor day 1997.

I had just purchased, completely on my own, a 1-bedroom (post war 1960's ugly white brick) co-op apartment in manhattan. it was on the cusp of beautiful gramercy park -- but no man's land actually. it had a doorman. it had private outdoor space. it was all mine!

my mom came down to visit. our relationship had been "strained" for a few months because she had openly (and painfully) disapproved of my long term boyfriend at the time. he and I were planning on spending our lives together and it was common knowledge that my family was not thrilled. these were challenged times.

she loved my choice... in apartments. I could tell she was very proud of me. yes, the space needed work and some fine tuning but it was all good. nyc on labor day weekend is a ghost town. we totally took advantage of the empty streets. proper straight-up gin martinis and polenta at the union square cafe bar. late afternoon movies at the angelica film center. shopping on lower 5th ave. we had a fantastic time. she loved NY. she had the jackie O sunglasses and hermes scarf. she fit right in.

I remember hailing her a cab back to la guardia airport early tuesday morning before heading off to work. I was unhappy to see her go and she was visibly sad as well. we promised to go to the us open next labor day to see some great tennis. flushing ny is just a few subway stops away.

my mom landed safely in boston and got home to maine uneventfully.

then came the call. I remember exact details like it was yesterday. what I was wearing -- a brown suit and light blue shirt. the weather -- cloudy and very muggy. the meeting -- seagrams building, midtown manhattan. she had had a major seizure back at home and was hospitalized at mass general hospital with a glioblastoma brain tumor. cancer. how could this be?! she had conquered ovarian cancer some years before. she had already suffered through the surgeries and all the horrific treatments. how could this be?! her life, our lives, changed forever that day. never to be the same.

labor day weekend 1997. what an amazing time we had. that was the last time I saw mum healthy and well. I will forever cherish this memory.