Showing posts with label #RacefortheCure. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #RacefortheCure. Show all posts

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Learning To Swing From The Chandelier

Confession:  through the peaks and valleys of our journey these last eleven years, I've struggled with this blog space.  It started as a cathartic experience ten years ago as I started walking down the path of recovery after our much-desired baby boy came way too soon.  I kept writing as a journal of sorts, as we soldiered on amid all the twists and turns, highs and lows, and peaks and valleys of ongoing infertility.  I tasted a miracle once with Colton, even if it was for a very short moment... so surely that would happen again. Right?  Assisted Reproductive Technology did everything that it could to try and help our process.  First, Clomid and too many pills and injections to count.  Second, Intrauterine Inseminations (IUI) - again too many too count.  Then, 1... 2... 3... long and expensive cycles of in-vitro fertilization (IVF), always followed by frozen embryo transfers (FET) because if there was one thing my body did well, it was produce a lot of beautiful eggs.

Unfortunately, they just never stuck where they were supposed to.

And when they did, my body couldn't do it's part.  Even at 24-weeks.

But then came cancer.  And it's timing was horrible as we were in the final stages of our last (and very hopeful) frozen embryo transfer.  To give us the best chance, we had (another) Hysteroscopy procedure done that Christmas to scrape away the slough from my uterus and prepare it for what we hoped would be a really good sticking ground.  I was extremely hopeful that there would be an October baby at long-last!  Unfortunately, the cells that grew back in it's place were not the things that reproductive endocrinologists handle.  Only oncologists touch that.

So another twist. Another turn. More peaks and a lot more valleys.  My feet continued stepping forward one direction, then another...  and although it killed me inside, I tried to put a smile on my face and one foot in front of the other.  I tried not to let it kill my spirit and make me lose my faith in God. After 3 1/2 years of walking that path, the oncologist finally called "Uncle" and I had a radical hysterectomy that took... everything.  And then a little more.

Almost six months post-surgery, I now find that I'm still on a path - but I've stopped and I'm turning around and around in circles.  Somewhere along the way, I apparently lost my compass so I'm looking around wondering "where am I?".  I've noticed the trees... I've noticed the sky...  I've noticed the road that goes every which direction... and I want to keep moving... but I'll be honest and say that I don't know in which direction.  I'm a little like Dorothy right now wondering which is the right way to Oz, and it's really disconcerting.

So I'm just kind of standing here.

Waiting.
.
.
.

Two months ago, I received my annual bill from our fertility clinic asking me what to do about those eight grade-A embryos that have been sitting in a freezer for the last several years.  They are stalled and waiting too.  Do I ... donate?  ... discard? ... wait for a miracle to fall from the sky by way of a very cheap surrogate?

I didn't know what to do so I cried a lot and just paid the outrageous bill for another year. When in doubt (or denial) take the easiest way out, I guess.
.
.
.

Two weeks ago, we completed our final home inspection for foster-care.  Will the phone ring?  And when it does, will it be for a minute?  For a week?  For a lifetime?

I don't know.
.
.
.

So here I stand.  But while I stand, I've decided to at least paint a pretty little picture.  I had a recent annual physical with my primary care physician who has been with me for years.  Eleven years ago she referred me to a specialist when we weren't getting pregnant.  Ten years ago, she embraced me when we transferred back from the post infant-loss.  Through the ups and downs, peaks and valleys, I have faithfully gone back to her every November for my annual physical and warm embrace.  A few months ago, I carried a piece of paper for her to fill out verifying that I'm in good health to be a foster parent.  And with that she handed me a box of tissue and said something really powerful.  I still cry just thinking about it...

"J - I want you to go home from this appointment and open the door to your sad room.  You know, that sad room in your house that has sat empty and dark for the last eleven years because it was supposed to be something else - a nursery.  I want you go in, open the curtains and finally let the sunshine in.  Paint it. Decorate it.  Hang a chandelier.  Take everything that has been quietly tucked away in your hope chest over the years and turn that space into something truly magnificent and beautiful.  Turn it into a space where dreams can finally flourish.  Create a nursery - an amazing space - where the neediest of children can feel absolutely cherished and loved.  And then wait for the phone to ring because I am confident that it will. Years ago that happened for me with a call that came in the middle of the night.  I was unprepared, but you shouldn't be.  So I'm giving you doctor's orders to un-pack the quiet corners of your heart and create something magnificent.  And when it's done - send me a picture!"

And like that... something that has been sad and painful... turned into joy and fun.

So although I am standing here, looking about and feeling a little lost at this juncture of my journey, I have a really nice chandelier hanging above me, in a space that is no longer quite so sad and dusty.


Perhaps, I'm still moving after all.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

May I Please Have An Order of Heartbreak, with a Side of PTSD?

Where do I begin? I don't even know where... or with what words.

I guess I'll start with the fact that I'm "okay". Whatever "okay" means. I'm home from the hospital and I've weaned myself off pain meds. Every day I feel a little stronger physically, although I know it's going to be a long road ahead. I actually laughed when they told me 6-weeks ... but I'll probably be lucky to regain my strength in 6-weeks. Surgery was much more painful than I expected, but I'm working on that.

Emotionally and spiritually, it's a different story.

Something happened last Wednesday that I still can't wrap my head around or explain. I was incredibly calm during the 45 minute drive to the hospital. I woke up that morning calm. I had work to do so I distracted myself at the computer with work until 15 minutes before I was supposed to leave. I rushed in the shower. I rushed packing my bag. I got in the car calm. Autopilot worked...

Until we pulled into the hospital parking lot.

Mr. Thompson had spent the night before on the couch. He was very detached watching TV all night and slept in through my relaxed morning rush. He jumped in the car when he was supposed to and we drove to the hospital in quiet silence listening to the radio. Nothing was really wrong ... yet nothing was really right. He was on autopilot too, I guess.

Until we pulled into the hospital parking lot.

We couldn't find a parking space. That's how it all started. And like dried up neglected timber, one spark was all it took. He lost it. I lost it back. And there we stood actually yelling at each other at the top of our lungs in the far corner of the hospital parking lot. Over a parking space.

Yeah, not our best moment. Not by a long shot.

I told him to leave and walked inside by myself. I diverted to the main bathroom and lost it a little in the handicapped stall. On my knees and with muffled cries in my hands, I started to break. In a bathroom. Out of control...yet strangely still in control. When I pulled it together, I wiped my eyes and walked out... down the hall to the registration area... I checked in... and started massaging my chest. Those pains from the previous post were back. So I sat there, rubbing my chest and glaring at my husband who sat on the other side of the waiting room. In my head, I said I was going to divorce him and I was 100% serious. How dare he be so insensitive! How dare he yell and act so irrational! How dare he scream and curse on my stressful day, without abandon or control! (Never mind that I was doing the same thing). 

They called my name.

I finished registration.

They handed me a restaurant-type waiting device. I text my sister and told her to call my husband in 30 minutes and offer to switch him spots, which I knew he'd gladly accept since he didn't even want to be there.

The buzzer went off. I got up and walked in the back to the clinical pre-op area. Mr. Thompson reluctantly trailed in silence.

The first nurse weighed me and took my vitals. She asked me basic questions. "Any chest pain?"... "A little, but I think it's anxiety." was my reply.  Big mistake. She looked at me weird so I amended, "I'm sure it's just anxiety. I'm really nervous. No chest issues."  I figured she didn't need to know that I had just collapsed to my knees in a bathroom stall.

They took me to a pre-op patient room to start the process. Mr Thompson stood in the hallway refusing to come in - refusing to leave. A phlebotomist came in and took blood. A newly assigned nurse introduced herself, took more vitals and asked me about the anxiety. I clarified, kept control and continued straight ahead.  I changed into a hospital gown and Mr. Thompson reluctantly decided to come in from the hallway to sit while we waited. They inserted my IV pic line and I welcomed the pain because it strangely brought a little relief. Finally, I had something to manifest externally how I was feeling internally. I welcomed the pain of the IV as it sat on a nerve in my forearm.

I sat. I cringed. I waited. I thought. I remembered.

Oh boy, did I remember! 

The nurse came back. Made them change the pic line to another spot. Asked me yet again about the anxiety... and with tears beginning to pour out my eyes, I explained that I hadn't been back to that hospital since the night I lost my son 9 years ago. How do you explain that you once had a baby in a toilet and then had to go through the very painful process of loss, which happened to occur just down the hallway? For as long as I'll live - the trauma of that experience will never go away and this exceptional hospital just served as the unfortunate trigger point. 

The second I verbalized that, Mr. Thompson reached over and grabbed my hand like a man drowning. It finally made sense. Shame on me for not even thinking about the hospital when we scheduled the procedure - I had different hospital options, I just wanted the best. But the best unexpectedly came with a price I hadn't even considered. Emotions totally out of the blue but with a depth I'll never be able to explain or understand. Especially as they manifest themselves from the moment we pulled in the parking lot, in really irrational ways. 

And that's when the crack in the dam started to became an uncontrollable break. 

The nurse sympathetically said she was sorry for our loss and then brought out the paperwork. Quiet drops continued to leak out of my eyes and my chin began to quiver as she discussed it all in very scientific terms. "A radical hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy".  The removal of the uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes, ovaries, the upper portion of the vagina, some surrounding tissue and lymph nodes.

Tears poured down my face and with a shaking hand, I signed. Still maintaining control - yet totally out of control. I didn't have enough fingers and toes to keep the leaks in the dam plugged, but by golly I tried! 

I looked up at Mr. Thompson and saw a tear drop out of his pained red eyes. Red? Was he crying in the hallway? Another hole I couldn't quite plug...

Next paper. And with a matter of fact voice, she stated "this is the consent you sign, which states that you understand that from this point forward you will not be able to bear any children".

Ummm... what?! I wasn't prepared for that. I mean, I was inside... but not through a stark, cold, legal declaration. 

Woosh! Dam broke - get out of the way. 

A sob escaped. Then two. Quivering became an uncontrollable body shake. Then a barrage. Bawling, howling, shaking, take-everyone-by-surprise noises started coming out of my body, for which I had absolutely no control over from that point forward. The water burst and there was no stopping it. It took me by surprise - It took everyone by surprise, but I honestly couldn't have held the tsunami of grief back if I tried. It was the moment when a broken heart shattered into a million, tiny, little pieces.

I think Mr. Thompson said something like, "Please give us a minute. We've been at this for 11 years so it's a bit rough." All I know is that the nurse left, the door quietly closed and I cried like I have never cried in this life. Broken heart doesn't even begin to define it. I don't know what does ... but it was a physical, emotional and spiritual pain like I've never experienced before and never want to experience again. Through even the worst of it, I've never felt that.... broken. 

So I cried for all I was worth in my husband's arms, while he soothed and silently cried in mine.

Now, I realize that the insensitive screaming match in the parking lot that I thought I would never forgive him for, was just a sign that I wasn't alone and he was feeling it too. My dear husband felt the same sadness and pain. He followed the ambulance to that hospital when our world ended.  He parked in that same parking lot. He sat in the waiting room knowing his child had died and thinking his wife was going too as well. He bargained with God inside that hospital and there he was ... doing it again. I didn't know it or understand it, but now I know it's why he slept on the couch the night before, why he was so silent on the drive in, and why he totally lost it in the parking lot over a parking space. 

As I bawled and emptied my reservoir, he eventually got down at my eye level and told me I didn't have to do it. We could just walk out of the hospital and go home. No surgery. But then he also told me about his fears. His fears about cancer, that far surpassed infertility or our failure to create a family outside of the two of us.

So he said a prayer out loud for both of us, and with a trembling hand I signed that horrible paper.

After that, I laid my head back on the bed and just closed my eyes. Something died. A flame. A light. A dream. A hope. It just broke and died.

He went and got the nurse and things were very gentle after that. They wheeled me up 3 floors, we kissed goodbye and they wheeled me to the operating room. It wasn't ready so the CNA parked me in the hallway outside the doors in a little alcove.

Tears kept silently leaking out.

Someone eventually walked by me (a doctor, I think). She walked by, smiled, passed... took three steps back... and with the kindest, bluest eyes - asked me how I was and if I was getting everything I needed.  I had just been talking to my grandma in my heart and when I looked at those beautiful, kind eyes I knew my grandma - my messenger from above - probably stopped her. Sounds dumb ... but that stranger, paused, tenderly pulled the blanket up around me like my grandmother would, smiled, patted my face and then as quick as she came, she continued on her merry way whistling down the hallway. I smiled. It was a mere moment - but it was a moment of a stranger's kindness that was so big and needed. It was a rare little burst of sunshine, and I knew she was sent by an angel that I have always called my sunshine. When skies are grey.

Eventually the anesthesiologist came and with a trembling smile, I asked him to give me an extra dose and put me out good. He promised he would and I felt a peace that I was going to be okay.

I waited a little while longer.

And then my doctor strolled up. With a smile. She walked up, looked at me and said, "Hey you. I'm not going to ask how you're doing because I can see it in your face. You want me to talk you out of this, don't you?".

I said, "yes".

She reached down, wipe another tear away from my eye with the edge of the blanket and said, "yesterday during the pre-op appointment (in her office), you wanted me to talk you out of it then too, didn't you?"

"Yup".

She wiped another tear and told me that she purposefully didn't see me for the pre-op  appointment and made her nurse practitioner do it... because she was a coward. I smiled. The last thing this intelligent woman is, is a coward

Then she told me why. With kindness and absolute truth - she level set with me like never before. She told me we were in a deep danger zone. She told me that in a lot of years of practice, I've been the patient that she's mulled over, worried about, and tried her hardest for. She's a mom - she gets it. She's talked to Dr H - she knows how hard we've tried. She knew what was at stake. She's read medical journal after medical journal.  She's scoured the research.  She's pushed medical limits on my case - dangerous limits - for three years to look under every rock, nook and cranny,  She admitted that she's waited longer than she should have to help me with my goals. Three years longer than most oncologists ever would have. (Which was why Dr H, my reproductive endocrinologist sent me to her in the first place. If I had a chance - any chance - he knew it was with her).  She was kind, but she was very, very honest.

She ended with, "J - you can put this off longer if you want... but as a doctor, I cannot in good conscious support it.  We gave it a good college try you and I, but at this point, it's beyond what was reasonable or medically advisable."

So the dye was cast and with that, the door calmly closed.  Fear and turmoil, were somewhat replaced by peace and trust.

A pathologist was in the operating room looking at everything under a microscope and I gave permission to go as far as she needed to go. And in 3 1/2 hours, they went further than they originally thought they would have to based upon what that microscope found.

I came out our recovery like a vengeance.  At first it was peaceful.  I was leading the best disaster relief operation of my life!  I had it all under control like a superhero. Hurricane Harvey, Irma and Jose... the western wildfires... I was at work in a command center and whipping them all into shape. However, as I was directing everyone around a large map, there began an insistent voice (the nurse) who kept calling my name and interrupting my work (she was trying to get me to wake up). Oh boy was I was mad! I actually came out of anesthesia reprimanding the nurse for interrupting an important operation.  Ha! (Guess we dream what we think about, although my self confidence in that incident management situation still astounds me. Apparently, I'm very competent in my sleep! Ha. Hope I have a fraction of it in real like.)

And then I woke up... dazed, confused, and ultimately  with the stark reality of what just occurred when things started to make sense again. I started hyperventilating and lost it.  Again. The heart squeeze was back and I thought I was going to have a heart attack. Anxiety.  I've only had two anxiety attacks in my entire lifetime - one going into surgery and one coming out. Not fun, either one. Until the day I die, I'll never judge someone ever again when they say that they're having an issue with anxiety or a panic attack. I'll only have sympathy and love.

They gave me something to calm me down and retrieved Mr. Thompson in the hopes that he could calm me down.  He got a special pass into an area family members typically aren't allowed. He of course did calm me down in the way that only he can but we sat in the Recovery Room for another 3 1/2 hours while they worked on physical and emotional pain management.

From the Recovery Room they wheeled me to the 11th floor and there waiting was the best sight of my life!  My three sisters. True to my text, my little sister called Mr. Thompson and just knew something wasn't right. She was his first desperate 2am phone call 9 years ago (after 911) and she did now, what she did then - which was rally the troops. My three sisters had all been waiting for 7 hours in the waiting room and oh boy, did they start to put me back together quickly.  They took over (from a grateful Mr. Thompson) and I can honestly say, from that point forward The Three Sisters, just like those immovable mountains stood talk and strong as they mothered me, cared for me, rallied me, bound me up and bouyed me from/for the storm. Because of them - I can honestly say that I haven't looked back. 

Yet.

There will come a moment in the near future when I know I'll need to redefine the journey forward, and continue the hard discovery of what I want next. That will come in time (and Xanaex) but for now, The Three Sisters have been the very best medicine for my sad heart. They stayed with me in the hospital and for a week they've been with Mr. Thompson by my side.

I've learned so much in this process, but perhaps the very biggest lesson is that when you go through the hard things in life, you need an amazing support system. Luckily, I have one and it's one I'll never take for granted.

I was discharged two days later and after arriving home, the detailed pathology report came in. Unfortunately, the cancer spread.  Consequently, I'll have to go back in for a little more surgery to take another part, which we'll discuss in my appointment in a few weeks. Prognosis is now excellent ... but thank goodness people helped me power through the heartbreak instead of allowing me to walk out of that hospital like I so desperately wanted to. 

Dr. Z was right - there was a danger I didn't understand until that moment of raw honesty outside the operating room, which I appreciate being on the other side of now. 

However, next time you can bet that I'll schedule the procedure at another hospital! Infertility's heartbreak will hopefully be a little more passable with time, but infant loss's side order of PTSD should be avoided at all costs!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Our Own Personal Gethsemane

Every three months I have a biopsy to see if the cancer cells are growing... shrinking... have moved beyond the uterus... or have completely vacated it.  

I always hope for the later. 

But we've been at this for 2 1/2 years now...with little progress of shrinking or vacating... so I started the day in preparation for this biopsy, a little emotional.  For me, cancer diagnosis and treatment has been 2 1/2 years of a personal Gethsemane.  Every day has been a challenge as I take my daily dose and try to maintain hope and heart towards my desire for motherhood.  Some days I've handled it with grace.  Often times, I fear I have not.

I started the day playing over the conversation I would have with Dr. Z.  When is enough... enough? At what point do we move on to the next step - total hysterectomy?  Have we done all that we could do?

It was an interesting dialog that I had with myself in the bathroom mirror.  There may have been a few tears shed as the quiet corners of my mind told my heart the answers I have generally feared since I heard that unexpected word, "cancer".

I never feared death.  Not once.  I only feared it taking my chance of motherhood away. 

So after a morning of quiet contemplation regarding our reality... which has really been many mornings regarding reality, I was calm and ready when I had the actually conversation with the doctor.  She greeted us in her typical warm and friendly way.  She always shakes my hand with an extra pat and looks me in the eye as she asks for the truth of how I'm really feeling.  I'm blessed with a doctor like that - one who has impeccable kindness and good bedside manner.  She is everything an oncologist should be. 

As she reviewed my chart, she hit the high points out-loud.  Diagnosed in February 2014 during what was to be of a frozen embryo transfer.  9+ years of infertility in which multiple rounds of IVF and FET have been unsuccessfully pursued.  Patient is currently 41 years old. Patient has 8 embryos still frozen, awaiting possible transfer.  Since February 2014, lab results, every three months, historically show little-to-no cell shrinkage from treatment, yet at the same time - no growth... yada, yada, yada.      
Which is when I quietly interrupted to ask, "Dr. Z - how long do we do this?”

At that, she looked up, kindly tilted her head to one side and said, "JaLae... I've been waiting for that question."

"My job has been to give you as much hope as possible, dealing with the realities before us. In truth, it hasn't gotten better.  Yet at the same time, it hasn't gotten worse.  I will tell you that in most patients like you, if we see success, it is in the first year. I haven't been able to find a case in any medical research or journals that saw success extending beyond two years...."

I quiet stated, "But we've been at this for 2 1/2.  Do you think it's time to move on?"

"If we don't see what we need to see from these lab results - then yes.  I think it's time to move on with other, more aggressive, treatment options." was her reply.

And so it is.

I wait.

I wonder.

And I prepare my heart for what the quiet corners of my mind told it yesterday morning, as I looked myself in the mirror.

Gethsemane is where Jesus suffered.  He did it for me - He did it for you.  But in suffering for us, He still left us a little portion.  For me, the process of losing this particular dream, just happens to be mine.


(Special note: this is not the place to ask if I've thought about adoption or foster care...)

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Still here

I've been hibernating.

Last biopsy had an increase of cancer cells from 5% to 25%, so I'm back on chemo meds. 

It's tough.

But I'm hanging in. At least until I pick up one of my daily pill bottles and see this crual reminder...


Like I need to know that. So I ripped the sticker off this morning and laughed that it took me so long to take my power back.

Whew - I feel better already! At least a smidgion.

I'll lie everywhere but here on The Daily Dose... so as guilty as this is going to make me feel... I'm just going to say it:

This is HARD! 

Really, really, really... hard!

Hardest thing I've ever done, actually (and I've done a lot of hard the last 8 years).

There are reminders everywhere and I'm not just talking about pill bottles. I'm talking about infertility and so many failed attempts at IVF and FET. I'm talking about infant loss. I'm talking about cancer. I'm talking about living childless...and Christmas...and loss of hope...all of it combined in one giant pot of nothingness. 

It's hard. 

My pillow is usually a little wet at night and I must have silent tears come down my face at least 4-5 times a day. Nobody sees it or even has the faintest clue because I try to be a really upbeat, positive person by nature...

But oh-boy do I feel it. 

Every second, of every day, I feel it. 

And despite the 99.9% positivity that I try to portray and focus on,  there is the .1% in the back of my head that wonders how on earth I am ever going to endure it.

Especially through another holiday season. 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Note To Self

This week I learned that you should always shave your legs. Always.

And if you are going to wear boots - you still need to make sure that your socks match.

Because your doctor might finally decide to call you after 2 months of putting you off about your last biopsy results... and during that call, she may ask you to come in for another last-minute, unplanned, same-day redo... to see if anything has changed with the cancer cells in your uterus, while she's been putting you off for two months.

It's been complicated, friends. Very, very complicated.

But I learned that you should always mate your socks. Unless you're 14 because then it's cool.  

Almost 41?... Not so much. 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Hello, Again.

4 months, 2 days, 3 hours and 2 minutes since my last post.

So in the words of Neil Diamond, "hello again, hello."

Where to even start...

In late February my biopsy came back clean. Uterine cancer was gone. It was fantastic news after a long year+ of truly horrible chemo meds and all that came along with it. The day I switched off those meds was the best day of my life!

With a smile, my oncologist sent me back to my reproductive endocrinologist to take advantage of our "window of opportunity."

It was a really, really good day.

Dr. H, my reproductive endocrinologist (RE), wanted me to have two good cycles before we could finally proceed with frozen embryo transfer (FET).  We have 8 great embryos frozen and while cancer threw a curve-ball during preparations for the last FET, we were both anxious for my body to normalize so we could press forward. 

While we waited, I... 

I accepted a promotion at work... sold our house (in 24-hours, I might add)... moved into my sister's basement for a month... found/bought an AMAZING new house... deployed to Texas to help manage the flooding disaster operation... came home and unpacked my house 7 weeks later (oy vey!)... dealt with my beloved grandmother's death... took a vacation with family... relaxed... laughed... cried...

And did every thing I honestly could to get my body to do what Dr. H wanted it to do. 

Unfortunately, two "normal" cycles just never came. (Who am I kidding. I couldn't even get one.) 

While there was largely the absence of a menstral cycle March - June... July came with a vengeance. Much like my initial diognosis. 

Due to abnormalities, Dr. H (RE) sent me back to Dr. Z (oncologist). Dr. Z sent me to the emergency room after a particularly bad bout.  Four days later she did another biopsy and patted my knee. 

That was last Friday. 

Biopsy results will come back tomorrow. 

If I am being honest, I'll tell you that my pit tells me cancer cells are back. And that super-duper stinks. Our 5-month window" wasn't much of a window, but I'm not going to cry, rage or be angry. (Well, maybe a little). This isn't the first time my body has failed me. 

Somewhere in heaven there is a little boy who should be starting 2nd grade. He's with my grandma now and all is well. But with every assurance that all is well, I still feel these empty arms and mourn what my body couldn't keep. 

For eight years I've also earned veterans status with IVF, FET, IUIs, Clomid, and every other pill, shot, or fertility voodoo practice on God's green earth. I've been around this block many times over and one thing I know for sure is that it's all a crap-shoot.  Some get lucky - some don't. The most advanced medical technology in the world has never come with a guarantee and I'm well aware of that. My body has just been on the other side of the stat. (For now.)

We'll see how this all plays out but either way I'm still okay. I'm hopeful. Infertility is, what it is ... and cancer is an unexpected bump that I'll get over. 

I'm alive. I'm happy. I have an amazing husband who adores me. We've been blessed with a house we'll grow old in. I have a job that I absolutely love. I have 4 nephews and a niece who live 1.9 minutes from my house which means plenty of sleep-overs and dirty walls.  I am loved, cared for, and blessed.  

And so it goes. 

Now for the most important question: What have you been doing the last 4 months, 2 days, 3 hours and 2 minutes? I've missed you! 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

In The Quiet of Time


3 months.  Where do I start?

I guess that I've just been quietly living life. Not too much to say.  Not too much to do. No drama. A lot of work. Less talk. More action.

Here are the highlights: 

Biopsy results came back clear in February which was super exciting! Dr. Z (oncologist) cleared me to return to Dr. H (reproductive endocrinologist) to purse more ART (assisted reproductive therapy), if we choose. You would think that after eight years of infertility and last year's unexpected cancer drama, I would be running back to my reproductive clinic.  But yeah... I haven't.

That was the plan. Really, it was.

After all, cancer came during frozen embryo transfer and I had a meltdown at the thought and redirection towards an unexpected hysterectomy.  We wanted a "window" and we chose a treatment plan to get us there as soon as possible.  I was still in my 30's and I. Fought. Like. Hell.

So here I am. A year later. With a green light. In the quiet. Sitting still.

Am I nuts?!

Probably. But when I was a little girl I would sneak away from the chaos of my seven siblings and find the quietest corner of our house. There, in the formal living room, I would lay on the carpet in front of our big picture window...and just bask for hours in the quiet sun. 

I think that's what I'm doing right now.

I don't know if... I don't know how... I don't know when... 

If ever. 

I'm 40. I've spent a bazillion dollars trying to have a family for the last 8+ years. I've put my body through every possible wringer imaginable. I've been disappointed too many times to count and I feel like I almost lost my life in the process.

So no. I haven't run to Dr. H yet.

Biopsys will continue and a hysterectomy will eventually come as a preventative measure, but for now - it's quiet.  And the sun is shining. All is quiet, all is bright.

I'm getting healthy again, I got a promotion at work and last night we met with a realtor to put our house up for sale.

And so, it goes.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Big Bang Theory

Not too much to report lately. 

Unfortunately.  

Dr. H (reproductive endocrinologist) told me to call him if I didn't experience a "natural D&C" by mid-January. Because I can't do anything the easy way... I broke down and called him last week.

On February 9th I have another biopsy with Dr Z (oncologist) so we discussed options and decided that she will schedule me for the D&C at that appointment. Apparently, the oncologist trumps the reproductive endocrinologist in situations like this.

Which means more pathology. 

And more fingers crossed.

And more waiting.

If pathology come back clean like my November biopsy, then we'll do the D&C... wait the appropriate length of time for my uterus to heal...and then proceed  to frozen embryo transfer (FET) probably March/April'ish. That's how a "window of opportunity" works.

If not - we'll do the D&C and go back to chemo. And that's how a "window of opportunity" disappears. 

No whammies. No whammies. No whammies. 

Oy vey! Why do I feel like I'm constantly playing a game of Russian Roulette?!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Opening A Window

Hip 

Hip

Hooray!

Today I met with Dr. H (reproductive endocrinologist). After such a good biopsy, Dr. Z (oncologist) turned me back over to him to discuss our "window of opportunity" and see if the right stars are aligned. 

He was so happy to see me that he gave me a big hug. That's what almost eight years (and who knows how much money!) at a reproductive clinic will buy you. 

When Dr. H last saw me in January, I was in tears after a halted cycle and really bad news.  At that time he told me that with a best case scenerio, I would see him in a year if everything went absolutely right. 

Trust me.  I know that this is absolutely, without question, the best case scenario...

And I'm extremely grateful.

Dr. H and I talked about where we go from here. First things first, I stop taking chemo meds as of today. It will take about 3 months to clear out of my system which lines me up for my next biopsy in February. If everything still looks good at that point, minus chemo...we have our "window" and will immediately start protocol for a frozen embryo transfer (FET).

There was a lot of conversation about science, research, different directions and protocols we could go with at this point - 99% of which flew way over my head. Honestly, the only thing I really heard in the very scientific 45 minute conversation was that I don't have to take One. More. pill in the next three months.

Not one!

It's finally time for my body to recalibrate and try to do some things on its own. (Halalujah!) Stopping this medication will hopefully result in a "natural" D&C which will clean the extra tissue and lining out that Dr. Z was concerned about when she did the biopsy a few weeks ago. Although there is a lot of tissue still there - it's now cancer free, which is Dr. Z's celebration. Dr. H now gets to figure out now how to trim it back down, without bringing cancer cells back. 

Our hope is to do that all naturally on a body that is tired and sick from "the most aggressive medication Dr. Z could have prescribed", which apparently is precisely why Dr. H sent me there. (Guess that explains feeling like death for 10 months!)

If au naturel doesn't work, another Hysteroscopy is again in my future. You know, that terrible uterine scraping procedure we did last December which produced a pathology report that started us down this ugly path.

Then of course we have a FET protocol, which will do - who knows what - but the hope is that cancer stays away and a little bambino finally results for Mr. and Mrs. Thompson. 

If not, cancer has taught me some important things. 

There are other things in life and I'm just happy to be living it!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

What's Behind Door Number...

#1!

We found a great surprise behind Door #1!

I spoke to the nurse yesterday and the pathology report from my biopsy was really, really, REALLY good. First of all, the conversation started with an apology for taking so long. I was supposed to get a call in 3-7 days... it was 12. Apparently, Dr. Z. (oncologist) wanted to connect with Dr. H (reproductive endocrinologist) to chat about the results.    

I forgive them. 

As soon as she said that, I knew things where good. Really good in fact. Miracle'ish kind of good.

The gist of it is that the biopsy saw little to no cancer cells remaining. 

Let me say that again... The biopsy saw little to no cancer cells.

Whew that feels nice!  Nine months of truly horrible medication has paid off and the weight is lifting. They think I might be close to my "window" if we still want to try a frozen embryo transfer (FET).  So...

They will ween me off chemo drugs... Dr. H will start me on FET protocol and see how I react (cancer cells apparently really like estrogen for growth)... they will keep testing/closely monitoring... and if my next biopsy in 3 months (January) is still clean...

Wallah! They transfer.

And that folks, is how a "window" works. 

...and just for the record: I didn't complain as I swallowed today's daily dose. I smiled.

Yay me! Yay medication! Yay life!


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Energy of Attraction

Mr. Thompson and I had a bit of a fight the other day. Or... in the words of my grandmother, he had a bit of a "row".  No matter how you put it, we disagreed.

About something stupid. (Isn't that usually the case?!)

After the fact, I can admit that it was something for which he was 100% right. Maybe even 110%. (But I'm probably not going to tell him that.)

We fought about...

Social media. (I told you it was stupid...)

More specifically, we fought about all of the time that I've been wasting on it. (Not so stupid).  Who cares that a large portion is because I'm on local yard sale sites trying to sell my junk. In the end, I'm still tethered. All. The. Flippin'. Time.

I wake up at 3am - I grab my phone.
I wake up again at 6am - I pick it up from the lifeless hand that fell asleep holding it. 
Commute to work - I'm on it.
Commute home from work - I'm on it. 
Laying in bed - phone is in hand.

So yeah... Mr Thompson is right. I've been on social media.

A lot, it appears.

So I made him a deal: I'd limit it. Then I thought... "Why not just unplug a month early for my annual social media sabbatical, that I've taken in December the last two years?! It's helped me relax and be more aware...why not have that two months instead of one?!"

Heck yeah! So I am.   

Off came the FB, Twit.ter and news apps from my phone last night.  Blog.ger doesn't count because this is my journal of sorts. Who knows... as I tap more fully into life again (sans my phone), I'll probably have something more sustantial to say beyond 25 characters.

Since I don't have my device to lull me to sleep anymore or keep me occupied, I decided to start another 21-day meditation today. I love meditations because they've taught me to relax, breath, and focus. Even if it's just for 20 minutes a day, I feel the benefits.

This meditation series is focused on the laws of attraction. Centering on the things we really want in life.

Day 1 reminded me about an analogy I heard in church last month in New Hampshire. The church speaker talked about how we are all like batteries, in that energy - specifically negative energy - sits at the bottom and overwhelms the battery until a positive connection is made. Then the battery wakes up, positive energy takes control and the battery has life and purpose. 

Positive energy in the battery takes over and as long as there is a purpose - an output or connection for the energy (like a flashlight) and the battery lives on rebuilding positive energy. If it has a positive connection but doesn't have a purpose (like supplying light for a flashlight) then it quickly drains it's life and dies.

To all you physicist out there - I may have totally screwed that up... but you get the drift.

I feel like I need to unplug from one thing and re plug into another so I can wake up my positive cells, use better energy and find more purpose in my life. Gratitude. Happiness. Peace. Love.

First and foremost, I want to kick cancer. Then I want to create additions to my little family. 

That's what I ultimately want and I fully believe that refocusing on those positive things - gratitude, happiness, peace and love - will get me there faster than sitting on FB wasting time and wallowing in self pity, fear and the sense of numbness I've come to accept in my life lately.

I basically waste a hell of a lot of time on things that don't count when I take inventory. 

I hope that makes sense. 

Can you relate?

Friday, October 24, 2014

Just What The Doctor Ordered, #40for40 - Day 2

** This is a continuation of the #40for40 countdown to my birthday, in which Mr. Thompson gave me a letter every hour leading up to my 40th.

Best. Gift. Ever


10/23/2014, 12:32am - Letter #31
Former Work Admin, Julie



10/23/2014, 1:32am - Letter #32
Corn Dog Lovin' Nephew, Brennin



10/23/2014, 2:32am - Letter #33
Funniest Aunt on the Planet, Aunt Bonnie



10/23/2014, 3:32am - Letter #34
Pretty Lil' Niece, Megan



10/23/2014, 4:32am - Letter #35
Childhood Friend and Alibi, Andrea



10/23/2014, 5:32am - Letter #36
Neighbors and Former Bishop, The Boyce's



10/23/2014, 6:32am - Letter #37
Honorary Aunt & Uncle, Aunt Bonnie & Uncle Joe (the best kind!)



10/23/2014, 7:32am - Letter #38
My Sister, Jill (honorary, again the best kind!)



10/23/2014, 8:32am - Letter #39
Second Parents, Poppa Dean & Momma Sherry



10/23/2014, 9:32am - Letter #40
Ernie. That's all. Just Ernie (for the record he never ONCE turned me in for catching me sneaking out when I was young. For that, I'll be endeared forever.)



I guess I have more than 40 friends who wanted to write a letter so here are the bonus letters...

10/23/2014, 10:32am - Bonus Letter #41
Red.Cross Beatie Forever, Katie Jo



10/23/2014, 11:32am - Bonus Letter #42
Quiet Lil' Niece, Katie 



10/23/2014, 12:32pm - Bonus Letter #43
Neice and Her Husband, Jessica and Ryon with an "O"



10/23/2014, 1:32pm - Bonus Letter #44
Big Sister and Confidant, Angie



10/23/2014, 2:32pm - Bonus Letter #45
Sushi Sister and one of the best people I know, Amy



10/23/2014, 3:32pm - Bonus Letter #46
Mad Niece, Maggie 



10/23/2014, 4:32pm - Bonus Letter #47
Former Neighbor & Best Woman I Know, Camille



10/23/2014, 5:32pm - Bonus Letter #48
Next Star of "Kids Say The Darndest Things", Nephew Max



10/23/2014, 6:32pm - Bonus Letter #49
Hay Sister, Annesa



10/23/2014, 7:32pm - Bonus Letter #50
Brother-In-Law & Stand-up Fella, Dave



10/23/2014, 8:32pm - Bonus Letter #51
Midget Nephew, Rigdon



10/23/2014, 9:32pm - Bonus Letter #52
Love of my Life, Mr. Thompson


oxox. It was the best birthday ever.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Just What The Doctor Ordered, #40for40 - Day 1

A great continuation of the 40-hours leading up to my 40th birthday...

Eight more love letters arrived overnight.  Then one every hour at :32. (Wish you could hear the alarm on Mr. Thompson's phone that signals a delivery. Hilarious!)




10/22/2014, 12:32am - Letter #7 
Little Sister & Funniest Person I Know, Becky

(Best line..."In a knife fight, I'd call you...you'd bring a gun...or 6.")


10/22/2014, 1:32am - Letter #8
New York City Chum, Monico



10/22/2014, 2:32am - Letter #9
Former (Best!) Boss, Jill  (aka: The Quote Lover)



10/22/2014, 3:32am - Letter #10
Older Sister, Lynda



10/22/2014, 4:32am - Letter #11
Beloved 97-Year Young Grandmother



10/22/2014, 5:32am - Letter #12
Childhood Neighbor Boy, Chris



10/22/2014, 6:32am - Letter #13
Neighbor and Sushi Sister, Sam



10/22/2014, 7:32am - Letter #14
Honorary Aunt, Friend and Youth Leader, Janell



10/22/2014, 8:32am - Letter #15
22-Year Old Nephew, Jared



10/22/2014, 9:32am - Letter #16
Oldest Brother, Travel-Buddy & Snicker Supplier, Bart (aka: Bar T, for his ranch brand)

Best line..."damn girl, you rock!"



10/22/2014, 10:32am - Letter #17
Bigfoot Hunting Partner, Co-Worker & Friend, Carlaine



10/22/2014, 11:32am - Letter #18
13-Year Old Niece, Kereigh



10/22/2014, 12:32pm - Letter #19
2-Year Old Niece and Buddy, Lilie



10/22/2014, 1:32pm - Letter #20
"Almost" 16-Year Old Nephew, Matt



10/22/2014, 2:32pm - Letter #21
11-Year Old Niece & Zoo Lover, Natalie



10/22/2014, 3:32pm - Letter #22
Co-Worker & Sanity Restorer, Kenneth



10/22/2014, 4:32pm - Letter #23
Spanish Speaking 11-Year Old Nephew, Andrew



10/22/2014, 5:32pm - Letter #24
33-Year Bestie of all Besties, Mendy Jo



10/22/2014, 6:32pm - Letter #25
Older Brother, General Pot Stirrer & Founding Member of #SiblingRival3, Craig



10/22/2014, 7:32pm - Letter #26
Warped Brother-In-Law, Richard



10/22/2014, 8:32pm - Letter #27
Visiting Teacher & Friend, Mandy


10/22/2014, 9:32pm - Letter #28
Corn-dog lovin' 16-Year Old Nephew, Brennin



10/22/2014, 10:32pm - Letter #29
Former Co-Worker, Julie



10/22/2014, 11:32pm - Letter #30
Brother-In-Law, Phil



What an amazing birthday! I love this Mister of mine.

ox