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

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, 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! 
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