Surgery

So yesterday I had another laser laparoscopy to help deal with my endometriosis. A few minutes before the surgery I discovered that really good friend of mine was going to be scrubbing in on the surgery – kinda weird… but it was comforting too. I’m sure she saw a tad too much of me, but hey, it’s her job. Turns out my tubes were completely blocked and there was a lot of scaring from the last 3 laser laps and my organs were all stuck together. My doctor was able to open one tube and get my uterus unstuck and some other fun stuff, I’ll find out more at my post opp apt in a couple of weeks. So now I’m resting at home for a week, trying to to check my work email.  The good thing is that the crazy heat that has been sitting on SW Ontario the last few days has lifted and it is much more comfortable outside.

Yesterday, as we were going up in the elevator to the surgical ward, there was a boy who was about 15 years old with his mom and sister all excited about his girlfriend giving birth, and then in the show I was watching when I was resting at home there was an announcement of a pregnancy, and again in the book I was reading. Ugh. It always seems like pregnancy is being shoved in my face at the worst times.  The purpose of the surgery was to help relieve some of the pain I have each month. I had been considering a hysterectomy, but after consulting with the doctor I couldn’t go through with it. I know – I am supposed to have dealt with my infertility issues before we adopted, but I guess a little piece of me hasn’t. Sorry – just had to vent.  Ugh.

I know we have an amazing little boy who I love to bits – wish he was at home right now so I could get a big hug.

Oh the fun never ends…

Warning… may be a little TMI… but hey – this is life.

Over the last few months I’ve found that my endo has been rearing it’s ugly head again. I have more discomfort mid month and then at the beginning of each cycle, I’ve been in so much pain that I can’t work. I try to take pain killers, but they affect me so much that I really shouldn’t drive. In all it is really just 2-3 days a month where I notice any pain  – not bad considering how disabling this condition really can be. I just don’t want to be in pain for the next 15+ years.  So I’ve been seeing a new Dr about my options. 

I went into my first appointment with the idea of having some relatively drastic surgery (ovaries removed if not a full hysterectomy), but once there I just couldn’t do it. I’m only 35 – and can’t imagine being in menopause for the rest of my life.  Instead we decided on a 3 month Lupr*n treatment (thankfully it will be during the spring and not in the heat of the summer) – I was on it for 6 months back in 2008 – so 3 isn’t too bad.  Once the drug has done its job, I’ll be having a laser laparoscopy which will allow for the doc to hopefully “clean me up”.  But to add to the fun, I have to go for another procedure before the surgery to ensure the endo hasn’t reached my bowels.  If it has… then it will be a different ball game.

The goal of the surgery is to reduce the pain for a few years. Then when I hit my 40’s I can reassess the situation.

Here’s hoping and praying the next few months are not all that terrible. We have to go ceiling fan shopping this week. The hot flashes will be here before I know it.

 

Kinda Sad…

Last night I did something I have not done since May 2004 – I took the birth control pill.  I came to the realization a while ago that I will not be having a biological child anytime soon, but going on the pill again really made it final – I had a small cry.  Technically since my surgery went well, this is the best time to try and to get pregnant – but if I’m pregnant, we can’t adopt.  South Korea, and the province of Ontario that matter, will not allow you to adopt internationally if you are pregnant.   During our home study we had to prove that we have dealt with infertility and are no longer trying to conceive. 
Being on the pill will however be good for me – it will help prevent the endo from continuing to grow.  Perhaps in a few years we can try again, but for now it’s full steam ahead to South Korea!

Nice

A few weeks ago a co-worker had spoke with a patron of the library and mentioned to her that my husband and I were adopting from South Korea.  This woman had a young girl adopted from Korea, and my co-worker gave her my name and said that I could get in touch if I had any questions!  How nice!  Then yesterday when I came back after  having a few days off there was a message from this woman, letting me know about a picnic she and her family were throwing for families who have adopted from South Korea through Children’s Bridge!  The only problem is that the picnic is tomorrow and I have to work 😦 

So I called her and left a message, thanking her for the invite, but we would not be able to attend.  However soon after she called back, and turns out the picnic runs until 8pm!  So we should be able to go.  There are people from as far as Toronto attending, about 60-80 – a great way to network. 

Anyhow, she said something that I found was very kind – she mentioned that there will be babies, and asked if I would be ok with that.  Most people don’t understand that those who have dealt with infertility often have a hard time being around young children, especially babies.  They may say they understand – but they cannot understand the pain unless they have gone through it themselves.  But this was someone who did understand!!   I must admit I am getting much better, but there was a while when all my gal pals were having babies and I had a real hard time attending showers, and even visiting the babes once they were born.  But knowing that we really are going to have a family has helped me deal with this and move on. 

A couple of other weird things about this picnic – turns out Matt had duck hunted at this family’s property in the fall!  Secondly, the lady I was speaking to mentioned another family they know with 2 boys adopted from Korea, and I helped them at the library this morning!  What a small world!

Surgery went well…

The surgery went well yesterday.  I never got to speak to the surgeon, but he talked to Matt and told him that he was pleased with everything.  My right fallopian tube is open – left is blocked, and there is a chance of having some further issues with the endo, but by going on the pill that hopefully will prevent it from happening. He did not use stitches this time so I’m constantly afraid of the cuts reopening!   So, next step is to see my family doctor and get on the pill once I’m finished menopause – what a weird sentence.  Today is 179 of menopause – technically tomorrow will be day 180 – 6 full months.  My lovely friend Sarah and her baby Gracyn came by for a visit this afternoon – thanks for the visit and the flowers!  Gotta go get another pain killer….

Third time the charm?

Tomorrow at 10:30am I will be having my third laser laparoscopyat St. Joseph’s Hospital in London.  My surgeon is Dr. George Vilos – he is a professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Director of Endoscopic Surgery at the University of Western Ontario – a guru of laser laparoscopies.   As I mentioned in a previous post – the last 2 surgeries have been pretty unsuccessful because the endometriosis was very active and much more in quantity than either surgeon anticipated.  I am just praying that the Lupron injections have done their job – if it has, the surgery should be successful.  I am tired of leaving the hospital crying. Cross your fingers for me!!  There is still a chance of having my uterus removed to control the problem.  After this surgery, once my cycles resume I will need to go on the birth control pill for life – hence the decision to adopt.  

I’ve had quite some time to come to terms with the fact that I may never conceive .  I am so thankful that there are amazing women who have gone through the heartache of giving up their child.  While trying to conceive (almost 5 years), the start of a new cycle each month and finding out that yet another friend is pregnant was hell (don’t worry girls – I was also very happy for you!), they were also another disappointment, another failure – that emotional pain was the worst I’ve ever experienced.  But what those women must endure in giving up their child for another family to raise… I cannot imagine.  I guess knowing that the child will have a life that they are unable to provide is just one way they heal.  I pray for our future child’s mother and father every night – whoever they may be – wishing them peace in making the decision that will ultimately change not only their lives, but our lives forever.

Lupron

Today is day 170 of being on Lupron shots.  Lupron is medicine given via injection that reduces levels of estrogen in your body.  In my case it is being used to reduce the inflammation of endometriosis so that when I have surgery again the surgeon will be able to fix me.  Lupron essentially puts you into a medicated state of menopause – hot flashes and everything.  But I think my body is now rebelling against the Lupron.  I work up feeling crappy this morning – and just like 2 weeks ago – I felt nauseous, had a headache, and was dizzy.  To day I made it to work, but had to go home after work because I felt worse.  I lied in bed for a couple of hours until the fire alarm in the highschool behind my house woke me up.  Who knows what happened there…  Not sure if anyone reading my blog has had to use Lupron – but if there, did your side effects get worse near the end of your treatment?  I am on 6 months of treatment, and in the end of month 5.  30 days to go, but who knows when I will feel normal again.

I have a laser laporoscapy scheduled for June 11th.  This will be my third in a year.  Cross your fingers that this time the surgery will be a success!  The first surgery, the doctor discovered that the endometriosis was much worse than he anticipated – Stage 3.  He referred me to “the endo specialist” and when I had surgery with him, he discovered it was even worse than he anticipated – Stage 4 endo.  In both cases, the doctors could not do much to help because the endo was so active.  So hence the Lupron.   Pretty funny since my gynecologist that I first talked to about the pain I was in insisted that I did not have endo – now it is so bad I am unable to get pregnant. 

Books and more…

I’m a reader – I love good fiction, and some occasional non-fiction.  I’m also a librarian, so I’m a bit of a nerd and have to organize the books I’ve read using LibraryThing – http://www.librarything.com/profile/klarobinson215

One thing I’ve noticed since the whole fertility thing became an issue with us, is that almost every book I read, included infertility of some sort.  While choosing the books, there was no indication in most books about infertility being a subject matter, so it kept shocking me.  Some recent titles include:

Second Chance by Jane Green
Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Rise and Shine by Anna Quindlen
Certain Girls by Jennifer Weiner
Other Boleyn Girl by Philipa Gregory
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Third Twin by Ken Follett

Then there is the movie Of Mice and Men (that one was a little more obvious).

I’m just happy that infertility is being discussed more and more.  With 17% of couples experiencing some sort of infertility issue, this subject does need to be in the media.

About a month ago, I watched a commercial on tv – it was for a bank and there was a very proud woman opening up an educational RRSP for her new niece.  She talked to the bank worker about how happy she was and that her sister and brother-in-law had waited a very long time for this child.  Anyhow, at the end of the commercial, the aunt goes to visit the family, and there is a couple with an asian child.  I was so happy to see that commercial – it made me feel that I am not alone – and that adoption is in the media (other than Angelina Joli adopting yet another child)… However, I haven’t seen that commercial since… and sadly I do watch a lot of tv. I hope it was not pulled.

Two other movies I watched this weekend were also on the topic of adoption – August Rush and Juno… it’s everywhere! 

Oh yeah – and Sex in the City!

Canadian Infertility Awareness Week

I was just watching tv when I saw a commercial recognizing that this week is Canadian Infertility Awareness Week!   In a Infertility Awareness Association of Canada’s 2007 press release they said that “no fewer than 17% of Canadians – over 700,000 couples- are unable to achieve a pregnancy naturally and suffer from infertility during their childbearing years…. of that number only 22% of couples receive the medical assistance they require.”  That number is huge!  My heart goes out to those who share in the pain of infertility.

OHIP woes

Listening to the radio this morning I heard the news that OHIP will once again be covering the fees of those requiring a sex-change. According to George Smitherman “It’s a very serious medical condition that affects a very small number of people.”  Sure enough – I couldn’t imagine being a woman in a man’s body or vice versa.  But what about all of us infertile women who are unable to pay for in-vitro or IUI because both of our tubes are not blocked?  It was going to cost us $5,000 per try (and it can take 3+ tries) for the in-vitro program because I only have one of my tubes being partially blocked.  I have Endometriosis that causes my reproduction organs to essentially be a toxic environment (think Monica in Friends).  Also isn’t it interesting that in a country with a decreasing population, we pay for men to have vasectomies?  Don’t get me wrong, I think OHIP should cover that fee.  However in a country who needs to boost it’s population (our fertility rate is only 1.6 in Canada) why is our health care system not paying for the means to boost fertility?