Friday, July 27, 2012

Cleaning Therapy & Olympic Days

My bad day has been swept away thanks to some good old-fashioned cleaning therapy. Nothing like cleaning and tidying to make one feel happy. Not only does it brighten your outlook it also makes your living space look great.

The Olympics begin tonight and I am excited to watch the opening ceremony. Looking forward to watching it all unfold on television as DH and I eat takeout later. I remember how the Vancouver Olympic Games opened just after my miscarriage occurred and the television coverage was a wonderful diversion as I focused on the competitions not on my pain and loss. Looking forward to the swimming, gymnastics, dressage, and other sports.

Must do a bit more tidying up as the in-laws are coming over on Sunday. Should be interesting as DH needs help from FIL to install new kitchen faucet as we must shut off the main water valve for the house. Fingers crossed we can turn the water back on Sunday evening.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

One of Those Days

Just having one of those days when the darkness of IF is falling over me and I need to vent. This morning, thanks to a tweet, I discovered a former workmate of DH's is pregnant. It really shouldn't bother me since she currently lives on another continent and I never see her, but I did feel a tinge of sadness when I noticed how she complained about normal pregnancy symptoms.

Cheered myself by meeting DH for a lunch date and then some retail therapy. It worked until I drove home and noticed the new neighbors around the corner had a massive stroller by their front door. I really can't win today.

Chatted with my Mother over the phone and she mentioned that the wife of someone I vaguely know (it's a small town and everyone knows one another) was finally out of ICU after a scary childbirth last week that involved an emergency c-section where a major artery was cut and she almost bled to death. That brought back memories of the miscarriage with the blood pouring out of me. Why did I have to hear that story today?

There has been no news on the adoption front and the big adoption agency still has not received their license from Vietnam. We are living in limbo as time moves on and we begin to lose confidence that we will ever parent a child. Just want to scream right now, but maybe I'll turn on the Spa channel on Sirius and gaze at my flower garden.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Post-Op Days

Today marks day 16 since my surgery, and I am feeling good. Yesterday I wore capris that had a zipper and waistband -- which is a big deal since I've been hanging out in loose fitting shorts, stretchy jersey skirts, and flowing sundresses for two weeks. Today I feel like myself again.

The pre-op care right before surgery was unnerving. The week before I had been trying to find a 'happy, peaceful place' in my mind to go to while meditating in preparation for the surgery. Everything was going well that morning as I breathed deeply, closed my eyes and pretended I was on a deserted beach in Hawaii. Then the nurse came to take my vitals. Everything is now put into a computer and she was having difficulty with it complaining about working with computers. Then she was giving me some meds the anesthiologist had prescribed and she couldn't make out his handwriting so she kept paging him. Finally another nurse came over and was able to read the number he had scribbled just as someone came to wheel me to the operating room. Honestly, I kept thinking there must be hidden cameras and this is part of Betty White's new show because the nurse looked to be in her mid-to-late 60s.

The porter wheeled me to a hallway and left me outside the operating room. I couldn't see more than a foot in front of me since I didn't have my glasses on. People walked by talking about their weekends as I closed my eyes and tried to picture myself on that deserted beach in Hawaii. It was a bit dehumanizing as I felt like a piece of furniture placed in the hall. Why don't they speak in hushed tones? When did a hospital become a loud-talking place? The operating room nurse came out and spoke to me in a hushed tone as well as my surgeon and the resident. Surprisingly the resident had the best bedside manner and answered my questions that relieved some of my jitters. Then I was wheeled into the operating room.

My heart started racing and I forgot the deserted beach in Hawaii as I moved myself onto the operating table under the glare of the lights. I wondered why they hadn't given me a cap to cover my hair like they did in California when I had the embryo transfers. I asked the nurse and she said I didn't really need one as she strapped the blood-pressure cuff on my arm. Meanwhile the anesthesiologist (who was NOT the one I met at my pre-op) brusquely got the i.v. started and tried to make small talk by joking about me getting time off work for recovery. I then said not really because I am a housewife. He replied with: "How old are your children?" I gulped and told him I don't have any children. He then remarked that my blood pressure was high and if I was taking anything for it. I said no, but all I could think about was: I'm in an operating room on an uncomfortable table; I've never had surgery before; I don't have a cap covering my hair; this anesthesiologist obviously has NOT read my medical history due to the question about my children who never made it to birth. Of course my blood pressure was elevated! I just closed my eyes as the nurse covered my mouth and nostrils with the 'mask' for oxygen and tried not to cry.

The surgery went well. According to my surgeon, a small cyst was removed by my right fallopian tube. All this was told to me as I was coming out of anesthesia so I am not sure about what happened with my tube. The resident who assisted the surgery came to see me again in post-op and asked which side I had my ectopic pregnancies. I told him it was my right side (where the cyst was) and he replied that the right tube was very inflamed. Unfortunately I was not cognizant enough to ask questions. In two weeks I am going to see my doctor for a post-op appointment so I will get more answers. She did say the cyst looked 'good' (I guess by that she means benign) but they sent it to pathology to make sure.

I was on painkillers for a couple of days but had to stop because they were affecting my emotions and making me moody and depressed. That was one side-effect I did not expect. The other unexpected effect was the gas pain. I've had gas before, but due to the anesthesia and swelling the gas seemed to be stuck inside me so I could not lie down and had to keep walking around the house.

Finally I feel good again. Going out for sushi with an old friend (who is also without child) tomorrow night and I can't wait. In five days I can lift heavy stuff and my flowers can't wait for that as they really need some TLC (a spirea has died and I may have lost an astilbe).

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Pre-Op Days

Five days until the laparoscopy. I can't wait until this cyst is out of my body. But as it gets closer my anxiety grows stronger. Aside from getting my wisdom teeth extracted when I was 18 way back in the 80s, I have never had surgery. It is the fear of the unknown that makes me most nervous.

Three days ago I went for a pre-op appointment at the hospital where the surgery will be performed. A nurse went through my medical history. She told me that I can't eat solid food the day before. Fine, I can handle a day of broth, jello, and apple juice. Bring on the clear fluids. Then she mentioned that the doctor has requested that I have an enema the evening before surgery. Yikes! Oh, boy. She said it's not so bad and that it makes me clean down there before the operation. I've never had one before, and I have no idea what to do. Here's hoping it comes with good directions. Perhaps I should start stretching exercises.

At the end of the pre-op I met with the anesthesiologist. When he walked in the room my immediate reaction was: "Are you old enough to be a doctor?" He looked to be in his mid-20s. Maybe he was a child prodigy, or perhaps he just has a baby face because his chin-length hair looks very 1990s. He was very professional and eased my fears about anesthesia by going through the process with me.

I just want to get this cyst out of my body and move on.

Friday, June 1, 2012

June Already

I still can't believe it is June already. Time is flying by. During the month of May I stayed away from blogging -- and the blogs -- trying to forget about Mother's Day. My Mother downplays it (and it has always been treated as a greeting card holiday in my family) so it is not a huge deal at my family home, but MIL makes a big deal about it. We drove to DH's family home the day before and got take out friend chicken for dinner as I had BEGGED DH not to make me go to a restaurant on Mother's Day weekend. I survived Mother's Day 2012.

My gynecologist believes that my cyst is most likely a dermoid, which are usually benign. and my CA-125 came back with a really low number and the doctor believes this is good. My laparascopic surgery is scheduled for early July. I am nervous, but I just want this cyst out of my body.

In February I found a small lump below my breasts where my bra strap sits. It was the diameter of a pea, but hard and flat. At that point I was so busy with the ovarian cyst (running to MRI, ultrasounds), family stuff, traveling, that I waited until it was time to get my medical letter for the international adoption to address it. I had been thinking the worst, but I could not deal with it as the cyst. Thankfully my lump turned out to be a sebaceous cyst that had become infected, and nothing that ten-days of antibiotics couldn't fix. Big sigh of relief.

As for the adoption, we have been asked to gather documents/letters/fingerprints/photos in preparation for our dossier. When I first heard this I got so excited, but DH put my feet back on the ground and reminded me the big adoption agency still does not have a license for Vietnam. International adoption is a great deal of hurry up and wait. Now I am regretting telling people about our plans because they keep asking us when it's going to happen and everyone is amazed that it takes so long because there are "so many orphans in the world." Hopefully I am educating the fertile on the long process of international adoption.

Lately DH has been frustrated at his current place of employment. Several months ago he began subtly telling former colleagues that he might be open to a new challenge. Suddenly a few weeks ago an opportunity opened up, but first he must fly down south for an interview. I have mixed feelings because in life nothing comes without giving something up...and right now we cannot move due to our adoption dreams. Not saying anything more because he does not have an official offer, but it has been stressful dealing with the possibility of moving south again and my medical issues, not to mention the adoption stuff (the: is it happening or not question), plus family issues (my uncle's death, my parents aging, my sister not including us in family stuff), and house cosmetics (stripping wallpaper, painting, the deck rehab that is turning into a deck replacement).

Tonight DH and I are going out to this amazing restaurant downtown that we have not been to since December. I am super excited and the anticipation is over the top. Must remember to let worries slide off me like teflon.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

April is the Cruellest Month

It's funny how life can be smooth and quiet for months and then everything seems to happen at once.

Early in March DH and I met with the big international adoption agency in town and we are now on the official waiting list for an adoption from Vietnam (after signing contracts and forking over a 3k retainer). We met with our social worker who must now amend our homestudy. Of course, the agency still has yet to receive a new license from the Vietnamese government.

In mid-March DH and I spent 10 days in Arizona: seeing the Grand Canyon, getting snowed-in during a blizzard in Sedona, seeing a couple of Texas Rangers games (we became big fans during our 2.5 years in North Texas), hanging out at the pool, and gazing at saguaros and the starry skies at night. Love the dry air for taking away the stiff aches in my elbows, knees, and ankles...although I had to cake the moisturizer onto my face each morning.

Got back in time for my nephew's 15th birthday. It was fun, but I cried when we got home from the festivities as I realized he was five when we first started trying to conceive. Even if we adopt there will be a big age gap between nephew and our child. Although DH pointed out that nephew will be able to baby-sit now.

At the beginning of April I received a call from my Mother telling me that her older, and last remaining, brother had suffered a major stroke and was in hospital. Oh, no. The next day she phoned to tell me that one of her oldest and dearest friends had suffered a heart-attack and was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital (where she is on a waiting list for open-heart surgery). My much-loved uncle died one week later. Prior to his death, I went to see him late Easter morning, and although his eyes were closed he did blink a few times and appeared to form a slight smile when I told him his favourite niece was there. His funeral was a week ago. He played a major role in my childhood. (I will always remember that he and my aunt sent me my first bouquet of roses when I turned 16.) As long as I live I will always miss him. Even now I can not write this without crying.

The big surprise this week was the call from the gynecologist's office (my appointment is not until the end of July). The doctor had reviewed my file and looked at my MRI results and wanted me to have an updated ultrasound and a CA-125 blood test. I told them that I had just had an ultrasound a few weeks ago. Yesterday they phoned back and bumped up my appointment to this Monday telling me that the doctor wants to do surgery in May. I went for the CA-125 today (and it is NOT COVERED by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan).

This afternoon I was searching the internet for ovarian cancer and I am scared because I have some of the symptoms, although they are quite vague: fatigue, bloating, abdominal/pelvic pain. I am trying to remain calm, but inside I am freaking out. Why is it that when everything in life appears to be coming together it all falls apart.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Waiting Lists

Last week we received an email from the big international adoption agency in town regarding adopting overseas. In July 2011 we were put on a waiting list for the official waiting list to adopt a child from Vietnam. Last Wednesday we were told via email that there is an opening on the official waiting list since a couple on that list have 'withdrawn' (the phrases lost hope, given up, thrown-in-the-towel, and dropped out also came to mind), and several other couples are not ready to proceed.

The email provoked excitement and worry for me. DH was in Europe for work and I could not talk to him right away because he was at dinner with a potential new boss. I texted him to check his email ASAP and he then phoned me when he got back to his hotel. All I could think about was the cyst on my ovary and how it might negatively impact our medical report for adoption, and he told me not to worry.

The next day I received a call from my doctor with my MRI results. (Yes, I had an MRI mid February and, thanks to an Ativan, it was okay, and the results of my second ultrasound showed that the cyst had not changed in size.) According to the radiologist who analyzed the MRI, the cyst looks benign and there is no blood flow to it. Whew, that was a relief, but I still need to go see a surgical gynecologist about getting it removed through laproscopy. The big thing for me is that the radiologist suggested that the cyst might be caused by endometriosis. My doctor then pointed out that this can cause infertility.

After I hung up the phone I started crying because in all these years of going to doctors not one has brought this up as a possible issue in getting, and staying, pregnant. All these years of complaining about painful, heavy periods only to be prescribed muscle relaxants and birth control pills. I always felt that endometriosis was there inside me, but no one took it seriously.

DH is back home and we have set up an appointment later this week to meet with a woman at the big international adoption agency in town. We have questions, but my big concern is the timeline. From the documents she attached in the email it will be 24-28 months from when our dossier is registered in Vietnam that we can expect a 'referral' (I take this to mean that a child is referred/matched to us). It is also stated that travel usually happens 6-8 months after this. So, this is looking like three years. Today I am 43 and will be turning 44 this October -- can I handle a toddler at 47-48? I want to find out if we are put on the official waiting list then how long do we wait before our dossier is sent to Vietnam? Hopefully we will get some answers later this week before must make a decision and before they will want the big cheques.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Another Day, Another Ultrasound

This morning I went for another ultrasound. The doctor wants to see if there has been any change in the cyst, and perhaps to get alternate views. I had complained to her about my experience at the other place, so she sent the requisition to a local hospital with a Women's Health Division.

My experience at this hospital was light years better than the clinic where I had my dreadful ultrasound several weeks ago. Since it was at a hospital there were towels and sheets to use instead of the paper cloths. The woman performing the ultrasound was professional and efficient without being too cold. There was also a curtain that provided privacy when I needed to disrobe and clean up afterwards. It went smoothly and towards the end she took a view to see how blood flowed through the ovary, which I have never had before. Now I am beginning to wonder if that was to check if there are veins running to the cyst.

DH is working at home today and drove me to and from my appointment. He is being sweet and caring about the whole thing; meanwhile I am obsessed about cysts and have been on the internet 'researching'. It is difficult not to think about this cyst that is in my body, and which I have no control over.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Take My Ovary, Please

Last Friday I went to my doctor's office to receive results from previous bloodwork (late November) and from the recent ultrasound (January 10). Actually, it was a new doctor since my 'new' GP from last year is taking a year sabbatical to New Zealand -- and I'm a bit confused as to which of them I should say is my doctor when booking appointments.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that my hormones are 'normal' and that my FSH level was 8! In all my visits to fertility clinics my FSH has never been below 11 and it was 24 the last time it was checked in August 2010. The doctor did tell me that during perimenopause the FSH level can go up and down, but I was happy by this little bit of news.

I was not prepared for the ultrasound results, which revealed that I have an ovarian cyst (5x2x2cm): "complex adnexal cystic mass". The doctor thinks it may be several small cysts that failed to burst and are now 'joined'. So, I am making appointments for more ultrasounds (different place this time), an MRI (still waiting to hear back from the hospital), and a surgical-gynecologist (earliest appointment was end of JULY).

My initial reaction was shock then anger at my ovaries and how they have disappointed me. These two ovaries have failed miserably at producing top-quality eggs. Now one can't even get through the follicular phase and has gone rogue. The frustrating part is that I don't know WHY they have never worked properly. Was I eating the wrong food? Too many warm baths? All that swimming in chlorine pools as a child? I am searching the internet for diets, or anything else, that may help shrink the cyst. But, I am seriously thinking of telling the surgeon to please take the ovary out with the cyst. Damn wonky ovary.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

CML HealthCare Sucks

Since last April Aunt Flo has only made one visit. On November 24 I went to the doctor after having some strange spotting. She wanted to refer me to a gynecologist, but first I needed blood work and a pelvic ultrasound. Luckily I was able get blood drawn at my doctor's office, but the ultrasound had to be done at an imaging clinic (CML HealthCare). January 10th was the earliest appointment I could get, and now I have to make another appointment with my primary physician to get the referral to a gynecologist.

My experience today with CML HealthCare was awful. Yes, it is right up there with Quest Diagnostics in terms of terrible. The waiting room was cold with a flat screen television mounted on the wall tuned to some news channel. It really needs some plants, magazines, and soft music. I was called in early, which was pleasing, but it went downhill from there.

I was expecting an ordinary pelvic ultrasound since I had been instructed to drink four cups of water one hour prior to the appointment, but I was surprised when the technician mentioned that she would be performing a trans-vaginal ultrasound as well. Sure, what is one more invasive ultrasound since I have had countless others on my nine year quest to get pregnant.

The basic pelvic ultrasound was fine, although she could have heated the lubricant she put on my tummy. When she was finished I asked if I could clean my stomach, and she said no problem she would do it. Then she proceeds to use a paper cloth to wipe it off and tells me to run across the hall to the bathroom and be quick. While in the bathroom I was able to properly clean off my belly.

It was when returned to the room that things got bad. When I asked if she wanted me to disrobe she put this thin paper gown on my front, and then tied it with a tiny plastic band. At this point she told me to take off my clothes from the waist down...while she was still there watching. That was really strange pulling down my pants and underwear and attempting to roll them up and put them on top of my winter coat and bag with dignity. Actually, most of my dignity had left the room at this point.

Then I looked at the table where she had placed some strange insert underneath the paper cloth on the exam table. She instructed me to put my bottom on top of this insert so that my pelvis was pointing up and then rest my head on a pile of paper gowns. Ummm...okay? I looked at the table and thought "Am I really in Canada? Is this what healthcare has become?" As I lay on the table I mentioned to the technician that all my previous trans-vaginal ultrasounds had been performed on gynecological tables with stirrups. She told me that she has asked the clinic (CML HealthCare) for this but they say it is too expensive. Egad! Obviously CML HealthCare does not care for female patients.

When the ultrasound was over she told me to get up, but I had to ask her twice to help me get off that contraption that tilted my pelvis upwards. When I asked her if I could clean up she said sure, but she remained in the room. Then, when I asked if she was going to leave the room, she replied that she would be taking notes while I cleaned up and got dressed!!! I was dumbfounded. There I was standing wrapped in the thin paper robe with the ultrasound lubricant leaving my private parts and dripping down my legs and all I wanted was to clean myself with what was left of my dignity. I bluntly told her "I need PRIVACY!"; then she asked "well how long will you be? Ten minutes?" I replied, "I'll just be a minute." Finally she left the room so I could clean up and get dressed, which I did in less than two minutes because I couldn't wait to get out.

Oh, how I miss the doctors' offices where I had ultrasounds in Texas and California. They would have a corner in the exam room where you could close the curtain and place your clothing on wall hooks, and a chair to put your bag, and then there were packaged wet cloths and sanitary napkins for afterwards. But, you get what you pay for and here in Ontario, Canada healthcare is free, and I guess catering to a patient's privacy and dignity is secondary to the bottom line, especially at CML HealthCare. (I really miss my doctor in California.)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Last week was my MIL's 65th birthday, so we drove two hours north to celebrate with DH's parents and a few of their friends. We had a great dinner at a restaurant out in the countryside and went back to the in-laws' home for tea and cake, although they had a few alcoholic beverages before the cake.

There was lots of chatting and one woman was talking about her son who has started a new job and is going through training. One of the friends across the room did not hear all of the story asked if it was her son or grandson she was referring to. Out of nowhere my MIL replies, "It's her son. You see both Eileen and I are Grandchildrenless." It felt like I had been punched in the stomach. I rolled my eyes and held back the tears that tried to fill my eyes. Then they began a discussion of neighbors' kids. She knows that we want children and that we have gone through fertility treatments. MIL is also aware of the pregnancy losses, and yet she chose to shine a light on the matter in front of their friends. I fail to understand her lack of sensitivity in the matter. Wish you could trade in MILs. Thank God we do not live in the same town and we are a two hour drive away, although it was much better when we were a 4-7hr flight away.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Young Adult

DH and I saw the movie 'Young Adult' last week. I loved it, but wanted to warn those who have had a miscarriage that one is mentioned.

SPOILER: Actually a character freaks out at a 'naming' party for a baby and lets the mother and the crowd know about a miscarriage she had in the past. If it were me, I would not have gone to the baby naming party, but I have secretly wanted to unleash about my miscarriage to mothers with babies, and so I choose to stay as far away from newborns and their mothers until the child is walking.