Friday, February 22, 2008


Oh dear Lord... where do I START?! At the beginning maybe. Settle in with a coffee though; this is going to be a heckuva post, both with regard to length and emotional factor.

First of all, to all the people wishing us luck for yesterday's appointment, via e-mail, messaging, posts, phone calls, etc., thank you so much. Knowing that people are thinking about you, wishing you well, hoping and praying that news is good and that everything works out... I am so grateful and thankful to each of you. It's an amazing feeling to know that someone else is sorta holding your hand through this, you know? Did your hand get tired at all through the drive to Montréal? What about the wait at the clinic? How about while we dealt with our almost three-hour appointment?! I bet you let go when I had to go have that ultrasound, didn't you? Or did you finally give out while we had dinner and drove home to Ottawa? Well, whenever you might have let go of my hand, I don't think that I felt you let go. Somehow, I think a lot of you are still right there with me. And that feels DARN good, guys. I love you for it. I need that.

As I mentioned, it's been a very stressful week for me, just leading up to this. And yesterday, just as we had pulled out of Timmie's coffee after getting a coffee for the drive, my cell phone rang. It was our security company for our home alarm; the sensor in our living room had gone off and they had notified the police. Oh dear Lord... no. Not now. My stomach rolled and my husband drove as fast as possible (somewhere near 150 km/hr) down the highway back to our house. We beat it. We actually got there before the cops! But nothing was wrong. No attempt at entry, no footprints near either door, nothing that would have set off the alarm. Tell me that the cats didn't set it off!?!? The darn thing is set for a certain weight limit; the cats SHOULDN'T have set it off!!!! If they did, they were balled up together and making an awful huge rumble around the house! *shakes a fist* My nerves were shot. Totally and utterly shot. Nice way to start the day.

Take Two...
Off we go to Montréal and we find the clinic easily enough. No problem. Now... parking? That's another story. Insanity. Dear heavens. We drove around the parking area for more than 20 minutes. Waiting. Hoping. Praying for someone to leave and yield a spot for us. Eventually, after incurring the wrath of a rather large, French-speaking, angry-looking man (yeah yeah, va te faire foutre, petit con!) we found a spot. I sucked in my breath, took our stuff and got out of the car to find...

... a missing hubcap. Oh this day just gets better and better, doesn't it? Somewhere along the highway, one of our hubcaps decided to go walkabout and tumbled off to pastures much greener than we can provide. Or... whiter, as the case may be cause the whole freakin' province is covered in snow. I'm sick of the stuff. But that's a story for another day. Yes, so, a missing hubcap. Let's get back to the story. When I last had to replace a hubcap like mine, it cost me $120. Joy. *eyeroll* I'll get to it eventually. Not a priority at the moment; my dough is being saved for IVF.

We go in, get cards for the hospital (each hospital has it's own registration card here) and head up to the 6th floor. We stopped at the desk to let them know we were there and then headed out to grab a bite. Okay, hubby grabbed a bite. I had a drink and a few bites of his sandwich; my stomach was jumpy and irritable. I was on edge and I thought that at any moment, I was just gonna hurl. Or dry heave. Or both. I didn't care. I was a total mess. I don't know how I managed to keep it together, really.

We got called in (while I was in a washroom, trying not to toss my cookies) and settled ourselves with a resident (Dr. Levine I think?) to go through our questionnaire and file, test results, attempts and all the rest. He took a plethora of notes on multiple pages of paper. He asked a ton of questions. He wondered about medications, amounts, combinations, procedures, hormone levels, concerns, and much, much more. I was able to reel off dates and times, quantities, issues, outstanding problems, etc. like I knew what I was talking about. Huh. Go figure. I guess that is what four years of this will get you. Not something I ever wanted to be able to do though, if the truth be told.

The big cheese
Dr. Tan, the director of the clinic, took our case himself. He sat down and went through the info and notes as explained to him by Dr. Levine. Darn thorough job too, if I do say so myself. Some observations:

-- he was appalled that we had done so many IUIs without being referred for IVF
-- he indicated that I was being underdosed on Metformin (which I knew, and had indicated before to my doctor, to be told, "No, it's enough.")
-- he told me that although my TSH was often in the high end of the normal range, it needs to be below 1.0 to get pregnant and STAY pregnant, given my personal circumstances with hypothyroidism. He expects to have to increase the dosage of synthroid, based on bloodwork that he subsequently ordered.
-- he wants a full karotype (gene mapping) done for both me and hubby, to see if we carry the genes that can cause recurrent miscarriage
-- he wants a full workup on hubby, to see if he still produces sperm and if we can use that sperm via surgical extraction (MESA/TESA)
-- he wants more bloodwork for me for recurrent pregnancy loss
-- he wants me to do an insulin resistance test (yes, drinking that icky orange mixture that you all talk about ladies!) to see if we're dealing with other issues that can be treated
-- he tried, right there and then, to get their urologist to see my husband, in case anything else needed to be considered but no luck; we have an appointment in Montréal on March 31 with the urologist
-- he wants me to see a proper RE who knows more about the thyroid and the possible issues that are giving me problems
-- he indicated that dependent on the hormone levels and what can be changed with medication, that I might wish to consider lap-band surgery for weight loss prior to trying IVF, although he told me that it would not be required in his opinion. He gave me the name and e-mail of the surgeon who performs that surgery at McGill, in case I'm interested.
-- he said that we can have a lot of monitoring done in Ottawa and go to Montreal for the procedures only, for the most part
-- he requested a current ultrasound, ASAP. So... off we went for that.

Well, first I had to check my girly bits to see if it was Day 1; I'm right on the cusp yanno. With verification that I wasn't yet menstruating, Dr. Levine ushered me into an ultrasound room a few doors down, and I 'assumed the position.' Oh boy. It's been a number of months since I was intimate with a dildo-cam. The familiar feelings came right back again: Dread. Fear. Hatred of my own body and its inability to do something so normal. I know that some of you probably understand those feelings too. It's mind-boggling to me how we can shove that out of the way when we're not trying, but as soon as we go back to TTC, we're right in that negative place again, you know? I despise it.

Well, the first thing out of my husband's mouth was, "What's that?" and I knew. A cyst. A damn cyst. Again. Here we go again. Same as before. Right side. Approximately 4x5 centimetres. And just happy as a clam in my warm, cushy, 8mm thick uterus. Just chillin. Nice. I sighed. Here we go again. If you remember,I had a laparoscopy in April 2006 to remove one cyst; how much do you wanna bet I will need another? Anyway, that's to be tested again next month with another ultrasound. (Add that to the list of tests above.) But he also saw 8-9 little follicles on each side, at about 5mm and less. He had to poke and prod for the left ovary though; it was tucked up behind the uterus yesterday, given the position I was lying in. And the way he poked, ouch! Never, in all my years of dildo-cams, have I had THAT pain. Eeek. That was awfully uncomfortable. Grin and bear it, right ladies? Yet one more thing we must do all in the name of reaching the goal at the end.

That done, we sat and waited to go over the requisitions and timing, make appointments, etc. with the nurse. I left there with a packet of papers that is rather daunting. I walked out of the building in a daze. We got back to the car. And I wept.

More tears
I wept in frustration. All the times I told my doctor that I thought I needed to increase my dose of Metformin.

I wept for all the times I told doctors that I know there is a thyroid problem, and my TSH needs to be MUCH lower than the supposed high normal that it was.

I wept because at long last, a doctor is testing for the possiblity of recurrent miscarriages and the two that I know I have already miscarried.

I wept from relief... a doctor who is finally listening to me. Who understand. Who GETS IT and sees my frustration and anger.

I wept because we have a chance. We need to get these things taken care of, see where that leads us, and we MIGHT just have a chance.

As I sat there in the car, trying to compose myself, my cell phone rang. It was my friend T who lives in Montréal. We made plans to pick her up from work and then we headed out near her house to a restaurant for dinner. She and I shared a bottle of red wine and some of the stress seemed to let go. Not much; I still feel overwhelmed. But some, at least.

Today, I've already checked to see which labs do Karotyping and when. I have faxed the RE appointment requisition to the clinic here, in the hopes that I get an appointment soon. I'm keeping an eye on my cycle, cause I need bloodwork on CD3 next month and I'll need another ultrasound.

And when all is said and done, we're moving forward. Again. Now is when I need you all to hold my hand. Tightly please. Don't let go. Cause I'm scared where all this will lead.


Anonymous said...

I completely understand why you are feeling overwhelmed.

You are at one of the best clinics and I am glad that you are getting the attention to detail you deserve.

I hope you end up with more than just a chance.

Patti said...

Forget hand-holding. How about hugs instead.

We're all right there with you.

Everytime I have time with the dildocam and they need to check my left ovary, it is painful. My ovary likes to hide and doesn't like to play nicely. So, I end up having to push down on my stomach and I swear it's a good thing girlie bits stretch because wow, do they have to shove.

It sucks, but it's all for the right reasons.

Glad to hear you're moving forward again. Any momentum is better than none. :)

Pam said...

It sounds like everything went well, scary but well, and you're on the right track. Keep us informed. V. and I will probably be out your way as we often are and for sure we'll connect at some point. :) Good luck to you both. And like Patti said, hugs for sure.

Thalia said...

sounds like a good appointment, lots of info, and a good doctor who listened to you - isn't it sad how rare that is?! We'll be here as you move forward.

Anonymous said...

wow girl.
sounds like you've found an amazing doctor but i totally get all the tears over missed things and doctors not trusting how well we know, we KNOW our bodies.
sorry too for the painful scan...had that once or twice...yikes!!
i am very happy that you are both finally getting a thorough workup(s) and will soon be on the road to a real shot at this!!!
thinking of you always...

Heather said...

Oh, I'm holding on very, very tight...let me know if your hand goes numb.

I'm happy for you. For getting a doctor who acknowledges your feelings and that you are right and know your own body. Shame on your previous doctor.

I know all the tests and stress are horrible...but I have very high hopes for you!

Nearlydawn said...

WOW! What a very long, yet very productive and enlightening day!

It sounds so good to me that this Dr is taking your history and needs seriously.

I will certainly be here for you - just like you have been for me. :)

Big hugs, and congrats on taking such a huge and scary step!

Angie said...

Sounds like a very productive day. Sending hugs your way.

Aurelia said...

Oh Gil, I'm so so happy that you have finally seen a decent guy!!!!! I wondered about the advice you were getting, and just how odd it seemed sometimes.

Don't get me wrong, I know it's hard to figure out what's what when your Doc has been telling you one thing and you read another on the net, but oh honey, I'm so so happy for you!!!!

Dr.Tan will get you into that RE and get you doing IVF/ICSI and they have one of the finest embryology clinics in the country, so i know this will work. (Really there are so few here in Canada, but his in Montreal, mine and one other in TO and a few out West....the rest are useless.) I'm so glad you have the ability to get to these guys!)

decemberbaby said...

Gil, I'm holding your hand here. SO glad that you're finally getting the attention and thoroughness you deserve.