Thursday, June 23, 2011

Week Full of Testing

This week I went in to have my blood drawn once again (they sucked three vials outta me this time), and to get the bone density test done.

I broke down today. I cried like I haven't cried in a very, very long time. Laying on that cold bed, with my legs spread apart just right so the giant machine's arm could capture a more accurate image of my pelvis freaked me out; it made me feel like I had some sort of horrible disease and was fighting to find a cure. The radiologist asked when I'd had my last period and I about lost it; I think she felt bad for asking, once I explained why I was there.

It's so dang hard to not feel broken. Defective. I always felt sad for women who were called "barren", and now I'm pretty much one of them. The worst thing is, I feel so dang guilty for feeling this miserable. Aside from this specific condition, I seem to be in good health. I'm now swimming and that's helping me so, so much; not only physically but emotionally and mentally. I've begun to crave the pool now; it's the one thing I can do which completely clears my mind from everything else going on. Yet, I have days like today where I felt absolutely miserable about this. Why should I technically feel like that? I don't have cancer, or a terminal illness. Yet.. the pain I feel when I think that I probably will not be able to carry a child... NO ONE ELSE except for another woman going through this would understand it. In a way I feel like a small part of me has died; the reproductive part of me. Premature menopause; the name says it right...?

I cried like I hadn't cried in a long time. I cried like a toddler does: furiously, without caring about tears or makeup or running noses. Sam held me.

Only through the grace of God and the Holy Spirit can I get up when I'm down.

Hear me, O Lord... I need the comfort and relief that only He can provide me.

Monday, June 13, 2011


I can't believe I did it! If you asked me if it was fun, I'd say, "I have no idea"... All I was doing was trying to stay afloat and relearning to breathe and swim. But it felt good. :) We went to Academy yesterday and bought a swim "something" (what DO you call what I wear?? See the photo below), goggles and a bada-- swim cap. The cap was just needed because I have colored hair and the chemicals from the pool wouldn't agree with the color in my hair. I probably embarrassed myself times 10 when I repeatedly stopped after HALF A LAP to take a breath (Meghan stop making fun), and I probably looked like a weirdo for wearing a cap (everyone else was just there to have fun, not swim), but I DON'T CARE. It felt very good to feel active like that again :)

And by the way, I'd completely forgotten how many flippin' muscles work when you swim. I'm already SORE. :O I can't wait to go again, and just... become better at swimming, enjoying being in the water, getting healthier.

That's the first "yay" in about a week. :)

Saturday, June 11, 2011


It would be a heck of an understatement to say it's been a rough couple of days. After the initial test results came in, the doctor said she wanted to run a few more tests. The high FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) levels have all but confirmed that I indeed have premature ovarian failure (POF) or premature menopause. So the next step is try to figure out WHY. Either this coming week or next, I will go in for more blood tests which will check my thyroid a second time (levels were OK the first time around but a second check is always necessary), and test for Addison's disease and a chromosomal condition. The doctor will also refer us to a reproductive endocrinologist in Temple.

Since this took place, we have informed our families about it. I also let my boss know, since I may need to take time off if even more tests are ordered. Before I decided to tell him, he was also asking when I would be going back to grad school; and honestly ever since the news came in, I have decided I do not want this extra, silly pressure on me. So I was clear with him: don't mention it again, please. I'm very lucky to have an amazing boss; he completely understood.

I'm also trying to stay busy; I'm almost obsessed with projects (well.. have been for a while). So, I'm in the middle of:
a) Editing photos for a girl I went to college with;
b) Designing menus and calendars for the Eagle's Nest;
c) Helping the girl who cuts my hair come up with interior design ideas for her soon-to-open hair salon.

I'm also considering taking up swimming again. A part of me is very scared of keeping any kind of hope that I will become pregnant (especially since, well, the doctor herself said if she were me, she wouldn't count on it happening), but I have found articles which talk about ways to naturally reduce FSH levels so I'm going to try it. I basically need to get back in shape and just become more active, and reduce my caffeine and salt intake. I also cannot ignore the biggest risks I now face because of having POF: bone loss and heart disease. Yipee-ki-yay.

I'm not as miserable as I sound. We have received some amazing supportive reactions from our families, and I have an AMAZING husband who's being very patient with me as I learn to accept this. I also know that those who love us are praying for us, and we can feel the power of these prayers. Whenever I think of it, I have a short talk with God. I ask for peace of mind and heart. I ask for strength. I ask Him to not let me forget that He is here.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

This Post Has No Title.

I really can't think of another way to start this one except than to just talk about it.

Yesterday I started experiencing sharp, shooting pains in my lower right abdominal area; this pain I have only felt a handful of times before, and when I have talked to other women about it I've been told that it's probably ovarian cysts. The first time I had the pain (back in 2007) I didn't have health insurance so I didn't have it checked; the pain can be so strong that I almost have to crouch down while sitting at my desk. This time I decided I'd make an appointment with my ob-gyn; after all, it's obvious that something is not right. I'm glad I finally had the guts to do it.

When I was on the phone to make the appointment, I explained not only the sharp pain but also that I had not had a period for over a year. I said I was concerned because my husband and I have been married for over three years and are beginning to talk about having children. This made the nurse put my appointment as an urgent one, so I was able to have the appointment today. Our NFP practitioner had told us that it was very hard to get a local ob-gyn to do an ultrasound; I knew this statement was at least partially correct, because during my last checkup I mentioned my desire to possibly get an ultrasound done and my ob-gyn said that she didn't think I needed it. This time, the painful episodes I was having made her reconsider: I had an ultrasound done.

Right before she did it, she said she was fairly certain that I had polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). However what she saw actually puzzled her. You see, if a woman doesn't have a period for a long time and she's not pregnant, it means the ovaries have been producing eggs which haven't been fertilized and the body is not getting rid of them or shedding the lining of the uterus (which is necessary). If the lining of the uterus is not being shed, it thickens. In some cases, it can thicken to the point of becoming "toxic", and that's how cervical cancer can develop (remember, cancer basically means "cells gone bad", i.e. mutated). What my ob-gyn saw was a THIN uterine lining. No evidence of thickened walls. This is when I received the news.

My ovaries have basically shut down; they're not working. Not producing eggs. This explained to her why when she prescribed Prometrium (same as Provera, a synthetic version of progesterone) to help me have a period, it did not work.

I can't produce eggs. I currently cannot get pregnant. I have what is called "premature menopause".

So the next step is trying to find a cause. The doctor ordered blood work done. My LH and FSH levels, thyroid, prolactin, and testosterone levels will be checked. Results are due tomorrow. When I read about premature menopause, several websites say that it is not reversible; that other approaches to having a child should be considered: fertility treatments (such as in vitro), having an egg donor, adoption.

The part of me who has longed to become a mom for a while wants to cry, curl up somewhere and dwell on feeling like a loser for not being a "complete woman" to my husband (I don't think anyone EXCEPT those in my shoes can make sense out of that one), and think that we won't ever be able to see what our baby, made from Sam's and my biological makeups, will look like. It hurts quite a bit.

Another part of me somehow accepts it. For the past few months now, while thinking about our possible problems conceiving, I have wondered if Janelle was put in my path for a reason. Because of her, the idea of adopting has become a much less foreign idea to me. This reminds me that God's plans are so beyond our simple understanding. As I drove home today after the appointment, I suddenly found peace within me. I heard myself say, "I am your servant Lord, may it be done to me according to Your will".

So this is a test. My test. I choose to trust in our Lord, and in His will. Does it mean that I will not cry at all? Absolutely not; as I've been writing this my eyes have inevitably watered several times already. But I have to find strength in Him; knowing that He has a plan and a will for every single one of us provides amazing solace to my sad heart.