Hope

I really love my job. I work with patients who have brain injuries. It’s interesting, rewarding but at times incredibly sad. In the past few days I have had the difficult task of telling patients and their loved ones that our team don’t anticipate that they’ll ever walk/speak/eat normal food again. I’ve had a mix of reactions – tears, anger, denial, gratitude, disinterest. I’ve been shouted at & cried on. This isn’t typical of my role. I typically break bad news like this 3 or 4 times a year at max – not 5 times in 3 days. And not surprisingly I really hate this part of the job.

I find it incredibly hard to know the best way to prepare people for this kind of news and it’s all I’ve been thinking about recently. Could I have done it better? Probably. There is nothing positive to gain from others’ sadness but I’m learning every day to put things into perspective. Yes, my issues are huge – to me. But I’m lucky to still have hope. Nobody’s shot that out of the water like I’ve had to do to my patients.

 

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Feeling happily stupid

I saw my gynae Dr P yesterday.  I’ve only met him twice but I think he’s the nicest doctor in the world.  He took one look at my results & said “oh they’re fine”.  What?!  I had a list of questions written down ready to barage him with but I was totally thrown by this statement.  So I’m not menopausal??  Apparently not!  According to Dr P my oestrogen is excatly what I want it to be, my LH is fine (which I knew) & my FSH levels are slightly high but as I’m getting pregnant he’s not worried & high FSH levels don’t cause miscarriages apparently as they’re only important for getting pregnant in the first place.  Phew!

He’s actually suggested we start trying ASAP – hurrah!  I’ve done a complete 180 on my herbalist who I’d literally texted that morning to say I won’t be trying for a baby until at least August (because I am a drama queen!) & have started trying already because I appear to be ovulating at the moment.  Potentially we’ve slightly missed the boat for this month but that takes some pressure off & I’m finally starting to feel relaxed again.  I can tell I’m relaxed because I’m not having to fake being happy at work.  I’d become so used to appearing professional that I didn’t realise I was faking cheeriness until I actually noticed myself feeling genuinely happy yesterday and it felt so different.  In a really good way!

I have to take progesterone pessaries from tomorrow onwards – these sound messy!  My friend who is currently 7 weeks pregnant through IVF after 4 ectopics tells me they dissolved her panty liners?!?  As long as I don’t leak or squelch when I walk I really don’t mind.  It’s nothing compared to the medications other bloggers have written about.  I’m just super-keen to get going again.  Fingers crossed . . .

Obviously I’ve been here before on numerous occasions & so I’m trying not to get my hopes up too much.  Luckily I have uni work to do which is a great distraction.  I started a masters module for work in January, the day after I started to miscarry.  I sat opposite a pregnant girl & just stared at her for two days wondering how I’d get through it but I coped (as everyone does).  Writing my assignment was nigh-on impossible once I realised I had access to health journals – all I researched was “recurrent miscarriage” instead of “cognitive linguistic disorders post brain injury”.  When it came to hand in my first assignment I was so ditzy that I managed to miss the deadline, freaked when I realised & submitted it 20 minutes late without finishing it.  Luckily they didn’t penalise me & I discovered on Monday that I actually came out with 78%!  I’m also planning to renovate my house (if I can persuade a builder to give me a quote – it’s like pulling teeth!).  So I have enough to get me distracted for the next few months.

Wound up in knots

I’ve literally managed to wind myself up so much about these results that sometimes I can hardly breathe. I’ve worked out (from Google which I know is a stupid idea) that a FSH level of 10.9 is bad. Bad enough to preclude me from IVF even. I have absolutely no idea what the oestradial means other than when I put in my figure menopause websites come up. On some sites if I have an oestradiol level of 59 or below I’m post-menopausal. Mine is 59. But on others it says an ideal level is below 80. My nurse says normal is between 72-529. Anyway my nurse said it’s very low so I’m assuming the worst. I can’t be post menopausal because I have regular periods but I do get hot flushes so maybe the menopause is on its way. I’m 35 years old – is that likely?

I cried all of last night, every time I thought about it today at work and all the way home. My herbalist says it’s just one result & I can repeat next month. But what if it’s not better? I need to know what my options are. 

I thought if my eggs were bad then ivf could pick out a good one & fertilise it for me. Am I wrong? I thought fsh was about ovulating & I’ve been pregnant several times now so should I really be worrying? Is it possible that these levels are skewed because it’s my first period?

I’m going to try to chill out with some yoga & then have dinner with my friend whose baby is due next week. I really know how to stress myself out!!

Results are in & I’m predictably confused

I received my blood results today and as expected I have an idea that they’re not great but I have read so many conflicting articles that I am totally bewildered and muddled.

My LH is 6.8 (apparently this is fine, phew!). My FSH levels are 10.9 (slightly high said the nurse – alarmingly high according to forums I’ve been reading). However the levels that I’m most confused about are the estradiol which are 59. Apparently the norm is 72-529, according to the nurse. But some websites say that the norm is below 80 & one website said that estradiol higher than 40 is a sign of the menopause! These levels all relate to day 3 testing.

I have a lot of questions for my doctor but I won’t be able to ask him until next Tuesday  (it might as well be next year even though I know it’s really not that far away).

I was actually on day 2 – does that make a difference? Is this treatable? Is it the end of the world? Is it the reason for my miscarriages? Or does it just affect getting pregnant? If yes to the last two questions, and if it’s treatable, then that’s a good thing surely? But do I need IVF? If so how long will that take? Does it mean I can’t start trying in May? Was it because I let my hair down and ate/drank what I liked for a week?

I’m pretty stressed about it because I’ve been taking maca, ashwaganda, spirulina, hemp seeds, flax, pumpkin seeds, vitex, CoQ10, probiotics, cranberry tablets, fish oils & a herb mix to boost my fertility. I’ve stopped wheat, dairy, refined sugar, alcohol and caffeine & I’ve taken up acupuncture, yoga, mindfulness & meditation for the past six months. If that lot has still yielded a poor ovarian reserve then I don’t have much scope to improve.

I suppose the one thing I haven’t been offered yet is good old fashioned medicine. I just have a week’s wait to find out whether that’s an option for me. And I’m really not great at waiting!

 

Results tomorrow

My first period post-miscarriage finally arrived on Thursday – relatively on time (go me!). I was lucky actually because I was flying back from Abu Dhabi, having travelled out there for a cousin’s wedding. I’d been panicking that it would come while I was away which was bad because I needed to have bloods taken on Day 2 of my cycle to assess my ovarian reserve so I’d been looking up blood clinics in Abu Dhabi just in case I needed to get them done there. Anyway it arrived on the plane, giving me just enough time to get to my local EPU the next day for the test.

My results come in tomorrow & I’m stressing in case they say I have such poor reserve that I’ll never have a successful pregnancy. I have allowed myself to have alcohol, caffeine, sugar, dairy and wheat while I’ve been away and now I’m kicking myself because it might affect my results. On the other hand it’s probably best to get the worst case scenario & if the results are bad I might have some hope that I can improve them.

What I don’t know, and won’t find out tomorrow, is what my options are if the results are bad. I’m expecting to be outside the range of normal because it usually took ages to get pregnant & I have very early losses which is why my doctor thinks my eggs are bad. But I won’t know if it’s treatable until I see him next week. So if the results are bad I’ve got to wait to find out what that means for me & I know I won’t leave it alone – I’ll be Googling it all week, driving myself mad.