Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Update- weekend and now

I've been feeling a little frustrated the last few days. Today though I feel so much better. It hasn't exactly been peaceful around our house the last few weeks and I have been feeling the stress of it. It's life though and life isn't always easy. (That is a major understatement.)

Last night we put a new plan into place to deal with Blake's current stage that is kicking all of our tails. We have been using it a little here and there but now I made it so that we can stick to it constantly and really be more consistent with it. After all consistency is always best ALWAYS. We use the phrases 'make good choices' and 'is that a good choice' with Blake a lot. I made a chart that has the times when we are seeing him being the most difficult on it such as eating times and bed/bath time. I found pictures of him making good choices during those times and put them on the bottom. I named the chart Blake makes good choices. He earns a star when he makes good choices throughout the day and has consequences if he chooses not to. Explaining this to him and hanging it somewhere he can see it (on his playroom door) helps all of us. I know that today is going extra well because he got 12.5 hours of sleep last night and he hasn't had that much sleep in a month but I also know that he likes to earn his stars and not get his toys taken away! Here is what the behavior style chart that HAD to happen looks like.

I set a goal for myself this week to eat a good breakfast everyday. Yesterday I did good, today not so much. I actually didn't even eat breakfast but had a fat free white mocha from Rocketbrothers Coffee instead. I will do better tomorrow and I have done better with meal choices post coffee today. I'm not stressing out about missing today because I got a little extra sleep and a nice peaceful shower instead. Both of those were worth slipping up on my goal for today. I feel like if you are a mom you totally understand that! Next week my goal is going to be an eating goal as well. I can't wait to share it with you.

We had a fun weekend celebrating my dads 55th birthday and my brother Jason's 30th. I got to spend some time with my niece which I love. She likes me more and more every time we are there ;) I love watching her and Blake play together. He has so much love for her and it is the cutest most heart warming thing ever! Mom and I made a few headbands for Chloe and the neighbors new baby. Mom did most of the work but I did help some! I hope you enjoy these pictures from our weekend. 

Okay that was from yesterday but hey it was too cute not to share.

Also a Lupron update: I have headaches and hot flashes, neither are really bad. I'm calling the hot flashes baby hot flashes. It's hard to believe that I get shot #2 next week. I am hopeful that time continues to fly by.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

A Difficult Journey- Conception

Before you get into this post I have a disclaimer, it is an old post. It is something I wrote in the midst of this difficult journey when my hope wasn't very high. I was pissed, had a very bad attitude and wasn't feeling a single ounce of positivity. I was feeling completely defeated. I said that I wanted to share my feelings along this journey so here it is just one of many things I wrote. This particular post was written back in October 2014.

Andrew and I embarked on this journey 16 months ago. It was a journey that I was certain wouldn't take us long. The journey is still continuing or has possibly hit a standstill. It is the journey to conceive another precious little baby to add to our family.

In the beginning we were quiet about it not wanting to let people in on our secret. I felt like the more people who knew the harder it was going to be on us, the more pressure we would feel. The longer it took the harder it became not to talk about and the more questions people started asking the harder it became to accept them. I never in my life thought I would hate hearing the words "when's the next one coming, it's your turn next, Blake needs a little brother/sister, etc." If you said them to us don't feel bad because after all you didn't know! I kept telling myself that too; don't get upset with people they are curious and don't know what you don't share. By the way I'm NOW a firm believer that its none of anyone else's business what a family is doing when it comes to their personal adventures and decisions on family planning, it's flat out rude to question. If you do find yourself asking these questions remember, it's all in the way you say it. With that being said, it is nice to know that people care but sometimes it's just a lot to handle and not something we want to discuss with everyone. 

I am sharing our experience thus far for a different reason. I am sharing our experience because I wish people would be more accepting and understanding of the struggles of infertility and conception. I know that I wasn't. I mean I had no idea the true stress and emotional toll my friends went through to get the opportunity to have a baby. It wasn't hard for us the first time. I had no idea. I had no clue that a simple Facebook post in the from a couple announcing the arrival of their new baby could create such a feeling of self pity. I didn't know that I would come to hate all social media outlets. I was oblivious to the true struggle that people face when it comes to having a baby. I also realize now that although I am facing this struggle head on that there are people who can't have children and never will. I am thankful that we do have one child and yet still struggling to accept the idea that he will possibly be our only one. I don't think its fair to him because I know he will make a great big brother; I just hope that we are able to give him that opportunity.

The emotional roller coaster that this journey has been and still is almost leaves me speechless. I don't know what to say or where to start. I have gone from being hopeful one second to feeling completely defeated the next. It's really hard to stay positive and not worry about it all the time. The worry and stress take over somedays but for me it's the feeling of defeat that gets me. I feel like I can't win no matter what I do. I know its not a win or lose thing but not being able to obtain my goal feels like defeat. In my mind its that simple. The truth is it really isn't anywhere near that simple. I know that keeping a positive vibe and attitude make a world of difference but I struggle to do that 100% of the time. If I could I would feel like something was wrong with me emotionally. I don't believe in the whole when the time is right it will happen approach. I've said it to people because that is the easy answer but I don't believe it. What I do believe is that it is possibly going to take some medical intervention for us to be able to create another child and that is where we stand now.

Our insurance doesn't cover anything that has to do with infertility. (Side note: there are only 15 states in the United States that require their insurance providers to cover or offer coverage for infertility diagnosis or treatment. Guess what OKLAHOMA is NOT one of them. Go figure. Our state really needs to get its shit together.) Just to be clear we have no official diagnosis of infertility but getting diagnosed is so f-ing expensive we can't afford to do the testing. I'm talking thousands of dollars. One test for me alone is $1200 and there are others. A single test for Andrew ranges from $150-300 much less initially than for me but still expensive considering they would need to be done multiple times. Our current options are to just keep trying but after 16 months of being unsuccessful excuse me if I have little hope that it will just happen on our own. I will be more positive as this realization settles in but right now I'm just pissed. Infertility is a medical condition just like diabetes is a medical condition. Anyway, we are going to work on the insurance part of this to see what if anything can be done. We are looking and talking and searching. I am however not impressed with what I have found so far when searching out things on the Blue Cross Blue Shields of Oklahoma site. I am hoping that we do find something helpful soon though.

Until then we will just keep trying and riding this emotional roller coaster. There is no better time than now to enjoy our family of three, not to take for granted our time together. After all we do have a very precious family just the way it is now. (I saw a FB post today that read "the things we take for granted someone else is praying for. So true.) I will continue to focus on surrounding myself in the joy that Blake and Andrew bring to me daily and be thankful for what I do have. I send my love and hugs to all the other people out there that are struggling with anything in their lives now and in the future. Keep your head up and I will keep mine up!

*I know that I have shared bits and pieces of this journey with different people over time. My hope is now that I can continue to share when I am ready and not cause any hard feelings if I do or don't share. It is a difficult journey and I greatly appreciate all the people who have been by our sides throughout it so far as well as all the people that will be with us as we continue on our journey. Thank you for being so understanding and supportive.

Many of the statements in this post hold true still today; I have my bitter days just like everyone else. I am in a much better place with all of this now though. The key was finding the right doctor for me. Our insurance is even covering everything because after all it was a medical condition not specifically infertility. 

I hope you have a wonderful day and if you are fighting a battle keep on fighting! We've got this!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Endometriosis IS and IS NOT

I know I'm not a doctor or an expert on endometriosis but I just want to share some IS and IS NOTs with you about it. I just cringe inside when people say oh yeah I know all about endometriosis and don't. I'm not claiming that I know everything about it either by the way I just want to help people who are not familiar with this disorder have a better understanding of it. 

The best way to start is with a simple definition which I got directly from the Mayo clinic website
  Endometriosis (en-doe-me-tree-O-sis) is an often painful disorder in which tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus — the endometrium — grows outside your uterus (endometrial implant).  
and because I also have adenomyosis the definition from the mayo clinic website is
      Adenomyosis (ad-uh-no-my-O-sis) occurs when endometrial tissue, which normally lines the uterus, exists within and grows into the muscular wall of the uterus.
As simple as those definitions seem after reading them a million times personally, doing research and looking at pictures of both of these disorders I can finally wrap my head around it. Another way I explained it to someone recently was this "endometriosis is tissue growing on the outside of my uterus. When you cycle you shed your uterine lining and that happens to me too but at the same time I am also bleeding internally (the endometrial tissue thats already built up) and it is rebuilding on top of itself on the outside of my uterus. It just gets thicker with every cycle. It is tissue building on top of itself every month. " Not sure if that helps with an understanding of it better or not but for the particular person I was talking to it seemed to help her make more sense of it. So here are my endometriosis IS/DOES and endometriosis IS NOT/DOES NOT based on peoples misconceptions I've encountered so far. Most of these are things I've learned from my doctor directly others are things I've learned through research. 

Endometriosis IS NOT cancer.

Endometriosis DOES NOT mean that I can't have a baby.

Endometriosis DOES/CAN make it more difficult to get pregnant. It depends on the severity.

Endometriosis IS "dormant" when you are pregnant and is temporarily suppressed due to the change of hormones.

Endometriosis DOES come back after having a baby and in my case grew rapidly. 

Endometriosis DOES NOT discriminate. Women of all ages, shapes, sizes and demographics can develop endometriosis. Although menopause generally puts an end to it. 

Endometriosis IS manageable but there is no cure. The method in which it is treated depends on each person individually.

Endometriosis IS one of the leading causes of infertility in women.

Endometriosis IS NOT the same for everyone. Just as any other disorder it affects each person differently. Even though symptoms are the same and treatments are often the same everyone deals with it differently due to pain tolerance, severity, etc.

Endometriosis IS more likely to appear in women with a family history of endometriosis.

Endometriosis DOES NOT always show symptoms. Some women don't know they have it until they are having trouble conceiving.

Endometriosis DOES NOT mean that a hysterectomy is necessary, it is only a last resort if other treatments don't work. (PS I don't even want to discuss me having a hysterectomy with anyone because it is not in my consideration zone at this point. Baby first, long term later.)

Adenomyosis IS a little more tricky than Endometriosis.

Adenomyosis IS treatable but there is no cure. Surgery is not a treatment option if you want to have more children.

Women who have had a c-section or other uterine surgery ARE at a higher risk of developing adenomyosis especially if they have or have had endometriosis. 

That is all the "facts" that come to mind right now about these two disorders that I am currently battling. Please remember that I am not a medical professional so these are all things I have learned second or third hand. You can't hold me responsible for miss information! ;) You can share what you know or help clear up any other misconceptions about these disorders though. I'm all about learning new things especially when they pertain to something I'm battling!

My lupron update: tomorrow makes one week since I had my first injection. I am feeling really great right now. I have had a few headaches but they seem more like allergy headaches than anything and go away with tylenol or an allergy pill. I'm not even considering them lupron headaches! I have been feeling a little bloated the last two days which I'm hoping will go away in a few days when I get my diet back on point. If not I guess I will just wear clothes that don't draw attention to my bloat. Seriously though there are worse things in the world! I said to my neighbor this week that I have the internal body of an old woman but the external of a young one. Working on getting my insides back to functioning like a "young" woman again! 

Seriously though that's some major bloat post eating. 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Endometriosis: Treatment- Lupron

If I said I wasn't nervous or worried about taking Lupron to treat my endometriosis and adenomyosis I would be lying. Truth is I have been thinking about it all week. I have read lots of different things on the internet (never the best idea) and I have learned from people their personal experience with it. I just wanted to know what to expect because I had no clue what was coming my way other than I was going to stop ovulating. (and of course why I was going to stop and the reason it was necessary) I had never even heard of Lupron until I shared my endometriosis story.

In my research both from the internet and talking to people I came to one major conclusion- I am going into menopause at the age of 30. It makes me smile to think of it actually and even laugh at this point. Today my doctor said, "it will put you in a state of menopause. Everything that goes off kilter will go back once the medication is stopped." I'm going to have to tell myself that every time a strange symptom AKA menopause symptom comes along. It will all go away when the treatment cycle is finished! I am still a little anxious to see what my symptoms will be, if any but feel confident that the list of Things you can do my doctor gave me will help keep them at bay. Since I go my first injection today I started on my list as soon as I left the office.

Here is the list I was given:
Exercise 20 minutes a day at a minimum *my favorite thing I was told today*
Take a multi vitamin daily
Take a calcium supplement with vitamin-D
Take vitimin B-6
Take fish oil
Take a fiber powder (helps bloating, gas and pain)
Drink more water
A special "cocktail" mixture for the headaches

It doesn't seem like that much when I look at the picture of the bottles except that I'm used to taking one pill a day! My weekly pill case will help with that.

She also gave me a few other tips and tricks that will help Andrew and I both deal with the changes my body will go through as my estrogen level is depleted. It was so calming to listen to her tell me about the number of patients she has taking Lupron and how few of them have a terrible time with it. I mean even with that calming feeling how can I not be anxious about this medication completely changing my skin, hair, attitude, etc. I am positive that this is going to work and that I can handle whatever craziness it throws my way but I'm still anxious. I am excited too. Not about the menopause :) but, that we are one day one step closer to being able to try to have another baby, to complete our family. Deep calming breaths and positive vibes are going on over here along with a small amount of anxiety. We can do this!

Another thing that is helping put my anxiety at ease is knowing that I can call the office for help anytime I think something crazy is happening. Oh and how closely they will monitor me while I am taking Lupron. I get an injection every four weeks. Each time I go in I will fill out a mood assessment, it is to make sure I'm not getting depressed and to monitor my mood swings. They are also sending me to have a bone density scan done. I go next week and that is just to make sure that I am not already compromised in the bone loss area since a menopausal state may lead to bone loss. Since my great grandmother has osteoporosis this is pretty important to me. They will also check my estrogen levels starting at the next injection to make sure it is doing its job. Knowing that my doctors are watching me closely and monitoring every detail of this treatment makes me feel so much better. I feel confident in their abilities, especially since they have been treating this as a team for as long as I've been alive! So, let's do this!