Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Hope, Pain, And Timing
It's that time. It's that time again, and it's getting to be "that time" for good. I spent today wrapped in a fetal position around a heating pad, full of ibuprofen, narcotics, and whatever chocolate I could get my hands on, which was precious little (fortunately my wise and good and survival-minded husband came home with foods from the salty, crunchy, cakey, chocolate, and cola families).
As has been mentioned here before, I have, like mega-stupendous endometriosis. That's not the technical term, but the world-renowned specialist who did what I refer to as my "GOOD" surgery (the one that lasted 6 hours, actually got RID of the tumor and all the rest of the endo down to clean tissue, and oh, incidentally, saved my LIFE), said that while there are only 4 recognized "stages" of endometriosis, 4 being the most severe...mine was a "stage 5."
Anyway, it hurts like a son-of-a-gun. I've had 3 surgeries, had one oofrectomy, done progesterone therapy, taken continuous birth-control-pills, and seen a pain-management specialist who basically had me on "walking Demerol" every day of my life. It became normal, if that makes sense. I just hurt. Every day, but especially during periods and ovulation.
SO...winding finally down to the point of this self-centered rambling is this: My GOOD surgery was in July of 2000, in New Orleans. Dr. Cook told me, at that time, that my case was so severe, that even this intensive operation would probably buy me 5 years of "remission." And...we all know what year it is now.
Alex and I were married at the end of 2000, and I stopped the CBCPs the summer of 2001. (The continuous birth-control-pills help to keep the endo from growing by keeping you from having periods.) I got pregnant in January of 2002 (after being told by every "regular"--by which I mean not Dr. Cook--doctor I'd seen that it couldn't happen, not with my extensive disease and only one ovary), and Isabella was born October 20, 2002. Pregnancy and breastfeeding are also supposed to keep the disease under some control, but then, breastfeeding exclusively is also "supposed" to keep you from cycling--not so with me. I breastfed that child for two and a half years, never using a drop of formula, but 28 days after she was born--bingo--right back into "circulation" I went. I figure I have have super mega-hormones--the evil ones, anyway--and they can overcome anything, and that their ultimate goal is to kill me before I can have a hysterectomy.
So, ladies, if you've lasted this long (I'm assuming the guys dropped out somewhere around the first mention of "periods" or the graphic of the flashing uterus--comment and tell me if I'm wrong, fella[s], and I will respect you as a he-man forever), this is the issue before us now. The pain, by which I mean THE pain: my old, familiar, onetime omnipresent companion, is coming back. It's not anywhere near what it was before the GOOD surgery, when I could count on at least two days a month of lying on the floor screaming and clutching my abdomen (think I'm exaggerating? I'm not), but the cycles are getting shorter (24-25 days, currently), and I'm also having pain--equivalent to what most women probably experience during their periods--during ovulation.
We're pretty sure the Beast is back, or at least steadily on its way. To stop it, or slow it down, at the very least I'd have to go back on CBCPs, and the most radical action to take would be hysterectomy. For me, and all the places my endo was, hysterectomy would most likely not be a flat-out cure, but it would be the most I could do in my own defense against the Beast.
We have been trying for a year now for child #2, and did in fact have a pregnancy of about 2 months when I miscarried last December, and zero luck since then. So the question becomes, how long to keep trying, what measures to take to improve our chances, and when to "give up" and just take care of me, and treasure the little family we have. My sister, who is 5 years younger than me, and has an 8-year-old son, has also had no luck at a second child, and has been through the mill trying, for years now. Bella talks about "a new baby" all the time, and as much as I adore my sister, I'd hate for Bella not to have a chance at that relationship. I just don't know what to think, say, or do, but thanks for letting me go on. And on, and on. I just hate the pain, but if I could somehow know there was a reward waiting, I could take it for awhile longer. The years of suffering before Bella came along just melt away when I look at her.
And if this ridiculously long post were reduced to one sentence, it would be: "I WANT ANOTHER BABY, and then I'll be ready for the spork."