Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Yea employment!

I found out today that I will be receiving a contract for next year. Yeah for me, sucks for the teachers still waiting. Some of the core curriculum classes may wait as late as mid June. This must mean things are looking up............

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

By the Numbers

I had a little breakdown at the oncology office yesterday. After an hour drive on an empty stomach, they couldn't get an IV in, and I blew a couple veins in my right hand. Today my hand has taken on an interesting leopard look, except the spots are more green and black and blue, and my skin pasty white. It's pretty hot. I was not looking forward to going back today. So in the waiting room, I sat down and began to think about everything that has gone on in the last 2 months. And I thought I would put together some interesting numbers about my life since February 11th, when everything started.
64: Number of shots I have had (all but 7 I gave to myself, or Jon gave me)
22: number of eggs removed from me
21: Number of blood draws
18: Number of Ultrasounds
16: number of eggs fertilized
13: Days I have missed work
10:Number of IV pokes (and at least 8 more to come, probably 13)
10: Number of Dairy Queen Blizzards I have eaten
8: number of eggs that made it to the blastocyst stage(5 days old)
6: number of fertilized embryos that are frozen, waiting for me
5: Number of knitting projects I have finished on my time off
3: Times I have cried
1: Number of roommates in the hospital who only had 2 months to live

What can't I count?
Times I cuddled with my cat
Number of naps
Moments I thought about my students and whatever poor soul was my substitute teacher
Fat cells that have formed in my body and muscle cells lost
Number of people who have shown me support
Times I have hugged my husband him and told how much I love him

Overall, I think I am pretty lucky. Now if this could just be over soon so I can have:
1: Healthy baby!!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Mini tantrum

I am tired of following doctor's orders. No strenuous activity. What exactly does that mean? Strenuous to whom, exactly? I haven't worked out since March 3rd, and yes I know the date because it was 2 days before my egg retreival when they told me at my pre-op visit that I wasn't supposed to be working out. Opps. But I felt fine, and produced more eggs than the average woman. I was active before all of this, so its not like working out would add extra stress to my body, right? It is used to working out. Well, maybe not so much anymore. I have at least 2 more rounds of treatment left, and more to be determined. Another month without a workout? I worked hard to be strong so I could handle pregnancy well, and now it is all going to pot. When I heal, I will have lost everything I built up and be a weakling through the next one, probably causing more back injuries and various other issues. And no drinking. I was prepared to not drink for 9 months, but since that didn't worked out........... I can't sleep, when I do I have weird dreams, I am not eating well, I can't concentrate, I am tired of sitting around, and all of this is making me super emotional because there is no way to release basic stress. So today I said screw it (and that is the nice way of saying it). I went to the gym and did 45 minutes of weight training, and 30 minutes of all out sweat time on the elliptical machine. It would have been longer but I forgot my inhaler, and I have lost too much strength to have much stamina. I know it has only been an hour and a half since I left the gym, but I am pretty sure I will be able to sleep tonight. And then I can concentrate on brain activities like homework and lesson plans. If I am ok tomorrow, I am doing it again, and will try to figure out how I can at least squeeze in some treadmill time this week between work and chemo treatments. Because this is ridiculous. And if I am feeling really wild, I am going to have a glass of wine. And no one can stop me. So there.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Tired, Tired, Tired

I ended up getting released from the hospital last Wednesday. I guess I was doing so well that they didn't feel I needed to be under observation anymore. Of course, the chemo still had to be given outpatient, so I went to an oncology office Thursday and Friday. Of course it is a 2 hour round trip commute, so it is kind of a pain in the ass. But at least I got to sleep in my own bed. My parents got here late Wednesday night. It was nice to spend some time with them without having to be in the hospital. We played a lot of cards and on Saturday we went to the Chihuly glass exhibit at the Desert Botanical Gardens, with a lot of walking and a little too much sun and AZ heat for everyone to handle well. Then I did yoga Sunday, thinking it would just be nice to stretch. I could hardly function during the hour session, and whimpered about my loss of strength. I definitely pushed it this weekend. The rest of the day was mostly spent relaxing on the couch and now I am exhausted. I have been on this crazy in one week, off another for the last month, and forgot what it was like to work. Because I am not supposed to do anything strenuous, I have done a lot of sitting in the past few weeks. Walking around chasing students in a lab all day gets tiring. But it was nice to be back on a schedule and have some normalcy to the day.
I have another round of treatment next week. I will have an IV in my arm all week so they just have to hook me up and let it go when I get there each day. That might totally freak my kids out, but there isn't much I can do. After that, I may have a 4th treatment. We really don't know until I get blood work done next week. They are looking for a zero pregnancy hormone count in my blood. It dropped significantly between the first and last treatments, and I only hope it does again before next week. In the meantime, I need to try and keep my energy level up to focus on lesson plans for next week. I can't believe I only have 5 weeks left before summer.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Last day of freedom

Tomorrow I check back into the hospital for another round of chemo. Fun stuff. I feel like I was on probation and I re-committed a crime, so I have to have another 5 day sentence. Not that I have had any fun at home. Doctor's orders - no sex, no drinking, no gym. Who could have fun with those orders? I worked a lot trying to get my class and substitute ready to take over for a week. I did enjoy spending time with Jon. He really is amazing. I appreciate him very much. He has been very patient, and loving, and just plain wonderful. I am dreading leaving him again. Its hard to sleep alone after 10 years. I won't see him much this time. He will probably stay home. Some women think I am crazy. But he needs to work (someone has to pay for this mess) and one of us might as well get a decent nights sleep. I have lots of visitors coming this time to bring me meals and entertain me, so it isn't worth the 2 hour round trip car ride. If something were to happen to me, he would get a phone call. Nothing he can do but sit by and watch it all happen, so he might as well be home being productive. And keeping my cat company. I am going to miss my cat, too.
I am going to try and knit something on bigger needles, with bigger yarn this time, and can hopefully get a couple scarves done. I will not bring my computer. What is the point without internet access? So I won't update my blog while I am gone this time. Mom and Dad are coming down from Denver to spend Thursday thru Sunday with me. So there will be some good uninterrupted game playing between naps. Plus that means I get to have a pedicure with mom on Saturday, and Bingo at one of the casinos if I am not too tired.
I just want to throw something out there. And I am not trying to complain. I know the people reading this are behind me. I just need ot get this off my chest because you all listen to me. There are some people who think I am not going through the appropriate stages of grief. Here's the thing. I was only 5 1/2 weeks, really only pregnant for 2 weeks. I was not attached. Not to mention that crying about it and getting myself into hysterics wasn't going to undo anything, or make me pregnant again faster. The whole thing has been quite neat to watch from a scientific point of view. I am excited to heal up and start again. We have 6 embryos waiting for us in a freezer somewhere. If fertility problems have taught us anything, it is how to be patient. I knew we had a chance of this not being successful, and I came to grips with that before we started. My body just wasn't ready. I am lucky this all happened early in the pregnancy so I can heal faster. I feel strong and positive. Getting pregnant again won't be a problem. No one is in the clear until that baby is born, and I am no different. Lets face it, I am a little OCD as it is. Do I really need to make myself crazy over all of this? No. I have been very lucky to be surrounded by very strong women in my life who influenced me every day to be who I am. And I have listened to those women's stories, to the things that have bonded us, and made us all stronger. That is where I get my strength. A good women knows when to cry, and when to be vulnerable. This is not a vulneraberable time for me. I pull from every other experience in my life, and from those around me (men and women alike) and know that I am ok. So you should be, too. I am not anti-feeling, or uncompassionate, or a monster. I cried when I thought I would lose my uterus and not have another chance at this. But quickly realized that that was why I was at the hospital. All the good doctors would prevent that from happening. Though it is not my choice of vacation spots, it is what it is. I will take this time to enjoy the company of those that visit, and get some good knitting and reading done, while challenging my brain when I watch the Game Show network. I am not discouraged, and look forward to moving on when this is over. I hope you all feel that, too. If you don't, please keep it to yourself. I don't need the negativity. I appreciate the positive support that is being thrown my way, and have been quite overwhelmed by it. It has been neat to re-connect with people I haven't heard form in a while, and have them share their stories as well. More strength to build on. I am not alone, and never will be. Thank you to all of you.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Worth the Wait

I was upset about being in the hospital, I was going to miss the premiere of The Hills. I came home to a sweet surprise - 2 episodes on my Tivo. I have to say, worth the wait. All the drama is back, and I am loving it. It sucks that I will miss it next week, but how great that it will be waiting for me! Hell, yeah. I love T.V.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Home again

Finally. I never thought I would be home. The last few days were much like the first. I had some crazy roommates that made sleeping difficult until the last night.
On the plus side, I think I lost a couple pounds. The other thing is that after 2 ultrasounds, the heartbeat has minimized so much that they couldn't get a read on the beats per minute. So it is on it's way out. I still have to go back on Monday for another 5 days of treatment, but I will know what to expect next time. And that's that. I am tired. And going to watch the Biggest Loser and go to bed. Hopefully my next post will be more fun.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

In the hospital, day two

I had a couple breakdowns last night. Every time I laid down I cried. I was exhausted, but the water works wouldn’t stop. Besides the overwhelming support of everyone, and knowing what great people I have surrounded myself with, I couldn’t figure out why I was crying. I think it is the not knowing. Sitting around all day thinking about everything certainly did not help. Once I got my medication, I was ok. I didn’t get my meds until about 10:30 p.m. They said they would try to get my meds a few hours each night to get my check-out time earlier by Tuesday. The anti-nausea medication made me sleepy. Jon stayed with me last night (there was a cot in the room), which I didn’t ask of him, but secretly was relieved for.

My principal also called yesterday to check in. He hated to bring up the subject, but he needed to let me know that because of budget cuts, all first year teachers do not have a contract at this time for next year. The good thing is that I teach a stand alone curriculum and they are going to fill those positions first. So there is a good chance I have nothing to worry about. But technically, I am unemployed after June 30. All in all, a long day.

Today was boring, but relaxing. Jon left early in the morning to take care of some things at home. I bet the cat was starving. I had a couple doctors visit me early. I got a shower, and just as Jon arrived with one of the most beautiful bunch of flowers I have ever seen, we were told I would be switching rooms. I now have a roommate. Bummer. But she sleeps a lot from her medications. I expect a lot of visitors tomorrow so I hope not to bother her. I told Jon to go home around 4. We were both sitting here falling asleep from not having slept great the night before. It seemed silly that he couldn’t nap in the comfort of his own home. I had plenty to keep me busy. I have to do lesson plans, mainly. Jon needs to take it home, print it, and take it in Monday morning.

So all in all, a very slow day. As long as I stay not really bleeding, I will continue to have uneventful days. And I do have the Game Show Network, which I don’t have at home. I am loving it.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

In the hospital

Friday April 2, 2009
We checked into Good Samaritan Hospital in Phoenix at 9 am. We sat in a transition room until about 2 p.m. while multiple doctors came to talk to us about what is going to happen. We were moved to the 7th floor and then told after a few hours that we would be moving to the oncology floor. At 6 p.m. we finally got settled into a room on the top floor, and meds will start around 9 p.m.

The medication they are giving me is a type of chemotherapy, and will be administered over 5 days. I won’t lose my hair or anything. Side effects are mild, nausea and maybe upset stomach. They are going to give me something for that, too. But because it is a type of chemo, an oncology nurse must administer it. The treatment is similar to treating cervical tumors. The dangerous part is the cervix is supplied by a major artery. The embryo is feeding off of that artery, and has recruited a number of other blood sources to feed itself as well. The major concern is acute bleeding. They want to stop anything before it gets bad (if I bleed) so that I don’t lose my uterus (clearly the ultimate goal). The meds work like an anti-folic acid, and should starve the embryo of nutrients. If it dies the way it is supposed to, my body will simply reabsorb it, and we can spend time healing for a few months. And yes, you read right, 5 days. So I will be here longer than we had originally thought.
What I have is so rare that a lot of different doctors are involved. Everyone has been very nice, and I have talked to a lot of people. I am a bit of a case study. I am the first cervical ectopic pregnancy for my fertility practice.
I didn’t get much sleep last night and have done a lot of nothing today, so I am tired. As soon as I get meds I am passing out. I don’t have internet, but can check e-mail on my phone. Jon is going to take my computer home each night and post for me so everyone can be caught up on what is going on.
Thank you to Paul and Marie for bringing Chinese and fresh faces. It was yummy, and a nice break.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Hospital, here we come

Today I went to see a fetal radiologist. It was really amazing to see everything in my body, and I find science fascinating. I still have a healthy pregnancy, and there was a heartbeat and everything. Crazy. The problem is that it decided to plant in my cervix, instead of my uterus. It is on the verge of falling out of my vaginal opening, so it is close to gone anyway. But it is still connected to a blood source. Cervical ectopic pregnancies are rare, and dangerous. Tomorrow, I get to check into the hospital for treatment. I don't know much at this point, except that the treatment is the same as what is used to treat cervical tumors, and a type of chemotherapy in conjunction with a drug called methotrexate. It is aggressive and can cause severe bleeding. They want me there to monitor me to make sure I don't bleed so much that I lose my uterus, which is a possibility. I have been pretty cool up to this point, and think I have had, excuse my french, but a pretty great fucking attitude. But this afternoon, I lost it. I am scared and nervous, and wondering what else could go wrong with this whole process when all I want is a simple baby. Crack heads get pregnant everyday. Is that what I need to do? Am I participating in the wrong kind of drug treatment? Lord knows hard drugs might be more fun. And with an IV, it is hard to knit. Do I have enough to read? Can I get enough crosswords done? Did we pack Sequence and cards? Is Jon going to make me crazy? Am I going to starve (wait, I have already lost 10 pounds since my egg retrieval, only 6 more to go to hit my goal weight. Maybe that won't be so bad. Again, something hard drugs could take care of)? My brain is a mile a minute. I am also tired, which doesn't help, and I have to do laundry since I won't be here this weekend. Go to bed, some of you might say. But I can't pack for the hospital when I don't have a stitch of clean clothing. I even went to Target tonight to buy underwear, and realized I would have to wash it anyway. But I don't want to ruin any of my good stuff. And I have to do lesson plans. My poor students have to be so sick of me being gone. I am sick of being gone. I like a regular schedule. I wish I could take my cat with me, but something tells me the nurses won't find cat litter sanitary. But I am packing my pillow and blanket. And I will rehash the whole experience for you when I get home. Or maybe when I am there if they have wireless. Whatever. You'll find out.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Seriously? Saga continues

Apparently my sacrifice to the gods wasn't enough.
The doctor called this afternoon with the results of my blood tests. My hormone levels should have dropped between yesterday and today to verify the miscarriage. And guess what? Mine went up. Yes, up. They think this means I am still pregnant, but it is an ectopic pregnancy (in the fallopian tubes). Apparently when they transferred the embryos into me, they moved around enough that 2 settled into one of my tubes. Great. Dangerous and bad. So tomorrow I see a fetal radiologist to determine if this is accurate. If it is I either need to have a surgery or take medication to terminate it so I don't lose a fallopian tube, or worse, my uterus. This is starting to get annoying. I'll keep you posted.

A Sacrifice to the Gods

Let me bring you up to speed. For those of you that don't know, Jon and I just went through invitro fertilization. That's right, more shots, and lots of them. Everything started at the end of February. I checked a voicemail every afternoon to see what I had to do that night (usually a series of 3 shots) and then went in for a blood draw and ultrasound every morning. On March 5th I had a procedure to remove my eggs, and though I was swollen and sore, they took out 22 mature eggs. Those that they couldn't reach, or weren't mature were left in. Sixteen were successfully fertilized and stuck in the incubator, and 8 made it to 5 days old. On March 10th we went in and they transferred 2 back into me, and froze the rest in pairs for future use. On March 19th we found out we were pregnant Yahoo!
Unfortunately, it didn't last long. I miscarried on Monday. And no, this is not an April Fool's joke. It has been a week of health follies as I have fallen apart at the seams. I had this crazy heat rash all over my legs for 2 weeks. Thursday I woke up with a fever, that turned into a full blown cold with some vomiting. That weekend, I slept so much that I was afraid I would lapse into a coma. Night sweats broke my rash, but Monday I broke out in hives, which usually send me to the ER, and then in the middle of an intense 2 hour state mandated test for all of my students to move into high school, I started bleeding (I am glad I wore black pants that day). On bed rest until I could get to the doctor on Tuesday, I was actually excited to go home and take a nap. Officially, I can't say that I miscarried until I get the results of my blood test back today, but let's be real. There was no visual pregnancy on the ultrasound yesterday, and they don't know what caused it. Though I am sure my having so many illnesses at once didn't help.
Yeah, it sucks, blah blah blah. But I would rather have no pregnancy than an unhealthy one. I think on top of everything, I would have a hard time dealing with a special needs child, and I mean that in the nicest way. Now that I have made my sacrifice to the baby gods (and lord knows I bled enough for that) we wait a month and try again. So here is my top 10 things on the positive note of miscarriage:
1. I got pregnant. That is a start.
2. I fit back into my regular bras overnight. You have no idea how good that feels. It is bad enough to have boobs on the big side, I sometimes worry they will be permanently stuck on extra super huge.
3. We have 6 frozen embyros in the bank, which will make the next process less complicated since I don't have to go through the egg harvesting process.
4. I can drink again, for a while. And I am not talking about water and Shirley Temples. We finally started carrying my favorite beer in AZ (EX Street Wheat by O'dells), and I haven't had it yet, so now I can. And wine. Sweet wine. Aaaahhhhh.
5. My body has time to heal from the itchy, rashy, stuffed up, feverish, coughing, vomiting, bleeding, sleepy mess that I had become. Plus, not having been to the gym in a month, I was turning into Jell-O, which brings me to my next point,
6. Gym, gym, gym
7. We paid for a package deal, so now we get to use it. It's not like I have to come up with another small fortune. It's like buy 1 chance, get 5 more for free. What girl can resist a sale?
8. I didn't want to have a baby on Thanksgiving or during Christmas season anyway. Too crazy.
9. Maybe I can get through bikini season before I get preggo fat. I can't bake in the sun when I am with child, so now I can work on my tan.
10. Practice makes perfect, and since we got to do no such spontaneous acts during this whole process, I can get back to enjoying my husband again.

So there you have it. I feel fine. My health wasn't at risk. I am alive and on the mend. I am not emotional about it, and don't plan to be, and I don't think that is abnormal. That won't get me pregnant again. Something like 40% of IVF cycles are successful the first time, I just fell into the wrong percent. Besides, my dead grandmother through 4 different phsycic readings promised me a boy who chose us a long time ago, and I'll be damned if I let this one speed bump stop me from denying that soul a place on this earth (I know I sound crazy, relax, I have always been crazy, you just may not have know it). If I am not pregnant by November 26th when this one would have been due, I may feel a small twinge of sadness. But that is a long time from now. There are a lot of people having babies right now that I am trying to knit for, and I can get that all out of the way in time to clear my knitting schedule for my own child.