Sunday, July 20, 2008

An Uphill Battle (Part 2)

Before continuing with my story, I just wanted to say thank you to those that have come and visited my little blog on its very first day!It's amazing how less alone you feel when you realize how many others are out there going through the same crud. I'm am so sad that such a painful thread links us, but I'm glad that we can gain strength and comfort from one another's experiences and thoughts!

Ok, now onto the rest of my journey up until now. I think I'll divide it into seperate posts, just to keep things a bit more organized and not so lengthy. Today's post will be about our infertility struggle, by far the worst that Endo has done to far.

Growing up with these "womanly issues" I always suspected having children might not be the easiest thing ever for me. I had nothing to academically back this up of course, but in my mind that part of me just didn't "function right" for some reason and so natuarally I assumed this would come back to haunt me someday. Boy was I right, and sadly enough I had grossly underestimated just how difficult it would be...

I would later (after my Lap) find out that I also have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) which unbeknown to me (at the time) is often found with Endo. My cycles were never what you would consider "normal" and after being on birth control pills for 8 years straight, I expected it to take a while for my body to get it all straightened out. Eight months into trying I still had no idea what my body was doing, so as per my doctor's advice, I started Clomid. I wish I had known at the time what horrid effects this drug would have on my Endo... perhaps, I would have decided against it, but I guess thats why the say hindsight is 20/20, huh? In the 8 months that we did Clomid (along with trigger shots and 2 IUI's) my Endo symptoms grew ten-fold. I developed some nasty cysts that we had to try birth control pills on to make them go away. That didn't work so well, but at least they weren't getting any bigger right? Ha! A few ruptured, and that was hands down some of the worst pain I've ever had. Then the non-stop bleeding began, for which I was placed back on birth control pills, only this time continuously. The bleeding continued... Provera was added to the mix... still I kept bleeding. The last thing my doctor could/would try would be Aygestin, and if the bleeding continued I would have to have surgery... both to stop the bleeding and get rid of the cysts that would just not go away on their own.

Of course the bleeding continued, the pain was at an all time high and I was popping Naproxen and Lortab like candy just to be able to function. I had been asked to keep a daily journal of my pain level, and those last 2 months, there was not a day that went by in which I wasn't hurting somewhere, ususally at a moderate to severe on the pain scale. It was awful... I wasn't sure how I was going to keep going like this. The pain drained me of any and all energy. I was worse than useless! After work I would come home and just crash on the couch. On the weekends I would take my strongest painkillers (because it was the only time I could since I didn't have to go to work) and pretty much just sleep the days away. I neglected my house, my husband, and any other resposibilities I had at the time. It had been almost 2 years since we first started trying to get pregnant, and there I was, still no baby, in worlds of pain, and bleeding to death. Could things possibly get any worse?

Oh yes... they always can. I've learned not to ask that question anymore. On August 31st, 2007 I went in for my Laparoscopy. (I will blog more in detail about that next time) When I woke up I heard the news I was dreading. Yes, I indeed have Endometriosis and a rather severe case of it too. I also found out I had PCOS which at that time meant very little to me, but would soon mean more pills to take, including the not-so-fun Metformin. Eventually all this would also mean a 6 month course of Lupron, which I am just barely resurfacing from. More on Lupron later on as well. So, here I am almost 3 years since we started down this road of trying to conceive, and still no baby. Will we ever get our little miracle? Who knows... but for now we keep chugging along, and in 2 days I will start another treatment, Femara.


My Endo Journey said...

The Femara peaks my interest. Is that something that it's labeled for, or, is endo an off label use (or, are you in a clinical trial)? I've heard people using it before, but, I guess with my background (I work in cancer research), I just know it for breast cancer. I hope that things go well for you!!!

Are you going to be taking anything to help prevent potential bone loss, especially with just having come off the Lupron? How long is the Femara taken for? Can you try to get pregnant while taking that?

Sorry for all of the questions. I may be facing this one day myself (who knows!), so, it's nice to hear from others.

God Bless you!!!

PS: I hear post Lupron is a good time to try to have children. maybe it'll happen before you know it. Do you know how to chart your cycle and such? Perhaps that could help your odds if you know exactly when and such. Just a possibility.

Alex said...

Femara can be used in several different ways. First and foremost it is a breast cancer treatment. As an aromatse inhibitor, it has also been proved very useful in shrinking endometrial lesions, much the same as Lupron. I'm actually going to use it a a fertility drug though, as I once used Clomid. When taken only 5 days each month (cycle days 1-5 or 3-7) it induces ovulation, but it is much more Endo friendly than Clomid.
As for tracking my cycles, I've been using a free software online called Fertility Friend which is absolutely fantastic, I highly recommend it to anyone thats trying to conceive! It has a tutorial and a library of info concerning how to read your body's signals to you each month, such as your cervical mucus, the position, height, and testure of your cervix, etc. I've learned SO much from it!
Yes, post Lupron you're "supposed" to have an better chance of conceiving. My doctor's wife has Stage 3 Endo and he says we have almost identical cases. She did fertility treatments for years, and finally got pregnant after a Lap and Lupron. That helped me make up my mind to go ahead with the treatment since it gave me hope!
I'm starting the Femara on Tuesday in the hopes that it will help bring me out of the Lupron-induced menopause. He doesn't want me to have to sit and just wait it out, as that could take months and we have precious little time to begin with. We tried for a total of 4 months after my Lap before the symptoms and endometriomas came back with a vengance, so the Lupron was (more than anything) meant to buy us some more time, does that make sense?

So did you decide against your 5th and 6th shots? How are you feeling? When do you think you'll start trying to conceive again? *sigh* this is a long road, isn't it? Wishing you the best!

Alex said...

Hmmm, that FF link didn't show up like I wanted... this is the url: