Sunday, October 9, 2016

Welcome to the Club-Part 1

People belong to lots of clubs: the single mother club, the widower club, the breast cancer club. Sometimes they're fun clubs like the millionaire club or the own lots of houses club. But I belong to the infertility club.

I joined this club, reluctantly and in tears, officially in September 2014. Fair warning, this is my story and I'm not holding back.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

I spent most of the summer of 2014 in pain and unable to sleep due to heavy periods. I cannot even describe to you how awful and disgusting this was. Well, I could, but that would mean reliving it and I'm not inclined to do so right now. The only point that needs to be made is that something was wrong. And something had been wrong. For nearly five months I was bleeding, having awful cramps and didn't sleep more than a couple of hours per night because of it. I knew something was wrong but I didn't want to be told that I was right.

Eventually it became too much. I was exhausted. I felt sick all the time. I could barely last a whole day at work. And I was terrified and had been for a long time.

I had a myriad of tests done, lots of blood work, my first experience with an internal ultrasound (side note: at the time I had no idea that these existed. It was not comfortable. However, I've now had so many of these that I can read and interpret them on the monitor). I was given a diagnosis of PCOS, which was helpful and not helpful.

PCOS has an unknown cause. There is no cure. You can treat it by causing ovulation, but this is sort of a catch-22 because PCOS makes it super-duper hard to ovulate (hence the problems we're having now). I was put on birth control and was told to call at a specified time for follow up.

The birth control did not help. It didn't make anything worse, but it sure didn't make anything better. Then came something terrible. Something that didn't even cross my mind. And the whole experience was so painful and traumatizing thinking about it these years later makes me tear up.

I had a biopsy-of my uterus. I had a uterine biopsy. Sounds not so scary, right? All they do is snip a part of your muscle and that's it. But the first scary thing was that I had to have this because my doctor was concerned I had cancer. Waiting those 24 hours to get the pathology results back was absolute pure hell.

The other awful thing was the biopsy itself. It's not the easiest thing to get into, a uterus. There's this thing called a cervix that, unless you're in active labor, is a fairly small opening. It's too small, in fact, for all of the tools (needles, etc) that have to get into your uterus. The way that they make room for all these things is by dilating it. Now, when a cervix is dilated for birth it dilates slowly. It does not happen all at once. When it has to be forced open, when a forced dilation happens and it goes from 0-60mph in two seconds's an experience. So far in my journey it has been the worst medical test/physical feeling I have ever had. Your vagus nerve has to be stimulated to force your cervix open and then all these tools get shoved in and then they cut a piece of you out. So, to sum up, not fun at all.  I felt nausea, I felt hot, I cramped, I am pretty sure I lost consciousness for a few seconds. I had to lay on the awful table for several minutes until I could even sit up.

After I could stand up I went to put my clothes on and got some water from my nurse. I left the office and I went to sit in my car and I cried. I cried because I was exhausted, I was terrified, I was hurt and slightly traumatized, and I was nervous. My legs were still shaking and I didn't feel comfortable enough to drive so I did the worst thing-I googled symptoms of uterine cancer on my phone.

I got a phone call the next day. I did not have cancer. "Just the PCOS!" the nurse said cheerfully. Yup, just the PCOS. I had a diagnosis. I had a reason that this had happened. I have an incurable disease.

And I had just been accepted into The Infertility Club. I just didn't know it then.

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