Thursday, November 19, 2009

Does this hospital gown make my ovaries look fat?

Last Friday I had a laparoscopy.

Laparoscopy is a surgery where they insert a camera ("laparoscope") through your bellybutton, along with various other implements through additional small points in your abdomen, in order to definitively diagnose and remove endometriosis. Now going into this surgery, I didn't naively expect it to be a magic panacea for my overall lack of fertility. Well, not totally. Sort of. 

Ok, maybe just a little. 

But can you blame me? As a veteran sub-fertile and part-time problem solver, I'm always on the look out for the Next Big Thing: a legitimate plan of action in a positive direction to finally turn this thing around. And when my doctor suddenly suspected endometriosis a month and a half ago, something (bingo!) went off in my head. It was a disease. With a NAME. And a KNOWN TREATMENT. Maybe this infertility stuff wasn't so hard to lick after all.

Even so, it actually took me a while to latch onto the endometriosis label. I still can't believe I actually possess it ("I have endometriosis" sounds so weird coming from my mouth). I've never met the standard criteria of having heavy periods and unbearable cramping. I've always thought I'd had quite mild periods, actually, and wrote the disease off years ago in my early inferti-education. I kinda half-expected to come out of the anesthesia to my doctor apologizing for having wasted my time. Nevertheless, there I was in my matching hair net and hospital gown, ready and willing to go under the knife to explore this new finding—and hopefully rid it from my body.

For the next 2 hours the surgeons did their best to remove all the offensive tissue. Turns out I do in fact have endometriosis, and not a mild case either. My doctor labeled it "moderate" and told me she found evidence of it on pretty much every available surface in my gut. End of story, right? Umm... no.

She sent me home with some saltine crackers and a handful of digital pictures. "Whaaa, what is thiiis?" I thought as we weaved our way home, me dreamily swaying in and out of awareness from the passenger's seat of our car. After fully coming to, my husband explained that the doctor said I have fatty ovaries. 

Let me repeat: Fat. On my ovaries. I guess you could say I'd never been so insulted in all my life.

Now fatty ovaries was something that NEVER came up in my google studies. PCOS, yes. Blocked fallopian tubes, yes. But fat ovaries? Is this a joke? Please tell me there is someone out there that makes a slim-fast for my reproductive organs!!

After spending the weekend in pain, confusion, and a little embarrassment, I called my doctor first thing Monday to get some clarification. Turns out the fat isn't so much ON my ovaries as IS my ovaries. It seems that as the ovaries age, the active ovarian tissue actually turns into fat and becomes non-responsive. Just like our thighs. 

Beings as I'm only 39, she was quite surprised to see my ovaries in such a state. Usually women much closer to menopause present with ovaries like these. Guess I'm an early bloomer.

Looks like the only thing for me and the ovaries to do is go on a diet. Just what do you feed overweight ovums? Eggbeaters?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Warning: Cranky, Bitchy Post Ahead

Today is cycle day 1. Now for me right now, CD1 carries with it no hopeful RE appointments, no new fertility drugs, and no ultasound viewings. CD1 is just what it is: a day full of cramps and crankiness and not-pregnantness and tampon-changing. Sorry to be graphic, but, well, it's CD1 and let's just be frank and not sugar coat this day with silly little acronyms. I'm on my period, y'all, and it sounds about as good as it feels.

This is my first full period after a failed IVF cycle. And while I shouldn't be so surprised it's here, I kinda am, because I naively trusted my acupuncturist when she told me "it's not uncommon for women to conceive the month after a failed cycle". Hear that laughing? It's the universe. Apparently I'm once again the butt of their sick joke.

But I had my reasons to be hopeful. Such as a perfect, positive OPK right on CD 13 like textbook clockwork. I even had what I *thought* was implantation spotting on CD 18 and 19.

Then, on day 26, I'm awakened at 5:15 to find my little monthly surprise. WTF? Does tampax get a cut of the profits everytime this happens?

But that was just the beginning. Oh, it gets worse.

There's this strange natural phenomenon that follows me around like a dark cloud whenever my progesterone levels drop. It's as if people feel a strong magnetism toward me and decide it's the perfect day to tell me that they're pregnant. At least this latest friend had the courtesy to tell me in private over email. I'm thankful for that small favor. Of course, my email back to her was all CONGRATULATIONS!! And that's soooo GREAT!! What else am I to do? Tell her it's not fair and that baby should be mine??

The piéce de résistance came when Preggo's husband sent out ultrasound pictures to all his guy friends. My hubby's heart sank, and with it mine too. Often I feel so responsible for his sadness. This is my physical affliction, after all. Sometimes I wonder how I'd feel if our IF was due to male factors. 

Anyway, whatever. I have no useful insights or lofty bits of wisdom to dole out right now. I think I'll just go change my tampon.