CCRM requires new patients over 35 years old to get a mammogram. I wasn't looking forward to having my boobs smashed between two cold metal plates but it had to be done. I'm turning 36 in 5 days so I wasn't expecting them to find anything.
I went into the clinic and the x-ray technician took the images she needed. Afterwards, she placed me in the waiting area and left to show the images to the radiologist. About 15 minutes later, she came back and asked if she could take some different angled shots of my right breast. Sure.
She took the images and back to the waiting area I went. She came back after another 10 minutes and said that the radiologist would like to do an ultrasound on my right breast. Hmm. Okay.
The woman with the ultrasound wand was very thorough - going over each breast until she got to the area on the top of my right breast. She kept going over the same area. Over and over. Taking shots from different angles. She said that she'd go show them to the radiologist who might be back to look at the screen herself.
At this point, I'm starting to freak out. Imagining hearing the words "you have cancer" when she returns. Wondering what that would mean for our fertility treatment. Wondering how I'd handle the news. It was the longest 8 minutes ever.
When the ultrasound lady returned, she was alone. I thought that must be good news. She told me that they found a benign cyst on my right breast. Whew. What a relief! Apparently, they want me to return in 6 months so they can monitor it. Not sure what that means exactly. I probably should've asked. But I was so happy to hear that it wasn't cancer that I wanted to get the heck out of there as quickly as possible before they changed their minds.
Here's the thing about this story. I conduct self-breast exams regularly. A few months ago, I told my husband that I felt that lump in my right breast. He told me to get it checked out. But I thought it was nothing. Plus, I'm too young to get cancer, right? So I did nothing. The only reason I finally went to get the mammogram was because CCRM required it.
But if that lump had been cancerous, I'd be kicking myself that I lost precious time to start treating it. With breast cancer, it's all about early detection. The reason I wanted to write this is because I don't think I'm alone in this. I doubt I'm the only person that has ever felt a lump in their breast and ignored it. This is a plea from me to you...if you find a lump, get a mammogram.
I got lucky this time.
But this situation could've been disastrous if I had waited and it was a cancerous tumor.
I'm having one of those days where whatever I do...it feels like it's not enough.
That nagging sense that I don't do enough or that I'm not enough.
It is so exhausting.
I feel disconnected from God and my spiritual life. Who's fault is that?
Mine. I haven't been going to church lately and I haven't been praying religiously.
I feel like a bad friend.
I've been flaking on social engagements because I haven't felt like myself. I've become my husband. LOL. And if you're one of my real life friends, you'll laugh at that. I don't want to be social which is so not like me. I want to hide out. Lay low. Bask in the quiet of a hike with my dog or losing myself in a book. I never get enough me time. Time where I don't have to think or be "on"... I can just be quiet.
I can't keep up with blog reading, writing or commenting. I'm gaining weight because I haven't been exercising enough nor have I been eating healthy. But where is the time? I want to be fantastic at my job...so I live it and breathe it everyday. But I'm lacking the proper balance. But please someone tell me how to fit it all in.
How do you work more than full-time, blog like a rockstar, keep up an exercise regimen, cook and eat clean, healthy and vegan (which is pretty much what it takes to keep my endo under wraps), pray, volunteer, attend church, feed your spiritual self via fertility yoga and meditation, juggle doctor and acupuncture appointments (and now travel schedules to Denver), keep up a house, maintain friendships, prioritize family and connect with your spouse?
I'm exhausted just thinking about it. My personal and professional to-do lists are never empty. I've accepted that but I never stop spinning my wheels like a hamster in a cage to check things off the list. I always wonder if I fail to get pregnant because God knows I have zero bandwidth for a child.
Sigh. The vegan chocolate cupcake I'm eating and organic, no sulfite red wine I'm drinking are helping to improve my somber mood. Yes, those are my misguided attempts at being healthy. But honestly, am I crazy? Am I the only one who suffers from the "no matter what I do, it's never enough" syndrome?
Now opening up to comments, suggestions, techniques, strategies, solutions, insights that y'all use to manage busy, crazy lives. Or is it just me...I know I'm a perfectionist, type-A person. It could just be me.
Thanks to my friend, Alicia's sage advice...I've adopted a new infertility mantra.
Follow the path of least regrets.
Unfortunately, none of us have a crystal ball which means it's impossible to know which decision is the right decision until you know the outcome. That being said....it's all about regret management. What decision will I regret the least when this IVF cycle is over.
That being said, we've decided to jump ship.
I need to have 100% confidence that I'm getting the best treatment possible. CCRM is one of the best (if not the best) clinics in the country. No one has refuted that...not even my own local doctor. With this IVF attempt, I believe I will have little baby embryos to consider. They should be handled with care by the best embryologist and stored in a world-class lab.
Having made the decision to charge forward with the more expensive yet more esteemed clinic, I feel a sense of renewed hope. As I mentioned, I love my local clinic but all of the changes to my protocol after my consult at CCRM caused me to lose some confidence. This process is difficult enough without more doubts and uncertainties creeping up. At the end of the day, I have a feeling deep in the pit of my stomach that if I stay where I am...I'm not truly giving myself the very best chance of success.
Even though having the doctors disagreeing about drugs, testing and protocols was stressful, I'm glad that I am playing an active role in this IVF attempt. I'm advocating for my health which is not an easy thing to do. Last time, I trusted 100%. I didn't try to learn the in and outs of IVF, testing and protocols. I figured...I'm not the doctor and they do this all the time. What do I know?
But in hindsight, the squeaky wheel always gets the grease. The one who speaks up, questions, seeks answers - gets the most attention and best care. I believe that now. And I don't think I'll ever go back to being passive when it comes to my health.
Many of you have asked why we're only doing IVF once. A would be fine with discontinuing fertility treatments now and living without children. He truly wants to leave infertility behind. To move onto the next chapter of our lives. But he knows that I want to do IVF. So our compromise is that we will only do one full IVF cycle and FETs until our frozen embryos (if we are lucky enough to have any) are gone. We both agreed to this.
So A and I are off to Denver in 2-3 weeks for our one day workup (ODWU). The ODWU is a 7-hour visit to CCRM which includes orientation, intro to our new nurse coordinator, semen testing, ultrasound, IVF consult, hysteroscopy, financial coordination meeting and other labs and tests. Some moments, switching clinics feels daunting. Others, I feel excited. Excited because of the new hope that creeps up. Hope that this trip might bring us closer than we've ever been to bringing home our baby.