What if I say I will never surrender?

Well, hey there.

Here I am.

It’s been a while so I will play catch up tonight, before writing about the more pressing things I have had on my mind.

A large part of why I have not been writing is that I have been in the throws of fertility treatment (which really deserves its own special place in hell). In between hormones and appointments and stress I haven’t had the emotional capacity to write. Though, lord knows I have tried.

Over the past few months I have learned again and again, that my body is doing it wrong. I am running out of eggs. My immune system is killing pregnancies. I have endometriosis. Ovarian cysts. Polyps. “Doctors appointment” to me, is synonymous with “Doom”.

On the plus side I now know more about human reproduction than I ever anticipated. So ya know, if I ever get a chance to go on Who Wants to be a Millionaire and there happens to be a question on zygote development or hormone production; I may be in with a chance for the big bucks. Don’t worry. I won’t let it change me.

One of the more interesting aspects of my treatment is the intralipids. Basically once a month I go into hospital for the day to have an IV of some soy/egg concoction. I am banned from taking steroids (according to my immunologist) due to the whole rampant psychosis thing. So the intralipid treatment is another way to suppress my immune system to allow a pregnancy to progress. Apparently anyway.

Intralipid infusion. 20 minutes after the nurse 'tissued' me, and my hand blew up like a balloon (which sadly, I don't have a photo of).

Intralipid infusion. 20 minutes after the nurse ’tissued’ me, and my hand blew up like a balloon (which sadly, I don’t have a photo of).

I also had a laparascopy surgery to treat my endometriosis, which wasn’t too bad. I have a history of waking up like a wild combative beast after a general anaesthetic, so my anaesthetist told me she was going to sedate me before I woke up. It must have worked because when I woke up there was no sign of a struggle, and my nurse seemed uncharacteristically relaxed.

One thing that really struck me was how NICE the nurses were. I’m used to nurses barking at me or being profoundly unsympathetic. After my hernia reconstruction (which was a fairly large operation that I spent a total of 7 days on a surgical ward for) I had the audacity to ask a nurse for some painkillers. I was told – in a rather snippy tone – that I HAD to expect SOME pain, and was very reluctant to offer me relief. I was an involuntary psychiatric patient at the time, with my own psychiatric nurse, and I half wonder if she thought I also had some sort of substance abuse problem as well. But even if I did; 24 hours post open surgery you hurt. You need painkillers.

Anyway, this time, during the night after surgery I was in a lot of pain. I left it for about three hours before, out of desperation, I pressed the call button and waited to be told off. Instead this lovely nurse came, and looked at my chart and dosed me with oxycodene in a rather maternal manner. I promptly got high (which was odd as I used to take the stuff 3 times daily and never felt remotely stoned) and then fell asleep. My sheets were changed. I was spoken to in a respectful manner. I was given options not orders. I was not a psychiatric patient, nor was my psychiatric history deemed particularly relevant. I was treated better. It’s hard not to make assumptions.

Of course, things never run smoothly in our household. So a few nights after the surgery Hubster and I woke to Master D coughing in an exceedingly ominous manner in our bedroom. Seconds later he threw up. Fifteen minutes later he hurled again. Master D climbed into bed with Hubster, and in an effort of self preservation I escaped to the couch – because gastro after abdominal surgery? HELL NO. But the damage was done, and we all went down with a despicable, no doubt Kindy acquired, stomach bug.

In the middle of everything I started to feel very negative about everything. I felt like we had too much on our plate. I had too many appointments. Too many health concerns. Every week I seemed to spend most of my time in hospitals or doctors waiting rooms. I felt drained.

So when Hubster announced he was going to Sydney on business I booked tickets, packed bags for Master D and I, took some of my annual leave and went with him. It was the most wonderful week spending quality time with Master D, seeing the sights of Sydney, and getting the hell away from everything that was going on. Only marred by reacting to some food, getting sick, and then having dreadful anxiety problems. Because autoimmune diseases never take holidays.

When we got back I saw my psychiatrist who put my back on Seroquel for the interim. I hadn’t slept properly in weeks, was having constant panic attacks, and was getting more and more unhinged. The med change seemed to help and I began sleeping again and my anxiety has subsided somewhat.

So here I am again. Just about to start another round of fertility treatment. Fighting to keep my autoimmune disease and mental health stable. Juggling a plethora of appointments. Trying to fit in a full time PhD and part time work in the mix.

I’m doing ok.

Each day at a time.

It takes a lot for me to surrender.

Runners Wall

It has been a less than ideal week. A chain of unfortunate events triggered by an unexpected tooth extraction and culminating in some gnarly medication interactions (oh Lithium, life would be so dull without you). I’ve pulled a back muscle and possibly an intercostal muscle vomiting. Because despite how much practice I have had, I puke like a savage hybrid of Linda Blair (in contrast to Hubster, who vomits like the Queen – dignified, silently, and very very rarely). The other night my kid woke up petrified because he thought there were monsters in the house.

There was, child. There was.

Anyway, so I’m chilling at home on my own today, shuffling around like Ozzy Osbourne and seriously contemplating the hole in my life that stone cookware and the “Ahh Bra” could fill. While attempting to be productive I decided to pay our bills and found all the prescriptions for our first injectable cycle next week.

And that’s about when I lost it.

I cried and cried. Which was not only painful (pulled muscles FTW!) but pretty unusual. I don’t really cry. As in truly cry, with tissues and red puffy eyes and snot and grossness, properly. Laugh inappropriately. Yes. Shed a few forlorn looking tears at appropriate moments. Perhaps. But not this gut wrenching howling shit. Thank God I was on my own. It was like Linda Blair all over again.

Then I realised that I’m just….tired. So tired. Emotionally that is. Though probably physically as well. My life for the past few years has been doctor, medication, hospital, repeat. I get the rare stuff. The weird side effect. I can’t even bloody well go and get a tooth extracted without all sorts of drama. I just want it all to go away.

I have hit the runners wall.

Why can’t my body cooperate? Why can’t I do something crazy, like, ya know, eat a piece of bread, without consequence. Why can’t I be one those women who just decide they want a baby, then BAM 9 months later they are presented with a squishy newborn? Who feel joy when they see a positive pregnancy test, not dread..already preparing to lose it. Why do I have to start this journey of invasive treatment when I have already had so much medical intervention? Why do I have to spend this extortinate amount of money on something that has around a 50% success rate – maybe less. In what other universe would we pay thousands of dollars for something we may not receive? Or that we may lose afterwards anyway?

Hope. That’s why.

Last weekend Hubster and I went to the clinic so I could learn how to inject myself. We really had no idea. I thought it would be one of those pen things like Diabetics use. While one medication is administered like this, the others involve cracking open ampoules and mixing powder with a watery solution. SO MUCH ROOM FOR PHAFFERY.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no qualms about physically injecting myself, but my name should be “Rachael Fumble Fingers” (Reason #103 why I could never be a surgeon).  I can imagine so many scenarios where I smash ampoules and have to hair like a bat out of hell to the compounding pharmacy across town to get replacements. Or I lose needles, get the dosage wrong, inject air into myself. The possibilities are endless. I just keep telling myself “If heroin addicts under heavy sedation can manage to inject themselves intravenously, I’m sure you in a (allegedly) conscious and informed state can figure out how to stab your stomach.” Surely.

I just feel myself hitting that wall. I think the past events of the last few years have caught up with me. I’m tired. The other morning I woke up and as Hubster kissed me good bye I told him “I don’t want to adult today. I may or may not be arrested for diving into the ball pit at IKEA. Just a heads up.”

Meanwhile my near four year old told me over breakfast that he couldn’t wait to be an adult because then he wouldn’t have to hold anyones hand in the carpark. It never ceases to amaze me the intensity in which children want to grow up. The biggest compliment I can give him is that he is “grown up.” And then you really DO grow up and suddenly you start buying anti-aging creams, getting cagey about your age, and recounting the “good old days” where your biggest problem was whether to choose the chocolate or rainbow paddle pop (still a dilemma. To be fair).

But I have had my cry and “poor me” whinge. Now, I will put on my big girl panties and do what I need to do. This is it. Three cycles and we’re done, whatever the outcome. We have had so much stress and disappointment and waiting. Now we are getting the help we need. It’s time. Time for me to “woman” up.

I have hit this runners wall in various situations before, and I have always managed to break through to the other side.

You can say many things about me. But I don’t give up easily.