The diagnosis

So I am trying to get up to speed because I start my first IVF cycle (the drug injections) this Sunday and I am terrified.

So we met with two endocrinologists. The first was one recommended by my gynecologist. He was a kind old man and perfect for some but not us. He talked about IVF and the process in terms of faith, if that makes any sense. He would say things like, “if it is supposed to happen” or “god allows it”. It was a little off putting. All matters of faith aside, I am coming to you for your experience and expertise, not your faith. I want a doctor who is confident in their ability because they work hard and are experienced.

So on to doctor number two. We found this one, well my husband did. Unlike the other clinic, this practice publishes numbers with the CDC on their success rates. We appreciate being able to see data like that. This decision is a huge one to make. It is costly both emotionally and financially. Any evidence of your success is reassuring. After all, this whole journey is peppered with the unknown. I will take any bit of extra information. We decided to go with doctor number two. We appreciated her candor, her confidence and her honesty.

The reason for the damage to my tubes was unknown. And it was bad. My doctor felt that from the HSG test there was no hope in saving them. She said she wouldn’t know until she saw them but the X-rays didn’t look promising. Laparoscopy was scheduled. The idea of surgery was terrifying. I haven’t even broken a bone and now I have to have surgery. We discussed the many scenarios and the most likely, the tubes would be removed.

I felt a heavy burden of shame. After all it was my body that had failed. I was broken and now I had to have something removed. The damage was severe and there was no explanation. No illness, no symptoms of any kind. The only thing my doctor could think of was I used to smoke. Maybe that caused it.

The day of the surgery came. I had followed all the rules, no food, no water. I was checked in. I changed into my gown and waited for my doctor. She came by and told me not to worry. It was very routine and she had done it a million times. The anesthesiologist came in. He read through my chart and chuckled. He said “Cigars? Really?” I was confused. Nervous about the operation. I had forgotten that I had put down in my history that sometimes I smoke cigars. Usually on holiday, at a cafe in a sunny plaza somewhere foreign. That helped me relax. I was wheeled in after waiting around for awhile. My doctor said hello and then I was asleep.

I woke up in the same spot I had been waiting in the recovery room. I felt drunk from the anesthesia. As each minute passed, so did that feeling. The nurse brought me snacks and my husband. I was grateful for both. Surgery wasn’t so bad.

My doctor came to check on me. She had news. Turns out she knew what exactly had caused the damage. She flipped through pictures of my insides, showing me signs of endometriosis everywhere. Everywhere but my ovaries. She said that I had Stage IV endometriosis, except for one thing, my ovaries. At Stage IV they have cysts on them but she couldn’t find any on mine. The endo had prevented the removal of the tubes. They were cut and burned.

I found a strange comfort in knowing what had happened. And it wasn’t my fault. I hadn’t done anything stupid and jeopardized something I want so badly.

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