Recovery

This blog is long overdue for an update. First things first, my husband is ok. Well, he isn’t ok right now, but he will be and he isn’t going to die. That’s the best news!

May 24th he had surgery to remove the tumor. After that he had CT scans and blood tests. Everything looked pretty good except two lymph nodes were borderline swollen. These are the lymph nodes in his lower back and the ones that testicular cancer spreads to first. He had an appointment with the oncologist who said that he currently had an 80% chance of being cured from that surgery alone. That was great news! However, Matt was pretty concerned because of the tumor make-up. Basically, although it seemed pretty clear that it hadn’t spread beyond the testicle, its always possible that it could have. The oncologist wanted him to just be on surveillance but Matt was seriously considering RPLND surgery (a pretty major surgery with an incision from his sternum to below his belly button so they can take the lymph nodes out behind his bowels and other organs). 

A urologist who comes into my work suggested we meet with the surgeon to help make a decision. Again, we are so incredibly thankful to be in the city with the best surgeon in the nation who does this surgery. Upon meeting with him, he described the three reasons people with the option to have an RPLND (not mandatory) choose to do so. The first was that you’re a generally anxious person. If you can’t sleep the night before your CT scans and are always worrying about a relapse, those guys usually choose surgery. This was exactly Matt.

The second was wanting to avoid chemotherapy and all the radiation from so many CT scans on surveillance. This was also Matt. We asked the oncologist if he had a relapse and had to have chemo, if it would sterilize him and he said because he has already had issues in that department, then most likely yes it would. That kind of goes with the last reason. He said usually guys who choose the surgery are ones who are young and want a family…basically having surgery preserves fertility. This is because having the surgery drastically reduces his chance of a relapse and thus chemo, ect.

He chose surgery. That was yesterday. The last 24 hours have been pretty brutal. Neither of us got any sleep all night, but thankfully he is sleeping right now. We’ll be here a few more days and then he will be recovering at home for about a month.  In a sense it’s crazy that he chose to go through this. However, hopefully this will be the worst and the end of it…apart from the large scar down his belly of course.

Prior to surgery he did actually bank sperm. This is because there is a slight chance of sterilization in surgery because the nerves that cause ejaculation are connected to the lymph nodes and sometimes they get hit. Back in the day, this surgery meant you’d come out without being able to ejaculate (semen goes into the bladder instead) but now they spare those nerves. Yay! Matt didn’t want to take any chances though. The cool thing about that is that we got some stats on his sperm after removing the troublesome testicle.

Total count: 32 million
Concentration: 32 million
Motility: 74%

Yeah for motility!! That is huge! So happy about that! However, I’m confused about the concentration and total count. I think that basically means there wasn’t a lot of semen, but what was there had a normal amount of sperm. Regardless I don’t think it’s much to complain about at this point. We now have 3 vials of sperm frozen if we need em. I pray we never do. Then what do we do with it? Weird.

In a way, his cancer has given me a nice break from the heartache of infertility. Especially the first month. But then it would hit in strange places again. And ya know, it’s still more painful than anything else. I know I’m not the one with cancer, but I feel I now understand why women who have gone through IF and cancer can say that IF is more painful. One big reason is cancer is public where IF is not. I’ve prayed and prayed to be pregnant before his surgery, before his birthday a week ago and even now, I pray I’m pregnant. I so desperately want there to be that good in the midst of this. How sweet it would be. Yet I still know that God is doing good in this. I’ve listened to a lot of Matt Chandler messages during the past couple months and it’s been really encouraging. He had a brain tumor a couple years back. It’s made me truly be grateful even if for small moments, that God is bringing us through such hardship. I know he loves us. He disciplines those he loves. A life of ease would not give us the gift of Him that we desperately need. And man, what a reminder it has been that this world is not my home and I truly long for the day when I’m there. 

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Cancer

My husband was diagnosed with testicular cancer a week and a half ago. He has had surgery to remove the tumor and with it, a testicle. He now will have a CT scan to see if it’s spread. The pathology report showed that it was contained in the testicle. After the CT scan, we will go to the IU cancer center for treatment, whatever that may be. We are now so thankful to live in the city with the top doctors for testicular cancer.

I could care less about a baby anymore. All I want is for my husband to live. If this sterilizes him, than so be it. So many people have brought up the baby stuff and have said they’re praying curing the cancer will cure our IF too. That’s sweet and all, but I don’t care right now. He is a gift that I’ve spent so much time taking for granted. No longer.

Mom & Preggo Sister Visit

Aside

My time with my mom was really good. It was actually even encouraging. I was pleasantly surprised.

The good part about being open about infertility is that you can say what you’re actually thinking. The bad part is that you actually say what you’re thinking. I felt like my mom saw a lot of the anger in my heart. That really made me sad. But it was a good eye opener for me to see my sin. At one point my mom asked me something to the effect of “What would it take for you to be ok?” I don’t think she used that wording, but it was similar.  I said I never would be until I was a mother. I said I really do believe we are called to be parents, so I’ll always ache until we are. I was also able to share about the cycle of grief of infertility  How each month is a grieving process all over again but with no resolve. I felt like she got it (as best as a non-infertile can). She didn’t push or say I was wrong. Although, at one point when I was whining about how we have to think about the cost of treatment and how we can pursue that when normal people get to plan past that…they have the kid and plan for that and after that. Basically I was expressing the pity party in my heart and wanted her to join. She didn’t. She told me that she doesn’t think that’s true because everyone goes through hard things they’re just different. I felt like she was honest and yet not condemning in her rebuke. I think for someone to be able to remind someone of the truth, they have to first acknowledge the pain and the struggle of the other person. If she had said that prior to listening and expressing hurt with me, I do not believe I could have received her reminder.

I’ve struggled with faith on and off a lot the past two years. Do I simply believe that we will be parents one day? Or do I have faith that God is sovereign and whatever he wants he will do? Or are they one and the same? I believe in my head they’re one and the same, but it’s doesn’t transcend to my heart. We talked about that and about prayer. She told me she believes I will be pregnant and have a child one day and when she prays, she feels God tell her he has a time. She then reminded me of the vision she had.
Back in October of 2011, when we had been trying for 4-5 months, she said she was praying for me and had a vision of a little embryo growing in me. She didn’t know we were even trying and assumed I must be pregnant. So she called me to tell me it and I cried of course. When she told me it again this time, I asked if she was sure it wasn’t my little sister who is now pregnant. She laughed and said no, she knew it was me.

I then was reminded of the verse I was given on June 10, 2011. I underline verses in my Bible when I really like them. I will also put a date by them when I believe it was the Holy Spirit actually speaking to me. We began actively trying in June, but in April is when we stopped preventing. So by June 10th, I was already kinda bummed I wasn’t pregnant yet. The verse is Psalm 113: 9

He gives the barren woman a home,
making her the joyous mother of children.
Praise the Lord.

Honestly, I’ve kind of forgotten about that verse and the fact that God gave it to me. When my mom reminded me again of her vision, it reminded me of this verse so I told her about it. I think to my mom it’s like “See! He gave you that verse to encourage you and remind you because he saw the storm ahead.” To me, I’ve doubted whether that was actually from the Lord. When I read it back in June, I simply took it as God showing me that he would make me a mother. I don’t think I hardly paid attention to the barren part of it. So I guess, if God spoke to me telling me I would be a mother, why do I doubt that it’s true? Because I’m terrified I guess. Hope is so scary. Faith is scary. There are so many what ifs that pop into my head. However, after telling the story of that verse aloud to my mom, I feel so blessed that God would give me that verse at the beginning. Prior to my knowledge of my own bareness. To have something to remind myself of. To be able to point back and know that he will do what he has said he will do.

 

My time with my sister was ok. She very much is the same immature girl she’s always been. I think she’s just better about masking that so it only comes out in moments. Like at dinner when the conversation became about someone else instead of her, she completely checked out. Then had a coughing fit. Then called her midwife. On a Friday night at dinner time. Because she was coughing. She tried to explain it to us without using the p word so I said, “You mean pregnant?” She had to have a specific pillow to hold onto because otherwise her back hurts. She had to lie down in the car. She had to take a nap in the middle of the day. This was all toned down according to my mother. “She really is trying to not make it painful for you guys.” Sadly, I believe she is right. I hate to see what she is like around fertiles! shudder. It was actually quite painful to be around her, but I managed. In the evening I was ready to talk about the baby, ask her if they have a name and such, but she was in her own world, calling her husband and such. I don’t doubt that she was trying to keep her distance because she thought it’d be easier for me. However, I think she also did it because she thought it’d be easier for herself.

It’s Just Hard

Aside

We do not have IF coverage. Correction. DH now has IF coverage. But last time I checked, the woman is involved in just about every part of treatment. Basically, we realized that the insurance was super expensive and there was no way we could afford it. It was a really hard and emotional weekend. I had filled out all the paperwork and had Matt sign and such and that’s when he caught the price. How we didn’t beforehand, I don’t know. The hardest part? Sitting there watching him struggle so much. Normally that’s me. Normally he can muster up some, “It’ll all be ok.” But not this time. I sat there with my head in my hands crying and he at the other end of the table speechless. He was angry and devastated. There were no words. The question we kept asking was, why would God give him this job with IF coverage only for it to be out of reach? It seems cruel. He shared with his guys group and he said no one said anything for minutes afterwards. No one has words. But also, no words speak a lack of love. It made me so mad to hear that happened. I know it’s uncomfortable to say something like “I’m so sorry. That makes me so mad and hurt for you.” But its also uncomfortable to be living it, as well as to receive silence from your closest friends about it.

Since we only had a short time before he couldn’t enroll anymore, we decided to just put him on it. A woman on the forum I’m a part of suggested I call and ask my insurance if I get IF medicine covered, and I do! So that was encouraging as I know that alone can be very expensive. I do feel better knowing that Matt can get checked out in June. I can finish getting tested. I’ve decided to go to a different RE. I want a Dr. who will be very thorough and I don’t feel the last one was. I want to have a full work up of blood tests and an ultra sound. I’m somewhat suspicious that I may have PCOS. So while I do that, a urologist can work with Matt. I’m not sure what they will want to do. Ideally this is how it will go down;

Beginning in June, we both go to our Dr’s and have tests done.

Dr. gives Matt medicine or surgery (not sure I want him to have that due to success rates).

I am placed on Chlomid (most likely).

Because Dr. has helped Matt’s side of things, we get pregnant naturally! 🙂

Wishful thinking I know. Wouldn’t that be great though? If since we can’t do IUI that just giving us medicine would be enough? I just really wanted to be pregnant by August….

That brings me around to this week. My mom is coming to visit. And I’m really looking forward to it, really. I am. I am also nervous. My mom knows I’ve had a hard time and even wants us to take a trip for fun because of it. Which is sweet. At the same time, she does not get it. I don’t think I really expect her to get it. I just wish she at least knew that it was really painful. It feels like she just wants to gloss over that. She wants to spend time with me but does she understand that time with just us two may be hard…if she wants to hear how I’m really doing? She also isn’t good at listening at all.

My little sister is coming to do some coffee training about an hour or two away from here. So of course, it makes sense for me to see her. I’ve been dreading this and put off making a decision for as long as possible. Then she emailed me Friday to say she would love to stay at my place Friday night. I didn’t even know this was a possibility. The thing is, the Monday before I had spent some time praying about it and felt like God was going to tell me to see her. I didn’t respond to her email. My mom texted me asking me if that would work. I was frustrated because we’re just talking logistics here, not anything to do with my heart when really that is the issue. When I talked to her Sunday I told her that. She said she thought things were fine between us because she wrote me a letter apologizing for telling me she was pregnant the way she did. This is true and the letter was sweet and genuine. That doesn’t change the fact that she is pregnant. My mom reminded me of how I had said I have to deal with pregnant people on a daily basis so she thought it was no big deal. Sigh. My little sister begin pregnant is a way bigger deal than my co-workers being pregnant. Add to that our lack of relationship, and our very rocky relationship our whole life. Also, the fact that she is a very self centered person and my mom has already told me how obsessed she is with her pregnancy and how she complains all the time. Just what I want to be around. I had told my mom before if it was my older sister it’d be different because we have a relationship and I know that the pregnancy would not loom in-between, at least I hope. With my little sister, we don’t talk so what will she want to talk about? What will be the one thing I can’t stop thinking about? The baby.

I told my mom I’d call my sister since really, my mom shouldn’t be in the middle of this. After of course I broke down crying on the phone with mom. Not sure if she noticed. Anyway, I got off the phone and cried and Matt prayed for my conversation with my sister. Earlier Sunday, at church the sermon was about not playing it safe. I was reminded of times that Jesus has taught me just that these two years. That he calls us into hard things. That he was called into the hardest thing. That life isn’t easy because he is with me. In fact, I am with him and I go where he goes. And if that is moving towards people despite the pain, than so be it. I told my friend at church that morning how I was struggling with what to do because I do not want to live a life of self-protection. And yet, that is my natural reaction. But it hurts just to think that self protecting is pushing a relationship, a person away. I want to see my sister. I want to have a relationship with her. But just imagining being around her and her cute bump makes me feel like I am about to explode.

I called my sister to tell her to come. To tell her I want to see her. Why? Because I love Jesus and he loves me. Because he asked me to move towards her even if it hurts. Because I love my sister even though she hurts me time and time again…even before the pregnancy.

It’s hard in this to not wonder why Jesus asks me to do such painful things. But he reminds me that I’m not the only one who goes through painful things. That my sister has and will go through hard things too, even though she may never understand what I go through.

When I talked to my sister she was super sweet. She goes between being very sweet and not sweet at all to me. I’m glad she was the former this time. I told her I wanted her to come…and then I started crying. So I said, “I might cry the whole time…but I want you to come.”  Obviously that puts her in a very hard place and I could hear her struggling to say how she doesn’t have to come. I told her that I wanted her to come because I don’t want her to believe that I love her less or don’t like her because she is pregnant.

Then I had to actually switch my work schedule around so I can actually spend time with her. I’m still kind of in shock that I’m doing this. I hope I’m building it up in my mind and it won’t be that hard. That my faking it skills are better than I think. However, I want to remain me. Going through counseling to be freed from shutting off my emotions was too much of a gift to forget now. I don’t know what that means in this circumstance. Do I let myself cry if I need to? Do I put on a happy face so I don’t upset my mom and sister? Maybe I will truly just be happy! If you think of it, please pray.

The Crazy of Infertility

I had a lot of better ideas for a post, but now this is on my mind. So sorry for the lame post.

Today is CD14. Yep, time to be gettin it on. Matt will be thrilled, ha.  Anyway, that’s not my point. The last four days I’ve been cramping. I often will get a cramp or two around O, but not consistently, and not this early. So what do I do? I begin to think, “Maybe I’m pregnant.” Ridiculous right? I mean, I had my period two weeks ago. Yet I know crazier things have happened. Because the cramping  has remained (and its not painful, just dull aching), I decided to take a test. Yep, that’s how crazy I am. To balance my crazy out, I decided to take an OPK with it. This was after I got home from work. So I took it, then went and made lunch. Totally forgot about it. About 45 minutes later I come back to this,

Image

 

Yeah. So now what am I supposed to do with that? Logically, the test sat too long and I should have thrown it away and not even looked at it. Infertility makes you crazy though, so I had to look! And now, logically I shouldn’t think anything of it. But I can’t help myself! The OPK was positive or almost positive as well…also after sitting that long. Honestly, I’ve taken a few dozen of these tests and that is the closest to a second line I’ve ever seen. Even after sitting (yeah, I have a habit of letting them sit)……someone please bring me back to reality. We have infertility…there is no way we can I can be pregnant…I’m in the middle of my cycle……

This is why I hate infertility. Even when you know you can’t be pregnant, even after you’ve done your best to come to terms with that, even after it/you’ve squashed all hope, hope rears it head again. Always to bring you back down to reality; you are infertile and cannot get pregnant. 

Longest 20 Minutes

Today during my lunch break, I called the insurance company. I finally had been given the company policy number and gave it to the lady. She proceeded to look it up. She took her sweet time. She asked my name. She asked the companies name. She hemmed and hawwed. I was going crazy! Honestly, I have not been thinking too much about finding out this answer. But now that it was here, I was a nervous wreck. In a sense it was nice because it gave me time to think, time to pray.

Lord I trust you. No matter what happens, I trust you. 

I said Psalm 13 multiple times. “But I trust in your steadfast love. My heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord because he has dealt bountifully with me.”

By the time she found what she was looking for, I was basically crying.

Finally, she said “It looks like yes, infertility is covered.”
OMG. I asked her if it just said “Yes” its covered or what it said. She went into to details that confirmed, we will have coverage. 

I told her, “That is amazing. You have made my day.” 

Then I got off the phone and cried. I couldn’t stop crying! I really can’t believe it . I mean, how crazy that the job he got is based in Illinois! And their policy has coverage! I have to believe its an answer to prayer. Of course, I know treatment does not equal a baby. But to be able to go through treatment to try without going into debt, is a huge blessing. 

We have a lot to pray about in the next three months while we wait for it to kick in. Do we proceed with treatment right away? My heart says yes, of course. But the reality is, we’re really not financially stable in anyway right now. What would I do if we got pregnant and after the baby came? Right now, I have to work. So then who would watch the baby? All those things we have to think about. Whether or not we pursue treatment immediately, I feel  very blessed to have this. 

Could it be?

I know, second post in one day! I figure while I’m on a roll…..

I’ve been trying to stay away from Facebook lately. I feel like after *gasp* almost two years of infertility, I’ve learned that babies come in waves altogether. Right now, there is a big wave. And everyone is due around the same time. August. I know, Christmas babies. One being my coworker, the other my younger sister. I was really sad about the idea of working with a pregnant woman, but I had gotten over it mostly rationalizing it wouldn’t be terrible because we don’t work together a lot, and I don’t’ think her personality is the type to talk about it a lot over the next months.

Last night we had a meeting at work. I usually enjoy meetings at work. This was a quick and to the point one. At the end, my manager says,
“I’m having a baby in September and thought you should all know.”
My reaction: *gasp* You are?? Oh my goodness! When are you due? Congratulations!

This reaction was genuine. And it felt sooooo good to have a genuine happy reaction for someone being pregnant. Why would I be so happy? Well, since coming to this store in April, we have talked on and off about our desire for children but how it just doens’t seem to be happening. She has shared with me how she has really long and irregular cycles. She has also shared how she isn’t sure her husband even wants children. When I went made an appointment to the RE, she was proud because she was too terrified to.

My second reaction hitting about 2 seconds after the first: OMG OMG OMG I am sitting inbetween two pregnant women. OMG don’t cry. Don’t cry. Don’t cry. No, those are tears you are feeling. Think about soemthing else other than the fact that now you have to work with TWO pregnant women!!!

Fight or flight sure kicked in…and I flew! It was the end of the meeting and I got up and got out of there asap. I am so happy for my  manager. But I also am hurt and feel kind of betrayed. I feel like she knows how much I hurt over it. When my little sister told me they were going to not try not prevent, I told her to prepare for my nervous breakdown in a month. Of course, she didn’t see my nervous break down, but I did tell her about it. So now, here she is sharing this news in a group. Why didn’t she tell me first? Give me a chance to react. Instead I had to fight so hard to not cry and I almost lost the battle. I’m not a public crier at all, but I know if I hadn’t left when I did, everyone would have seen tears. I guess it’s hard because it’s a reminder that she never really had infertility. Ok, I can’t really say that. But there is a difference between the people who actively try and those who “hope” they have sex at the right time. Honestly, I wonder if she hadn’t been pregnant yet simply due to low libido. Sigh. But it also reminds me of the difference between someone who has gone through IF. I cannot believe if she had, she would have done what she did. So really, I can’t, and won’t blame her for announcing the way she did. She simply doesn’t understand. That makes me sad because I’m reminded of how alone I am.

I got in the car, broke down and said, “Jesus loves me. Jesus loves me. Jesus loves me.” I had to say that because all I was feeling is, “Jesus hates me.” He doesn’t, so I tried to remind myself of the truth. I came home and cried while Matt held me. It’s really hard knowing so many people are pregnant right now…and I know more will come. Including my other sister and very possibly my sister in law. If that happens, I feel like I will die. I don’t want to miss out on everyone’s lives, but all I want to do right now is go into a hole and never come out.
It’s also hard knowing that while Matt has a job now (and a good one…we think!) we can’t just jump into treatment. It doesn’t pay amazing, and because of his unemployment  we need to make sure we’re caught up and at least somewhat stable before trying to do treatment. Who knows how long that’ll take. Which means more babies by that time. Also, three months till it’s been two years. I. cannot. believe. it. Every cycle closer to two years confirms that we have the real deal infertility. sigh.

After my breakdown and dinner last night, I decided to research what Matts new jobs benefits are. He will have the same health insurance company I will actually. I went online to see if I could figure out his plan. When I looked on the paper given him, it says bcbsil.com That is, Blue Cross Blue Shield ILLINOIS. Did you hear that??? ILLINOIS. His insurance is through Illinois!! Sure enough, right on their website it says it covers infertility. Illinois is one of the 15 states with mandated infertility coverage. My heart began to pound. Could it be? Could it be that God gave Matt this very job for more reasons than just a decent job???? As you may have guessed, the company is based in Illinois, that’s why their health insurance is through there. It’s so funny how my heart can be so devastated one minute and feel like there is no light at the end of the tunnel, to being so hopeful the next! I couldn’t find his companies plan, so I just called BCBS. The lady said she can’t answer until she sees their plan, BUT if they do have IF coverage, even though we aren’t in IL, we would have the coverage still. !!!!! Holy smokes. Now, she also said (and I stayed up too late researching and confirmed this) that although IL has a mandate, there are exemptions. The ones I’ve learned of, Matt’s company would not qualify for. However, that does not mean there isn’t something that does exempt them. Basically, it just depends on what his employer picked up.

That would be so completely amazing. I cannot even begin to exclaim. But I’m trying to be hopeful, without putting all my hope in it. I have learned that I really can only trust in Christ. And if that means we have IF coverage, praise the Lord! And if it means we don’t, praise the Lord!

P.s. we wont’ know until he is able to sign up for benefits. He doesn’t start until at the earliest, next week. Please pray that his insurance covers IF! Until then, I am holding my breath. I’ll practice my TWW patience…..only its double because I actually am in the TWW!