Healing

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It’s been over two weeks since Matt’s surgery. He has done amazingly well. He has been completely independent for a week now. He takes walks daily, visited work, went to church and the pre-season Colts game on Sunday! Yes, it was probably a bit much too soon. But he was glad to get out.

The first week was definitely hard, but for reasons other than I expected. I thought he would be in more pain which would be hard for both of us. His pain has been very minimal the whole time. He went off the pain meds pretty early and cold turkey. It never occurred to me that he would have withdraws, but he did. Mostly hot and cold flashes for days. This meant very little sleep for both of us, mostly for him.

During this time I saw a lot of my heart. Can you guess what I saw? Ugliness. Selfishness. When he woke up the fourth time because he needed help moving, I wanted to say no. As the days went on with so much interrupted sleep, I had to consciously remind myself that I had to help him. It was like reminding myself that I love him! One of the last nights he said he had to yell to wake me up like four times and when I did wake up, I just stared as I debated getting up. I realize some people are simply servants. I am not. As a believer I am of course, called to be a servant. Que the conviction. Wait no. That didn’t hit until a couple days after I caught up on sleep. So I’ve been asking the Holy Spirit to give me a servants heart. Matt’s mom was here helping out as well and I am so quick to let her do things that I should have done…like dishes. She did them every day. I’m so thankful for that! And yes, she was here to help, but I know my heart. I know that my heart was selfish and lazy in letting her do it constantly.

It was also a wake up call (no pun intended) as to what being a mother would be like. I understand how even getting 8 hours of sleep, but only in small doses can make one incredibly tired still. Also, the giving up of oneself. I know being a mother is hard and painful because you have to die to yourself. I think I know a little better now. But please know that my husband who is a big baby when sick, was definitely not that way for either surgeries! That has been fun to see his personality and his determination to be independent as much as possible. Just wanted to clarify that the comparison between being a mother and caring for my husband are of course greatly different.

Here we are prior to his surgery. 
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And here he is taking a walk outside the day he got home from the hospital. He walked around the neighborhood shirtless for the first four days or so. ūüôā This led to finding out a neighbors friend has the same scar as Matt…only from a stab wound. We may live in a somewhat ghettoish neighborhood….

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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.¬†

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! ūüôā

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,

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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.¬†

Four Days Late

The week of my last post I prayed specifically that Matt would have a job by the end of the week. Friday came and I went into work feeling pretty bummed about the fact that he hadn’t had a single call. Then a co-worker of mine came up to me and said,
“I have something to tell you.”
“I think I already know what it is.” I replied.
12 weeks pregnant she is. Now, she had a miscarriage in June that just broke my heart…but not hers. So I am happy for her. And I was pretty sure she was pregnant before this, but the announcement still hurt. Well, more so the thought of working with her for the next six months. I went into the back and cried. On my break I called Matt and broke down all over again. Nothing was going right. No job and now this!
A couple hours later he got a call to schedule an interview. Is that you Lord? I had no choice to believe it was. That weekend was pretty emotional. We met with our friends to sort things out (which went well). Then the message on Sunday was about Jesus healing Lazarus. Our pastor talked about how both Martha and Mary said the same thing, but Jesus responded to each differently. What a personal God he is. Just reading their remark to Jesus makes me weep.

“Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

Isn’t that what all our hearts cry during suffering? ¬†That is where our hearts have been. And he doesn’t condemn for it. He reminds us that he is the¬†Resurrection¬†and the Life, and he weeps with us. Matt said he felt the sermon was for him. I asked him what that meant. He figured out what I was getting at; that God spoke to him. Something he feels never happens.

That Wednesday was Ash Wednesday. This is the first church I’ve ever been to that has a service, including putting ash on your forehead. It is so sweet though. At the end of the service, everyone goes up and multiple elders are standing there with the ash and they pray for you. Not just pray for you in a generic sense, they asked each and every person, “What can I pray for you for?” So we shared quickly. The elder that prayed for us prayed that we would not ask why, but that we would know that God loves us.

The next day, he had a second interview with this company. We talked after it and talked about how we just have to trust the Lord. Now, that seems obvious. But we’ve been learning to actively do that, not just say we should do that. Later that night, he got a call saying they had an offer for him.

So, a week after I meant, he had a job. In the story of Lazarus it says,
“Now¬†Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.¬†So, when he heard that Lazarus¬†was ill,¬†he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.”
By the time he got there, he was four days late. This is such a powerful passage. Because he loved them, he let him die. He later says it was so that the Father would be glorified. That is ultimately what our lives are for. Amazingly, he does this all while loving us deeply.

God provided us with a job for Matt. Finally. What feels very much like four days late.
Soli Deo Gloria.

A list

Let’s make a list. A list of all the shit going on in my life

  • Can’t make a baby.
  • AF arrived today
  • Little sis had an ultrasound today, along with old friend who didn’t even know her hubby when we knew her.
  • Little sis still has not spoken to me and I’m pretty sure has written me off the planet. Maybe its for the best eh?
  • Gave first speech in speech class today. The speech after mine? About her 11 week old baby growing inside her. God must have got a nice laugh out of that one, and I’ll be honest, I had to laugh too.
  • This past week Matt has decided he may have testicular cancer. And to be honest, I’m not convinced he doesn’t. We are convinced he has a varicocele, but (TMI here) there is some serious hardness down there that is concerning. He needs to get to the urologist asap. He doesn’t have health insurance.
  • We are out of money. I knew this was coming, but lived blissfully unaware of how soon it would happen allowing hubby to carry that burden. Now, we can’t pay our¬†mortgage¬†this month. The good news is that we have a really awesome church body.
  • We had to go to the deacons for money. This was a very humbling (my first reaction is humiliating, but they are so sweet and gracious and take the humiliation away for us). They did more than just give us money, they met with us and asked us how were doing. It was sweet to have a deacon feel frustrated with us and say to us, “The world is fucked up.” Amen, my brother. Amen.
  • Matt has no job…obviously, thus the point before this.¬†
  • We have no relationship with our family here. My family is far away. This is both hard, leaving us to feel we are pretty alone. We have my mother-in-law and her mom, but those relationships are very shallow and not meaningful…even when we try to take them deeper.¬†
  • Matt has no relationship with his dad.
  • I have no relationship with my dad….although there has been some contact and I am hopeful for¬†reconciliation¬†in the future.
  • We have no money to have any fertility treatment.
  • We can’t make a baby…have I mentioned this one yet?
  • Our close knit group of friends is having struggles. I have no doubt we will all work things out, but its been hard the past week or two feeling like all these relationships are tangled and a mess and we really don’t know how to resolve everything.
  • Due to all of this going on, Matt and I’s relationship has been struggling. We are in a pressure cooker right now and there is constant crap coming out. It’s really not fun.¬†
  • Matt feels completely abandoned by God. I try to encourage him, but then I look around us and feel the exact same way.
  • He also has not¬†received¬†his W2s from the family member we¬†don’t’ have a relationship with. Now we have to figure out how to contact them to ask for them.
  • This family has stopped receiving counsel from the people they were, for seemingly unnecessary reasons, leaving us to believe there is not much hope for future¬†reconciliation¬†anytime soon. ¬†
  • We still ¬†can’t make a baby.

Pardon me while I go crawl in a hole somewhere….
I believe the hole leads to watching the rest of Downton Abbey. Seems like a nice solution to me!

First RE visit

Yesterday we had our first appointment with an RE. It took a lot to finally get here…emotionally. We sat in the office waiting and a mom and two little girls came in. Really? I know many RE offices have a no children policy, but this place was connected to other Dr offices. It wasn’t terrible, just a reminder of why we were there.

The nurse took us back to a room with a table and we sat and she asked us some basic health questions. I had filled out the intimate questions online, so thankfully she didn’t have to ask us those. Then Dr. B came in. He is an older man who is really casual and easy going. He looked at my charts from the past year, of which only about half did I really temp. It was funny too because when he got to the ones where I didn’t he goes, “Oh and here you gave up.” Yep, you got it! The ones he looked at he felt that my temps didn’t stay high enough after ovulation (during the luteal phase). I have actually felt that before and thought ¬†I need some¬†progesterone. He wasn’t worried about it, saying based on my cycles he guess the majority of them were fine. But I think when we get to the treatment phase, I will ask for progesterone.

We didn’t have Matt’s analysis’ from the lab, so I just told him the numbers I knew. Which were basically all of them ūüôā So from there we talked about IUI. It was really great for Matt to hear what he had to say and to see the little diagram of how it works. When we got home, he said, “I didn’t realize sperm had so far to go!” Ha, yeah and with his slow ones, they obviously aren’t making it. I was so glad Matt was there and he was super involved asking his own questions. We asked if he had any estimate on what his post wash numbers would be based on the two SA’s already done. He didn’t give any numbers, which I understand. He said he only does 3 IUI’s before moving on to IVF. I knew this was probably the case, though it’s scary. He felt pretty confident that IUI would work, giving us a 60% chance. I then asked him what our chances were naturally right now. I had guessed before somewhere around 3%. He said 2%. The good news is I was close, huh?

He wants me to have an HSG, which I wanted anyway. That’s really the only test for me. Part of that is because I already had a few CD3¬†blood work¬†done. Also, as suspected he thinks our only issue is male factor. I am glad for that. He even went as far as to say we will get pregnant, then was like “I don’t want to get your hopes up, but a healthy 24 year old will get pregnant. If IUI doesn’t work and you do IVF and we put¬†embryos¬†in, you will get pregnant.” Glad for his vote of confidence! The thing is, I do not want to entertain the thought of IVF anytime soon.

He also wants Matt to ice his balls. Yes. For real. If I hadn’t read about doing this in a book about holistic fertility methods, I’d be skeptical as I can’t find much about it online. Matt actually did it for about a week when I read about it last year. Now he has a Dr.’s order! After 60 days or so of that, he will have another SA to see what the results are. I believe he is going to have his sperm washed too so that we know what kind of numbers we would have to do an IUI. To be honest, I’m a little nervous about that. His last SA only had 2% rapid motility. That would put his post wash numbers much lower than the necessary 10 mil. ¬†The “ice therapy” as he called it, specifically doubles motility. Hopefully it does at least that. Matt has been back on vitamins and he’s been really faithful about it without me reminding him, which is great. Maybe the combination will work……

Overall I was fairly pleased. The thing I am a little concerned about is the lack of more testing. He didn’t do an exam or an ultrasound or anything. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I thought at least that. He also only wants me to have an HSG. I kinda thought there would be more. Yes, I’ve had a couple blood tests, but there are many more we could do. I guess I’m not sure if I should be concerned about all that or not.

I’m glad that we are moving forward and also that it is slowly moving. We plan on doing IUI but it won’t be for a couple months after the next SA and after my HSG in a few weeks. IUIs at this place are way cheaper than others in the area (actually two buildings down is the big RE office, like the Walmart of RE’s or something). But we can’t do it right now because Matt still doesn’t have a job. We are praying that that will chance by the time we are ready to do an IUI so we can afford it! It’s funny, I wanted to go slow, but now that we’ve got this far, I want to do an IUI tomorrow….although I guess I would have to ovulating for that to work, but that’s beside the point. I’m just ready to not be waiting. Really, I’m so freakin ready to be pregnant.