April 13, 2010

A Life Changing Phone Call

Almost 3 weeks after I had this last test I came home to a message on the answering machine from my Doctor. He just said he had the results of the test and to please give him a call.

My initial thought was these two things.....1 ) if it was good news he would have left it on the machine.... and 2) HE SOUNDED VERY DOWN..... !!

The next day I tried to call and he was out of the office for the day. So on Friday, ( June 26th, A day I will forever remember) I was able to speak with him by phone. He asked me if after the test had the technician told me anything about what he saw and and I told him no. I knew by the sound of his voice I was about to get some really bad news.

He said, Tammy, I'm really sorry to have to tell you this but both of your tubes are completely blocked. I was totally shocked to say the least. I was expecting him to tell me something bad but honestly I wasn't expecting it to be that life-changing bad.

He said that this report was the last thing that he expected for me and he was completely surprised at the results of it. He said that he didn't expect it at all because we had never in the many years I have gone to him had a single issue that he thought could have caused any problem. He sounded like that he was as upset as I was. I could really tell he was disappointed for me.... for us.

I asked if the report showed him anything as to what the damage was or what had caused it. He said no that it didn't. He did tell me that this is usually caused by scar tissue, infection, cysts, or endometriosis. None of which we had had a problem with before (except the possible recent ruptured cyst on the ovary). He said it was very possible it had been that way for years. That often women have ruptured cysts, or even infections and never even know it. The body just heals them on it's it's own way. Apparently, sometimes that healing makes scar tissue that can cause problems like this. :(

I asked him what our options were and he basically said that there were two things that could be done.

The 1st thing being surgery to clean out the tubes. He said that this sometimes works but not always. The surgery would only clean out the tubes for a limited period of time and then the scar tissue would come back....maybe worse because of scar tissue from the surgery too. Plus the fact that you have to wait until the tubes have time to heal before you can even try.... doesn't make this a very good option.

The 2nd thing would be in vitro fertilization. This basically involves bypassing the tubes and implanting the eggs.

Both of these options have a 40/50 % chance of working and are not covered by insurance because they are elective. The cost of either of these procedures would run about $20,000 - $40,000. A lot of money for something that has only a slim chance of working.

We talked a few more minutes and he again told me how sorry and surprised he was. He then told me to take some time to decide what I wanted to do and let them know if we wanted to proceed to the next step. He could arrange for us to meet with a fertility Doctor. With that we hung up.

I realized two things as soon as I got off the phone. 1) Never make a phone call that could potentially change your whole life while sitting at your desk at work surrounded by people who don't have a clue what's going on. And 2) Life rarely ever turns out the way you think.

I can tell you that I have never before or since felt the range of emotions that I felt in that moment. I don't know if I was more angry or sad but I do know that it didn't take long for me to ask God why things had turned out like that.

I just didn't and still don't understand why God allowed me to go through about two years of hard counsel before He changed my heart about wanting to have a child...and then over a year of trying to give us this answer of no. I STILL TO THIS DAY DON'T UNDERSTAND THAT!!!

As I sat there at my desk..... I suddenly had a thought that cut me to my core. A thought that absolutely hurt me in a place I have never been hurt. That thought was this....

How am I going to tell Sandy that I can never have his child? How on this earth will I be able to say those words to him? How do you break the heart of the person you love more than anything and take away their dream of being a daddy? I have never been more mad or hurt at God in my life than I was in that moment.

I didn't know what to do at that point. I sent an email to Sarah & Keith telling them that I had gotten bad news on that test and to please pray and keep me and Sandy covered. I told them I would tell them the results later after I talked to Sandy. I also tried but couldn't reach Dewey.

And then I started praying....and praying...and praying.

I was praying and asking God to tell me how to tell Sandy. Did I call and tell him over the phone.... did I email....because I wasn't sure I could make the words come out of my mouth. How on earth was I going to tell him.... and how was I going to get through this day? I forgot to mention that this phone call happened around 9am and it wasn't even near lunch time yet.

Within a few minutes my cell rang and it was Keith. He said, I couldn't stand it any longer...what happened and how can I help? I said I can't say because I haven't talked to Sandy yet. To which he said, Tammy, Sarah & I know what that test is for. I'm going to say that since you said it is bad news that that means it won't work. To which I started crying and softly can't work. Keith, being my friend and my Pastor took a long time to counsel me and remind me of God's power in this situation. He reminded me that we had just received this news and that we didn't yet know how God would choose to redeem it. He reminded me of God's love for me and I needed to hear that....because in that moment....I wasn't happy with God at all.

After talking a few more minutes he said you have to tell Sandy in person. Can you leave and go find him and I said no. He said ok but I need you to know that you have to tell him in person even if you have to wait until this afternoon. This is your dream together and you have to tell him the result face to face. It will be better for both of you if you do and Sandy deserves that from you. I said I would and we talked a few more minutes and hung up.

The rest of the morning and afternoon was spent with a variety of emotions that I can only describe as heart wrenching. Unless you have walked in this place you really can't understand the loss you feel in that particular moment. My friend Dewey later told me it was like suffering a death. And I think that is the closest thing I can describe it as. He called it a death of a vision and Sarah later confirmed that to me also. The death of a vision is the loss of a dream or plan that you had for yourself or your life that was good but somehow not meant to be.

I had several more phone calls and emails from Keith and Sarah checking on me throughout the afternoon. They reminded me that God is bigger than test results and heartbreak. He is also the healer. I wasn't very convinced of that in those moments. I was in a place of hurt and confusion beyond what I could carry. I so badly wanted to just go and be with my honey and have him hold me. But leaving work would have made me have to explain to the whole group what had just happened.... and I sure didn't have the strength to do that. So that meant having to make it through the afternoon. Only by my friends prayers and concern...and my God holding me up did I make it until 5:00.

I then headed home to tell Sandy...

To be continued...

April 7, 2010

Tests, Tests, and more Tests....

This is a continuation of a previous post.....

In March of last year I began to have severe pain in my left kidney or ovary area. This started on a Wed. night at church. It was terrible shooting pains that would make me cringe or double over with pain. My friend Sarah noticed that I was in pain and immediately asked me what was wrong. When I showed her where I was hurting she then asked if there was any way that I could be pregnant? Not really wanting to answer that (because at that point no one even knew that we were trying except my dear friend Dewey) I just stood and looked at her blankly...or more like a deer in the headlights probably. To which she said....well, let's just say that it is could be having a tubal pregnancy....because the pain sounds similar and it hurts in the same place.

Well, as you can imagine....that scared me to no end. So all during the bible study that night that possibility was all I though about. After the bible study I told Sarah that there was a possibility of me being pregnant but please to keep that between us since no one knew about us trying at that point. I did tell her that she could tell Keith. (Keith is our Pastor and Sarah is his wife and they are both our great friends). She said she would and she and Keith became two more invaluable confidants for us on this journey.

After another day the pain eased off for a few days and then it came back with vengeance and a fever and cause to believe it was my kidneys instead anything else. I called and made an appointment with my regular family doctor...who thought immediately that I had kidney stones. We did labs and nothing showed up out of the ordinary. It did not show that I had any type of infection. However, because of the fever and where the pain was he still believed it was my kidneys. He immediately scheduled me to go the next day to Hamilton Diagnostics to have dye ran through my kidneys to see if anything showed up.

The next day I went to have this test and my sweet Sandy went with me. When I went back for the test and was in the room signing the consent form the technician asked me if there was any possibility that I could be was pregnant. Knowing that there was and not believing I had not considered the danger of this test if I was….I said yes. I thought the guy was going to fall over in the floor at my answer. He said, well, this dye is radiation….and so before we do it we need to have you do a pregnancy test.

So I got dressed again and went to their lab and had blood drawn to be tested. This blood work had to be taken to the hospital to be tested since they needed to know the answer right away. If you ever wonder what a blood test at the hospital costs…this one test was $144 ….. Anyway, after they took the blood work I went back to the waiting room to wait for the results. This was stressful because by then my phone was ringing with my family wanting to check and see how it went..... and I couldn't / wasn't about to tell them I was waiting on a pregnancy test before I could even do the test.... so I just had to stall them which wasn't fun. I will say that my friends Dewey, Sarah, and Keith all called to check on me too...and I did at least have them praying for me as I waited. Best of Sandy was right there with me. Finally, about an hour later the results came back negative and I had the test done on my kidneys and we went home.

The next day we went back to my doctor for the results. The test showed nothing in my kidneys and my Doctor asked me if I thought I had passed it the night before the test? I didn't think so but I still don't really know.

This pain continued to bother me off and on over the next few weeks and I began to wonder if something else was going on. Most likely a cyst on the ovary causing the pain. So I made an appointment with my GYN Dr. Stuckey to get everything checked out.

At the appointment with Dr. Stuckey everything appeared to be the norm. He did think that the pain was caused by a ruptured cyst that was on the ovary. He wasn't very concerned about that because he said they are very common and can cause a lot of pain but they are generally not dangerous.

So after discussing that I told him we were trying to conceive and not having any luck. I think that he was surprised at that revelation since he has been my doctor for many years and never heard me mention anything about kids. He said he was excited for us and that he hoped that everything would work out. He then suggested that we do some additional blood work to make sure all my levels were normal and that we didn't have any problems there. Everything came back normal.

We discussed a few things and he suggested that I start taking prenatal vitamins and come back in about a month. He did point out to me that on this particular day that my blood pressure was very high (160/90 I think) and that he wanted me to keep up with that daily for the next month. He and I both figured that this might be stress related with all that was going on but he wanted to be sure.

In April I went back for our next appointment.....still no luck. We did some addition blood tests on this day.....which again came back normal levels. My blood pressure was almost back in the normal range so we decided we were just going to keep an eye on it and see how it went. We scheduled another appointment in another month.

In May we still hadn't had any luck and so Dr. Stuckey suggested we move to two more extensive tests. First we had to get Sandy checked out and that came back fine. So the next was a test for me called a Hysteroscopy. This test involved having a dye ran through the tubes to see if they were blocked. We scheduled this test for June 5th.

On June 5th, I went back to Hamilton Diagnostics to have this test done. Sandy wasn't able to go with me this time as he was with his mom as she was having heart by-pass surgery this same day. So I went by myself. This time I knew I wasn't pregnant so no more $144 pregnancy tests on this day. This test involved having a dye ran through the tubes while the radiologist watched the dye on a computer screen to see if it was able to pass through the tubes. There was a computer screen up by my head that also allowed me to watch the dye and my insides on a screen and see what was going on. That was pretty neat to watch and I think I could tell by seeing where the dye stayed that we had a problem.

This test really hurt a lot but thankfully it didn't take but about 30 minutes. When it was finished I was allowed to go home. I got calls from those who knew I was having the test before I even reached home checking on me. That was a blessing.

When I got home I crashed for a few hours and then we headed out to a wedding renewal of two special friends. I was in a lot of pain but we had a great time. The couple glasses of wine probably helped....

We wouldn't find out the results of this test for 3 weeks. So again....we waited.

To be continued...