Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Role Reversal

My husband has been the caregiver since my surgery on 3/9.  While he cleaned the kitchen and took the dog out, I wondered if this would always be the dynamic in our relationship.  It's felt like it lately.  I'm the invalid, the weakling, the sickie, and he's the robust healthy one. 

I suddenly got my chance to be the caregiver on Saturday.  He missed a step in the garage and fell, breaking his arm.  I was proud that I stayed calm and focused in the face of emergency, finding an urgent care center online and ushering him into the car.  He kept insisting that it was probably just a sprain but I immediately knew it was broken.  Two of my friends' daughters have broken their arms in the past month so I was already thinking the worst, and it seems like arms tend to break, not sprain, when you fall on them.  And I could tell he was in a lot of pain.

The good news is that he doesn't need surgery or even a cast.  The orthopedist wants him to move his arm when he can—apparently this type of break doesn't require immobilization.  It's so nice to see his arm out in the open again, not wrapped up in layers of plaster and ace bandage.

He's needed a lot of help—putting on clothes, adjusting his sling, driving.  He's not supposed to drive for 2 weeks, so I'm in chauffeur mode, taking him to appointments and to and from work.  By taking care of him, I feel like I'm paying him back for all the times he's picked up my prescriptions, cooked dinner, cleaned up.  I know my score-keeping is ridiculous and that's not what marriage (or any relationships) are about, but it is nice not to be the patient for once.

I'm in Panera now, which is a good thing because I'd be too embarrassed to start crying here.  It's been a rough couple of days.  Of course, my husband's broken arm has been a major stressor.  Then there was a pregnancy announcement yesterday that left me bawling in my office.  Still feeling fragile from the announcement, I saw my pain doctor this morning and got depressing news.  She's increasing my gabapentin dose, which is exactly the opposite of what I'd hoped would happened.

I know I'm not powerless in the patient/doctor relationship and could have insisted that it's time to taper off.  But it's really not.  Just when I think I'm doing better, my pain will come back and kick me in the butt.  I took a slow 2-mile walk last Friday with some coworkers at lunchtime, and by the evening I felt awful.  Saturday morning, I made an unwise decision to do some more walking, this time around an outdoor festival in my town.  Cue more pain.

So I know the right call now is to increase my meds, not taper off, but it's devastating to hear my doctor say it.  This means more time off of TTC, more time for my newly pregnant friend to progress in her pregnancy and leave me behind, more time for other friends to get pregnant and have babies #2 and #3, more time for my sister to sell her kids' old baby stuff because I can't bear to have any more of it in my house.  More time to grieve.  I want to move on.

My next appointment with the pain doc is in early July, and I fully expect to stay on the meds until then.  I need to suck it up and cancel my 3D sono appointment, telling my favorite scheduler that I'm not sure when I'll be able to reschedule it.

I didn't realize physical therapy involved so much nudity.  At my last appointment, I stripped down to my underwear—even my bra had to be taken off.  I had on a skimpy hospital gown, which my physical therapist held open at regular intervals to check out my spine, hipbones, and pelvis.  At least she was thorough. 

Despite the flashbacks to RE appointments that my nude contortions inspired, I really liked my physical therapist.  My second appointment is today and I hope she can make some further inroads as to what's going on.  Based on our first appointment, my walking issues, and the current location of my pain, I think my major issues are with my nerves and muscles in my pelvic floor.  I'm doing my PT exercises religiously and eager to get more, even though PT is boring as hell.  At least I'm getting a little bit of exercise.

If you haven't gone there already, please head over to see Belle at Scrambled Eggs.  She is going through a miscarriage and could use all of your support.  My heart goes out to her.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

What's Another Month?

We've stalled again. 

I talked to my RE yesterday about the wisdom of having a 3D sono this Monday.  The concern is that it could inflame the nerves/tissues/muscles that are still causing pain.   My RE told me, not in so many words, that I was batshit crazy to be thinking of having the procedure this soon.  She very politely asked if she had misunderstood from our earlier conversations that we would wait until I felt completely better.  My only defense is that I scheduled the appointment weeks ago when I'd hoped to be 100% right now.  So cute that I had such ridiculous expectations! 

So I cancelled the appointment and we're out yet another month.  I'd been hoping to get the 3D sono out of the way so we could resume TTC in June, but now it's looking like July at the earliest.  SIGH. 

I'm both horribly frustrated and oddly apathetic.  A sense of complacency has set in, unexpected but not unwelcome, possibly related to the cocktail of drugs they have me taking.  I just can't seem to care about anything baby-related.  I tend to forget about babies and TTC until a child or preggo crosses my line of sight.  Weird, right?  When TTC used to consume every waking moment, crowding out all other thoughts required for normal adult functioning?

The pain continues to improve overall, although some days feel like setbacks.  I tried to taper off of a pain medication a few days ago and had some pain return with a vengeance, so I don't think I'll try that again for a while.  I need to be off these meds before TTC again, though, so there's a big incentive to not rely on the meds and kick this pain to the curb soon. 

Walking is an issue.  I can amble around the grocery store pretty easily, but trying to take a very slow walk for exercise triggers the pain.  We're talking about a quarter of a mile, not extreme hiking or anything.  Apparently trying to clean our floors this afternoon wasn't such a good idea, either.  I have a long list of things to do this weekend that involve being active—planting tomatoes, shopping for work clothes, giving our dog her summer haircut—but those are on hold for the rest of the afternoon.

The complete lack of exercise is showing.  My pants and underwear are super tight and my butt is succumbing to gravity.  However, I stepped on the scale this week and I've actually LOST 5 pounds.  It's totally the "muscle weighs more than fat" thing, with fat winning out lately.  Even my boobs are bigger, which just isn't normal when you've lost weight.  I told my husband I'm sending all my fat there.

Huge congratulations to all the bloggers recently getting BFPs, including Her Royal Fabulousness, Lanie, Unaffected, Miss Conception, Belle, Sass, Mrs. Green Grass, and Sunnyside Up.  Please forgive me if I forgot someone.  Pregnancy after loss and infertility is a roller coaster and I hope you get your fears allayed, little by little, by great betas and ultrasounds.  I'm so excited for you!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Just Relaxing the Pain Away

Hey there!  I have been drowning in work lately and am missing my blog friends.  I very much appreciate some of you giving me blog awards, even though I'm not great at passing them along.  Thank you!!  Bloggers are really some of the nicest people out there.

So, my pain is....getting better!  FINALLY.  There have been huge improvements recently.  The pain doc increased my gabapentin dose and it's really helping.  Also, I went to my first physical therapy appointment last week and it was amazing.  The physical therapist spent a lot of time looking for the cause of my pain, be it a vertebral misalignment, pelvic floor muscle issue, etc.  She didn't quite find it, but gave me stretches and exercises for some problem areas.  I've been doing the PT religiously and it seems to be making a big difference.  Yesss!  I'm figuring out that taking a walk seems to trigger the pain but doing chores doesn't. Grrr. 

To add another doctor's appointment to the mix, since 14 appointments in 2 months may not be enough copays and missed work to satisfy me, I saw a psychologist last week to see if I'd be a good candidate for biofeedback.  The jury's still out on whether I would be or not—the psychologist is going to talk to my regular fertility therapist and come up with a plan.  The biofeedback psychologists were sure they could help me in some ways, though, even if it wasn't through biofeedback. 

And then they pissed me off.  They said my anxiety was contributing to the pain and we needed to get it under control.  I guess that's one of the general ideas behind biofeedback, so I shouldn't have been surprised to hear it.

Yes, I have a history of anxiety.  When I'm not taking SSRIs, I have panic attacks, some obsessive-compulsive tendencies, and a generally anxious mindset 24/7.  But I'm taking an SSRI now and am feeling pretty good emotionally, even with all of this pain crap.  I have moments when I'm depressed or anxious (and that's when I tend to blog, so you guys are seeing a lot of those moments), but am mostly ok.

So I'm confused.  I'm supposed to Just Relax?  Even if I'm already fairly relaxed?  It makes me think of the crazy time when I really thought Just Relaxing would get me pregnant.  I worked to achieve a Buddhist monk-like state of calmness for a long time after my first miscarriage.  For months and months, I did fertility yoga videos several times a week.  I meditated daily, practiced mindfulness all the freakin' time, and avoided potentially stressful situations.  And I didn't get pregnant until I gave up on relaxing and took letrozole.

That awful period of Just Relaxing has so many bad associations for me; I can't bear to do the fertility yoga or fertility meditations anymore.  They bring up way too many memories of crushed hope, failed cycle after failed cycle.  It turns out my body needed so much more to get and stay pregnant.

So I guess I get defensive when someone implies that I need to Just Relax, this time to help the pain.  I don't doubt there's ample clinical evidence of anxiety contributing to how you experience pain.  Totally makes sense.  I just don't think I'm very anxious right now.  So there.  /end rant

So, my next step on the road to a healthy pregnancy is a 3D sonogram, also known as a saline infusion sonogram.  I'm scheduled for one on Monday and am freaking out on many counts.  (Of course, these are healthy, normal freak-outs as opposed to pain-inducing anxiety attacks. :))  1)  What if this triggers another pain flare?  I have a call into my RE to discuss the wisdom of having the procedure this cycle as opposed to waiting one more cycle.  2)  What if there's something wrong?  I am pretty sure I will lose it if we see more scar tissue, septum issues, or polyps.

In addition to the 3D sono stress, I have a big work deadline on Tuesday.  If for some reason I'm in a ton of pain after the procedure, I could have major issues hitting my deadline.  Gonna work my butt off until the 3D sono to try to get ahead.

In infertility sadness-related news, why can't I anticipate which events/places will make my heart feel like it's breaking?  Went to my niece's and nephew's piano recital last weekend while I was PMSing, and seeing all the cute kids and parents made me want to weep.  I desperately want to attend all of my niece's and nephew's recitals or big games, but need to steel myself for them.  I'll be going to two dance recitals in June. 

For a moment at the piano recital, though, I wanted to protect myself from ever having to see that many kids and parents again in one place.  Avoidance can be fun!  I considered skipping my family beach trip this summer to avoid the hordes of children.  Last summer during the trip, I was pregnant.  This summer, in all likelihood, I'll start crying at the kid-filled outlet mall.  Good times.

Alright, back to work I go!