Saturday, 28 September 2013
A Hard Week
Today is day 63 which means only 37 days left to go! I had my usual date with the clinic yesterday and so far so good. On Tuesday, I was threatened with IV fluids because I wasn't drinking enough and my kidney function was off. But yesterday, those sets of results hadn't come back yet and they haven't phoned me since, which I take to mean that I'm off the hook. In my defence, drinking two to three litres a day every day is really quite hard work! I'm only little! All my other blood results are in the normal range and they are very happy with the progress.
However, this past week has been quite tough. The docs wanted me to reduce the paracetamol that I was on because the headaches that I was having hadn't occurred for a while. Reluctantly, I followed their instructions, much to my own surprise, and lo and behold, the headaches came back with a vengeance. Of course, I immediately returned to my original regime, but it was too late as far as the headaches were concerned. If I take regular paracetamol, the headaches are kept at bay, but if I stop or reduce the dose then they will come back and take longer to get rid of. Which is why, for most of this week, I have spent it in bed, completely wiped out. But, the headaches are getting better now, they are still in the background but soon I wont feel them at all.
To add to the misery of this week, I started to have menstrual pain. I feel slightly awkward talking about this because I generally don't go around announcing my menstrual cycle to the world; however, one of the things I promised myself when I started this blog was to talk openly about the hard issues, the tough issues and yes, the slightly embarrassing/taboo issues. The other reason why I'm going to let you into this world is that it is relevant to the next stage of treatment and recovery.
I've been on a tablet for the last nine months that stops the menstrual cycle; it effectively tricks your body into thinking that it is already pregnant, via hormones, so that the body doesn't ovulate again and bleed. I was on this tablet to avoid bleeding during the treatment as my blood counts were low and I would have just bled out. But last week, they took me off them completely, which is a good thing because it was time to see what state my ovarian function was in. However, having not had period pain for nine months, the experience of rapid onset period pain was especially painful, obviously the intensity of the overall pain experience was compounded by the headache factor.
Now for the technical side of things; apologies, it is slightly complicated, but I will try to write clearly and plainly as I can. When I came off the drug I had a break through bleed, hence the period pain. A break through bleed does not mean that a period has occurred. The period or menstrual cycle is the name given to a series of events that include the rise and fall in hormones, namely oestrogen and progesterone, which would lead to ovulation which is the point when the egg is realised. A break through bleed is just in response to the cessation of the drug. To put it another way, its a bleed of left over blood.
After stopping the drug, the next step is to wait and see if the periods return. If they come back, it does not mean that I am fertile, but what it does mean is that my body is producing oestrogen and progesterone which is a good thing. Conversely, if they don't restart, then those hormones will not be produced. This is bad for two main reasons. Firstly, I will go into early menopause; and secondly I will be at high risk of osteoporosis at a young age. The treatment for this is Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). However, it is likely that even if I am producing those hormones, I will not be producing enough of them which will mean going onto HRT anyway. I have my reservations about HRT but there is no other alternative. In the next few weeks, I will be referred to the Early Menopause Clinic to start this discussion.
This topic is one that I have tried not to think about since I made the decision not to go through egg harvesting. But, alas, it seems that the time has come to reopen this very painful can of worms. It was a hard and terrible decision to make. One of the reasons was because it felt, and to some extent still feels, like I was choosing to be infertile rather than take the risk to at least have a chance to have children of my own. I still feel numb talking about this subject because it is so overwhelming and heartbreaking. But I know as time goes by, I will start to grieve again little by little and find healing in the process.
I absolutely adore children. I know that adoption will be the way forward and I know that I will love that child completely but there is still sadness that lingers. I feel this most when I see my beautiful niece on the odd occasion. I love her and I love seeing her, I wish I could see her more. But it is always bitter sweet. That is when the emotion rises, even just thinking about her brings me to tears as it has done now. I find myself shouting at God, telling Him that He knows perfectly well how much I love children. He knows I would teach them about Him, introduce them to Him and His great Love. He knows that I would be a good mother. So why is it that He would see fit to take that gift away from me at such a young age and allow child abusers to have babies left, right and centre?
I was thinking about all the women in the Bible who were barren. For quite a number of them, God blessed them with children when all hope was lost. People say this too me to try and encourage me. It doesn't, in fact it's rather annoying. This is for two reasons. Firstly, I already know and believe that God works against all the odds. Secondly, having a blood born child is not my idol. I have submitted my life and my will to God because I trust Him and I know, from a lot of experience that His way is the best way. So if it is His will for me to be barren, then so be it. It hurts, but I trust Him way more than it hurts.
I bring up these Biblical women because there is another side to the story that I think is overlooked. When the women are sorrowful, it is always, I think, in relation to not being able to give their husband a child, not the fact that they themselves are barren. Invariably, I would take the perspective that their sorrow was mainly due to their status and identity as a women that was prominent in that time and culture. But I see it differently now. I feel their pain. I mourn with them. It is not about status or womanhood. It's not about carrying on the family name. I don't know what it is, I can't put my finger on it. I then wondered to myself if I would think of or love my husband less if the situation was reversed. Absolutely not. But somehow, the thought of not being able to give my husband a child is equally as painful as knowing that I can't have any children. I don't know but maybe it's something to do with, what has happened to me is also affecting him. But then, isn't that what happens in marriage; you are one? Maybe is a small reflection of the part of me that wants to protect others from the hurt and pain that has so burdened me; I don't want to go through this, but I certainly don't want anyone else to be affected because of this. Maybe it's knowing that I wont be able to share a child with him? I don't know. I'm just speculating, but not too well, its hard to see clearly through the tears.
Even though the pain is still present now and intense; deep down, I think I know the answer. Adoption is at the centre of Gods' heart. We are His children because He adopted us. I've always asked Him to share more of His heart with me, and haven't always like the result. Maybe what has happened is bigger than I can see right now, maybe the plan is much bigger than what my current circumstances are at the moment. Maybe God will give me a house full of children; each one saved from an abusive home and redeemed in a loving family. Maybe, just maybe. What do children who have a terrible start to life need? The need love. They need to be taught and introduced to God and His love for them. What they need is a good mother.