Giving Serious Thought to Giving Up

I have been dumbstruck by how many symptoms of my immune system collapse to which I had become so accustomed that I no longer considered them indicators of abnormal or unhealthy. Since the first couple of days after I began taking 60 mg of Prednisone to treat my sky-high Immunoglobulin-E levels and relentless allergic reactions to my environment and myself (my own hair was irritating my skin), I have noticed many changes, including:

* my eyes are not sore or burning and they do not weep while I sleep

* the skin around my eyes is not scaling, flaking, red, sore or peeling even when I forget to apply the steroid cream or antibiotic drops I’ve been on since March

* my inner ear channel is not burning and itching

* my throat is not swollen, sore or itching 

* I do not have instant inflammation in my mouth and throat when I eat – even when I eat foods that have some dairy and or gluten in them 

* I can breathe through my nose (even after being around environmental allergens)

* I do not feel foggy from a constant barrage of histamines coursing through my system 

I did not appreciate how sick I was until now.  I rarely get sick usually but I’ve been under this cloud of constant ill-health for months and months. It grew incrementally worse so I didn’t really notice the changes until they combined to create an unliveable situation. However, it took losing our perfect donor-egg embryo in May for me to really question the lie I’d internalized that all of our prior 5 losses since March 2013 were due to my “old eggs” and not an immunological issue or issues.  My heart is very heavy with the knowledge that I ignored my gut for months and basically threw away that perfect embryo before listening to my inner voice reminding me that something deeper is amiss and has been that way for a while. 

There are downsides to the Prednisone. Menstruation, which made every indication it was on its way, has gone AWOL. I feel a new kind of foggy, one riddled with the jitters and a strange fatigue (I imagine this being how I might feel on uppers and downers at the same time). I am retaining fluid and I feel gross about it.  My lower back hurts (I pride myself on not having back pain despite toting a toddler around several hours a day on any given day).  And I am depressed. More than I was before I started this drug.

This is the most worrisome symptom. I need to keep an eye on the depression. I’m not on medication for depression or anxiety anymore (I was – coincidentally the last time I was on them was the first time my immune system went off the rails – a long time ago).  Today I have considered speaking with my doctor about resuming drugs for depression.  I have not made a decision.  

I did talk with the LP about anti-depressants last night and why I’ve tried to avoid them while TTC.  We talked about how down and flat and unable to enjoy life we are and have been over the past 12-18 months. The LP asked what there is to feel good about, noting I am really sick, I’m on harsh drugs to recover from trying to have a child, we have suffered blow after blow, we are in debt and are stressed about that, our work has suffered which causes more financial stress and general worry, we have no explanation as to why I can’t stay pregnant and have gotten so sick.  

The LP is right. Apart from our Miracle Toddler there is nothing about which we feel joyful or glad to be alive.  We are surviving – existing at best – but there is no light at the end of the dark tunnel down which we have been staring and walking for what feels like a long time, though I know for others 18 months would seem like nothing. Six dead babies and the loss of my health are not nothing to me, to us, however.  This feels like a crossroads. 

Last night’s conversation with the LP and a tearful email earlier today to a friend who knows the heartache of losing babies and giving up on TTC led me to wonder if this is the path I should be on anymore.  Maybe be it is time to give up?  At what point does it all become too much?  

As as I wrote to my friend, the more humane and fiscally responsible choice at this point seems obvious. Quitting – giving up on our remaining two DE blastocysts and on any future efforts to try to conceive naturally – seems so much more rational than continuing to smash my face into a wall covered in broken glass. 

One thing I know about grief, depression and mood-altering circumstances generally is that they are not optimal environments in which to make lasting or permanent decisions. So I will not make a final decision today.  But I am giving serious thought to giving up.  At this point it would be irresponsible for me not to do so.   Something has got to give. 



18 thoughts on “Giving Serious Thought to Giving Up

  1. Yeah, that’s what I was gonna say–that now is not a good time to make any big decisions beyond how to heal yourself. So glad your symptoms are better! But sorry the side effects suck. *hugs to you & the LP* XO

    • Thank you, my friend. At the moment my big decisions are:
      1. Rebuild my and my family’s life outside of trying to have another living child
      2. Live in each moment; and
      3. Abandon the urge to make any other big decisions.

  2. I am so sorry that you are dealing with this. I agree on not making permanent decisions right now. I do however think it might be good to take an indeterminate break. Work on getting healthy, and then decide what the next step is or isn’t. So much hugs for you.

  3. You have been through so much both emotionally and physically, it’s no wonder you’re feeling this way, but I agree, this is not the time to make any major, long term decisions. A break is definitely a good idea, but you might change your mind once you’re feeling more like yourself again.

    I’m relieved to hear that the prednisone is helping. Sorry about the side effects, but hopefully they’re manageable and the overall improvement balances them out. Sending you a huge hug my friend.

  4. So sorry for your side effects but glad that the Prednisone is helping you in other ways.

    And I think you are right to wait and make a decision – there’s a quote I like on my Pinterest “Never make a permanent decision based on temporary feelings.” Sending you hugs and positive healing.

    • Good quote. It’s not so much my feelings as cold hard facts that are prompting me to recognize that at some point tough decisions will need to be made. Thankfully I have made one big decision: that time is not now. Now I am throwing in the towel on all of this and trying to live in the here and now and recall what it was like to enjoy doing so.

  5. I took prednisone as part of my chemo regimen, so I know firsthand what it does to you. It made me cranky, hungry, miserable, etc. but of course, because it reduced inflammation, I could breathe. Clearly a trade off. I echo the other comments – don’t make any major decisions now – focus on healing and getting your body and mind to a strong place. Once you can think clearly (which you cannot do on prednisone), you can make a suitable longer term plan. You’ve gotta take care of you. Feel good.

    • Thank you, this was very helpful. On top of the prednisone my body was trying to do what it does well (sometimes) – have a period despite the high dose of prednisone. A try inopportune time to be making big decisions – jacked on steroids riding a hormone rollercoaster!

  6. I echo all the comments above – glad the prednisone seems to be helping and now is not the time to make a final decision. And, I suspect if you tried to make a final decision right now, it probably wouldn’t stick anyways. I know both my husband and I seem incapable of being decisive when it comes to RPL (which is funny because we are both very decisive people typically).

    I know I haven’t gone through the same number of loses as you, but I too have had these thoughts and still do. I just don’t know how many times we are prepared to put ourselves through the agony of another miscarriage. Our decision right now, is one more try and then to re-evaluate because as you said at some point “something has got to give”.
    Wishing you a continued physical recovery and wishing you peace and strength as you work on the emotional side of all this.

    • My decision for the past 18 months and every month before we had our one living child (we had two losses before then as well) has been “one more try”. Some people can commit to longer term plans and in the case of DE I was prepared to accept that the first transfer may not work (hence the second being already paid for) because with IVF it’s always a numbers game. But I wasn’t prepared to realize that TTC was destroying more than my financial situation or our emotional well-being. I didn’t bargain on the autoimmune piece even when I raised it several months ago with my GP and well before that with my acupuncturist. I was very myopic after having bought the line that it was all about my eggs. If I have one regret, it’s that. Otherwise I don’t regret having done all we have. Realizing that the last couple of days has helped me settle down. We will know – you, me, everyone who faces these decisions – when enough is enough. Until then, it’s got to be one day at a time for me and right now a break from all of this.

  7. I’m so sorry you’ve been so ill. You’ve been through so much and have been so focused on growing your family despite all your losses that everything else seems to be falling apart around you (including you) but you couldn’t see it until now. I’m glad that you’re taking some time to heal your body, but I also think you need to heal your spirit before you make any drastic decisions. I know you feel the pressure of age but I think you need to focus on regaining your health (physical and mental), finding ways to bring some joy and lightness into your life and regaining some security in work and finances. This is what I’m trying to do too. It’s easier said than done, but it’s important to keep trying. I’d suggest keeping your DE blasts on ice for now. Try not worrying about your next baby for 3 months and if that’s not enough try 6 months and see what happens. When you’re in a better place you can make decisions about how to move forward – and do it out of intuition not anxiety (that really struck me from one of your previous posts). Sending you hugs and healing.

    • Thank you. I really appreciate what you’ve said here. You’re right and that’s the plan – break, remember what it is to be alive and free of all of this, enjoy my life and family and see where I am once I’ve recovered on the various levels.

  8. Everyone above has captured my thoughts. I actually had my own “something’s gotta give” moment this weekend, when I realized that all of the RE visits were taking away from much-needed physical therapy visits for a chronic knee injury. My knee pain was a wake-up call for me: I simply cannot physically sustain ttc as my raison d’etre. Wishing you so much peace and strength.

    • Thank you for those awesome wishes. I hear you about priorities. Yesterday in honour of embracing life and my family of 3 + dog I took our little one out to buy camping equipment. I gave mine away years ago as the LP is not a camper but this week we both decided (my prompting) that we need some joy and a break and to create great memories with our family now and not life in the land of IF or RPL or what-if all anymore. Summer is short here. I want to embrace it and life again.

      Hope your knee appreciates the care you are re-dedicating to it and wishing you luck and peace on your path, too.

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