I have it on good authority (online friend and fellow DE IVFer, IF and RPL sufferer) that my blood test results from Reprosouce, the lab used by the Reproductive Immunologist we saw in late July (Dr. Braverman for anyone who just joined the show or has been on vacation – literally or figuratively – during my recent posts), should be “in”. By “in” I mean that Dr. Braverman’s clinic should have copies of them. I say this because my friend, who had blood drawn the day before the LP and I did, has her results already (obtained through her IVF clinic at home, who was sent a copy, not through Braverman’s office, although Dr. B did tell her in an email that he’d need “a few days” to review and do the protocol design – she’s chosen the same menu item as we did from his list of offerings).
On July 31st, Dr. Braverman told us to expect to have a further consult with him to review the results and receive his proposed protocol (or his conclusion that the tests revealed nothing particularly problematic and there was no need for a RI-designed protocol – highly unlikely if only because that would cost him instead of me $2,000 USD). The nurse with whom he works exclusively said 4-6 weeks on the same day.
In other news: We have a teleconsult (or Skype if we so choose) with an RE closer to home (but still a flight and hotel accommodation away) who is not a reproductive immunologist but does believe in immunological causes of recurrent pregnancy loss/IVF failure/miscarriage and prescribes some immune treatment protocols for patients with such histories. I’ve got another friend who is successfully pregnant in her 40s with her own eggs after a fresh IVF cycle with him using a prophylactic immune protocol despite having had numerous unsuccessful cycles after a live birth with another reputable clinic (that does not do immune protocols to my knowledge and certainly didn’t with my friend despite her history).
I’ve had extensive communications with this clinic’s lab director and intake coordinator on the premise that we need a clinic and lab that can work with the two frozen DE embryos we’ve got and who will work with Dr. Braverman should we get a protocol design from him to address any immunological issues he may identify in the coming weeks. They’ve got all of my/our records including all testing to date as well as a breakdown of my RPL history. The consult is scheduled for September 4, 2014.
The Dilemma and Question for Ya’ll: Do I call or e-mail and find out if I can get a copy of our results or wait patiently for Dr. B to take his sweet time getting to my number in line?
Let’s consider some of the pros and cons of jumping the gun (i.e., asking for results before our next consult with Dr. Braverman).
- If I can get the results I could share them with the RE closer to home at our September 4th consult, even if we haven’t consulted with Dr. B by then (which would be the case if he sticks to his 6 weeks projection);
- I might have some idea whether there are any results that suggest a bona fide immunological issue to contend with (see point number two under “cons” for the corollary to this);
- If I asked and Dr. Braverman consented, maybe he would get our protocol design done sooner so maybe we could start the FET process sooner rather than later (i.e, in late August/early September instead of late September/early October seeing as how I am expecting my next natural cycle to start at the end of August);
- I paid for this stuff, I have a right to a copy on demand, don’t I?; and
- I’m tired of being in limbo and not having any real answers to why the heck my womb is so welcoming of but so destructive to the little lives we conceive and getting the results, even if I can only understand some of them, could either:
- if they show abnormal levels, help me feel like there is a reason for all of this madness; or
- if they reveal nothing out of normal range as most of my results have done to date, allow me to start the process of grieving and accepting that unless we chose to use a gestational carrier – which we cannot afford – then this journey is finally and truly over for me.
- Dr. Braverman’s office will refuse to give me the results on the grounds that they don’t do that until he is ready to discuss them or I’m an established (i.e., vintage) patient of his, in which case I may develop a bitter taste (i.e, contempt) for and latent (or express) hostility toward yet another medical professional who, arrogant or not, I need far more than he needs me;
- Even if I can get the results, I will have no idea what the results mean without someone far smarter than me in this area interpreting them for me;
- Sleeping dogs don’t bite. Translation: whether we get the results or not and whether I understand some or none of them, I will spend the next several weeks in agony waiting for the follow-up consult to help me figure out what the hell they mean if we get the results and why the hell I blew ~$7,000 travelling to New York to consult with and have testing ordered by Dr. FIGJAM (see postscript at end of this post if you aren’t familiar with that abbreviation) if I ask but am refused a copy of the results before the follow-up consult;
- If I asked and Dr. Braverman consented, maybe he would get our protocol design done sooner so maybe we could start the FET process circa September instead of October; and
- If I didn’t ask or if he refused to give me results before our follow-up consult, I would be guaranteed to wait until at least late September or early October to start any FET cycle we may decide to do with Dr. Braverman (if we go with the clinic closer to home, I have no idea when they could have us start, so this may be meaningless if the protocol design was not super aggressive and I felt comfortable going with the closer RE and his lab can accept our embryos).
When I review my cons, I see that I am essentially afraid of rejection and it sending me off the deep end should it occur. Initially this made me bristle and think I should demand the results now, darn it. On reflection, I am not so sure about that.
When I review the pros, I see that I am scared and impatient. Ugh. I do not like those characteristics about myself, though I know them well.
August was supposed to be our “month off”. Except I’m on these liver pills from the TCM doctor/acupuncturist and while they do seem to correlate with a decrease in some of my immune/allergic responses (my eyes are feeling better in particular but I am just entering my luteal phase so that could change in a few days), they also seem to correlate with an increase in the depression symptoms I was experiencing before I went on them (though that could be coincidental, I’m less inclined to believe that the other correlation is coincidental). And even if I can’t blame the new crap I’m ingesting (no disrespect to TCM or my acupuncturist angels intended), I need to be honest with myself that:
- I am [insert expletive here] miserable;
- I want to quit;
- I hate this rollercoaster; and
- I cannot, despite all kinds of well-intenioned advice, just “turn off” for a month and “enjoy life”.
I have a little more to say on that last point. The unavoidable fact (which people who have not been where I and those of you who are also “here” are do not seem to “get” even if they say “I get it that…”) is that secondary infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss define who I am every minute of every day so long as I am on this “journey” to have another living child. This is not me throwing a pity party. I am not feeling sorry for myself. I am acknowledging the well into which I have fallen and from which I cannot readily get out. I am where I am.
The sad [insert more expletives (the really nasty ones) here] reality is that my pain is not only a constant presence – even if I try to avoid thinking about or feeling it for a month (who really thinks a person or at least this person can do that? Why do otherwise sane, sensitive and compassionate people even suggest this?). Beyond a constant presence, my pain over our lost babies and inability to stay pregnant has become a defining characteristic of who I [insert really nasty expletive here] am in this very moment.
If I practice mindfulness, what I know about this present moment is that my heart aches and I feel broken beyond repair, even if I can behave pleasantly, playfully or professionally depending on what’s required of me at any given moment in my waking hours. How can anyone ask me to take a vacation from this knowledge and reality for any period of time? If that is truly possible, I need an instruction manual and some real life examples of how to disengage from the suffering that has come to define who I am right here, right now.
At this second I am leaning toward waiting my turn, as completely uncharacteristic of me as that sounds. In case it is not completely obvious from the caveats in the preceding sentence, I must admit that my leanings could change in a heartbeat. In fact, as I was drafting this post I was quite sure I was going to conclude that I should ask for my results before the 6-week mark.
In light of my inevitable equivocation, I am turning the mic over to all of you. Your mission – should you choose to accept it – is to riddle me this:
- What do you think (about any of the above, if you aren’t inclined to vote on “ask” or “don’t ask”)?
- What would you do and why?
- Where does one get the manual on how to disengage one’s present reality?
Please accept my sincere and immense gratitude in advance for sharing your ideas and experiences.
Hasta Luego, amigos mios!
P.S. FIGJAM = F*** I’m good, just ask me. I credit the LP with having taught me this while watching some stupid masters or another on the Golf Channel. He used it in relation to a certain player whom some of you or your significant others may know. 😉