When You Think Life Will Progress One Way....

And Then Life Happens.....

Monday, May 10, 2010

The History of Me

So you may ask, "how did I get here?" (cue Talking Heads music). It has been a long road. I think to understand me, you have to understand the health (physical, mental, emotional) journey I have been on. Let me start in 2005 (don't worry, I have a magic time machine that let's me travel back and forth between past and present day, though I haven't quite figured out the future part yet).
It was 2005, and I was 33/34. My husband and I had been using the Pill as birth control for almost 8 years, and we decided to start a family. Prior to that, it never seemed right; just after we first married we spent 27 months serving as Peace Corps volunteers. When we returned home, I went to grad school and DH found a job. After grad school, I worked some, spent 4 months overseas consulting, then came home and worked to pay off my student loans and help towards a mortgage. We bought a house in 2005, and we were ready to start a family. When I stopped the Pill, I didn't get my cycle for more than 4 months - but I didn't think anything of it, I figured my body was readjusting after the Pill, and truth be told I had always been irregular - this was normal for me (so I thought).  Otherwise, I felt great; I and also started using herbal supplements and felt very energetic.  Then in 2006 and 2007 I went each year going 4 months without my cycle. Both times I could have sworn I was pregnant, but doctors kept telling me I wasn't - and peeing on those damn sticks every week, for months straight... you can imagine how insane that could make you.
During those 2 years I felt my health was deteriorating, and at first I was diagnosed with PCOS (poly cystic ovarian syndrome) and was treated as such.  By the summer of 2007, though, my blood work labs indicated something else. I will never forget the call; I was in the hotel lobby where I was attending a professional conference when my Obgyn told me over the phone she suspected I had premature ovarian failure/primary ovarian insufficiency (POF/POI), aka premature menopause, and I should see a reproductive endocrinologist (RE). I was in shock; I was in public; I was at a professional conference with a new coworker who saw my face start to crumble and made the mistake of asking me if I was OK. Needless to say, and embarrassingly so, I bawled all over this girl who I had known for maybe a month? (I think she learned her lesson never to ask again).
When I went to the RE, she didn’t even bother to examine me or do any tests; she looked at my obgyn’s notes and blood work results, she told me I had POF, I had 1%-2% chance of getting pregnant, gave me information on egg donation (the only way I could "really" get pregnant), gave me HRT (hormone replacement therapy), and that was it. The only follow-up I ever got was when I called them to get refills on my HRT. It was an awful experience, and I was made to feel that all she cared about was that I was a prospective cash cow/guinea pig if I signed up to do egg donation. No emotional, mental, physical support. I felt like I was drowning, and didn’t know where to turn. I was also working at a local social service agency at the time, providing training/staff development as a child development specialist for a program working with at-risk families. So, not only had I received news that altered every aspect of my life, I was working in an environment where I had to support teachers and parent educators on how to support parents with the development of their infants/young children. I couldn’t do it anymore.
So, what did I do? When one is threatened there are 2 main common reactions - fight or flight. I flew. Literally. I quit my job. I went into consulting, and worked on short-term international projects. I got to travel in a way I never could have if I had kids. My travels also gave me the opportunity to run from serious conversations, conversations with my husband, with myself. I finally found amazing medical professionals who cared about ME (not how much they could make off treatments), and worked with me to identify the appropriate medications I needed as well as diagnosing me with severe depression. I was numb and depressed for 2 years; now I feel like I have woken up, but now I am angry and raw.  
So where does that leave me now? Finally facing my inner demons, and trying to sort out my feelings. After consulting for 3 years, I am looking for my next contract, yet I am also now in a position of redefining what I want to do – continue consulting? Look for a full-time job that keeps me home with my DH? I will write more about my professional dilemma in a later blog.
For now, though, you know a little bit more about me. This is not a medical blog, so I don’t feel the need to discuss my POF in greater detail, but if you have any questions please let me know and I will address as many questions/comments as I can. I will say there is only about an 8% chance of us becoming spontaneously pregnant, so the only ways we could realistically have children is through adoption or donor egg – neither of which are options (I will probably write about this in a later post, as well).
Please bear with me; I feel like I have so much to write about, but don't know where to start or how to organize my topics. I did warn you in my first post that I am very stream-of-consciousness! 


  1. I think we could start an entire blog on the treatment we've received from medical professionals as they deal us these crushing blows. My personal favorite was the Buy 2 get 1 free on IVF. Fortunately I've also met compassionate and undersatnding healers. I'm sorry you didn't when you really needed one.

  2. Buy 2 get 1 free? On IVF?? Wow, that's a very special kind of bizarre!!

  3. @ Karin - yeah, this just speaks to the failure rates and their desire to make sure that IVF succeeds - increases their success rates. If a person/couple tries once or twice, fails, and stops, then their rates drop. This increases the chance they will keep trying. Plus, since the procedure is so expensive, people feel the need to keep trying so they have something to show for it.