Thursday, December 15, 2011

Painful Decisions

While on my way to the doctor this morning, I was overcome by the all too familiar sense of panic and anxiety. I have always found myself with a racing heart, jitters and an over active mind when faced with a doctor’s appointment of any kind. Perhaps it has worsened over the years, after experiencing several ectopic pregnancies, ovarian cysts that had to be removed, emergency surgeries, numerous doctors and ignored or unexplained pain and concerns. 

I find myself almost sick, physically, as I sit and wait for my name to be called, worried that I will be questioned about my apparent fear and nerves. This morning as I felt myself being swept away, I paused and forced myself to take the slow cleansing breaths.  “In through the nose, out through the mouth…” I repeated to myself, “breathe in the fresh, clean and new, breathe out and let the ugly, worry and dis-ease go with it…”, and it seemed to work, at least a little, until I walked into the examination room.

Already aware of the options about to be set before me, my mind begins to wander, exploring the feelings I thought I had sorted out. How I got to this place, what I always wanted, what was taken from me, what I hope for and what I know is likely not a possibility, all of these thoughts bubbling away inside my body. The unfairness, some of which I brought on myself, some of which leaves me with little options of my own, left to make decisions that must deeply consider another, others. And then the “Why?” of it all, why do the choices required for MY body have to depend upon the input, or even at times decisions, of others? Obviously the answer to that sits before me; because I have a heart do I consider others in making my decision and because a part of me has decided that is the “right” path to take.

As I sit before the doctor, it is almost as though he is a co-conspirator in this ploy to have the decision made for me. “Talk to your husband.” Well, okay, fair enough, of course I will. “Whatever you do, don’t get on the internet, don’t talk to your friends, aunts, grandma’s and neighbours. Everyone has an opinion, everyone is an expert. Don’t do it.”, the doctor tells me with a smile. So, again, take YOUR opinion as the “expert” one, and just let you take it from there?

For over fifteen years I have dealt with, at times, excruciating and unbearable, abdominal pain that has NEVER been firmly diagnosed. I have suffered numerous ectopic pregnancies, cysts that had to be removed surgically, laparoscopies to search for a cause of my pain, already pumped full of pain-killers, on my way into surgery pressured, and convinced, to have my tubes removed, and then I was told “Well, if it IS Endometriosis, many women find the symptoms disappear after pregnancy, we’ll put you on the list with the Fertility Clinic.” While of course that was not the reason I/we chose to get pregnant, it was like an appeal to my heart, the door had FINALLY opened, I was getting the longed for referral, I would have my chance!! And so, the In-Vitro Fertilization path was opened up. While words cannot ever describe how WORTH it the end result is, that is an extremely difficult road to trek. Pain? YES! Emotionally, physically and everything in between! I, being the “extra-special” case that I am, of course ran into complications. Amidst already invasive procedures, several drugs that play with your hormones and therefor your emotions, injecting MYSELF twice daily, nasal sprays, examination after examination, I then ran into complications, OHSS, Ovarian Hyper-Stimulation Syndrome. My ovaries swelled beyond the size of grapefruits and I was SICK and in more PAIN, I even had to have several gallons of blood DRAINED from my belly, while I was awake. Procedures said to be “uncomfortable” were excruciating for me, including the embryo transfer which left me in an agony I can hardly describe. Next came pregnancy, hard to be excited when I was sick 24/7, scared because of pain and other symptoms. Then, back labour that lasted the entire month leading up to delivery day. Oh my, let me just say that actually delivering her was NOTHING in comparison, I have never been in that much pain in my life, for a month!! Again, all worth it in the end!

The pains that were hopefully to disappear after having my baby girl? Worse, worse and worse. I began to experience new symptoms, which included belly button pain. All around my belly button, for 3 years now, feels permanently bruised, I’ve even had it turn black. This summer, it has begun to change again, for the worse. Pains that are worse than ever before, cramping that goes into my back and down my legs, at times comparable to contractions; I’ve even had to breathe as I did while I was in labour to make it through some of the episodes, nausea and a few other symptoms.

So while the other, complicated, decision regarding venturing down the IVF path again has been weighing heavily upon me already, I am now forced to look upon it all with yet another sense of urgency, a new vantage point.

To go through another exploratory, temporary removal of problems, laparoscopy to FINALLY make a diagnosis (hopefully), choose the undesirable, likely unhelpful option of Birth Control Pill/IUD, OR, the ultimate, end decision, to go ahead and have the hysterectomy…

Tonight, I sit here feeling drained. So many of these thoughts have already been on my mind for years, for months I have known that I was approaching surgery, likely of the exploratory nature, and fully knowing that a hysterectomy lays ahead for me. And yet, my mind and heart feel unsettled. The worries of future regret in choosing NOT to have another child, surgery all in itself, thinking that perhaps I really should turn to a natural approach, at least fully investigate it, taking of course MORE time, and then of course the finality involved in having a hysterectomy.

In the end I know, from somewhere deep within, that whatever choice I make now will be the RIGHT one, the intended journey etc., and yet, I can’t help feeling as though there will be a sense of regret/”wrong” in whatever I choose.

“In the infinity of life where I am,
All is perfect, whole and complete.
I recognize my body as a good friend.
Each cell in my body has Divine Intelligence.
|I listen to what it tells me, and
Know that it’s advice is valid.
I am always safe, and
Divinity protected and guided.
I CHOOSE to be healthy and free.
All is well in my world.”

I believe this is from Louise Hay, my apologies if I am incorrect.
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