Tag Archives: birth control

Thoracic Endo Options & Consultation Update

It’s 2:30 am and I couldn’t sleep because I was in too much pain. (I never was any good at sleeping when  uncomfortable.) My mind has been percolating this predicament I find myself in, and I’ve been weighing my options.

As I’ve blogged about before, I am fairly certain that I have thoracic endometriosis (endo on my diaphragm). Endo in this location is more rare and found only in women who have stage 4 endo – it makes up about 1% of women with endometriosis. I’ve had this peculiar shoulder pain for over a year now and didn’t make the connection that it could be endo related until last December. It was tricky to figure out seeing as I have shoulder pain almost all the time, to varying degrees. The day before my period starts the shoulder pain becomes severe.

This month, the pain has spread from not just my shoulder but now to also under my rib cage on the right side (same side as the shoulder that hurts). I’ve read that this is very common for women with thoracic endo. I’m pretty freaked out that the endo will grow through my diaphragm and into my lungs. I really DON’T want that to happen. I’ve read about ladies that have this – they get what’s called catemenial pneumothorax – basically a lung collapse due to being on their period. Super freaky. Some women have to be hospitalized for weeks due to this condition.

That being said – the only way to even diagnose this beast is through surgery. I’ve booked a consultation with one of the best surgeons in the U.S. to deal with thoracic endo. This surgeon coordinates with a thoracic surgeon. However, I took a deep breath when they told me my consultation date: 10/10. An 8 month wait – yikes. I started to pray “Lord, can I get in sooner?” They told me that their NP would review my records and that they would call me back at some point to let me know what her thoughts were. I wasn’t expecting a phone call any time soon, but I received a call a few hours later. “Our NP has reviewed your records and has decided that you need to get in sooner.” So now I’m booked for the middle of July! Thanking God! They also put me down as “high priority” for the cancellation list. So if someone cancels I’ll be among the top of the list of people called to get in sooner.

But now that the pain has spread, I’m sitting here and wondering if I can make it even until July. I talked with my hubby this morning about going on hormones of some sort to stop my cycle altogether until my consultation. Hormones really do a number on me – it’s pretty rough and in a lot of ways I think I’d just be trading one woe for another. I don’t think birth control would be a great option because it has estrogen in it and that can make endometriosis worse as the estrogen feeds it. I went on birth control for 9 days back in Jan for my IVF cycle and remembered that my shoulder hurt pretty bad that entire time. So that leaves progesterone. I read an email I wrote to my sister prior to my last surgery 5 years ago and at the time I was on progesterone. I wrote that I had constant headaches on it and that I didn’t feel like myself at all – I was super crabby and it was hard on my husband. Also it made my hair fall out. So that’s not really a great option either. However, I’m pretty sure that if I went on progesterone my shoulder would stop hurting. The endo may still keep growing through my diaphragm but I think that it would be much more suppressed and would grow slowly.

So I’m trying to weigh these options. Do I take progesterone and risk having an altered mood and deal with having a headache all the time (and baldness!), thus negatively impacting all my family members? (I’ve noticed that when Mom is doing well and energetic, the kids are happy too.) Or do I risk getting blood in my lung cavity? (I’m trying to find out how long women have had thoracic endo symptoms before they ended up with blood in their lung cavity, but I’m sure the variables are great.) I feel very inclined at this point to not take the progesterone as I highly value good relationships with my family and highly suspect I’ll feel miserable on the progesterone.

Perhaps this is unwise? I’m not sure. So please pray that I’ll have wisdom. And please pray my consultation will get moved up!!!

Well, now it’s 4 am and almost the entire family was up the last hour. Hubby was up (probably due to me tossing and turning for so long before getting up) and Josh had a low grade fever (he got his 4 year old vaccines yesterday) and runny nose. So I gave him a snack and water along with some Motrin. Only Rachel will be well rested today!

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Filed under Endometriosis

Less Than A Month To Go

My medications came for the embryo transfer! Not sure if I feel more excitement…or dread? Those 1- 1/4 inch IM needles get a little old after a while!

Anyhow, here’s a comparison between FET meds and IVF meds:

FET meds

FET meds 

IVF meds

IVF meds (from last summer)

Last year, when my IVF meds arrived, I was pretty overwhelmed by the sheer number of medications and spent a good part of the day going through everything and figuring out which syringes went with which needles, etc, as well as when to start/stop each medication. Today, when my FET meds came, it was more like, “They’re here! Great. I’ll go through those some other time.” Lol.

There isn’t too much news here. Our embryo transfer is scheduled for roughly 11/18, depending on how my uterine lining looks (if it’s thick enough) and what my estrogen levels are at. I take my last birth control in a couple of days (hallelujah!) and start lupron injections Friday. The lupron injections will continue to suppress my ovaries and make sure I don’t ovulate (which would throw off the timing of the embryo transfer).

Thankfully, the migraines have subsided. Those went away sometime last week. My TSH didn’t go down on the thyroid medication, however, so my RE (my IVF dr, a reproductive endocrinologist) tripled my dosage. I felt decent for about ONE day. The following day I felt like I had been drugged — I became suddenly weak, light headed and foggy. I also could not resist sleep! (This happened right before we were having company over — of course!). And every afternoon since then, I have felt the same, although to a lesser degree. I’ve done a ton of research on levothyroxine, timing and strength of dosage, and I’ve also talked to the IVF nurse about it. Her opinion is that my body just needs more time to adjust to the medication. From what I’ve read, she may be right. But I also feel that I may be overdosed as well. In any case, I’m supposed to go down on my dosage tomorrow and get labs checked Saturday (including antibodies to make sure I don’t have Hashimoto’s). Hopefully time will tell what’s going on!

I’ve dialed back a lot of my life to get through this time. “Not feeling well” has been the theme for me these past 22 days. In the grand scheme of things, it’s totally worth it! But also hard to get the day-to-day stuff done and to be a good mom to Josh. Thankfully, I feel pretty good most mornings!

I’ll try to keep you updated through this process. Thanks so everyone who has email or texted to inquire how things have been going! I sure do appreciate your prayers!

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Filed under FET

Unexpected

Seriously. I didn’t expect birth control to throw me for such a loop! I wasn’t planning on being sick with nausea and migraines for the past 2 weeks, that’s for sure. And I still have 2 weeks left to go before I can stop the birth control and start meds for the FET.
Waking up in the middle of the night with a migraine is just plain not fun!
Overall, I’m just feeling frustrated that my body so often seems to lean toward the “unwell” direction more than the “well” direction. Or at least that’s how it seems right now. Maybe that’s a short-sighted view from me (probably most of what I’m saying right now is short-sighted!) but I’ve never been this sick from birth control, ever.
I’m praying this isn’t another long season of being in pain. In the meantime I’m icing my head and wondering if I need to get on migraine medication to make it through these next two weeks. My stomach can only handle so much Advil!

On the plus side, Josh is doing great. Sleeping 12-14 hours every night. Laughing and playing and putting his arms around mommy’s neck at bedtime when he’s tired. Kicking up a storm in the bathtub. Eating like a champ. Obsessed with every little silky tag he can get his hands (or should I say mouth?) on. And just last week, the two cutest little bottom teeth popped through his gums. He is such a joy and a treasure to us, and helps me to laugh and giggle throughout the day when I’m struggling with migraines.

Ahem. Headaches and nausea aside, I guess I don’t have to look very hard when I’m looking for God’s mercy in my life!

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Filed under FET, Pain