Post-op Appointment

Where do I begin?

First, we discussed the surgery. He told me the surgery was very successful in that all the endometriosis was excised (cut out), instead of burned. Dr. L and his partner are the only REs in J that excise endometriosis compared to just burning it. The benefit in excising verses burning is that when endometriosis is excised, the chances of it returning are very slim. Which brings me to our discussion of the next step towards pregnancy.

Dr. L told me that once a patient has had endometriosis, the concern after the endometriosis is surgically removed, shifts to egg quality. This is because endometriosis tends to decline a woman’s egg quality sooner in someone who has or had endometriosis. The average woman’s (with no endometriosis) egg quality typically begins to decline at the age of 32. Throw endometriosis into the mix and egg quality begins to decline in the late-20’s.

One of the best qualities in Dr. L is that he doesn’t just throw a treatment plan (such as IVF) on the table and tell us this is our only option. The patient’s best interest is his ultimate goal. So he will sit there with you to the point that you feel you are a team working together to figure out the best possible treatment plan that is unique to you. Being a former teacher, the push in education philosophy was always individualized instruction. I believe it is no different for an RE prescribing a treatment plan to his/her patient – it should be individualized to meet the infertility needs of that particular couple.

And that is precisely what Dr. L does.

So, what’s next?

I’m going to do a Clomid Challenge Test to check my FSH levels, which will tell the quality of my eggs. Dr. L told me this test isn’t a must-do and he expects my levels to be just fine. (Back in March, when Dr. L did my initial blood work, my FSH level was 4.5. Anything less than 10 is a normal range for a pre-menopausal woman.) I chose to do the test because I like to be completely informed and know as much as I can about what is going on within my body!

The Clomid Challenge Test requires me to take Clomid on Cycle Days 5-9. My FSH levels would be tested through blood work on Cycle Days 3 and 10. I am not sure which cycle I will do this test. I need to pray and see what God tells me.

I told Dr. L of our plans to do no treatments until the New Year because God just may want to allow it to happen naturally.

So the plan is to see what happens from now until the end of the year. If needed, we will probably do another IUI in January 2009, regardless of the results from the Clomid Challenge Test. Dr. L told me that even if my levels are above 10, that will not automatically mean our only option will be IVF.

Please keep praying another treatment will not be necessary … if it be God’s Will.

Our Next Step After Surgery

We headed into our final cycle of IUI in October 2008 knowing that if this cycle didn’t work we wanted to stop treatment until the New Year. We do not want to be going through treatments during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

We still feel this way after successful laporoscopy surgery to remove Stage 2 endometriosis. I talked to Dr. L briefly after my surgery but was still in a groggy state. So I am very anxious to talk to him at my post-op appointment on November 17th. The message is clear, though, that Dr. L successfully removed all the endometriosis and now my chances of pregnancy are very good. Even in my groggy state, I understood that much.

The past week I’ve spent recovering from surgery, I’ve had a lot of time to sit and contemplate and pray about what God is telling us our next step is.

We both feel at peace about taking a break on IUI treatments for November and December and doing our next treatment in January 2009 – if that is even necessary.

As I reflect back on the past year, there is no doubt in my mind that, if God Wills, He can and will allow conception to happen naturally before the New Year. I can, and already have started praying that this will be the beautiful masterpiece I have long awaited to see. I invite you to pray with me.

But three tiny words say it all. If God Wills

And I can honestly say with more understanding than I have ever had in my entire life, because of the journey of this past year, that I desire more than anything, God’s Will.

Because in the past year, the greatest lesson God has taught me through this battle with infertility, is that God’s Plan is perfect, beautiful and always best.

Wound Check & Answer to April’s Question

The wound check appointment went well today. I saw Holly and she said my four incisions look great!

April asked if I have watched Ava and Ella since birth and if I enjoy childcare.

Since the story of how Ava and Ella came into my life is just another example of God’s faithfulness to me throughout my life, I will share the story.

The day after our first negative result from an IUI cycle, a friend of mine called me unexpectedly and asked if I had a family I was nannying for.

After four years of teaching 4th grade, I had quit teaching because (haha) we were planning to get pregnant soon after our wedding. I had decided being a nanny would be a good way to spend my time and earn some money while I awaited the birth of my own child.

At the time of my friend’s phone call (August 2008) I had just ended a nanny job in April and wasn’t really looking for another position because I knew my ideal nanny position probably didn’t exist. I really desired to nanny for a family, with twins, until the babies turned a year, because, I figured, by then it would probably almost be time for me to give birth to my baby.

So the day after getting the negative results, Julia called me and told me a friend from work (Natalie) has twin girls who she just put in daycare. It was a horrible experience for both mom and babies. Natalie was upset at work about it and my name popped into Julia’s mind. Julia told Natalie she would give me a call.

When I started working for Natalie, the girls had just turned 9-months-old. I did not want to commit to anything long-term since I do not know what the future holds for me concerning pregnancy. So, we decided that I would watch the girls until their first birthday.

Because everything has worked out so nicely for everyone involved, the girls turned one on Tuesday but I was at work keeping them on Wednesday and I’ll be there again on Friday!

I will continue to watch the girls (2 days a week) for as long as it works out for everyone. I am to give Natalie a months notice when I am no longer able to work for her.

I LOVE MY JOB! In fact, I can hardly call it a “job” or “work”! You ask, “It’s twins. It’s got to be work!” They are the sweetest little girls! They are so patient and rarely cry. The only “work” involved is when one of them has an explosive diaper and I have to clean everything up. But that’s only happened, I think, three times. And then there are the feedings, normal diaper changes, playing and reading. But to me, that is fun, and I love spending two days a week caring for these little girls.

Ava and Ella truly are a blessing to me. God has not chosen to give me my own child yet, but He has given me Ava and Ella to take care of for now.

And I am so blessed!

Tired

I worked today. So now I’m really tired because my energy level isn’t back to normal yet. I was ready to get back to work and see Ava and Ella today. Yesterday was their first birthday!

Ava and Ella are such good babies. On a normal day, I enjoy feeding, changing, going on a walk, reading and playing with the girls. Since my energy level wasn’t too high today and I am still sore, I did the necessities to care for the girls and then they played and mostly entertained themselves today. They are so precious.

Originally, the plan was for me to work for them until the girls turned one. But things have worked out so nicely and it really is the perfect job for me at this point in my life, so I will keep on!

I really am surprised that I am not "back to normal" after almost a week post-surgery. It’s taken a bigger toll on me than I expected. But I just have to remember where I was in the recovery process Thursday evening and Friday and know, compared to that, I’m doing very good!

Tomorrow I have the appointment with a nurse for a wound check at 10:20am.

Time for bed. (Which is a world record for me … I am rarely in bed before 11pm and it’s only 9:45pm!)

5 days after surgery

5 days post-surgery makes a big difference!

The air pain is almost completely gone! Praise the Lord. That really was the worst in this whole ordeal. I’m moving a whole lot faster now but still need to take it easy as my insides are not completely healed.

I am so thankful to be here in the process of recovery!

I have an appointment with a nurse at Dr. L’s office for a “wound check” on Thursday.

Then, on November 17th, I will have a post-op appointment with Dr. L. I have about a thousand questions I want to ask him concerning endometriosis and the surgery. Plus, we will discuss where we will go next as far as treatments are concerned.

Dave and I have spent some time talking about where we feel God is leading us next. I will share more on that later …

Thank you again for all the prayers and support through this.

God is still at work, painting a beautiful masterpiece, that in time we will all see.

Irritated

Right now I should be at Ava and Ella’s 1st birthday party.

Instead I am still stuck here in this chair.

And I am beginning to get really irritated. Enough is enough.

I thought I’d surely be well enough to go to their party on Sunday … I mean that would be THREE days after surgery.

So much so that I got up, took my shower, got dressed and then … My body screamed, "What do you think you are doing?" And back to the chair I went in defeat.

I am better and ready to get on with life but apparently my body hasn’t received the message.

And apparently I am forgetting one minor detail … I’ve had endometriosis cut out from all over my abdomen and I’m just going to be sore … but, thank God, not for forever!

During surgery they pumped my abdomen full of air so they could see in there. TALK ABOUT PAIN. That has been the worst. Unless you’ve had your abdomen pumped with air for surgery, there is no way to describe how painful it is when all that air settles in your tissues and time is the only thing that will make it go away. OUCH!!!

I’m just not a very good sick person I guess. I see things I want to do and I physically can’t do it. That’s frustrating.

This is Day 3 after surgery … they said recovery takes anywhere from 3-5 days. Please pray the pain from the air and the soreness from the surgery will go away SOON!

Time to change my perspective about all this pain.

Why am I in pain?

Because only 3 days ago my abdomen was covered in endometriosis. The endometriosis is probably the cause of these 15 months of trying to conceive and failing every month – even with three IUI treatments.

But three days ago, Dr. L went into my abdomen through 4 tiny incisions and cut all of the endometriosis out. And he has said our chances for pregnancy are now very good!

Every time I think about those events, I am in awe. God is so good, so faithful to us.

Even in the midst of all the pain I can already say, "It was all worth it."

And I know it is only a matter of time before I don’t have to walk around like I am 98 years old.

On the mend!

Taking that pain pill last night, right before going to bed, was the best thing I could have done!

Around 11pm I took the pill. By 11:30pm I was in the bed. Dave and I always pray together before going to sleep. Dave prayed and then it was my turn. I was already half-asleep and remember saying, "I’ll just pray in my mind." That’s the last thing I remember before waking up, expecting it to be the middle of the night. It was 8am! My head hit the pillow and I was out again until I finally woke up around 11:30am!

I can finally tell I am on the mend and it is a GREAT feeling. I’m able to move around better and can finally get myself in and out of this chair with no help.

I’m hoping by tomorrow or atleast Monday I’ll pretty much feel completely back to normal!

Thank you so much to everyone for your prayers and support through this. I appreciate the visits, phone calls, emails and comments so much.

God is speaking about what’s next for us but I haven’t been able to completely process everything enough to be able to put it into words. As soon as I am able, I will post what we feel God is desiring for us next so you too can pray in that direction. 

For now, just keep praying my body continues to heal and praise the Lord with me that all the endometriosis is GONE!

Very Sore

Wow. I never expected to be this sore! I am ready to be back to my normal self but my body just isn’t quite there. And that is frustrating.

I’m taking a pain pill tonight before going to bed, even though when I had my wisdom teeth out almost 10 years ago, the pain pill did worse things to my body than the pain. I am hoping this pain medication will help me sleep better tonight and relax my tense muscles.

Like Aunt Naomi told me, even though the four little wounds don’t look so bad, I’ve been cut on all inside and I will just be sore for a while.

Dave and I watch the movie "The Ultimate Gift" tonight. It was very good.

Now it is time to try to sleep. Goodnight.

Please continue to pray recovery is fast!

At Home

All the nurses and doctors were so good to me, this being my first ever surgery experience. It’s all a blur. They put the gas mask on and I entered another world and don’t remember a thing until I woke up and couldn’t understand where Dave, Mama and Angele had gone. It was then the nurse informed me, “You’re done! It’s all over!” I remember thinking, “I’m alive! I survived! Praise the Lord!”

It wasn’t too long and Dr. L was standing there beside the bed. He told me I did have Stage 2 endometriosis. He cleaned it all up and he said the prognosis for a future pregnancy is very good. Because Dr. L cut the endometriosis out, instead of burning it, he said the chances of endometriosis returning is slim.

I also had 2 small cysts removed from a fallopian tube. He said both tubes are “nice and normal”. The inside of the uterus is absolutely fine.

Once again, GOD HAS PROOVED HIMSELF FAITHFUL! Put your faith and trust IN THE LORD and He WILL carry you through ANYTHING! That is the lesson God has taught me through surgery.

I feel fine except that I am extremely sore. I had no reactions to the anesthesia.

Tonight, I thank God for putting Dr. L in my life. I think it is incredibly awesome that he could go into my body through 4 tiny little incisions, look around with a camera and take pictures (I can’t wait to see them! He said he’d show me!), diagnose endometriosis and then cut it out. All in 2.5 hours and all for the glory to be given right back to God.

Thank you so much for praying! Once again, your prayers have made all the difference in the world. I was nervous and probably shaking like a leaf, but in my heart, there was peace – God’s peace. And I attribute it to all the prayers. Pastor Paul and Judy Crosby came up the hospital to pray with me before surgery. It is such a comfort to know people were praying right there in my presence all the way to people praying in another country (Cristina and Marcio – my cousin and her husband)! I am also so grateful Mama had Angele and Elaine Matz to sit with while I was in surgery.

God is good – all the time. God certainly hears the prayers of his people.

Now please pray for a speedy recovery and a clear direction for our next step. (More on that when I am not so sore.)

On the way to the hospital

We are on the way to my parent’s house to drop off Puppy. Then we will head to the hospital for 8:20am check-in.

Thank you so much for praying … I feel that indescribable peace that only comes from God.

However, I must admit, I will feel a wave of relief wash over me when I actually see Dr. L and know he will be the one performing the surgery! 🙂

To God be the glory … great things He has done … and will do!