Tuesday, December 31, 2013

What's happened since surgery?!

So much has happened since I had Laparoscopic Ovarian Drilling done back on August 27th, 2013.

The original plan was to wait about a month, see what happens. If nothing, do a withdrawal bleed (start a period with drugs) then try Femara (Letrozole). However, about a month after surgery, after talking to my doctor and Phil we decided that maybe a month wasn't long enough to see what my body might do after surgery. Even though I was dying to get things going and start trying again, I agreed to skip the withdrawal bleed and wait a little longer (up to 3 months) to see if I get my own period.

Fast-forward only five days and BOOM - I GOT MY OWN PERIOD! No drugs, no help...just me getting a period! I was in shock! The next question was do we go a natural cycle or do we still start Letrozole? I decided I wanted to try Letrozole. So first cycle since surgery started on August 25th. Similar to the devil's drug Clomid, I took 2.5mg Letrozole cycle days 3-7. Throughout the month I got positive OPKs! CD21 progesterone (to see if I truly did or did not ovulate) was 9.72, the highest it's ever been but not what I wanted. Then the day before mine and Phil's one year wedding anniversary I got my period. So disappointed. Down, but not out...

October 25th was now CD1 of the new cycle. Again, I took Letrozole CD 3-5. I got positive OKPs. The difference this cycle was my blood work was actually starting to reflect a successful cycle. My estradiol was drawn on CD12 and was 53, pretty low....however we recheck it on CD15 and it was 221.1! I WAS ABOUT TO OVULATE ANY MINUTE! The next day I got a solid smiley on my Advanced digital OPK, which meant LH surge which means OVULATION! On CD 23, a week after I should have ovulate my progesterone was 11.2. The first time it's ever been >10! On a medicated cycle I was really hoping for >15. Two days later, we rechecked my progesterone......it was 16.16!!
This was proving to be a very successful and optimistic cycle!

(Three different OPKs - ALL positive)

Three days later on November 21 (CD28), I took a pregnancy test, a few days earlier than I should have. Phil was also out of town on a business trip and wouldn't be home until later that night.
I didn't look at it while it was processing.....I continued with my morning routine, brushing my teeth, washing my face and getting ready for the gym. In my head I knew it was still early to test, but with how well this cycle went I was so optimistic it would be positive.....it just had to be!

I finally went and picked it up and saw this:


I immediately took another one! It too was positive! HOLY SHIT! Is this real? Am I dreaming? Did I do the test right? Is this a joke?


I attempted to set up a hidden camera when Phil got home to capture his response when I showed him the positive pregnancy tests. However, he noticed the glowing camera screen in the window immediately and asked what it was. I was so pissed, but we had a good laugh and I gave him the box that had two positive tests in it. We were both shocked, excited, surprised, terrified, and completely in love with this little baby to be!

Working as a labor and delivery nurse, and struggling with fertility, I know too much and I know how fragile this time of a pregnancy can be. I am scared to death this isn't real, or something could happen. I also know it is out of my hands at this point, and all I can do is pray, remain healthy, take care of myself, and hope for the best. We are waiting to tell our families on Christmas Day. This is the only time before 12 weeks that both our families will be able to get together. I will not even be 9 weeks along, so it is waaaaaay earlier than I wanted to tell people. However, we can't wait to share the news. We are waiting until 12 weeks to tell the rest of the world as well!

Today is the day! 12 WEEKS! We are so happy to finally share this amazing news! I am so sorry to those who have been asking me lately what's up with our trying to conceive journey. Phil and I had made a decision to keep this between us until 12 weeks, so I had to lie when asked. Please forgive me, and know that this was the HARDEST SECRET EVER to keep! We love each and everyone of you so much! 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Run for Nicole

A few short months ago a coworker of mine was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer. She is a mother, wife, nurse, and friend among many others. She is in the process of kicking cancers ass with chemo, radiation and eventually surgery. 

Recently another coworker of mine started an online virtual run to raise money for Nicole and her family! After registering, all you're required to do is get moving! Run (or walk) a mile or 100 miles! Do it in a day or over the course of the month! I absolutely LOVED this idea and was excited to participate! 

I've been running now for seven years. I've run 5ks, 10ks, and countless half marathons. 2013 was the year I was planning on running my first marathon (26.2 miles)! I have applied to the NYC Marathon through the lotto since 2010. Because they can only offer certain amount of spots to run, and the applicant pool is larger than what they can offer, a lotto is done and only those who are chosen get to run. However, there was a rule that if you applied but did not get in three consecutive years in a row, your fourth year you would get GUARANTEED ENTRY into the marathon! 

2010 - Not selected
2011 - Not selected
2012 - Not selected

2013 was the year! I have no doubt that I can run a marathon. I could have easily run other marathons by now, but I wanted NYC to be my first! After all, my first half marathon was the NYC half marathon back in 2010 (and PR in 2011...13.1 miles in 1:42:29).

However, as you all know, since February of this year Phil and I have been doing everything possible to get pregnant and start a family. One of the sacrifices I've made is cut back on my workouts and long runs. I've not run more than 3-4 miles a day (with the one or two occasional 6 and 8 mile runs....I just couldn't help myself) since April/May. So training for a marathon this year was out of the picture. Plus, back in February I was certain I'd be pregnant by November and unable to run the marathon. Therefore, I had to pass on my guaranteed entry.

When this virtual run for Nicole came about, I knew I wanted to run a marathon for her! Sure, it wouldn't be in NYC, and the miles wouldn't be logged in one run. But I was still going to run 26.2 miles for Nicole. 

Over the course of 5 days I dedicated my runs to Nicole. If you have never run with a purpose in mind other than getting a good workout and burning calories, I INSIST you go out and do just that! During these five runs, some were tougher than others. One in particular was horrible and I wanted to cut it short. But I didn't. I kept thinking of the marathon Nicole and her family is running to fight this horrible disease. The fight she makes everyday to keep going. It was nothing in comparison to what I was feeling in that moment. I finished that run for Nicole. 

(Day 1 - 5.25 miles)

(Day 2 - 4.79 miles)

(Day 3 - 5.59 miles)

(Day 4 - 5.57 miles)

(Day 6 - 6.0 miles)

Total miles = 26.2 

Everyday I continue to think of Nicole, her family and everyone else fighting something in their lives. We all struggle, we all have tough times in our lives. Cancer, illness, infertility, loss, heartbreak, tragedies. No one is immune to any of the horrible things in this world. It's important to truly love and live each day as if it were our last. 

If you have the ability to help out financially, please consider doing so (Nicole's Breast Friends Forever). If you are unable to do this, please consider donating your time to keep Nicole and her family in your thoughts and prayers. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Post Op Update!

It's been 9 days since I had the Laparoscopic Ovarian Drilling done. In addition to the actual surgery I also had a Hysteroscopy (look around my uterus with a little camera) a D&C (to send samples of tissue to pathology to rule out any issues inside my uterus), and finally, Chromopertubation (dye into the cervix through the fallopian tubes to test their patency).

The day of surgery I was super nervous. Woke up and enjoyed nothing for breakfast as I couldn't eat or drink all day. I decided to calm my nerves I would go for a little run, all the while knowing I wouldn't be able to drink any water. Well, what started as a little run turned into 8 miles! I used to routinely run 6-8 miles a day. However, a month into this whole process of trying to conceive  I was asked told to cut back a little, so I haven't run more than 2-4 miles since then. This 8 mile run felt AMAZING! It was nice to go out with a bang, knowing I wouldn't be doing ANY activity for at least a week following surgery.

The rest of the morning was nice, I cleaned the house and kept busy before heading to the hospital at 1:30pm.

Once getting to Winnie Palmer Hospital, I got checked in pretty quickly. I was taken back to pre op while Phil had to stay in the waiting room. First thing I did was a pre op antiseptic mouthwash and nose wash. Then I got changed into my lovely Bair Hugger gown, and got hooked up to all the fun stuff. Once my IV was in they left Phil come sit with me until surgery.

The closer the time came to go into surgery the more nervous I got. I am not used to being a patient. I'm the nurse, so it was a difficult transition to make. Phil was great in calming my nerves, distracting me and making me laugh! Finally, my doctor arrived and helped ease some of my anxiety. I had requested not to have any sedating drugs until my doctor arrived, as I knew his reassurance is exactly what I needed to hear before surgery. We went over everything again, had a few laughs and then I was finally ready for the good drugs.

Lucky FSU socks and some sexy SCDs!!

Love this man!

Now, when I go out for a drink, I am such a lightweight. One to two beers/shots and I'm done. So needless to say, the same is true when it comes to IV meds. I did my best to enjoy it.

Before rolling back I gave Phil a kiss, told him I loved him and I was taken back. I was crying before they took me back. The last thing I remember is having a mask over my face, tears running down my cheek while being told to take deep breaths, and I was gone. What seems like only minutes, the next thing I know I was woken up and told everything went great. Phil was not allowed in the immediate recovery room. My doctor stayed with me, and all I've been told is I talked.....a lot. As for what I was saying, I'd rather never know! Once I was reunited with Phil, I do remember some of the embarrassing and at time mortifying things I was saying in my post anesthesia fog. Oh how I wish I did not remember that! Damn anesthesia!

As for the actual surgery, everything went as smoothly as we could have hoped! My uterus looked great, no signs of endometriosis. My pathology report from D&C came back as perfectly normal, healthy tissue! The dye went through each tube perfectly, without any difficulty, which means they are clear! And then the drilling.  I was told my ovaries were quite big, but expected with PCOS and the cysts that we knew I had. I had 12 hole drilled into each ovary. A bit more than he had planned, but still within the normal range (anywhere from 4-20 holes).

(View of the opening to my fallopian tubes from my uterus)

(Spillage of dye from Chromopertubation, meaning my tubes are clear!)

(One BIG ole ovary of mine!)

(Another view of one of my ovaries)

(Ovary following drilling!)

Once I was able to walk and pee I was able to go home. I don't remember the drive home at all. I do however remember the pain kicking in HARD CORE by the time we got to our neighborhood. I like to think I'm pretty tough, but I was in tears. Once home and pain meds were on board, I felt much better.

(Bloated belly as soon as I got home)

One of my snuggle buddies for the next week!

The first two days were the worst. Bloated, ohhh so bloated. Swollen. Sore. Crampy. No appetite. Constipated. Sore throat from intubation.  Medications I was taking included Motrin, Percocet, Colace, Milk of Magnesia, and Zofran. I was taking Percocet and Motrin around the clock the first few days. Felt so out of it and high while taking the Percocet. By the second day post op I was getting worried how bad my vision was. I would lay in bed and play on my phone, and I realized I couldn't read things like Facebook. I had to go into my settings and choose the jumbo font for text messages. My farsighted vision was fine, but nearsighted, I couldn't read or see a thing. I told my doctor and went over everything I had been taking. Then it suddenly hit me.....I left my scopolamine patch on behind my ear that was placed right before surgery. It's used to prevent and nausea. I've placed countless of them on patients myself. The most important thing about them, THEY MUST BE REMOVED IN 24 HOURS. Well I left mine on for almost two days! OOPS! Once I gave this minor detail to my doctor he immediately knew what the problem was. A known side effect of a scopolamine patch is mydriasis, or dilated pupils, which in turn causes blurry vision.  I immediately removed it and did not take anything but Motrin that night. When I woke up the following morning, my vision was back to normal! Hallelujah! See this is why I should stick to being a nurse and NOT a patient!

Cheers to Milk of Magnesia

First day post op vs second day post op

 Mydriasis (Dilated pupil, picture taken 2nd day post op)

(Normal pupil, picture taken today)

The rest of the recovery went without many issues. The bloating got a little better day by day. The bruising showed up about 5 days into it. Now I'm left with just some surface pain/discomfort where the bruises are. It literally feels like I've been kicked in the stomach and lady parts. Sure it doesn't feel great. But it's totally manageable, and in the long run, will be totally worth it!

(All four pictures are 8 days post op)

I also was so floored by the all the love and support I received this past week! Emails, calls, texts, cards and special deliveries! I am so blessed by such wonderful friends and family! Thank you all!

(My Mom and friend Ashley got my the exact same Edible Arrangement, 
so we had DOUBLE these goodies!!)

(Sweet card from a supportive friend I've never met on 
Instagram written on fetal tracing paper!)

(Card from my manager at work!)

I went back to work exactly a week after the surgery. It felt great to get out of the house and get back to work. I was a little more uncomfortable than I thought I would be, but I guess going from doing nothing to working 12 hours as a labor and delivery nurse you can expect to hurt a little.

I had my post op doctors appointment today, 9 days post op. Incisions look great! All is well! Best news of all, I've been cleared to start working out again! I went SEVEN DAYS STRAIGHT without any working out of any kind! I haven't done that in years.....to be honest, I can't tell you the last time I went that long without a workout. I was going bat shit craaaazy!  I obviously have to start slow and take it easy. My first run felt wonderful! No real pain during the run, endorphins flowing, I felt like I could run forever. BUT I did not, and 4 miles would have to do. Even though it's probably more than I really should have, I'm happy that I was able to do it, I wasn't in pain, and I was feeling great!

Day 9 post op bruising 

So now what's next? Well, we take this month/cycle as is. No meds.....no clomid, no estradiol, no progesterone, NOTHING! I'm not gonna lie, it's a nice break! Theoretically I could very well ovulate on my own this month. However, it's pretty unlikely. My doctor said even if I don't ovulate I should still get a period around cycle day (CD) 28-30. If no period by then, we would have to do a withdrawal bleed with Provera (Progesterone) for 10 days, bleed and call that CD1 of my next cycle. This cycle we're gonna add a new medication to the equation called Femora. It works a little differently than Clomid, but ultimately should achieve the same goal, help me to ovulate. Again, theoretically, I should start ovulating on my own following the surgery, but instead of waiting to see how well it works we've decided to just give it a boost and hope I respond better this time around to medications. I love that my doctor isn't wasting my time and is aggressively doing all that he can to get me pregnant! I've said it before and I will say it again, hands down we were blessed with the greatest doctor on this planet! Phil and I couldn't get through this journey without him!

Lastly, in the midst of my recovery Phil so graciously went out and got his swimmers tested! The results came in yesterday...PERFECT Michael Phelps quality sperm! Or as someone else described it, PIMP Swimmers! FINALLY some good news in this journey!

We are excited, hopeful and so optimist about these coming months! As much as I'd like to fast forward through it all, I got some good advice from someone who struggled with infertility herself and ultimately underwent IVF. She told me although the days were long, tiring, and some of the toughest to endure, looking back she wished she had enjoyed the journey more. I thank her more than she knows for telling me that, and I am trying daily to enjoy each moment of this journey!