home — August 29, 2016

home

On Friday I may or may not have walked 8 miles in NYC the day after having major surgery. Apparently, I was doing better that what they expect for the day after surgery. I was just experiencing some soreness and a little pain in my shoulders from the carbon dioxide they pumped into my abdomen to increase visibility. Walking helped, but I’m pretty sure when the nurse and doctor recommended that, they did not mean 8 miles.

A good friend of mine bought tickets for Boston with a trip into New York back in May, when I had the immunology testing completed. She would ask every few weeks if I would be going to New York or not and would say something about it being funny if we ended up there at the same time. Low and behold, it worked out that way. The husband and I met up with her and a good friend of her’s she was visiting. They were gracious enough to let us tag along.

We stated out with a ferry ride from Hoboken to The World Trade Center. Grabbed a cup of coffee and a banana-nutella crepe. Soon after, we found ourselves at the Shake Shack, where I consumed a chicken sandwich that could rival Chick-Fil-A. I know. Crazy.

White roses are placed on the names of the 9/11 victims on their birthdays

We walked until a popular roof-top bar opened where we had champagne with popsicles. Yes, I realize it had just been over 24 hours since anesthesia, but it was just one drink and the strongest pain med I’d had was a regular dose of ibuprofen. Please, no judgement. While sitting there, Husband received a call from Dr. V checking on how I was doing. I think he must have known what we were up to. Doc was not crazy that we were out instead of relaxing, but husband told him we were taking it easy.


We rode the subway to Central Park and headed to The Met for a few hours. Being in the middle of the city, it was amazing to be in the park and have the busy sounds almost disappear. We walked around Central Park a while and by this time it was getting close to 6pm; I was really starting to feel the consequences of being so active. We arrived back to the hotel around 7pm and we were both exhausted. Room service was ordered and sleep came soon after.


We made it back into Houston around 1:30pm Saturday afternoon. We drove straight to Whataburger for lunch and then headed to my parents house to pick up our puppy, Pepper. Visited with mom for a bit and then made our way to the house. I took a 2 hour nap and then went to the grocery store for a few things and back to the house for a movie.

Church this morning. So glad we have been encouraged by family and friends the last few years to become more involved. I know that part of the reason I was feeling so at ease these last few weeks was due to so many people praying and checking in on us.

surgery day — August 26, 2016

surgery day

They found stage 3 endometriosis. 

We were up at 5:30 this morning and left the hotel at 6. It was an 8 minute walk to the hospital. There was a Dunkin Donuts in the lobby of the hospital. Too bad I couldn’t eat or drink anything! 

Up to the 7th floor for registration. We waited about 15 minutes to be called in. After another 15 minutes, we were all set and taken down the hall to the patient rooms where I met my nurses for the day. We went down to my room where I had blood drawn and then changed into my hospital fashion gown, no-skid yellow socks, and blue shower cap. They had to do the blood draw from the top of my right hand instead of the inside elbow because they couldn’t find a vein. 

After changing and the blood draw, we sat back and watched tv for about a half hour in the hospital room before bringing a gurney to take me downstairs to the OR on the 4th floor a little after 7. This is where we waited and waited and waited. Procedure was scheduled for 7:45am and I was the first case. Nurse came. I signed consents. The anesthesiologist came. More consents. Nurse came by again to say Dr. V would be fashionably late. A general surgeon who always assists Dr. V with these cases came by to introduce himself. I overheard the staff saying he lives in NYC and rides a motorcycle to the hospital. Remember the tattoos I mentioned in the last post?

The anesthesiologist went ahead and started my IV and had to come back later to slow the drip since the doctor was running late. 

So, he finally arrives, once again wearing his converse, pink pants, and a black polo. Filled out some paperwork and came to me for more consents to be signed and showed us pictures on his phone when he went home to Italy recently to see family. He made a joke about changing out of his pink pants before surgery and was gone. 

Husband kissed me goodbye and I was rolled into the OR. I moved over to the operating table and just as the nurse, who was at my feet, got me where she needed me, the anesthesiologist asked me to scoot up towers her, as she was standing just over my head. In addition to the laparoscopy, I was having a hysteroscopy first. I’ve had two hysteroscopies before and know that the place you in just the right spot because once you are out, they remove a portion of the lower half. My eyes went back and forth as they had a short discussion. Poor nurse gave up and I moved about 2 inches. An oxygen mask was placed over my face and they asked me to take a few deep breaths and I was out. 

I woke up in recovery feeling pretty groggy, but that soon wore off. The nurse came to check on me and I was close to begging for ice chips. She said I had to wait 10 more minutes. I would make myself open my eyes to look around, thinking that I would wake up faster. Don’t laugh! I was drugged. She had just put my glasses back on, which just reminded me of something! 

The same nurse upset about the anesthesiologist wanting to move me was irritated as she noticed I still had my glasses on as they rolled me into the OR. She rolled her eyes, mentioning how hard this was going to make things. They took them off just as they were placing the oxygen mask over my face and I saw someone just standing there holding my glasses.  If you know how bad my eyesight is (-8.5 right eye, -7.5 left eye) then you also know how close he had to be for me to see that out of the corner of my eye. The last thing I remember was thinking it was weird.

Finally the ice chips! She gave me a spoonful, placed them out of reach, and promptly walked away. Came by later and gave me another spoonful. About that same time, they let Husband come back. The bandages over my incisions were checked (there are 4 tiny ones they just glued), I was given a 3rd spoonful of ice chips, and and the doctor came out to talk to us. He said that extensive lesions were found and that he removed the scar tissue that had connected my right ovary to the top of my uterus. Dr. V seemed pleased. The way he put it, removing the lesions is just like peeling the skin off chicken. I was just relieved that I wasn’t the one out of ten where they go in and find nothing. 

He wished us well and moved on to the next case. Before leaving, he told me that he would call me tomorrow. I was taken back up to the 7th floor and into my original room from earlier in the morning. I went straight to the restroom and was able to check that off the list for discharge. Next, they brought me 2 bottles of water, an apple juice (they offered a second juice, which I accepted. Love me some apple juice!), and a cup of orange jello. Husband went out for an “amazing” lunch at a place the nurses recommended while I began my liquid feast. 

This was the condition of my hands post op. I knew they were going to do a second IV after I was out, but it appears as though they had a bit of trouble, as evidenced by the multiple pokes and bruising. 


I worked my way thru the drinks and jello while responding to texts, checking Facebook and calling my parents. Since Husband had stepped out, I had to call a nurse to get up for the bathroom. I went ahead and got dressed at the same time. When Husband returned, it was just a few minutes before we had set up an Uber to pick us up and drive the 6 blocks back to the hotel. It was 2pm when we arrived back to our room where Husband took a nap and I continued to text and Facebook. By 4pm I was ready to eat and Husband went out to get some soup. 

It’s been hours since I first began writing this post, as a Flip or Flop marathon has been on the television. After talking to my cousin, who is a nurse, I followed her instructions to take Gas x for the shoulder pain from having the carbon dioxide pumped into my abdomen for the procedure. It’s really the only pain I have felt all day. There is a little soreness at each of the incisions, but no aches. For good measure, I took an over the counter pain reliever earlier, as it was getting closer to bedtime. 

Husband just asked me if I was still writing. It has been 5 very distracting hours since I began this post. When I confirmed that, yes, I was still at it, he asked if I was writing a novel. I told him it will be by the time we finish this journey. He replied by saying he hopes it has a happy ending. 

I hope so, too. 

newark, hoboken, manhattan — August 25, 2016

newark, hoboken, manhattan

In that order. Actually, it was Newark, Hoboken, Manhattan, Hoboken. But who’s really keeping track? My feet, that’s who! So. Much. Walking. 

It all started at 3:30am this morning when the alarm went off. We got ready and left the house for the airport a little after 4am. The husband had driven home from Corpus the night before and did not get in until close to 10pm. It was a very short night for us. We flew thru security and made our way to the gate. We (me) had guesstimated how much time we would need and it was pretty close. We only had to wait about 20 minutes before our flight began to board at 5:25am and departure at 6am.

The flight was fairly easy. I was stuck in the middle with the husband on one side and a seemingly sweet old man who did not speak any English and also had boundary issues on the other side. I often felt his arm, leg, or breath creeping my way. Especially as we were making the approach and he was practically in my lap leaning over to see out the window, which was over by the husband. But I couldn’t be upset about it. Annoyed, yes; but he was just so cute! 

Our bag was one of the first to show up at baggage claim, which was a relief (remember, we [I] cut the timing short). We found out that it is expensive to take a taxi from the airport to our hotel, but we made it. We are on a tight schedule today. We landed about 10:17am EST and wanted to drop off our luggage before going into Manhattan for the pre-op appointment at 1:30.  

After dropping off the luggage, we found our way to the subway. We took a train to The World Trade Center and had to get off there and then walk about 5 minutes to the next station. We were able to get some pictures of One World Trade Center and see the 9/11 Memorial. 

We got on the wrong train and realized it after one stop. We were soon going in the correct direction and feeling a little more confident with public transportation. It took a little longer than anticipated and we went straight to the doctor’s office and arrived with 5 minutes to spare. 

There was no waiting time and we were quickly shown to Dr. V’s office. He was very laid back wearing Converse shoes, salmon chinos, white linen shirt with the sleeves rolled up to his forearms that showed off several tattoos. It bothered the husband more than it did me. Dr. V was very genuine as he validated our losses. When he found out that I am a marriage and family therapist and that I work with adolescents in particular, he immediately shared about an article that he read in the NY Times yesterday about childhood trauma and took out his phone to email the article to me. 

After a few questions, we went into an exam room where he performed an ultrasound. It did not take long for him to notice scar tissue by my right ovary. The more he looked, he was confident that my right ovary is stuck to the top of my uterus. He also noticed a lot of fluid where they do not normally see it and said this too could be due to inflammation. 

He then listened to the pulse of my uterus and there was something significant he found, but I know I cannot explain it well. Normally, you quickly see the rise of the beat and then it will taper down until the next beat. With mine, you see the quick rise of the beat, but then it immediately drops and is flat until the next beat, rather than a gradual fall. This could be huge for implantation and the embryo being unable to establish blood supply because of the way my pulse just drops. 

We went back to his office and quickly wrapped up the appointment. Both he and his nurse gave us suggestions for lunch. We were on our way and found a little cafe and had sandwiches that cost an arm and a leg. This was our first real meal of the day and we were starving at this point. We hopped back on the subway to the Brooklyn Bridge. We walked out to the first pillar/suspension thing taking pictures the entire time. Made our way back to the World Trade Center and bought tickets to go to the observation level, taking yet more pictures. 

It was 5:30pm at this point and we were both exauhsted. We took the subway back to Hoboken and checked into the hotel. Our room has an amazing view of the Hudson River and Manhattan. After resting a while, we ventured back out for dinner. Finally back to the hotel, winding down and getting ready for tomorrow. We appreciate all the texts and messages with encouraging words and prayers.  

Brooklyn Bridge
One World Trade Center
9/11 Memorial
Taxi from airport to hotel
Statie of Liberty from the observation level at WTC
Brooklyn Bridge from WTC
Looking down at 9/11 Memorial
My Texas man wearing boots on a subway.
View from hotel room
My view as I typed this blog post

one week — August 18, 2016

one week

Y’all, I’m from Texas, born and raised. Texas is known as the friendly state, but I have to take a minute to brag on my doctors in New York. They have been absolutely amazing! I am dealing directly with them rather than with office staff, which has been pretty incredible. 

First, back in February when I had my free 10 minute consult with Dr. B that quickly turned into 20 minutes so that he could take the time to answer questions and concerns that I had. 

Second, I’ve been in contact via email with Dr. V who will be performing my surgery next week. I even have his cell phone number. I emailed Dr. V yesterday, as I was following up after faxing him a pre-surgery questionnaire almost 2 weeks ago. I wanted to make sure that he had received it and find out if he needed anymore information. I had been told to not be surprised if Dr. V contacted me himself after sending in the questionnaire. 

{Side note: it never gets easier to complete these forms, as they ask for number of pregnancies -5- and number of miscarriages -5-}

He responded in less than an hour. He had not received it, so I scanned and emailed it to him instead a few hours later. He responded by thanking me for the document before the end of the night. 

I’ve always bragged about Dr. G’s bedside manner being so excellent, but I continue to come across more and more doctors in this specialty area who have such compassion for their patients. 

So, back to the title of this post, one week from today I will have another answer to part of this journey of infertility. I will either be diagnosed with endometriosis or they may find anything at all. 

That’s the scariest part about all this. I keep thinking to myself: What if we go all the way to New York for this surgery and they find nothing???? 

I think that I am in the habit of preparing myself for bad news. It’s weird that I would think of not having endo as a negative thing, but if there is no endo, what do we do and where do we go from here? 

Dr. G told me a few weeks ago that it was highly unlikely they won’t find endo. Dr. B has been suspicious of endo since our conversation in February. Somehow, I’m still not convinced.

Surgery is scheduled for 7:45am a week from today. The husband and I are flying out of Houston at 6am next Wednesday to arrive in Newark at 10:38am. We will drop off luggage at the hotel in Hoboken and then go into Manhattan for the pre-op appointment with Dr. V at 1:30pm. 

We will try to squeeze in a few hours of sightseeing since the husband has never been to NYC before. 

I’m more nervous about the pre op instructions than the actual surgery. Low fiber diet is prescribed to assist with visibility and recovery. Low dairy (I love cheese), no desserts (I’m addicted to sugar), no salads or raw veggies, and no alcohol (read: no wine) for 2 days leading up to the procedure. Leave it to me to be worried about the little things. 

on the calendar  — August 2, 2016

on the calendar 

Surgery is scheduled for Thursday August 25th at Hoboken University Medical Center in New Jersey with a pre-op appointment in Manhattan at their Park Avenue office the day before. If it didn’t feel real before, it does now. 

I tell people all the time that I first thought going to see an RE was overkill. I was completely prepared to become pregnant with the first clomid attempt and be embarrassed, wondering what all the fuss was about. 

And here we are. 

3 clomid attempts, 2 IVF attempts and multiple specialists later, still no baby. 

This was definitely not in the plan I had envisioned for myself, but it is my reality. I try hard to not look back and think what if, but instead look forward to what next. 

The plan is to arrive in Newark on Tuesday night and get settled in our hotel in Hoboken. Wednesday we will take a taxi into Manhattan. This Texas girl is not used to the fact that you can enter another state within 3 miles. It will be a 6.6 mile trip, but take a 1/2 hour. Pre-op is scheduled for 1:30pm Wednesday. The surgery is scheduled for 10:30am Thursday morning. The average length of surgery is 1.5 hours. I’ll have a few hours of recovery time and then back to the hotel to chill the next day and a half. No flying for at least 24 hrs after anesthesia and light activity for 5-6 days post-op. 

There is paperwork to complete and get back to them. The lady who schedules the procedures said not to be surprised to have the surgeon call me directly if he has any questions and also gave me his cell number. 

On top of getting all this scheduled, my puppy was not feeling well this morning. I left for work hoping that she would be her usual self by the time I arrived home, but at that point, she wasn’t even using her back legs, dragging herself as she moaned and shook. It was heartbreaking and I was in tears trying to figure out what to do. I called my mom and then the husband, who, as I mentioned in a previous post, is working 4 hours away for the next year building student housing for a university. 

We got to the pet hospital about 7pm. After getting her checked in, an initial exam by the vet and then bloodwork, it was discovered that she has pancreatitis. She was very dehydrated, so they are keeping her overnight on IV fluids, pain pills and an antibiotic. I got home about 8:30. I had planned on making lasagna tonight, but instead ended up with cheese, crackers, peppered salami, a few olives and a glass of wine. 

I’m supposed to pick up Pepper tomorrow morning at 7am and then take her to our regular vet to follow up. 

Say a quick prayer for Pepper if you get a chance.