November 19, 2011
Anxiety. I haz it. About Thanksgiving. And other things.
I kind of freaked out yesterday. More accurately, I freaked myself out. I went a little Rain Man walking around Tar-jay shopping yesterday. I don’t think anyone else really noticed. Cuz I’m that awesome. But I noticed. It wasn’t quite an anxiety attack. I never froze. There were no real heart palpitations or difficulty breathing. I didn’t pass out. I didn’t feel like I was having a heart attack. I just went Rain Man on myself.
I think, in order to avoid having an actual attack, I just had to talk to myself incessantly and make OCD hand gestures (I’m really not completely kidding about the Rain Man comparison). I had to talk myself through each aisle. “Just go get this item and then we’ll go.” But then the item wasn’t there. And of course I’m in the aisle next to Babyland. It seems everything I was searching for was located in the general vicinity of all the baby crap. *sigh*
Most of the anxiety wasn’t even baby related. I just knew I didn’t need to add to it. I was having to talk myself through each step of shopping. Yes, out loud. Muttering under my breath to myself but the lips were still moving and I was audible. And making weird gestures with my hands.
Here’s the deal. I may or may not be having hot flashes again. I’ve been a little sick lately but don’t seem to have a fever. Maybe I just overdressed for the weather yesterday. Maybe the covers were too thick. I AM, after all, adjusting to a new climate. Or maybe, just maybe, my body has AGAIN decided to do a 180. Am I menopausal or not? I can’t take this yo-yo crap. Dr. Google tells me hot flashes can be a symptom of anxiety. So now my anxiety is giving me… anxiety?
I’m waiting to have a period after the ectopic. I’m supposed to go for bloodwork on CD21 to check my progesterone to see if I’m ovulating. And, just for the hell of it, my RE also wants to check my FSH (on CD21?). I wasn’t too worried about AF not showing up since I was having cycles earlier this year. I just wasn’t sure I was ovulating because AF was so short. But now I’m worried that I’m back to hot flashes, night sweats, no ovulation, no AF. Total reproductive shutdown. Just like 2 years ago. Good times.
It’s too early to worry too much about that. It really needs anther week or two. But adding that to my plate right now just tipped me over.
The anxiety I’m feeling is mostly not about all that crap. I’ve resigned myself to worrying about that stuff next YEAR. Or at least trying not to worry about it until next year.
It’s Thanksgiving. It was Pops’ favorite holiday. It will be my first major holiday without him. In the last 20 years I missed being with him on Turkey Day TWICE. Once because I was out of the country. The pain of his death has recently been surfacing – now that I’m moved, not pregnant and basically have nothing else to think about. I had thought the day, or maybe just the meal, would be difficult. I didn’t realize I would start freaking out about it in advance. It probably doesn’t help that I have four in-laws descending upon me next week. Two I haven’t ever met. They are not staying at our house thankfully (ooh, something to be thankful for!). We don’t have enough room. But I have to manage to get the house in order (still unpacking our own boxes and I have a garage full of stuff from my Pops’ house, some of which I need for entertaining).
Unpacking the boxes from Pops’ house really threw me for a loop. All I really wanted was to find a few nice red wine glasses. Maybe an extra baking dish for all the cooking I have to do. Instead I had a breakdown. A complete bawl-fest. Obviously I have not dealt with all this yet. Right Guy did his best. But I was, well… Hot Mess doesn’t even begin to describe it.
And two days later I went Rain Man in Tar.get.
I am not right in the head. Really. I’m being completely and totally serious. But, as I said to Right Guy, I can’t be that wrong in the head if I realize I’m not right in the head. Right? I know I’m not right in the head. I know why I’m not right in the head. Drugs might help. Talk therapy… I dunno. Like I said, I KNOW why I’m crazy. I don’t need a therapist to tell me why. And what can be done about it? I can’t bring my father back. I can’t undo my disastrous pregnancies. I can’t not ever unpack my dead father’s things.
I just have to grieve. And get past it all. And I think that must mean that I’ll be crazy for a little while.
I’m hoping it’s just the crazies talking (really the PTSD on this one) but I am now afraid of having a child. By any means. I think WAY too far ahead. What happens if I get my dream? Right now, I feel SURE that that child, whether my own or adopted, will die young. Probably of cancer (you know, cuz of the irony of Right Guy being a pediatric oncologist and all). The universe seems determined to take away what I love most. To make me feel constant loss. So if I defeat the odds and achieve my dreams… they’ll just be taken away at a later date.
I know that’s crazy. But at the same time… it isn’t. It happens every day.
[This is why I’ve been a little AWOL from twitter. I can’t be of much support to anyone else right now and although I know you all care, you can’t get rid of my crazies. Better not to bring everyone else down – not this far down. Oh yeah, also, twitter client FAIL.]
October 26, 2011
Post Traumatic Reproductive Stress Disorder
My old RE called me the other day to check on me (she’s so sweet and I will never be able to replace her). We were talking and she said something that I think was meant as half joke/half serious. She said if there were such a thing as Post Traumatic Reproductive Stress Disorder then I had it. Although I’m pretty sure this diagnosis is not officially part of the ICD9/DSM medical codes I think this is a REAL THING. Although my doc was sort of joking… she also sort of wasn’t. She was recognizing that I have been through a TRAUMATIC experience with my girly parts. TWICE.
When I mentioned this on twitter I got quite a response and several people asked me to blog about it. So I am. First, my story. I think most of you have heard my story but here are some old posts.
The Spiraling Insanity part one
During my most recent “pregnancy” (I struggle to even call it that) I spent my entire 5th week reliving last year’s nightmare. I recently moved and was having A LOT of difficulty finding early pregnancy medical care. My first ectopic pregnancy gave me almost NO symptoms so I was worried that if it happened again, I wouldn’t know to go to the Emergency Room. It’s scary to think that you could actually DIE with little or no warning.
[My apologies if I sound overly dramatic, even I think I sound overly dramatic. But those are the medical facts.]
So I was FREAKING OUT. I couldn’t sleep. I was reliving the nightmare in my head. And being a general pain in the ass to the docs. That abject FEAR is probably why I barely even think of myself as having been pregnant or as having lost another baby. I never allowed myself to even consider the possibility that this pregnancy could work out. Or maybe I’m just still in DENIAL. I’ve been camped out in DENIAL-land since 6w0d when they said it was likely in the tube.
It also doesn’t help that I have some other PTSD on top of all this. I watched my father die a few months ago. I literally watched him struggle for and take his last breath. I stayed up all night giving him morphine and hoping that he was in enough of a narcotic haze to not know how much he was suffering. I still don’t know what he felt – hopefully nothing. But for several months (it’s finally starting to dissipate) I couldn’t think of him without thinking of his last few hours.
So. There you go. I’m a little wonky in the head. Understandably so, I think. But do I have an actual medical/psychiatric condition? I don’t know. But sometimes giving a name to something helps us fight it. That’s why I think those with “Unexplained Infertility” suffer a little more. Having a diagnosis is half the battle of curing the illness.
But I know, that regardless of whether this is officially recognized, it is a real thing. And I know I’m not alone.
Apparently Lisa (of Three Cats and a Baby) has IF PTSD. She writes about it here. Lisa is a CANCER survivor and has lost her uterus. Um… I can’t think of anything more reproductively traumatic. Not only can she not bring herself in to the doc’s office for a much needed check up and Rx refill, she freezes if she even picks up the phone to make the appointment. I can still make phone calls and get myself to the doc. Lisa can’t. I can only hope that little Jay, her long awaited adopted son, provides some comfort to her.
Miss Ohkay is a Recurrent Pregnancy Loss survivor. She also has difficulty making and keeping doctor appointments. She has decided to adopt and it sounds like she may have a baby early next year. But still no doctor appointment.
Waity Katie is a new twitter follower who has also experienced pregnancy loss and urged me to blog about IF PTSD.
Jen (of This Is More Personal) also asked me to write this. To my knowledge Jen has not experienced pregnancy loss. In fact, I’m pretty sure she’s NEVER been pregnant. Which is it’s own traumatic hell. How do you keep going after so many BFNs? For those of us with multiple losses, at some point, we call it quits. It becomes too dangerous, too emotional or even just impossible to continue trying.
****MY SINCEREST APOLOGIES TO JEN. I WAS WRONG. SHE HAS EXPERIENCED A PREGNANCY LOSS. BUT I STAND BY THE STATEMENT THAT YOU DON’T NEED TO HAVE LOST A PREGNANCY TO FEEL TRAUMATIZED.*****
But where do you draw that line when you’ve never seen that second line? The fear of never seeing that second line must be just as crippling as the fear of seeing it after loss.
Anyway, I guess the bottom line here is something we all already know. That infertility bonds us, binds us and stays with us long past any successes or failures we have. Everyone’s story is different but yet we all experience the same emotions. And that is why Jay (of The 2 Week Wait) has EVERY right to blog about #IF even though she is currently pregnant. IF I choose to try again and IF I’m successful, the pain and the trauma I’ve experienced will most certainly not disappear. It’s a part of me. For better or for worse. And I will always be afraid of that pain. And that’s NORMAL. NOT crazy. NORMAL.
All we can do is help each other. So… who wants to make some phone calls for Lisa and Miss Ohkay?