Archives for April 2006

Screw you Dr. I’mnotlooking. Now I’ve got NP Dollface.

Today brought my second dose of Lupron and a new doctor. Or Nurse Practitioner to be more accurate. She was a dream. Took me at my word and kept me on my treatment. Then she asked me the dreaded fertility question. Give me a break. Is there any woman anywhere who can go through two laps and still think she’s got plenty of time to mess around with her fertility? I’m fully aware of the fact that I’m a ticking time bomb, thanks.

She really earned my love when I complained of the hot flashes (which have started up like little champs) and she whipped out a pen and paper to make me a list of herbal supplements I could take. Then she dragged me out of the exam room and into her office so she could get me information about the RE’s in the area and inform me that Kaiser Northern California does in fact cover some parts of IVF. In Southern California, once they determined that IVF was my only hope, I just got a good luck and don’t let the door hit you on your way out. Can you imagine? All this time we’ve been stressing about how to pay off law school and house and baby at the same time, and there is a long shot that someone else will pay for the baby! Hooray! I’m trying not to get too excited, because Kaiser is still a business, and why would they cover everything if they didn’t have to, but if they only paid for the medicine that would still be outrageously cool.

I just got back from Youth Conference, which is where we take all the little Mormon teenagers 14 – 18 up to the mountains and talk to them about good values and then watch as they have a big dance so they can meet cute boys and girls who believe the same things they do. It’s great fun. I was thoroughly shocked to discover on Friday night that a switch seems to have been flipped in me and all of a sudden I’m doing freaking AWESOME! I was out there dancing my heart out with the kids like I was 16 again. They all commented on how they can not believe how hyper and crazy I was, when really it was more like me rejoicing that my body wants to move again. I just read in my Lupron literature that the estrogen goes up for about two weeks so symptoms may get worse at first (Yup.) But then the estrogen levels drop precipitously and symptoms should alleviate. (Sure ‘nough)

I feel crazy good. And Bear keeps beaming from ear to ear and saying “I’ve got my wife back!” Now I’m back to the job hunt and amazed that I honestly feel like I can work a job now. I do still have some weakness and exhaustion, but good old Dr. Hero says that’s from the inactivity and I just need to rehab. Plus I’m withdrawing from the years of pain pills so every once in a while I feel like crawling out of my skin while simultaneously having a panic attack, but that’s getting better as I’m weaning myself off the pills. I basically am off pills entirely for pain, and right now I’m just on 1/2 a pill a day for the withdrawal and pretty soon none at all.

So, to sum up: WHOO FREAKING HOO!!!


Dr. Hero saves the day

To recap: we left off with me getting my first dose of Lupron from Dr. I’mnotlooking’s office and recovering from surgery and a chest infection.

Now, some interesting developments:
A couple days after my shot I emailed Dr. I’mnotlooking to ask for more pain pills. I take 4-6 pills a day, which is far inside the recommended dosage. I could take more if I were so inclined. But I’m not. While I’m sure the Lupron will in time work wonders for me, time has not yet elapsed, so I’m left with all this pain to deal with and so naturally, I go to my doctor for help.

He returns my email by replying that he does not feel comfortable prescribing me any more pain pills, he wants me to go to a pain management specialist in San Francisco, and a psychiatrist. This is LITERALLY (as in, I counted) the sixth time he has told me to see a psychiatrist for my pain.

So I take a deep breath, say a prayer that I will be able to compose a reply without chucking my computer out the window, and write back to him that “My pain is real. What do you expect me to do while I wait for the appointment with the pain specialist? You are my doctor and I trust you to treat my pain.”

With my guilt trip successful, he says he will prescribe, but this will be the last time until I see the psychiatrist. I found out later when we picked up the pills that he got in one final ‘screw you’ by only prescibing 50 pills. So if I take 4-6 a day, that gets me through…10 days. That’s really helpful.

By this time I’m sobbing and hyperventilating and ripping out my hair. How dare he? How dare he treat me this way! I trusted him enough to let him look at my Va-nay-nay and this is what I get?

Right then and there I pick up the phone and call the dang psychiatrist. If nothing else, I’ll have someone to talk to about how awful my doctor is. And maybe if I keep this appointment, that will keep my doctor happy enough to continue to treat me. It’s all so humiliating how I have to continually debase myself just so I can get the minimum standard of care.

The receptionist joked that the soonest available appointment was in an hour, and I snapped it up. My sister chose that unfortunate moment to call and so she got to hear all the emotional saga live and her response was, “So is the psychiatrist the doctor’s brother or something?”

The psychiatrist, who I will call Dr. Hero, was tall and in his late 50’s. He had a very good-natured almost big-brotherly vibe to him and at our second appointment he called me “kid” about seven times. I took to him instantly. I told him the whole messed up saga, even explaining in microscopic detail the inner workings of endometriosis and why I was right and I’mnotlooking was so SO WRONG! And in the interests of full-disclosure, I even told him all the red-flags that sent I’mnotlooking down the crazy path. His response:”Sure sexual trauma can cause a painful pelvic exam, but it doesn’t explain any other symptom of endo.” I was in love.

Before I even got halfway through my story he told me to get a new doctor. He said that some people are only in it for the babies and can’t handle any other aspect of OB/GYN, and that many doctors (most of whom happen to be older males) don’t take women’s pain seriously. He told me to get a new doctor and make her a woman.

But won’t switching doctor’s be suspicious? Won’t that stall my treatment? It’s worth the risk.

Does that mean I’m not crazy? You’re not only not crazy, but you are totally sane, managing tremendous pain the best you can, and none of this is your fault.

He scheduled me for five sessions, but after our second session on Tuesday, I don’t think I’ll be using them all. Once he got me fixed up with a new doctor and thoroughly explained to me why I wasn’t crazy (scar tissue is evil), there really wasn’t that much to say. I kept bringing stuff up (Baby showers suck! well of course they suck. Just don’t spend too much time thinking about them so they only suck for two hours instead of 30. My family’s a mess, wanna talk about my family? You’re doing great. You don’t need me.) but we ended up mostly just shooting the breeze for an hour.

I’ll see my new OB/GYN later this month when I go in for my second shot o’ hormones, and hopefully she’ll be kind and not white-knuckle stingy with the scrips. The Pain Management Clinic doesn’t have an appointment until July, and considering that I’ll have been on Lupron for five months by then, if I’m still in this much pain than we might have to revisit the whole crazy issue.


Here we go…

On Wednesday I went and got myself shot up with Lupron.

So far, so good.

My nurse was fantastic, I literally didn’t even feel the needle prick, and by now I’m so used to being poked and prodded that I wouldn’t have cared even if I did. The worst part about the whole thing was just having to have a period before they’d give me the shot. And periods could not suck more in my world.

For the past few days I’ve just been cold chillin’, waiting for the dreaded side effects to come around and kick my booty. Every time I find myself the slightest bit warm I ask Bear, “Is it warm in here or is it just me?” I keep waiting for the hammer of hot flash to drop down on my head. I have had a little bit of heart palpitation, but that’s an easy one to live with. It never lasts long and it’s not terribly uncomfortable.

The antibiotics did their job, and I’d now say I’m completely recovered from the surgery. Unfortunately I’m not yet recovered from the endo, so after all this I’m back to my regular old invalid life. I have been trying to limit how many pain pills I’m taking, mainly because I’m a little concerned about being able to leave them behind.

Let me clarify: I don’t think I’m addicted to prescription drugs. Foremost because I avoided narcotics like a bill collector and the pain pill I do take every day is known for it’s low addictive quality. On this one issue I’d have to agree with the doctor and say it’s all in my head. I’m concerned about leaving the pills behind because I have been in so much pain for so long that I have no faith that the pain would ever not be there. I can’t imagine what it would feel like to not be in pain. Will I even recognize it when it comes? So I’m afraid to not take a pill because they’ve almost become a security blanket, not to numb my feelings or get me to escape reality (my tolerance is WAY too high for that) but simply to do their job and take the edge off the pain.

I tend to be a little overanalytical, ever notice?

So every day I’m trying to go a little longer between doses. When there was no end in sight and every day only brought more of the same pain, there was no reason to be a martyr and feel bad when there was a way out. But now that I’m on the Lupron and there is theoretically an end to at least the pain symptoms, I feel like I need to work harder at taking the bare minimum of pain relief I can get away with. To wean myself off, and so that I can monitor my progress. If I dope myself up constantly, how will I know if it’s working? Or not?

So with that being my thinking, the past few days haven’t been terribly pleasant. There’s a reason why pain management doctors tell you to never skip a dose, even if you don’t feel like you need one right then. Once I cave and take the dang thing, it takes a while to work. And while I’m waiting I’m holding my guts and whimpering.