At least she didn’t say I have diabetes.

I got a call from my endocrinologist today. I’d had some bloodwork done to see how my FSH levels are, and to run some more normal tests. Well, the FSH is back up to 40, which means there is pretty much no chance it’ll ever get down to where it’s supposed to be. This isn’t surprising. What is surprising is that I’m not even worried about it. Maybe I’ve been doing a good job of preparing myself to deal with being infertile. Or maybe I’m just overwhelmed by everything else. Who knows.

What I am worried about is the rest of what she said, the part about my cholesterol being high and something being wrong with my thyroid to the point that she wants me on medication. She said that I need to have an appointment with my regular physician concerning my cholesterol as soon as possible. I’m…not actually sure what the deal is, but she’s going to mail me my lab results, which I will promptly fax to my mother.

I’ve quit taking the hormones, because I ran out of them and we were going to have me quit them anyway. If I don’t have a period in eight weeks, I’m supposed to call and tell the endocrinologist so. With my luck, I probably won’t, right?

I have been really stupid about my health since the fire. I haven’t exercised at all, and I’ve been eating like a pig. Plus, I’ve been drinking lots of sodas, including stuff with caffeine. It’s like I flushed all the hard work (well, I guess it wasn’t all that much, but it was still better than nothing) I’ve done over the past who knows how long completely down the toilet.

So, I need to rectify this situation. It is really hard to cook properly when I don’t have access to a full refrigerator and freezer or my own cookware, but you know, I just need to deal with it. And I need to hurry up and get Yama so I can start biking again. Being this unhealthy is simply unacceptable.


I just did some reading about FSH levels and infertility, and I think I have a better understanding now of what’s going on. A lot of it is stuff that was said to me, but that I didn’t quite understand. It seems that I’m better with reading comprehension than with listening comprehension.

FSH levels skyrocket during menopause because as women age, the likelihood of eggs being viable and resulting in a “livebirth” decreases. The body uses the extra FSH to help bolster the eggs and make them work right. This continues even after there aren’t any viable eggs left.

A normal FSH level is somewhere around 10 or less.

Estradiol, a natural hormone, can suppress FSH.

My FSH level is 36. Previously, it was over 40–menopausal. I am currently taking estradiol, which is probably the only reason the FSH level is slightly lower.

In some women, normal ovarian function has been known to return one year after chemotherapy. I am now 7 years out.

I have been undergoing this hormone therapy since October–over seven months.

We’re going to continue the therapy until this October, then stop and see if my ovarian function returns to normal. But given my current levels, and the fact that my ovaries haven’t reacted in any meaningful way to the therapy, it’s really not looking like there is any hope.

I guess I have been getting slowly adjusted to this idea already, because I don’t feel that sudden shock of intense depression that I used to feel every time my hope was shattered. Now, it’s more like a dull ache.

I guess I will see this therapy through to the end, to put the last nail in the coffin. Then I’ll move on, work towards all my other goals. It will be liberating, really, to finally know for sure.

I’m woefully uneducated when it comes to reproductive medicine

There’s been a lot of talk lately about ovarian tissue transplants as treatment for infertility. A woman in Belgium was able to conceive and give birth after having a sample of her own pre-chemotherapy ovarian tissue implanted. Now, a woman has conceived and given birth thanks to the implantation of her twin sister’s ovarian tissue.

Since the tissue was genetically identical in both cases, this doesn’t prove that anyone can be an ovarian tissue donor for anyone else, but it does make you wonder. It also, of course, makes you think about how cloning could be employed to make people fertile.

I am against that, as you can imagine. I find the idea of creating a living clone for the purpose of harvesting its organs disgusting and horribly horribly wrong. (This is why it was so shocking to me that the Jedi Council so readily accepted the clone armies. What, were they like, “Oh, sure, they’re just clones”?!)

In any case, if it happens to become possible for a different person to donate ovarian tissue to me and make me fertile…then would the eggs still be mine, or what? Are my eggs already all produced, and just sitting in there? That was my understanding, for some reason. So would the new tissue cause the ovaries to once again be able to “activate” the eggs, leaving the genetic material inside intact? Or would the new tissue kickstart the generation of new eggs that weren’t mine?

I don’t want to give birth to a child that is half Sean and half some other woman. The whole thought is just ridiculous to me. Pointless. The point of conception and giving birth is to pass down your genetic material. I can love someone else’s child without giving birth to it. I would rather adopt, if I can’t conceive.

But if my ovaries could be repaired somehow, and the child would still be mine…then that would be great.

On faith

All fear of hell ever did for me was keep me from giving up Christianity.

The reason I didn’t do things like smoke, drink, have sex, sneak out of the house, etc. when I was younger was because I was too scared to–both of the danger of doing those things, and of the repercussions of getting caught. I hated punishment, of course, but I hated disappointing Mom and Dad more. My goal was to make them proud of me.

Of course, I wasn’t exactly pristine. I started getting weird ideas when I turned 15 and found Bulletin Board Services like The Night Watcher. In fact, the first time I considered sneaking out (but didn’t do it, of course), was because I wanted to go to a party hosted by a BBS friend, and I didn’t think Mom would go for it.

There were also private things that I was going through that made me truly hate myself. I don’t know why, but I never quite bought the absolution from all sins thing. Either that, or I was too prideful to accept it. I didn’t want to need to be forgiven. I thought I was a sucky Christian, and because I was unable to force myself to be worthy–or I was too lazy to do so, as I often thought–I was absolutely miserable. The whole thing about not having to be worthy, because “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”, well, that just didn’t apply to me, because I was supposed to be better than that.

It was those things that started me down the road to losing my religion–and getting cancer, facing death, and surviving was what gave me the courage to actually discard it. Because, yes, for years I was forcing myself to “believe”, out of a fear of hell. There was a moment in the hospital when I had a fever of 105. I remembered Mom saying that you could die from a fever that high. As I lay there, closing my eyes against the dizziness, feeling my consciousness floating hazily around, I thought, “I could just go ahead and die.” And for the first time, it didn’t scare me.

I don’t think I ever actually stopped believing in God, though, because I hated him for years thereafter. My most frequent question was, “Why did he let me live?” At the time, I didn’t see the point. Not if I was going to be childless.

Sean was the one who pulled me out of my despair and gave me a reason to live. Seriously. He forced me to stop moping around, to embrace life, and I am so glad he did. I wouldn’t have any of the wonderful things I have now if I’d continued on like that.

So now I consider myself agnostic, because there might be a God and there might not, and I have no idea what the nature of that God is. I at once like and dislike the idea that “everything happens for a reason”. If there was a reason for me to have cancer and to become possibly sterile, I don’t know if I find that comforting. I can think of two huge “reasons”: so Dad would stop drinking, and so I could meet Sean. And those two things are great, and you’d think I could live with making a sacrifice for such wonderful things, but I’m selfish. Everyone who reads this journal knows how much I want kids.

Having cancer also gave me the time to learn web design, and kick-started my college career after a relapse. So these are also plusses. But in the face of never being a mommy, those things seem pretty pale.

If there is no reason for anything, on the other hand, then that puts the responsibility on me to add meaning to my life, and I’m scared that all I’ll do is drop the ball.

At any rate, I don’t think I can ever go back to Christianity. My self-destructive personality does not thrive under that religion. I don’t know that I will never go back to religion in general. The unitarian universalists, for example, are pretty interesting. Right now, however, I just feel like I want to let things “sink in” some more.

I’m so upset and unhappy right now.

Sean says that I tend to have periods of depression that eventually pass. I guess I’m in one of them now. I hate my job and the thought of going back in tomorrow makes me want to cry. The thought of not being able to find a new job does make me cry. I feel trapped and helpless, like I can’t do anything except commit to things I hate in order to have the money to make myself feel better by buying things and eating out.

Every time I try to start something up to better myself, I do really well at first, and then I just taper off until I’m doing nothing again. It was that way with FlyLady, it was that way with my workouts…my house isn’t a mess, but it’s not exactly stellar, and I have to force myself to even empty the dishwasher. Meanwhile, my stomach keeps growing and growing and growing. All clothes are uncomfortable. I keep thinking that I could be pregnant, which is impossible, and thinking about it being impossible makes me more unhappy. Even if I somehow did manage to be pregnant, we couldn’t afford to have a baby. We spend every bit of our paychecks and we have no savings.

But since it’s impossible for me to actually be pregnant, now I’m thinking that I must be having a false pregnancy, wherein my body, acting on cues from my subconscious which thinks about having a baby all the time, decides that, well, maybe there is a baby in there, and responds accordingly.

Mari says that stress causes weight gain in the stomach, so that could be it, too :P

Either way, I’m tired of it, tired tired tired tired tired. I want to scream, and I want to go to bed forever. I also want to kick my boss in the face.

Never cut and dry

I was told today that I have “some” ovary damage, and that in order to conceive I will need to see an endocrinologist.

This is good news because it means there is still hope. But I had been preparing myself for a more definitive answer.

You’d think I’d be used to being strung along by now.

Living up to my name.

Heather fell alseep in my arms many hours ago now. We have the air conditioner going pretty much non-stop, but for some reason or another the house still seems a bit warm. Long story short: I woke up because I was uncomfortable from the heat. She meanwhile is still soundly asleep.

There’s not alot to add from what she already said about the visit. I’ve directed my emotions into the role of Devils’ advocate and the ugly, ugly realist that lurks in corners and dashes hopes. I’d like to think the truth might prepare her for the pain, but I think we all know that’s folly. There’s entirely too much emotion wrapped up in this subject for any acceptance of the truth.

The reality is that she is still menopausal and we’ve seen an overgrowth of the lining. It most conviently explains the “Why now?” question without introducing any miracles or beating incredible odds. The simplest answer is usually the right one.

I am more upset that this aspect of nature had to arrive now. In some way I feel like it’s a very cruel joke. Suddenly after five years a little gremlin of the body has set her up for a painfall fall again. It tossed out a tasty treat that was impossible to ignore.

I ask for Heather to try and ignore those hopes. To accept the painful answer now, but I might as well ask a STOP sign to say GO. She wants a child so badly that it basically haunts her. I don’t know if she’ll ever escape that ghost.

Of course another painful reality is that I can’t make this pain go away. No amount of tears, love, or comfort can make this better and I think that’s what hurts me the most. This is a ghost that tortures us both in different ways.

Bloodwork will hopefully be back by Friday

Breast exam and vaginal exam checked out fine. Pap smear results will be available in three weeks.

The blood test is the important part. It will (presumably) tell us why I was bleeding. The doctor gave us these possibilities:

  1. My ovaries are working again, which would mean that I can conceive.
  2. I am menopausal; the bleeding would therefore be simply a buildup of uteran lining that finally broke loose.
  3. I was bleeding for another reason, which would be more sinister than the first two. This is, fortunately, the most unlikely scenario.

If I am menopausal, then there are two things that I must watch out for:

  1. I will need an ultrasound to determine whether or not my uteran wall is too thick. If it is, there will need to be a biopsy, and I will need to take progesterone to keep the lining from building up.
  2. I will need to have my bones checked to ensure that I don’t have osteoporosis, and if I do I will need to take medication.

After the appointment, I got my hair chopped off to just beneath shoulder level, and donated the long remaining portion to Locks of Love.

Today’s the day

Although test results might be a day or two, this is the day of the actual testing. Understandably, I’m a little nervous, and trying not to be.

I have to work a half day today, and then leave at 11 and meet up with Sean for lunch. After lunch we’re going to work out some car insurance stuff. Then, at 3:30, I’m going to see a gynecologist.

I’ve been thinking about so much lately–getting a house, how if we have a child I want a car with air conditioning, where my “career” is going and how I can start making more money, how and when we’ll ever go back to Japan. Sean and I already determined that we will have to wait at least a year before we’re ready for a child. I’ve been wondering if that’s enough time to get everything settled…I really don’t want to live paycheck to paycheck, I want some assets and investments.

My business plan is something that will really have to wait until we’re more financially stable. I’ve been thinking that real estate might be the way to go. If I can just buy up some property and rent it…I think that would be a good way to build wealth. I just need to figure out how to do it.

Of course, there’s always the chance that we can’t have children anyway, that all these dreams and hopes are based on nothing.

I hope the doctor can give us a definitive yes. I feel so naive, but that’s what’s in my heart.

Life: a thing you never expect

After my cancer treatments, I couldn’t have periods naturally. I started on hormone shortly after I recovered, and took it for a few months. With the artificial boost, I was able to have periods. Transitioning on and off the hormone gave me horrible mood swings, and I didn’t like having to pay $10 a month or whatever it was to get the pills. So I finally just decided not to take them. I didn’t go back to the GYN who’d prescribed them, either; not because he wasn’t good, but because I thought I knew everything I needed to know already. He’d performed a blood test, twice, that showed that my brain was sending too many signals to my ovaries. This told him that my ovaries weren’t functioning properly–they weren’t responding to the brain by releasing the proper hormones. He said that he’d never seen someone with that result get pregnant.

For the past five years, I’ve been trying to deal with that prognosis. I’ve failed, pretty much; if anything, it’s been even worse lately. Seeing mothers and their children has filled me with such bitter longing that I’ve had to force myself not to cry.

And then, on Sunday night, I started having a period.

It went strong, very strong, just like a normal period. The cramping and moodiness was the same as I remember. It seems as of this morning to have died down…meaning the length was pretty much normal, too.

I don’t know what this means, and for these four and a half days I have struggled to hold back my joy. Everyone except Sean seems to assume upon hearing this that I can have children. Sean is more skeptical; he doesn’t understand why I would suddenly have a period out of the blue…and why it would happen now, after so much time.

He doesn’t want me to get my hopes up. I don’t want me to get my hopes up either. I think it has already happened, though, subconsciously. I think that my natural state of being has been to not give up hope. Somewhere inside, I always felt there was a chance, even as my conscious mind tried to stay logical. It was probably those two dueling sides that kept tearing me apart emotionally.

I’m going to try to stay as neutral as I can until my doctor’s appointment next Wednesday. If we run the same test as I had before, that should tell us something. Either things are the same as they were, or they’ve changed somehow. Maybe there’s another test they can do, too; I don’t know.

Right now I am just a prickly ball of barely-contained emotions.

I don’t want congratulations at this point…you’re free to give them anyway if you wish, but I’d rather not celebrate anything until I know for sure. That, and just letting the whole thing sink in, is why I haven’t written anything about it until now.

The "motherly type"

You're a Motherly little Girlfriend
-Motherly- You’re the motherly type. You love to
take care of the one you love, and generally
you can be a bit overprotective and possessive,
but you know, that isn’t always such a bad
thing. At least you’ll be a good mom in the

What Kind of Girlfriend Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Yeah, at least I know I’ll be a good mom in the future! Gee, that thought brings me so much relief!!!!!!!


Sigh. Being unemployed gives me too much time to think about things. Sitting at my window this morning (my computer desk is right next to the window, with the monitor facing away at an angle so there’s no glare), I watched a young father and his toddler son romping around feeding the ducks. I want so desperately to have children that it’s not even funny.

I always hoped that after awhile the pain would go away…but instead of doing that, it just recedes into the background, ready to jump out again at any moment.

There was some British sitcom on the local PBS affiliate recently wherein an old, bitter woman revealed that she didn’t have any children because she couldn’t. The episode revolved around her living vicariously through a younger woman who was having a baby. Is that as close as I’ll ever get? As much as the episode tried to be positive and heartwarming, I couldn’t feel anything but depressed.