It’s been an incredibly busy week. First up was the much stressed-over first visit to the RE, Dr. D, on Tuesday with Arthur in tow. Truthfully, it’s why I haven’t written in quite awhile. I was too worried and anxious to make sense of the many random thoughts flitting around my brain prior to the appointment.
Back in December when Dr. B gently told me that I wasn’t responding to oral medications and that she recommended that I see an RE, I wasn’t ready. On one hand, Arthur and I are incredibly fortunate: I got a diagnosis of PCOS, a reason for all the strange bleeding and not conceiving, and the diagnosis came less than a year after we started trying. It’s not normal to get a diagnosis as quickly as I did, and I don’t take that for granted; especially after hearing so many others who struggled for a long time to get the tests they needed.
On the other, it’s been a total mindbender to go from presumed fertile to here in about one year. To use a baseball analogy, we started in April as non-professionals with just throwing out the birth control. By August or September, we were drafted into the single-A level when we started with ovulation predictor kits and more in-depth charting. When this revealed, on top of the crazy amount of bleeding from June, July, and August, that there were some abnormalities, we graduated to the double-A league in October/November with a diagnosis and Clomid. Seeing the RE meant another reluctant move up the ladder to triple-A ball in seriousness, commitment, and expense: injectable fertility medications.
I’m glad that we didn’t waste time and money on Clomid or Femara with ultrasounds over lots of cycles once it was apparent things weren’t working, but it forced the issue much sooner than Arthur or I were prepared to deal with it. We’d just started to accept that we had a problem, and we agreed we were good to try with low level interventions for a bit. At the same time, we figured we had several months before we might need to have a conversation about injectables or more invasive interventions, and why borrow trouble? To say that both of us have spent a good deal of time staring at each other going, “how the hell did we end up here at a specialist and major investment in meds? Already?” is not an understatement.
So when I called the RE’s office in December, I asked if they had anything open in March. The receptionist paused for a moment before asking me if I wanted an appointment sooner. I declined, and asked to schedule with the physician I had heard the best comments about from others who had gone through treatments. His first available appointment for an initial consultation turned out to be in March, and I told the receptionist that was perfect. I wanted some time to think and breathe before reentering the craziness of monitored cycles, as well as consider our budget.
One of the projects I worked on during the lag was a binder with every test result and note from office visits related to infertility and PCOS. I got all of my medical records starting in July printed out and organized them into various tabs so that I could review the information at leisure and familiarize myself with my results so that I could talk cogently about them with physicians and staff. I made sure I had a CD with the actual x-rays taken during my HSG so that Dr. D could see them for himself. I found this incredibly helpful, especially during my consultation with the RE.
I’m glad that I waited for the appointment with Dr. D, because he seems like he’ll be great. Once we got to the office and I did the height/weight/vital signs routine with the nurse, she escorted us to Dr. D’s office. I had faxed my paperwork with all my medical information to the office a week earlier so they could review it in plenty of time. I handed Dr. D the CD with the x-rays from my HSG. He took a look, concurred that my fallopian tubes are open, and then we got started talking about further tests and treatment. He mentioned that I needed an FSH, whereupon I pulled out my binder, stated that I had an FSH level checked already and handed him the results. He was impressed with my level of organization, and while he already had most of my records, there were a few missing that I was able to fill in the gaps for. It also helped that I’d familiarized myself well with all my tests and results, because it allowed me to formulate and ask some questions I wouldn’t have thought up otherwise.
Dr. D concurs at this point that I need injectable medications. He was very personable and open about what that would entail, which is a huge amount of monitoring and more of those transvaginal ultrasounds. He also talked about putting me on Metformin since in PCOS it can help to lower levels of androgens and might give my ovaries, along with the injectables, the needed boost to do what they’re supposed to do.
So now it’s Provera (again) to get my cycle started…then show-time.