Monday, January 30, 2006

Why adopt? Part 2

Returning to my reasons for adopting...I have been asked, "Are you adopting because of infertility?"

The straight up answer is "no."

The more complicated answer is "possibly."

After my son was born, I lost all 25 pounds that I put on during that pregnancy. He was nursing like a machine and I was so freaking exhausted and anxiety ridden, I probably didn't eat enough. Anyway, those 25 pounds just melted right off.

Then, when he quit nursing at one year, those 25 pounds crept right back on.

I was in law school, which is stressful. (Although, frankly, at times I found it less stressful than motherhood, but, well, I'll have to go down that road another day.)

I didn't have time to worry about my weight, so, I didn't. After I graduated in 2003, though, I began to worry about my weight. I went to Weight Watchers and didn't have much luck. I started working out 5 or 6 days a week, but, I had no luck.

In April of 2005, I had been working out almost daily for MONTHS, and I had gained 4 pounds.

My husband and I and some good friends went to the Bahamas in April of 2005 and had a fabulous time. However, when I returned, two things happened:

1. I had to look at pictures of myself in a bathing suit, and
2. I ran a fever of 100 to 101 degrees for 24 days straight.

I didn't feel lousy otherwise - I just had a fever, and a headache.

I called the doctor on day 7 of the fever, whose response was that I needed to get into his office RIGHT THIS MINUTE. (I do love my doctor, he's a good man.)

Apparently the good Doctor D. was concerned I had appendicitis that was manifesting without abdominal pain. (I learned later that he almost lost a patient once to a burst appendix that manifested only, in the days leading up to the rupture, with a fever.)

I got to his office and he groped my appendix for a while, and then sent me for a battery of tests. All of which came back normal, except that there appeared to be something "off" with my thyroid.

The doctor took more blood, ran more tests, and finally said, "I don't know, but, I think I want you to see an endocrinologist."

And so, off I went to Dr. R., who ran more tests, took more blood, examined, of all things, my toes, and said, 'I think you have polycystic overian syndrome and a thyroid that is ALMOST, but not quite, functioning properly." She also noted my unusual body structure - almost all of my excess weight is in my abdomen - as a key part of her diagnosis. Also, strangely, the fact that I have to shave my toes. (Yes, I have to shave my toes. I know that is disgusting, but, true. I am not a really hairy person, but, I have hair on my big toes. I have to shave it a couple times a week or it freaks me right out.)

Dr. R. sent me for an MRI, because one of my other, more peculiar symptoms, was that I continued to produce milk fully four years after my son stopped nursing. It wasn't a ton of milk, I wasn't leaking onto my law briefs or anything, but, it was enough that I found it odd and uncomfortable and, just plain weird.

The MRI revealed a pituitary (sp?) abnormality that was the cause of my constant lactation.

Taking all of this information into account, Dr. R., who was never able to determine the cause of my 24 day fever (and at this point I suspect it was the result of some kind of virus I picked up in the Bahamas), prescribed Glucophage, Synthroid, and Bromocriptine (to end the lactation.) I stopped the Bromocriptine after 4 weeks, because it seemed to have done it's job and I was sick of the side effects. On the Synthroid and Glucophage, and back at Weight Watchers, I am starting to see some improvements in my body...but, more on that later.

Dr. R. expressed to me that, had I tried to become pregnant before this, I would have most likely been unsuccessful, and that she suspected that I was "probably infertile" - although the only way to tell that would be to give it a try...

MEANWHILE...back at the ranch known as "my cervix" - weird things were afoot.

My PAP results had come back "atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance" every three months for three years. Each time the result came back as such, my ob-gyn, a very nice man named Dr. J., sent the results to be tested for HPV - the virus that causes some 85-95% of cervical cancer. Each time, the results were negative.

Dr. J. was flummoxxed, but, he didn't want to stop running the paps every 12 weeks, because, even though "in his experience" - atypical cells that were negative for HPV didn't turn into cancer, it wasn't a risk he was willing to take.

Then, I got a PAP back that indicated the presence of precancerous cells. Dr. J. was alarmed. He had never seen precancerous cells in a patient who was negative for HPV. But, he stated, in a very serious way, that "something else" causes 5-10% of cervical cancer, and he was concerned about the situation and that "those cells are coming out ASAP."

And so, at the beginning of January, Dr. J. ended up removing a large portion of my cervix.

Which, presumably, solves the problem. There was no cancer in the tissue that was removed. There was no HPV. But, there were atypical cells, and now they are gone. Along with, most likely, my ability to hold in a baby.

Dr. J. was honest - it's "possible" that you could carry to term, but, more likely that it would be problematic. "Miscarriages could occur." (Well, honestly, is that news to ANYBODY? I mean, the statement "miscarriages could occur" is pretty much a statement that could apply to anybody. Hell, both of my sisters and several friends of mine have had at least one. I mean, really, that's not news, is it?)

And, I don't know that the "possibility" of infertility counts as a reason, because I've never explored that possibility. I've not opened myself up to the possibility that that monster (and it is a monster, because I've watched it tear some very dear friends of mine to pieces with her cruel claws) might be lurking in my closet.

And frankly I'm just not interested. Not interested in walking down that road. Not interested in being pregnant again. Not interested in the possibility that my breasts might leak milk for another five years.

There's a fork in the road, well, a three pronged fork. And one sign says, "this way for parents of only children" and another sign says, "this way to try to get pregnant again" and the third sign says, "this way to bring home the child that your heart is telling you is waiting for you" - and that is the road we've decided to turn down...

More Later,
Law Mommy


Anonymous Patricia said...

I meandered onto your blog a while ago, and bookmarked it because I have been interested in adoption from Vietnam since traveling there eight years ago.

Anyways, I too have to shave my toes, and even though I'm thin have pcos, though it seems to have a fairly minor effect on me.

I have had many miscarriages, even though PCOS only increases your risk by ten percent or so. And I did manage to have a son before any miscarriages and before I was aware of my "condition."

Anyways my son is just a few months older than yours, and I look forward to hearing more about your journey.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006 3:38:00 PM  

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