Saturday, October 3, 2009

My trip to the specialist - Part II

So, I broke down. The stress of all the questions, reliving each of my losses, and feeling more and more confused took its toll. I dreaded doing this, prayed I wouldn't do it. I couldn't help it - the tears came. I sat with my hands covering my face, tears running down my face. I heard the doctor push a box of tissues toward me and apologize for upsetting me. She then continued with her questions and ideas. I tried valiantly to pull myself together and get through the rest of my appointment. The doctor showed me slides from her research and explained something about the differences between miscarriages at 6 weeks and those at 10 weeks. I don't remember anything she said. The last ten minutes of our time together is a blur. I agreed to work with my doctors at home on her recommendations. She recommended repeating the blood tests for autoimmune disorders. She also suggested an endometrial biopsy to test for luteal phase deficiency. We discussed the merits of taking progesterone in the absence of a test. She cautioned against using serious medication as a placebo. She requested I track down the tissue from my last miscarriage, which my doctor's office screwed up to the point of making it non-testable. This doctor can do another test, at a substantial cost. She recommended a bone density scan to rule out issues from taking Heparin in five pregnancies. Thank goodness she wrote all of this down.

I took the paperwork, the book, and the FedEx bio hazard pack for shipping my endometrial tissue (should I decide to have the biopsy). I was shuttled to another room to talk to the research assistant, who spent ten minutes explaining the research protocol the doctor is working on and requested my blood and urine samples so they could put them into a large database of study samples, with the express purpose of trying to better understand pregnancy loss. I had already read through the research consent form and decided I would participate, but I let her have her say. I'm sure it's required to talk through it with each patient so we fully understand what we are doing. I understand that my samples will be a part of a larger initiative to help other women, and that I won't benefit from it. I'm fine with that, I embrace that. Let me help other women. I thanked everyone and walked to the lab. I had been there over two hours, after driving for three and a half. I was hungry and anxious to meet my family for lunch. I approached the lab and was dismayed to see about 35 people waiting. I sat for five minutes, debating my desire to participate in the research and my need to squelch my hunger pangs. After a few minutes, I approached the staff at the desk and told them I couldn't wait any longer. She looked at my lab slip and noticed what I was there for. She told me this doctor feels very strongly about her research and would not be happy if I left without leaving my contribution. This angel called another lab and sent me to another floor. I donated six vials of blood, and was out of there in a few minutes.

What do I have now? More questions. This doctor challenged my deep-seeded, perhaps erroneous, belief that a highly invasive drug is my savior. The savior is wielding a double-edge sword. Save the baby, sacrifice the mom? This changed the framework I have had for years that Heparin injections kept Tyler alive. Maybe that hadn't nothing to do with his survival. Considering I lost three babies using that same treatment, it makes sense that isn't the cure. What value will these tests bring if nothing else is found to be wrong? Do I not take Heparin if the blood tests are inconclusive? Do I take a controversial drug that scares the heck out of me? Do I pursue getting the tissue from my last miscarriage so we can actually determine if the baby's chromosomes were normal or not? If she wasn't, the doctor said she would change her treatment protocol for me, since it's very likely there's something seriously wrong with me. What if my bone density scan indicates my bones are weaker from having taken so much Heparin? Will I not be allowed to use it again? Will I want to use it again?

This doctor did exactly what I needed her to do - she offered new insights, asked lots of questions, and made recommendations. Unfortunately, I didn't come away from the day with more hope, just more confusion. Was it worth it? It's too soon to know.


the misfit said...

You're incredibly brave. I hope this leads you to some new answers - good ones.

Post a Comment