I had my 4-week post-op appointment today with the RE/surgeon this morning. As I sat there waiting on the exam table, kicking my dangling feet over the edge, I thought about what we might talk about and wondered if I could even come up with any more questions. I’m pretty tapped out after 5+ years of this. Once he entered the room, it was down to business as he had the full surgery report in hand and it was not good.
Stage IV endometriosis.
I’m not surprised and in fact it probably was Stage IV back in 1993, the first time I had surgery, but I don’t remember ever being told that. Five years ago, I was told Stage II after lap #2 (by a different doctor) and over the most painful, heartwrenching, financially-ruining, marriage-testing last five years, I’ve come full-circle and arrived right back at Stage IV.
And still no baby.
We discussed the options and the harsh reality is the disease will return as I know all too well; we just never know how quickly or how severely, but it will. When he asked about our decision to continue TTC, it obviously would overrule any suppressive treatments he would suggest. He didn’t sugar-coat anything but he wasn’t completely leaving me with no hope. He said that some studies have shown that fertility can improve after a surgery like this, but our window is now.
Right now. Like 6 months right now.
After that, he said if we were emotionally strong enough to consider IVF again, we could certainly try that as it might have a better outcome post-surgery. He said to think about it and continue to try on our own if that’s something we wanted to do. Some couples try for a while and move on while others go back to IVF, but the choice is ours to make. He wasn’t terribly worried about my age or even my .39 AMH level from a couple years ago, saying I have something to work with and asked how many eggs we’ve typically retrieved. I said between 7-10 which he immediately said that was good. I told him the problem has always been quality, both egg and embryo and the last go around the eggs were “brown” and “dark.” I asked if the endo impacts the egg quality and AMH levels and he said it could. So we left it at that and I decided to meet my husband for a coffee after the appointment.
With men, it’s sometimes hard to know how they really feel about this stuff. We don’t talk about it nearly as much as we did two years ago and I think in the past two years since stopping treatments, we’ve both grown accustomed to our situation. I can’t say for sure that the wounds have fully healed, but for me they are a little better. But I never really know if they have for him. Sometimes I think he’s content with just us, especially at our age but sometimes he surprises me with knowing exactly where I am in my cycle.
So over coffee we chatted about what the doctor had to say and I saw him start to tear up. I didn’t know what to think. I asked him tell me what he was thinking and it seems that there’s a “finality” to it that bothers him, similarly to the way he felt about turning 40, which was just a few weeks ago. I had no idea he looked at it that way but I get it. I had looked at 40 as sort of “the end” last year as I approached the milestone myself. Now that I’ve gotten used to it and started having a new perspective on things, I didn’t realize he’s feeling the way I did.
One thing we agreed on is we just don’t think we can go through another IVF. He said it was too painful, draining, emotional and destructive to the marriage. There’s nothing fun about being robots on a mission and I have to agree. At some point, I told him I will have to go the suppressive route to try and keep the endo from returning and that the doctor said not to worry about it right now, but perhaps by next year we’d have to revisit that.
I told him this isn’t a death sentence! We’re very much alive! Let’s live our lives together. Let’s not get all crazy about days and being robots. Let’s reconnect and rekindle. Let’s get away sometimes, go for walks, see beautiful things. Let’s take care of ourselves and get healthy. And then, who knows? Maybe it happens. What will be, will be. That’s how we have to look at it. We have to be strong. Together. There’s two paths in front of us right now and all we can do is see which one is meant for us.
We shall see…