Inferior Imitator

ep·i·gone n. A second-rate imitator or follower, especially of an artist or a philosopher.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

One Step Back

I'm frustrated. My progesterone level came back at 1.58, much less than the 5 I got last month on an unmedicated cycle. I knew it wasn't going be good news, since my temperatures had been in the basement since Sunday, but I wanted to be hopeful. To add injury to insult, Clomid can mimic the symptoms of pregnancy, so my boobs hurt and I'm moody as hell. I try to keep from taking it out on Joe, but he can sense it anyway, and I thank him all the time for putting up with my whacked-out emotional state.

Next month, my dose is doubled. I agree with the strategy, as I'd really like to get my body to produce the hormones it needs on its own. Also, I guess it's pretty common to have spikes every other cycle, so that would be a bonus. I'm on the right track...I just feel like I'm wasting time my biological clock doesn't have.


Saturday, September 22, 2012

It Just Keeps Getting Harder

Mom isn't doing as well as previous testing indicated. The combo of steroids and antibodies that she has been taking since her hospitalization has showed promising count results in her blood tests. After the fevers, she consulted with doctors at the University hospitals to get a second opinion. More tests showed that she has genetic markers that indicate she would not respond well to treatment of this type of cancer, and that the fact she was in remission for so long was a miracle. They decided to get the ball rolling on a bone marrow transplant, as an option to have waiting after the results of the current therapy is known.

She got the results of her bone marrow biopsy back last week, and they found 95% cancer cells. You have to have at least 50% healthy cells in order to have a transplant, so she's not even eligible. They told her, "We need to get more aggressive on your treatment. Yesterday."

Mom and her doctors are continuing the current course of treatment until they can decide how to proceed. There are several clinical trials that she could participate in, if insurance will cover them. There's an extremely promising one in Ohio that has cured some people. But it's not easy to decide to hang your hat on an unproven therapy.

I don't think I'm handling this yet. I don't know how to approach handling this. The thought crosses my mind all the time that I might lose my mom, and I have to shut it down because it's too much. I want to be hopeful. Joe's aunt, who was diagnosed with stage four brain cancer about the time that Mom relapsed is responding well to treatment; her tumor is shrinking and she's been reclassified as stage three. I want the same thing for Mom. I need the same thing for Mom. I look at her, and she's frail and tired and sometimes I can tell she's scared and I want to be strong for her like she's always been strong for me. I hope I can do it.


Friday, September 07, 2012


My blood test last week actually gave me some answers. Everything was normal except my progesterone was low. It is supposed to be around 15 during that point in the cycle, but mine was at 5. I did have a couple symptoms of low progesterone, like a short luteal phase (time between ovulation and menstruation), so this is not a complete surprise. Low progesterone might also have been a contributing factor to my miscarriage, too. We'll never know for sure, and I'm sad that it was something that might have been prevented if we'd known, but I'm glad it's something that can be monitored and fixed.

So now it's experimentation time, to see what combination of treatments will get my progesterone levels where they need to be to have a healthy pregnancy. My doctor has started me off on Clomid, which is a drug to help strengthen ovulation. The hope is that a more mature corpus luteum, which forms after the release of the egg, will produce higher levels of progesterone for longer, in effect, kickstarting my body's own progesterone production. If it works, my next blood draw will show a more normal level of the hormone. If it doesn't, more tweaking.

I'm not looking forward to having my blood drawn every month, but women have done much worse in order to have babies. One woman on my support forum just got a positive, and is now facing 36 weeks of bedrest (two third-trimester losses, your heart breaks just thinking about it). It's worth it.

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