Sunday, May 27, 2012

Struggling again...but trying to hold on to hope

I love medicine.  I love teaching medical students (on those rare occasions when I actually know something).  I am no good at either the medicine or the teaching, but I enjoy them.

It helps not a bit.  I sit in the radiology reading room to review a CT abdomen and a pelvic ultrasound series, but my mind is back in March 2010 when I was the one on the receiving end of the pelvic ultrasound, and the same Dr. J was reading, and they couldn't even find two streak ovaries.  Just one.  I remember the student ultrasound tech's sympathy, and how I tried to reassure her that this was ok, they had proved my uterus was normal, so this wasn't really bad news.

I couldn't have known that two months later a certain REI specialist would tell me my PERFECTLY NORMAL aorta is in terrible (yes, because 2-5% is such a high rate) danger of dissection if I become pregnant.

(By the way -- that same aorta has had no trouble pumping blood for a six-mile run.  Just saying.)

It was like this last time, too -- the sadness was a delayed reaction.  Again I walk on leaden legs, and my thoughts are 80% baby/infertility-related.

I should be looking forward.  Our new donor had a successful consult pending the send-out genetic tests which should be back in a week, and we are hoping for a transfer in late July or early August.  But I stopped expecting last August.  Why should this ever work?  My therapist told me this will eventually work out -- that I am motivated, and keep trying, so it will eventually work out.  If only.  It won't work.  The only future I see is one in which I continue to watch everyone else have children while I remain forever childless.  The only reason I am even willing to board the emotional roller-coaster again is that I won't accept this childless future.

My mentor/internist/person to whom I come crying far more than I ought tells me motherhood is great but not all that life has to offer, and that I shouldn't let it be the only reason I exist.  I'm a "wonderful human being with lots to offer."  If only that last were true.  I am unwonderful.  I do one thing well, and that is complain.  And what could I possibly do that would provide the same connection, with all its wonderful and pull-you-hair-out moments, as motherhood?

I feel sad and alone.  And the worst part is, I am not alone and I should be grateful for all the wonderful people and pets and things in my life.  Infertility isn't making me sad.  I am.

Told you I was unwonderful.

Friday, May 18, 2012

It has been a frustrating week.  I feel overwhelmed at work, both with the workload and with my utter lack of sufficient clinical skills and medical knowledge.  And then work has been sad.  I made two patients hospice this week, one of my favorite clinic patients almost certainly has hepatocellular carcinoma, and another of my patients has advanced cervical cancer -- which, incidentally, is now a PREVENTABLE DISEASE.  GET VACCINATED AGAINST HPV!

These patients are good people.  They are young.  They are parents, siblings, spouses.  And I had to tell them they have advanced cancer.

I wish I could tell them it would be all right.  They could take a magic pill and get better.  But they won't. And while I can be liberal with morphine, I cannot say that it won't hurt.  And it might hurt a lot.

But then, if I understood why bad things happened to good people, I would be the wise (wo)man on the mountain.

And yet -- and this is what I really don't get -- why do I still get so upset over my small problems?

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Trying to think about what I am rather than what I am not

I am not a mother this Mother's Day.  And if Mama tells me she will be wishing me a happy mother's day next year, I may break down and cry because I doubt a baby will ever happen.

But maybe if I focus on what I am, I will feel one teensy bit better.

1. I am a physician.  I have the best job in the entire world.  I go to work each day to make people feel better and teach students the art and science of medicine.  I make crying patients smile.  Is that even a job?  A calling, really.
2. I am the winner of a Hopwood award.  I won't say which category or which year because I want to remain anonymous.  But dang, I won a HOPWOOD.  If you don't know, that is the same award Arthur Miller won during his time at the University of Michigan.
3. According to the in-training exam, I am in the top 5% of internal medicine first-year residents in the nation.  (It's clearly inaccurate, but...)
4. I am tough!  I said a last goodbye to my almost-son, got on a plane home, and spent the night admitting patients at the hospital.
5. I make the best matzah-ball soup and the best challah and one killer Tzvia cake.  Don't mess with me on Erev Shabbos.
6. I am witty.
7. I get along with my mother-in-law.  (Trust me.  This one deserves to be on this list.)
8. I can do peppy on three hours of sleep.
9. My eyelashes are so long that when I wear mascara, people think they're fake.
10. I can run for a code in heels and be first on the patient.

Mother's Day, Infertile-Style

Tomorrow is, of course, Mother's Day.  Also known as "Flaunt your fertility" day or "Happy working gonads day."

I am trying not to be bitter.  It isn't working well.  Had things gone as hoped, I would had a baby boy right now, or actually twins, and then another baby on the way.

But my arms are empty for another Mother's day.

I am trying to remember how lucky I am.  How many people must remember mothers who are gone this Mother's Day?  I can't even imagine how horrible and catastrophic it must be to lose one's mother.  I am so incredibly grateful to have my Mama and my Mama Phyll.  And I know the point of Mother's Day is to celebrate one's own mother, not to be upset about being excluded from the club.

But I will never compare stories of morning sickness.  I will never have war wounds from pregnancy, labor, and delivery.  I will stay silent as my friends come up with cute ideas for telling their husbands they are pregnant.  And *if* we ever even end up with a baby, or so close to delivery that we want to tell people (like, 39 weeks, perhaps?) I will receive quizzical looks instead of congratulations, as every is confused at my empty belly.  I will explain, and most people will understand, and ask more questions because they find it fascinating.  (We're doctors, remember?)

It is not fascinating.

It hurts.

It especially hurts when two people today wish me a Happy Mother's Day.  Ummm...thanks?  Are you bringing the  baby as a present?

I have however come up with some dark humor.

I would invite my family for brunch this year, and make eggs, but -- oh!  I don't have any!

(And yes.  You were supposed to laugh.)

It was a very long week returning to work.  I have the day off tomorrow, though, I don't have more to write now because I am exhausted from a very long week at the hospital and some needy patients.  Thank goodness I have a day off tomorrow!