Dear CVS…

Dear CVS,

Thank you for making infertility even more difficult.  Thank you for providing infertility drugs at double (and sometimes even triple) the cost of a normal specialty pharmacy.  Thank you for not even providing enough coverage to get through ONE ROUND of IVF before blowing through the prescription coverage max for infertility (Which is $10k BTW).  Thank you for trying to get me to use an experimental drug (that has a lower success rate in its drug trials) instead of low-dose HCG because you would rather that I end up having to do 2 round of IVF then have to pay the fee for the correct medication.  …ESPECIALLY when I would have had to out-of-pocket ALL of my medication costs on the second round.

Thank you for making me out of pocket $500 just to get the correct medication (low dose HCG and HCG trigger) because I did actually end up with a low success rate (which would have probably been even lower with the other medication) due to the personal difficulties of my infertility and trauma my body is dealing with (Endo and low ovarian reserve).

I speak for women everywhere who are dealing with infertility.  Thank you for making infertility that much more difficult to cope with by not properly regulating your prices and gouging people for their hard earned money on an already heartbreaking and expensive procedure.  Just THANK YOU!

You have made the experience that much more unenjoyable, and when I can switch insurance at my company’s annual enrollment you can expect to lose a customer.  I will tell this story far and wide (the internet being the conduit it is) to make sure people know about your less then honorable intentions.

Thankfully, because I am out of pocket, I can use a self-pay pharmacy that charges the correct rates, which you quoted me again, at triple.

I suppose you are taking a page from Martin Shkreli, or maybe he’s even your CEO.  I guess we will all learn from this experience when you lose not only your customers, but your profits.

Respectfully,

Courtney

Not Everyone Loves You

Not everyone loves you.

Not everyone cares about you.

And that’s okay.

I have spent the majority of my life realizing this cold hard fact, but it wasn’t until a few weeks ago when my mother said it to me that it clicked.  My mom, of course, loves me.  I often tease her that she’s obligated, but the reality is she does love me.  I love her too.  But the conversation we were having was based on how I didn’t understand why (exhibit A) didn’t like me.

When I was growing up I was surrounded by love all the time.  Both my mother and father worked, but my brother and I were watched (and partially raised) by our grandmother and great aunt.  We were surrounded by family at all times, and unlike a lot of families out there, we do legitimately care about one another.

I would like to say I was pretty socialized as a child… But I wasn’t… And that really accounts for a lot of my social awkwardness.  I sometimes think it was the “sheltered” atmosphere of our family.  Being fiercely protective also creates somewhat of a barrier between you and the outside world.  I am weird and I find it very difficult to associate with other people.  Even small talk becomes a bit of a task for me.  I am awkward.  Especially with new people.  That, however, is another topic for another time.

My personality is off-putting, and because I am non-conforming female I make it even more difficult to connect to.  I also recognize that I do a creepy amount of “observation” with other humans in social situations, mainly because I’m trying to gauge them.  (I sometimes think I am a mild case of asperger’s syndrome or even avoidant personality disorder.)  This is disturbing to a normal person.  It also makes me appear “Judgy” when reality I’m just trying to learn how best to interact with the person I’m dealing with.  “Dealing with” sounds bad.  But I will adjust my personality if I know I’m not going to be accepted for my good old weird self.  I am a hard pill to swallow.  Needless to say, it makes it difficult for people to get to know me.

However, recognizing my weirdness does not make the it any easier when people don’t “love” me or even like me.  Especially when it comes to family.  I will fight to the death for anyone holding that title, whether I agree with them or not.  However, conversely, when the same courtesy isn’t given to me, I am a little shocked.

Lately I’ve been experiencing that hole.  While my own family has surrounded me with a blanket of love in this difficult time, I can’t say the same for my in-laws.  I realize I’m not the daughter-in-law a lot of parents would want.  But I am a loving wife.  I am a good person.  I am also a human who has hopes, dreams, and fears.  I never had surgery before.  And a short surgery had been unexpectedly long.  Recovery took a long time, as a result.  I didn’t even feel 100% normal up until 3 weeks ago.  That being said, I would expect the occasional “How are you doing?” or “Is there anything we can do?” …if not for me, at least for my husband.  I had surgery and I barely got a “How do you do?” And maybe… Just maybe… You might have been concerned with how your husband might deal with something as terrifying as watching your wife rolled into an OR.  Or how an hour and half became 4.  I know I would have been an absolute wreck.

Also knowing we had another loss… Not even a word.  Just.  What?  Maybe we are dealing with something terrible and maybe you could give some words of comfort?

It would be nice if they could just… Ya know… give a crap.  At all.

It’s not new to this current situation (my infertility), but the indifference in general has created a distance.  It’s a distance I’m not proud of.  It’s a distance I don’t understand where family is concerned.  It feels… Wrong.  But I don’t know how to bridge the gap because I’m not the one creating the gap.  It’s just this situation has really made things more obvious.

I think I should also mention that I have a major personality defect.  I don’t let people hurt me more then once.  If you destroy my trust even once, I will never trust you again.  I try to be more lenient on family because of the aforementioned “fierce protectiveness.”  …But I feel hurt with this whole situation.  I also have a photographic memory.  It makes compiling a list of transgressions pretty easy as well.  I can usually tell you what shirt you were wearing when you said something.  It makes me feel petty to keep an open tab of bullshit, but its also pretty f-ing shitty.  At the same time… When we tell you that we are doing IVF and you tell me a story of someone who did IVF and then got pregnant naturally later, implying some bullshit like I just need to “relax” makes me a little rabid.  That’s cool.  I’m happy for them.  Too bad any “natural” pregnancy I may ever have would be in my tubes and I could die.  I generally don’t want to die.  Infertility is not a one-size-fits-all.  …But cool for them.

In closing.  Courtney.  Not everyone loves you.  And that’s okay.  They don’t have to.  The people that love you, love you as fiercely as you love them.  If everyone loved you, then you would have no frame of context for love.

Dun Dun DUNNN… Heavy Post.

One of the reasons I started this blog was to talk about infertility, something that has become a bit of a “dark passenger” for me.  Yeah… Kinda like my ovaries are in cahoots with Dexter Morgan.

Just last year I was diagnosed with Endometriosis.  After spending the larger portion of my life complaining about my cramps, I was finally diagnosed at 29.  The ridiculous part is that I’ve been going to the same OBGYN since I was 11 when my period started because I had intense cramping.  Slapping a bandaide on it, my doc put me on birth control at 13… Which was not something I was entirely opposed to seeing as my libido was turning on around the same time.  (Not that I was active at 13… I didn’t have sex until I was 16.  But my mind figured better be safe then sorry.  Plus I went to Catholic school.  People did not turn up pregnant in catholic school… ***Cue GOT “Shame” Chorus.***)

Anyways… The past 5 years the pain had become severe during my periods.  At some point I had actually switched over to a continuous birth control.  It’s actually an odd God-Send that I did, because the less active my ovaries, the less severe the endo (Ha!).  If I had not been on BC who knows.  I would probably be completely sterile now.

Where was I going with that?  Oh Yeah… About 5 years ago I flat out told my doc “Hey… There is a ball of lava in my left side… And one of these days it’s going to erupt!”

Nope.  I was just crazy.

Jump forward in time, I got married to my husband.  After a year we decided to start to try.  6 months later I finally got pregnant.  And then… I had a miscarriage.  After weeks of calling my OBGYN and complaining of pain I started to bleed the day before the agreed to see me.  See, they generally don’t want to see you until week 6.  But I was in pain.  They said not to come in unless I started to bleed.  By the time I started to bleed it was like a flood.  Good old OBGYN didn’t even do a ultrasound to check where the sac was… Just tested my blood to make sure the HCG was leaving my body.  I sat there weeping on the table with my husband holding my hand while the midwife told me “Just try again.”  2 Chemical losses later I decided enough was enough.  At this point, I had also been off of the pill for well over a year and during my periods I could barely walk.  I would literally limp to the bathroom and bleed profusely in the shower.  But I’m just “crazy.”

The interesting thing is that all 3 losses were probably ectopic and my body was trying to save me.

Anyways… With the referral of a neighbor we ended up in the best fertility clinic in the state of Delaware.  Within 5 mins my new doctor diagnosed me with endo.  I still remember being shocked.  The funny thing about endo is that you can’t diagnose the stage until you are actually doing the surgery, but they could do some tests to take a look before opening me up.

The very first ultra sound, on my left side, they saw a large endometrioma on my left ovary, more then doubling it in size.  Exactly where I said it was.  I sat there and cried again while the nurse hugged me.  A few more dreadful tests later (One where they shot dye up into my tubes and I actually cried out in pain while my mother held my hand) I found myself in the outpatient center waiting for surgery with a snazzy gown/hair net combo with my husband and mother to keep vigil.

Funny thing was… My surgery got bumped down to the end of the day because they didn’t expect it to be that bad… But when they opened me up they were very wrong.  An hour and half surgery turned into 4 hours.  The endo was everywhere… It had even glued my colon to my abdomen wall.  I also had 4 endometrioma’s or “Chocolate cysts.”

I still remember seeing my doc right after the surgery and her telling me it was stage 4 “Severe” and I replied “So we do IVF now?”  She patted my arm and said she was going to talk to my husband and mother.

A week later I limped into the office with my husband and mother where we scrolled through disgusting pictures of my internal organs with my amazing and triumphant doctor.  The Bad News:  My tubes and ovaries were so messed up and traumatized from the endo I would never conceive naturally.

The very next day I had my first appointment with my new IVF doctor.  They said I was setting a record for how quickly I wanted to start IVF, but as long as I was sure they were sure.  3 weeks later a fridge box showed up with tons of scary fricking needles (I have a needle phobia).

My husband has been the absolute best, lovingly administering needles day and night.  When it was all said and done, I only had 20 follicles left, and 11 working follicles… 8 on my right and 3 on my left.  We ended up with 9 eggs, all 9 mature, and all 9 fertilized.  5 made it to blastocyst and we opted to do a fresh transfer.  Needless to say, I am not pregnant now because I had another chemical pregnancy loss.  4 losses total now.  But the good news, we had hedged our bets and done a biopsy and freeze on the 4 remaining embryos.  Right after the loss we had the 4 biopsies sent off and 2 of them came back normal.  Which means 2 of them were abnormal, one had an extra chromosome and one had a missing chromosome.  They weren’t major defects, but they would not have survived.

So why at 29 do I have such bad eggs when we have not medical history to suggest abnormalities?  Well.  It’s because the endo ate up most of my eggs.  We knew I had a limited supply right after the surgery.  The best way to explain it is:  You have a full basket of eggs.  The top eggs are the best, the middle eggs are okay, and the bottom eggs are just… Ehhh.  I’m at the bottom of the basket so my statistics are much higher for abnormalities.  SO we have 2 in the freezer.

Sunday I started a new round of injections.

I’ve stopped being ashamed of this.  Why should I be ashamed?

I shouldn’t be ashamed because I’ve been a lot stronger then I thought I would ever be (not that I thought I would ever be in this situation). But there have been days where I would have rather completely shut down then live in this hell. But I keep going, teary eyed and hopeful.

I’ve been mainly ashamed that my body would fail me in the one act of womanhood (Because I really suck at being a woman). I always wanted to be a mother someday, but I waited to have children, mainly so I could provide a stable life. Where’s the shame in that?

With that in mind, I would be remiss to not mention, that above all I have learned that we have some really great family and friends who will listen even when they don’t know what to say to make it better.  …Those people are the keepers!

Mainly I don’t want judgement or platitudes. People can say such hurtful things… Like “just relax” (because relaxing will somehow heal my scar tissue or maybe it will replenish the eggs my body decided to eat over the past 20 years?). Or “why don’t you just adopt?” Like adoption is so simple… Or they can’t comprehend that I could possibly want a child that shares in our bloodline.
SO if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.

So now as we start a new and different cycle, I guess we will see where this leads us.
Science is truly miraculous.

Where to Begin?

Where to begin?  Where to begin?

Life has been a little crazy for me lately.  I’ve decided to start spilling my guts again on a blog, although I buried my last one a long long time ago.  A lot happened back then, and I was really a child when I started it.  Although it still exists as a memorial of my youth, I prefer to visit it with the frequency that I enjoy using suppositories, which is not at all.  And yes, suppositories are a necessity of life in certain situations (hemorrhoids) but I still avoid them like the plague.  Nothing quite like the shame that seems to follow voluntarily electing to push something into your rectum.  No matter how necessary that may be.

I am sorry.  My humor is often graphic and slightly morbid.  If you don’t like it we can’t really be friends.  Sorry.  I can’t seem to control that filter.  (Or maybe its just more fun to watch people squirm?)

In any event, I’m a bit of a nerd.  I love comics, horror movies, lobsters (not for eating, but because I find them adorable), and cats.  I also love my husband, who above all, loves me for the weirdo that I am.  Hopefully you all will find that kind of love and acceptance someday.  But not mine.  Can’t have mine.

So that’s the beginning.  Let’s see where it goes from here.  I’m sure tomorrow will be a bit heavier.  Oh Joy!