Saturday, June 30, 2012

Day 5 of my IVF cycle

Sorry for how long it has been between updates. David and I were on vacation for the last few days, and I had very limited internet access.  We were enjoying the beauty of Lake Geneva, and we were remembering that this very well may be the last vacation before I am pregnant so we took advantage of it!

The day before we left for vacation, I began my IVF injections. 10 units of Lupron (yep..the drug I was afraid of) every morning at 9-9:30 AM.  I have continued that dosing, and I just finished my 5th day of Lupron injections.  Here is what I have experienced so far while on this drug:

- Itching at the injection site which goes away within a few minutes.

- Tiredness. I find myself ready for more naps or an earlier bedtime.

- Headache. Since starting the lupron, I have had a slight headache constantly and its focus is right behind my eyes. Apparently, this is a hormonal headache, but so far it hasn't been bad enough to make me need tylenol.

- Flushed. About 15 minutes after my injection, I get REALLY warm. This lasts for about 10 minutes, and then it's done. I haven't had any more hot flashes which I'm grateful for.

- Welt at injection site. This was only yesterday, although it did make me a bit concerned. I had a quarter sized welt for about 8 hours following the injection. This morning the welt from yesterday was gone, and today's injection did not leave a welt.

Overall, I can't complain at all about the side effects. I have yet to experience the irritability that many experience (though I'm sure it's probably coming).  I also have to say the side effects I have had are quite minor, and I'm grateful for that. I hope it stays this way for the rest of the time I'm on the shot.

I will continue on 10 units of lupron a day until 7/13. On 7/11 I will go in for an ultrasound and blood work. If all looks good there, I will decrease my lupron dosage to 5 units on 7/13 and continue that through my egg retrieval. On 7/13 I will also be adding my stimulating meds: Follistim and Menopur. If all goes well, and I am not over suppressed or over stimulated, I will have my egg retrieval July 23-29.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sister is Home, and IVF is About to Begin

I want to thank everyone for their thoughts, prayers, and good vibes for my sister. She is back home and doing very well! The early indicators show that the liver is regenerating which is fantastic news. I am so grateful for everyone's support through the weeks leading up to surgery and the surgery itself. It has been a stressful last week, and I'm grateful that my sister is doing so well.

Ellen will have to do more rounds of chemo once she has healed enough from the surgery, but chemo seems like an easy road compared to what she just went through. She's just so happy to be alive and be's refreshing to see her looking so well.

As for IVF, it's right around the corner now. I ended up having my ultrasound test and mock embryo transfer on Monday, and they went over every single one of the injections at that time too. It was a bit overwhelming, but at the same time it feels less confusing than it did prior to the injection training. The ultrasound looked good, and apparently I have a, "beautiful uterus," which hopefully means a healthy home for the baby! The mock embryo transfer didn't go quite as smoothly, and it took the doctor quite some time to be able to get the catheter in. We will have another mock embryo transfer the day of the actual transfer just to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible.

I did have to have another ultrasound to check up on my blood clot. As long as it comes back ok, and I get the clearance from the doctor, I will begin injections on Tuesday!! It's crazy to imagine that it's finally here. I'm so excited for it, and I just can't wait to get through egg retrieval! I'm ready to be pregnant!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Recovery Update

My sister made it through surgery!!! We are so grateful for this news, and seeing her face is so wonderful!

Unfortunately, the surgeon who worked on her liver had to take out 70% of the it's a waiting game to see if the liver will regenerate and allow her to survive.

We are praying that it will, and she is healthy, strong, and a should regenerate.

We should know in another 24-36 hours or so...

Thank you all for your continued support and love. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Surgery Day

It's here. The day that we have been longing for is finally here!

It's 4:30 in the morning on the day of my sister's surgery.  Half a liver and a lot of the big intestine are coming out today.

Prayer is keeping me sane. I trust in the Lord, and I pray for him to watch over Ellen and be with the doctors and surgeons today as they take care of her.

Ellen is, rightfully so, very nervous. She does, however, realize that God is watching over her. She finds peace in that.

She also finds peace in anti-anxiety meds and painkillers which she will be happy to be receiving today and for the next week or so.  We, as her family, find peace in the existence and use of these drugs for her as well! :)

I'm sitting her doing my treatment and I just find myself resorting back to prayer and gratitude to the Lord. He will get us through this today, and I am so grateful for His comfort, grace, and peace.

I will update as soon as possible, but I will be away from a computer until very late so it will be nearly impossible to update until late tonight or tomorrow.

If you could say a prayer for my sister and her doctors today, I would be so very grateful. I believe in payer's power.  If you do not pray, any good thoughts or well-wishes would also be very appreciative as I believe in their power as well.

Thank you all for your support on this journey so far. Today is a big hurdle, but then we are well on the way to healing. The goal is that with this surgery and months of chemo, I will be sharing with all of you that my sister is cancer-free! My sister's phrase is that she wants to be, "NED." She wants the doctors to say that there is "No Evidence of Disease."

Yep...that's what I want too.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Big Updates

Brief updates, small updates, large updates..I feel like all I do anymore is give updates of some kind. This time, I am bringing very good updates!

The first update revolves around my sister and her PET scan. The surgeon had stated that if the cancer had spread anywhere else then the surgery would be off and chemo would be resumed. I think there was a special chain of prayers being sent up to God because she got her PET scan results, and the surgery is a go!!!! The cancer has not spread, and they will be preforming a colon resection with an ileostomy and will remove half of the liver.  The surgery will take place this coming Tuesday, and I ask for any spare prayers or good thoughts that you may be able to provide.

Unfortunately, this surgery does have a lot of risk involved. I guess, however, it all depends on how you look at the situation my sister is currently in. If she doesn't get the surgery, she will more than likely die from this cancer in the near future. Yet, the surgery itself carries a lot of risk as well. That said, she is a TOP-NOTCH hospital, and I firmly believe in the power of prayer and in her surgeons. That's why I ask for all spare prayers possible. I need my sister for many more years!!

My second update is not nearly as urgent, and I'm almost hesitant to write it in fear that it will be taken away from me.  My R.E. called and stated that the blood clot is in a surface vein in my arm. He's not concerned about it, and since I will be stopping the Lovenox well before starting the IVF drugs, he sees no reason to push off the cycle. I'm truly stunned. Like I said..I'm afraid that since it's been written, plans will be changed now.

So, as of now, my plan is still in place to start everything on June 26. I will begin with 10 units of Lupron a day and then I will move onto the follistim and other hormone drugs in July. Then, as long as everything looks good through my ultrasounds and blood work, I will have my egg retrieval the week of July 23.  Now, my grandma (aka my guardian angel)'s birthday was July 24 so I have to take that as a good sign. Also, someone I have grown close to and trust very much had HER egg retrieval on July 23 a few years ago. As she's a good sign.

Following the egg retrieval, the embryos will be grown to day 5 and then one embryo will be transferred back into me. This means my first IVF pregnancy test will be in early August.  Ahhh!! It all seems just so crazy. I got my box of IVF drugs in the mail as well and I will have to take a picture and post it up here in  the next day or two. It sure seems like a BUNCH of meds.  I can tell you one thing..I'll be a pro at giving myself injections of ANY kind of drug by the time this IVF rollercoaster is over!

So those are my two updates...both very exciting and very scary at the same time. I ask one last time, please keep my sister in your thoughts and prayers this coming Tuesday. I appreciate it more than you could ever know!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Very Short Update

Very short update here as I have to be getting to work. I have neglected putting dates up about my IVF cycle because right after finding out about starting my Lupron injections, I also found out my right arm has a blood clot in it.

3 weeks ago, I had an IV for the colonscopy and had some issues with the IV. Sure enough, it decided to form a blood clot, and I am now on blood thinners for it. Ultimately, it's good that they caught it and are working to resolve it, but it does delay things on the IVF front.

I'm not sure how long the IVF will be delayed, but I should find out in the next day or two.  I'm just waiting to hear from my CF doc and then my R.E. It's irritating to be so close and then have another setback, but I do want to be in the best health possible for pregnancy, and a blood clot probably isn't a good way to start the actual pregnancy process.

On another note, I saw my sinus doctor yesterday, and everything looks good in my nose so I have avoided surgery yet again. I also saw a cardiologist for the clot, and for general sign off before pregnancy, and she told me she is 100% fine with me getting pregnant! YAY!!

So some bad news and good news all rolled into one! I will update when I know more!

Also, just saying prayers for my sister as she is supposed to get her latest PET scan results. This will be what determines if we go through with surgery on June 12 or wait and do more chemo. She decided to take a spontaneous road trip to Charleston, South Carolina...I think she needed to get away and stop thinking about it all.