Tuesday, June 16, 2009

family

I may have mentioned, just in passing, you know, that my family is crazy. My mother is actually schizophrenic, and my dad...decided that he would rather throw a tantrum at the audacity of his oldest going nuts and getting married than have a relationship with her (although I do try), so there's that. My nuclear family grew up far away from extended family on either side, so I think of my family as just parents and siblings. As a matter of strict accuracy, however, this is not so.

For one thing, I have four maternal aunts (I just didn't see them much growing up). When I predicted that I would have hypothyroidism (which is before I found out I was hyperthyroid, before I realized that the result really meant hypothyroid after all), I called my mom, who, I remember, told me she was diagnosed in her late twenties, after she started feeling tired and sluggish all the time. (Hello - my life. Though not nearly as dramatic as Sew!) She told me that she didn't remember a thing about it (she used to repeat the story like a mantra) and couldn't help me. So I called two of my aunts. Turns out that not only my mother and her mother are hypothyroid (I knew that), but all of my aunts, with the possible exception of one who just might not be telling. Pretty conclusive, eh? (You know, in addition to the TSH test.)

Anyway, the aunt I got, as it turns out, also had trouble conceiving (I had heard rumors of this but certainly not from her). She spent ninety minutes talking to me about her experience and asking all about how I was doing and saying over and over she was convinced my chances were good and that my DH and I would make wonderful parents. Words I'll never hear from my parents...not because they don't believe it, necessarily, but they'd never say that. We'd never even have that converstaion.

My aunt was the only one of her sisters with fertility problems, and she said she'd never heard of anybody in the family having endometriosis (that means I'm just special). But almost thirty years ago, she was taking clomid (and later, perganol - sp?) daily for two weeks a cycle - for four years for one kid and three years for another. And being ultrasounded every day. Before they did transvaginal ultrasounds, so she had to drink 32 oz. of water before 6AM and wait in line to be ultrasounded. She has three beautiful, healthy girls, and she said it was all worth it. Which is nice to hear (I mean, I've never heard anyone who graduated from IF say it was not worth it, but still).

But I can't imagine cycle after cycle of clomid for years. I've been ttc for almost four years, but mostly unmedicated, and even now that I'm being treated, I'll switch protocols every few months or so until I run out of them, and then move on with my life. I don't have the patience to medicate every month, and cry every month, when it didn't work last month or last year or three years ago. I literally do not know how she did it.

Last tidbit: she referred to the crying over your period every month (is it reassuring to hear that these experiences are not merely universal to all us IFers, but timeless as well?), and said that she decided that every month when it came she would buy herself something - not something huge, but something she would not otherwise have bought. She developed a list. So although she was sad every month, if she got negatives for x many more months, she could have all these things on her list...I thought that was hilarious. It's just how my brain works also.

13 comments:

  1. Wow, what an awesome aunt! I'm so glad you got some answers from her.

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  2. Wowee about your aunt. Now that is dedication; I don't think I could've done it. I was thinking about the total number of ultrasounds she must have had, but I can't count that high.

    I'm sorry you only found out now about the family history of thyroid problems. That must be frustrating. Coincidentally, I just saw Oprah today (which is odd because I can't stand her), and she was talking about her undiagnosed thyroid problems, and subsequent effects on her life.

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  3. How cool to connect with family member like that! And I really need to make a list like she did for the every month disappointment.
    Were the aunts all treated for their hypothyroid?

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  4. Glad you got a chance to have a constructive chat with someone in your family...

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  5. I'm glad that you had such a good talk with your aunt. It sounds like you needed some family support and I'm glad you found it from her. I can't believe that they gave that much clomid to her!

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  6. I like the way your aunt thinks. I should come up with a BFN list. Mine would probably be filled with books and maybe some Auntie Anne surgar cinnamon pretzels.

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  7. Wow, so glad you found your aunt for support--and boy did she ever go through a lot. It means a lot to have a family member get it.

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  8. i'm so glad that my family isn't the only one that is crazy (i believe that my dad has been depressed for years and my mom hasn't been herself since menopause started!). my mom had issues having me and i'm an only child. unfortunately she has never shared any of her experience with me. she is also the only sister out of four who had any fertility issues. all of her sisters and brothers have more than one child. it really sucks being the only one, but i always seemed to suspect that something would be going on with me.

    i'm so glad that you got some answers!

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  9. Did they check your thyroid anitbodies?! Hypo and hyper run in my family, and during the beginning of ttc, they found me to be hypo with really high anti-bodies indicating Hashimoto Thyroiditis... Just a thought..

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  10. Oh.My.God. My DH would kill himself if I were on Clomid for three years!!! He nearly didn't make it for 9 cycles!

    I'm glad you got to speak with your aunt about all of this- it must help to have the support of a family member who actually KNOWS what IF is, and what it's like for you.

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  11. That is great that you got all this info! I think the reflection the timeless nature of feeling down at each AF was really sharp! It's easy for me to forget that people have struggled with this sort of thing since Biblical times!

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  12. I have a similar story, an aunt with endo who adopted my cousin. But she's never chatted with me about it...how cool to have that conversation and get a glimpse into what IF was like back then!

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  13. Wow, well that's nice that you've got at least one family member that you can turn to for answers and comfort! I can NOT imagine being on Clomid for that many years! "They" recommend not being on it over 7 cycles! Glad you were able to get some answers! =)

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