Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Hit Me With Your Best Shot

Tomorrow I start the medications for the in-vitro cycle. I, thankfully, have a peace about the cycle. What I don't have a peace about is the shot I have to get tomorrow...it's a huge quantity of medication that will require a local anesthetic. I'm scared! I had to get the shot at the pharmacy and I just put it in my purse so I don't forget it tomorrow but being the masochist I am, I looked at it one more time to see if it's as huge as I remember it. Ummm, yeah, it looks like it's for a horse.

In Europe the medication protocol is a bit different that in the US where I would most likely receive about two weeks worth of shots of this medication but here it's just one big one. One very big one! I know, I just need to suck it up and drive on :)

On a funny note, yesterday my aunt and cousins called to wish me a happy birthday. My youngest cousin is seven and he told me he couldn't wait to go to school and tell his friends he called me in Iraq. I told him I lived in Germany, not Iraq and then he just handed the phone to my aunt. I can't decide which is funnier: him telling his freinds his cousin is in Iraq or the thought of me being a soilder in Iraq. Either way, my aunt emailed me later to let me know she's very sorry but she's pretty sure that, in his eyes, my coolness quotient has gone down a notch or two. What can you do?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Happy Birthday, to Me!

To my knowledge, I have never seen snow on my birthday...until today! We awoke to about an inch and a half and it snowed on and off all morning. I love it!!!

I was planning on staying home from Bible study but then I decided TOIAW needed me to "help" him drive to work (read: make sure he didn't drive too fast for the conditions). Can I just tell you that I cannot remember ever being in a room with a bunch of ladies and feeling God's love! A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. There is no other word for it. Best birthday gift I've ever received. Ever! I couldn't stop crying but there were no tears of sadness. We had a precious time of prayer and the worship incredible! I didn't want to leave!

I did have to leave, however, and as soon as I got home I walked Princess Poopsalot in the snow (which was the second best birthday gift God gave me). The trees were so beautiful in their white frocks! The forest was silent and at one point I just stopped to watch the snowflakes gently falling. I got to walk and talk to God lifting up friends' prayer requests and just singing and praising Him. It was perfect!

I hope you have a wonderful day also!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Buzz Kill

The following conversation took place last night during our anniversary dinner:

TOIAW: "So, I am going on that trip."
Me: "Great...which trip is that?"
TOIAW: "You know, the one I've been trying to coordinate with Major X and Leutinant Colonel Y."
Me: "Oh, I didn't realize you were going I thought you were just planning the trip."
TOIAW: "No, I am going also and I'm really excited to see everyone."
Me: "Well, of course I'm not excited for you to go to there but it's just a short trip and I can hardly complain when so many have their husbands there for so long. When are you going?"
TOIAW: Edited for security reasons.
Me: "So after the fertilized embryos are transferred to me and I'm supposed to be resting, relaxing, and generally taking it easy--no small feat for a woman hyped-up on hormones--you're going to be in the most dangerous combat zone in the world?"
TOIAW: "Our salary that month will be tax free so you can do some online shopping to help you relax." Silence. Pushes plate towards me. "You can have that last piece of garlic bread."

I have no emotions about this yet, but I'm sure I will when the time comes. I'm always good for an irrational thought or eight. Throw in some hormone injections and it can get nasty.

God prepared me for this, though. At our Bible study we have a time of fellowship during which someone gives a brief devotion then we split up into a specific study. Coincidentally (or not really, because nothing is coincidence when it comes to God), both studies focused on God's Lordship. Not only is God my Savior, but His is also Lord of my life. I don't need to worry, I just need to trust and obey Him. These were two of the verses discussed:

"Why do you call Me, Lord, Lord, and do not [practice] what I tell you?" Luke 6:46 (Amplified Bible)

"Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths." Proverbs 3:5-6 (Amplified Bible)

Roger that, God! I hear you loud and clear. Thanks for keeping life interesting!

Two Years of Wedded Bliss

Happy Anniversary, TOIAW!!! I know, technically it was yesterday, but you didn't tell me until dinner that you wanted me to blog about it. Here you go! I love you.

Forever yours,
R

Thursday, March 13, 2008

***UPDATE***

You really need to have read the previous post for this to make any sense to you.

Okay, so I FINALLY got a response from my senator's office. [In the interest of full disclosure, I called again and got a bit forceful until I got an email address. They never would give me an email address before as it's apparently a matter of office policy. Ummm, yeah, I would hate for our elected officials to be easily accessible...] And I quote:

"My heart goes out to your struggles, I had a good friend in the service whose wife went through IVF and then had the unfortunate side effect of breast cancer that advanced rapidly after the hormone therapy. Truly a very difficult couple of years."

Seriously? Seriously? I'm actually glad that he stays really busy and sincerely hope he doesn't have time to visit friends who are ill but this is how I could picture it if he did, "Gee, pal, I'm sorry you're so sick with strep throat. You know one of my old roommate's mom's had strep throat that traveled to her heart and it killed her. Get well soon, Mate."

And just so you know, I've already Googled the heck out of this and it's a very remote possibility. But maybe I'll do a bit more research just to be sure...

My Crusade

Everyone needs a cause, right? These days mine is getting the military healthcare system to cover the cost of artificial reproductive techniques (ART). Currently they cover all treatment related to the diagnosis of the cause of infertility and they will even pay for medications provided you are not going to use ARTs. They want nothing to do with paying for my IVF. Here's where it gets tricky, though. If I lived in the US near a military treatment facility (think Walter Reed) that offered ART services, I would receive treatment virtually free of charge. Granted, there would be some out-of-pocket expense, but nothing compared to what we are going to pay. There are several military treatment facilities that offer these programs and the costs vary depending on the programs offered/available at a given facility but if you don't live near one or can't travel there you're out of luck. Confusing? I think it is. Unfair? You betcha!

I met a precious girl a few weeks ago a Bible study. She is also a patient of my specialist and he has recommended that she and her husband do intrauterine insemination or IUI (sperm are inserted directly into the cervix). I just got off the phone with a nurse at the base hospital in Ft. Bragg, NC. The cost for my new friend to have this procedure done there is $135 which includes medications because they are covered by a government grant. The cost for her to have the procedure in Germany will be about $2000. Thinking about it just makes my blood boil!

Because I know you're on the edge of your seats wondering what progress I've made, I'll let you know. In November I wrote to my senator. He's a physician and has delivered many babies so I figured that would be a good place to start. He has yet to respond to me. The other senator from my home state is on the Senate Armed Services Committee. I contacted his military legislative assistant who was arrogant and told me he would get back to me within a few days but that was January and I'm still awaiting his email. Then, I went to Bunco in February. One wouldn't necessarily think of Bunco as a place where legislation is born -- I mean there is no mention of Bunco in the School House rock video about how a bill becomes a law -- but it just so happens that one of my neighbors has a father with not a few number of stars on his shoulders. She was appalled that these policies exist and asked me to forward her the letter I wrote my senator. She then forwarded it to her father who expressed a desire to help. Today I was contacted by a physician very high in the chain of command of military physicians. He currently has an aide compliling information for him on all ART policies pertaining to military members and will receive a briefing on the subject next week. I'm optimistic and I am realisitic but I am not one to give up easily. It is my sincere hope that the military can offer fertility coverage to all service members and their families. After I accomplish this, I will work on a law requiring infertility coverage for everyone! Next up will be world peace!

Seriously though, this is why I love my country. I mean I REALLY love my country! I have lived in two countries other than my own and I have worked extensively in a third. As great and modern and democratic as all three of those countries are, the people of those countries have little to no power to truly effect change. For obvious reasons, it's not simple to change things in the United States, but it is possible and that possibility gives me hope.

With that I am off to change the world! [Actually, I'm just going to do some laundry.]

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

What A Ride

Life's a trip.

Sometimes it's like the time TOIAW and I were in a convertible driving around Kauai soaking up the sun enjoying being together while celebrating his return from that bad place in the Middle East. Sometimes it's like riding in the back seat with TOIAW's mother while his father, who just doused himself in cologne (a daily ritual), enjoys the front seat and I get car sick to lovely tune of my companions arguing in Russian. The past two days have been more like the latter trip description, unfortunately.

On Monday night I noticed that my lower abdomen was very tender and I just had a strange, heavy feeling. Off to the doctor I went for a thrill-o-minute vaginal ultrasound! No matter how many of those I have, I still can't make heads or tails out of what's on the screen but my trusty doctor knows what he is doing and discovered that my old nemsis, Evil Ovarian Cyst, decided to return for an encore performance. Apparently she did not receive the "We don't want what you're selling" message. My doctor said that if I was not 100% better today, I was not getting on a plane tomorrow. I really tried. Oh, how I willed myself to be okay! Alas, it's just not happening and I had to cancel my plans. So. Not. Fair. I cannot express how much I want to be in my lovely friend's wedding a week from Sunday. Here come the tears so I won't even try right now but there's a better than even chance you will have to hear about it in the near future.

Of course there's also my grandma who is hanging in there but still not doing very well. She really needs to get off the ventilator. Please pray for her. My parents were very supportive of my not coming now and that helped. Actually my parents, my friends, my husband, and various other assorted people so here I will remain. Right now I do not have a surgery scheduled and I pray it doesn't come to that *again* but you never know. Well, with me you pretty much do but I can still hope, can't I?

I emailed some friends and told them that if they see me around, it's okay, they're not delusional. I also told them I was a bit upset thinking that nothing in my life seems easy but then I realized that my life, most days, is very easy. Sure, it may not go exactly as planned but I am so very blessed. Unbelievably blessed! And, I would hazard to guess that you are as well.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Stunning

I watched this tonight. It is VERY disturbing, to say the least. We are such a powerful and wealthy nation. It doesn't have to be like this.

The Call

Last Sunday morning we were startled awake by the sound of the phone. You know how when there's a sound that wakes you from a deep sleep and it takes a few seconds for your brain to catch up with you and identify what object is making the noise? That's how I felt. [Don't even ask about TOIAW, he's virtually useless when it comes to sounds in the middle of the night. I will be very nervous to leave a child alone with him if it involves a period of time when he might be sleeping.]

Well the call was from my uncle informing me my grandmother was taken to the hospital and that I should call my dad (my dad has a business cell phone and a personal one; only the personal one can make international calls and, of course, that's not the one he grabbed while walking out the door). I was so afraid of what he might tell me that I had TOIAW make the call. At that point, she wasn't doing very well at all and I don't think anyone thought she would live much longer. It was excruciating to sit here, so far away, and just pray and wait for news.

Well, the good news is she did survive. The bad news is she isn't doing very well, currently. After an intial (mis)diagnosis of congestive heart failure, it was discovered she has pneumonia. Receiving accurate updates is a problem at this point so I'm not really clear on what problems/complications she is having but she is having some. I know they had to intibate her early last week but she has been cleared to be removed from the ventilator. Grandma, however, panicks every time they try. This, in turn, causes her heart rate to sky rocket which carries it's own set of risks. She seems to have it in her mind that she cannot breathe without the ventilator although there is no way of knowing exactly what she thinks or feels since she cannot talk while on the machine. She writes notes but they're very brief and fragmented. If you remember, she did have a tumor in her lung in September and even though no further treatment was required, she did have part of her lung removed. Since then she has had a difficult time with her breathing. I love her to death, and we're a lot alike so I can say this, but she wasn't patient enough to slow down and take deep breaths through her nose like they taught her to do. Instead, she would take short gasps as if she is hyperventilating which make it even more difficult. I have a feeling that not properly learning how to breathe again is severely impeding her progress in getting off the ventilator. And, as I said, it's also psychological. I just don't know what to think or do.

I will be able to get a better feel for it all when I get there Thursday. I already had a trip scheduled for a wedding (hi, Krista!) and even though we looked into me leaving last week, I didn't (obviously). That was a tough decision but I think it was for the best since it looks like she will be in the hospital for quite some time and if I had gone earlier, I would have returned earlier.

Oh, and my grandfather (on the other side of the family) is having surgery on the 13th and I want to be there to help my other grandmother as well. My Papa's surgery is the same one I mentioned in this post but he's just now getting around to deciding he wants to have the procedure. He's a little stubborn like that. My grandma told me he wanted to have it in December while I was home and since that wasn't possible, he scheduled it for my March trip. I'm kind of his favorite but don't tell my brothers.

Wow. I was doing pretty well until I typed all this out and now I feel rather overwhelmed! I'm going to busy myself with housework to take my mind of it. I keep telling myself that worrying cannot and will not change anything. Paul said it best in his letter to the Philippians (4:6-7), "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." I also love The Message version, "Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life." Hallelujah!

I know I still owe you all a post on Barcelona which I promise to provide before I leave. It was amazing, by the way! And, on an unrelated but happy note, when my period begins (which is soon, TMI?), it will mark the cycle before the IVF cycle which is the cycle in which you begin the treatment and preparation so that's exciting...at least it is to me!

New life. Old life. It's all a cycle. A beautifully orchestrated cycle and a brilliant adventure.