Thursday, December 24, 2009

Another year, another issue (also known as "Intimacy with a speculum, part 2")

It's almost my blogiversary! I started this blog in January, late at night, crying, in pain, mad and a little defiant. Now it's morning on Christmas Eve, and I'm not in pain, but still a bit mad and defiant. Some things never change (like the fact I once again ate leftover truffles for breakfast....oh, Kathryn....).

The focus on the blog this past year was my deciding to have my first Crohn's surgery, the preparation for that surgery, and my recovery. Now it would be a sham to write about any pain: I'm feeling pretty terrific. I have my good and bad days, and skipping to the bathroom will be a forever indignity, but I am blissfully pain-free. Because of that, and knowing this wretched little disease has a nasty cyclical nature, Matt and I decided - with the encouragement of my GI, surgeon, and ob/gyn - to push our "let's have kids!" timeline up by a few years and start at the ripe old age of 27. I never once thought I'd want a baby in my 20's (the expense! the sleep deprivation! the utter exhaustion!), but once I make up my mind about something, there's little else I think about, so let's take a deep breath and get going, shall we?

Which brings us to now. For a girl who talks about defecation, her ass, and all the naughty bits in between, I still gave pause to writing about sex (yikes!) and procreation: poop is funny, but making a baby is something you do behind closed doors (well, I guess pooping is too, but come on now, it's still funny). But, because nothing is easy, and I possess little to no decorum, and Matt gave his blessing, and ah, yes, this is Crohn's related, some posts on this blog will now focus on the anticipatory song and dance of trying to conceive. Let me explain:

Yesterday Matt and I went to the ob/gyn. (Insert your own joke here.) I was ready to go into battle. I was ready to lay it all out on the table and say, due to my situation, we should "look into things" before the usual "one year of trying". As soon as I said "scar tissue", "six months", and currently "feel well", she was writing out four scripts. Suffice it to say, I love this doctor, plus we share the same first name, so extra kudo points for her. I also was feeling a bit hypocondraticy (I know that's not a word, ok?) but now feel validated. (Last year when I wasn't feeling well I ignored it for a month, while chugging OTC pain pills, and look where it got me. So now I run for the hills when I get a cold.)

First, Matt is going to get tested. Strangely, Matt was very excited about this, and immediately said to me, after the doc left, "I'm gonna ACE this test!" So basically they're going to test how many sperm he has and their mobility and all of that, so we can finally put to bed whether they're "lazy" or not. Matt said they have the speed and agility of Michael Phelps. I said only after he was caught smoking marijuana. So we'll see.

Next, I have two blood tests: pre and post ovulation. On top of that, I'm having an HSG done, also known as a Hysterosalpingogram. Say that ten times fast. Basically, in the hospital, they shoot dye up your yahoo and make sure it can easily flow through your tubes and scar tissue is not blocking the way. Because I've been told I have a lot of scar tissue down there, and my abscess was wedged on one of my Fallopian tubes, there is some cause for concern. If those babies are clogged, then we may look into surgery or IVF. The blood tests will confirm that everything is working properly and I'm ovulating. If things are functioning, then we might move to Clomid, which increases egg production. Basically, there are a lot of "if's": it's very reminiscent of last year.

A colleague, who has gone through all of this, told me to get ready to "be naked and have your everything out there for everyone to see" and that it "hurts". I told her she's obviously never been to a colo-rectal surgeon, and while some women fear their yearly pap smear, it's vacation-time for me (last year, we had a very nice conversation on Northern California's wine region during my exam, thank you very much). A speculum in your vagina is one thing, a speculum in your you-know-what is another ballgame entirely. I lost any sense of shame many years ago. Trust me on this one.

Although I joke (come on, how can you not?!), I don't take any of this lightly. First of all, it's sobering that I didn't have to talk my ob/gyn into taking investigative measures: she obviously sees that there can be a problem, here. Secondly, if there is a problem, the cost of fertility (and I'm talking in the most literal way) is mind-boggling and not covered by insurance. The same women who told me about the HSG also spent over $30,000 last year on fertility treatments...and has yet to conceive. So, "yahoo" jokes aside, no, I don't take this lightly.

I know I'm opening up myself for ridicule, but that's nothing new, but if I have a very typical case of Crohn's, then perhaps other women with the disease are having tough times conceiving, too. Heck, maybe I'm fine, and I'll get pregnant next month. I don't know, but I'll be sure to take you on the ride with me, speculums and all...

Thanks for reading.


  1. I met a woman with Crohns in the waiting room at my GI doc (its South Louisiana, strangers talk to you all the time) and she told me that she had 4 kids- one set of twins, in fact- and that she had NO problems concieving- the only problem she had was with her breasts- she got a boob job. Also, a girl I work with- her nurse has Crohns and has the dreaded BAG- and she had 2 kids naturally. So good luck:)

  2. I know I don't really know you, but if I could I'd give you a giant hug about now. Keep your hopes up Kathryn. You really are inspiring and I'm sure you can do anything you have your heart set on. Best of luck with it all. :)

    Also, merry Christmas!

  3. Good luck and I know it's stupid but try not to worry or "think about it" too much. You could have twins ya know...I too knew a lady with Crohn's who had twins :) heehee!!! Much love and prayers coming your way.

  4. Thank you girls! I truly appreciate your kind sentiments. And I know I'm perhaps being a bit hyperbolic, but what's the fun if there isn't a teensy bit of melodrama?!

    Thank you again, and happy early New Year's! Here's to a better 2010 for ALL of us. ;-)