Sunday, October 19, 2008

And so it begins . . .

We've started! I am now on day 3 of stims. Downregulation took a little longer than expected, but nothing excessive. Main problems so far have been trying to arrange accommodation near the clinic (for it is a long way from home) while not knowing when we need to be there and my total inability to make a decision on IVIG.

Oddly, it seems I am happy to inject myself with a range of hormones and anti-coagulants and to pop steroids and to have a large needle shoved up my hoo-ha to remove my eggs while under a sedation that leaves me conscious but in a state of forgetfulness, but I am wavering on the 3-4 hour infusion of a blood product that carries the risk of anaphylaxis, heart and lung problems and infection with everything from Hep A to vCJD.

Even more oddly, it's the vCJD that freaks me out the most. Apparently, the stuff will have been filtered, heat-treated and assaulted with detergents and alcohol so the chances of bacteria or viruses remaining are small, to say the least. But prions are more slippery customers and there is still a "theoretical" risk that they could get through. Plus, to date, prions cannot be tested for in blood. For this reason, the donors used come only from countries with no reported cases of vCJD in their native population and folk who have lived in countries that do have a history of cases (that would be mainly the UK) are not allowed to donate, and no IVIG is produced at all in the UK - it all comes from elsewhere (the US in the case of the stuff I'd be getting, I think).

It was my wee sister that pointed out that, since we live in the UK and our staple diet in the 80s/90s (when mad cow disease was rife) was mince and sausages, I've probably been exposed to all the prions I'm ever likely to need to give me vCJD if that's my fate. Frankly, it seems mad (ha ha) to worry about this extra, theoretical exposure - but I am.

Confession time - I am a hypochondriac. Not the type who secretly likes to be ill and visit the doctor, but the type who is terrified of illness to the point of it being an anxiety disorder. So I am also worrying about all the other risks from IVIG - and all the other risks from the various drugs I'm taking, many of which seems to carry contraindications relating to other drugs I'm taking, or to other conditions I have. Geez - I must really want a baby!

Next step is the Day 5 stims scan - to see how the follicles are coming along. Am totally open-minded on this one. My past experience would suggest there'll be lots, but my AMH level suggests that might be hopeful. It's a fine line for this treatment - my last IVF was nearly cancelled before egg collection due to over-reponse and I surely don't want that again, but too few would probably mean that the CGH test might not be feasible. We'll see . . .


Carrie said...

I'm so pleased you are up and running with this cycle. I know it is a BIG one but if it does the job it'll have been worth every inconvenience and stress.

Will be thinking about you throughout.


Rebecca said...

Thanks for stopping by to visit me. You're right, it sounds like we do have very similar cases. One good thing about PCOS (although after so many losses I know this isn't necessarily comforting), is that our egg reserves tend to last a little bit longer than the average woman, so we have a little longer to try in most cases.

Although, I totally understand thinking about moving on to donor egg. Six years is a long, exhausting time to be on this roller coaster. We're also thinking about doing donor egg or donor embryo if this cycle doesn't work, although given the recent hyperthyroid diagnosis, I might try one last time after this if this doesn't work.

Did you make a decision on IVIG vs. intralipids? Also, you mentioned CGH. We're doing that too as you know (at CCRM); I know there are only a couple of places in the US that are doing it, so I didn't know if we were cycling at the same place or if it is also being done at places in the UK?

Anyway, I hope your stims went well and so did your retrieval (if you've gotten to that point yet). Please post an update when you're feeling up to it.

And hang in there. It takes a person with a special kind of steel core of strength to deal with this for six years and keep putting one foot in front of the other.