Good news 1:
He gave me lots of great info and insight (he was dead on about my personality and also my husband’s) and made me feel very optimistic about my chances of being able to have a baby. He gave me some personalized meditations/visualizations, and some suggestions of specific things to work on. The big thing though, that he said over and over in a kind of “wow!” tone of voice, was he was VERY impressed as he said that he can tell that I have done a lot of work on myself to get ready for getting pregnant, that my chakras were all hooked up well, etc. “Whatever you have been doing, it’s really working!”, he said “So these tools I’m giving you now, it’s really just fine tuning.” It's so nice to get some positive confirmation of all the efforts I have been making, that they have not been for naught. And he also said that he saw a spirit baby there, right in the pre-conception position which is the optimal place for it to be, it means it’s already bonding with me, so that is great news. (if you're curious about what this means, I suggest you read the book, it's fascinating...)
I was very impressed with Walter, he was so warm and supportive and perceptive. As part of my work, I coach and counsel people, and from a professional perspective I felt he was truly a first class example of how to advise someone effectively. I also feel like the exercises he gave me really work well. For example, I did one of them the next day when I was at the IVF clinic waiting in the examination room undressed, which normally is very stressful for me, but instead it made me really relaxed.
It was at the IVF clinic that I got the following news:
Good news 2:
The reason I went to the IVF doctor was for my antral follicle count, which they do to see how well your ovaries are likely to respond. He said there were 4-5 in the left ovary, and he couldn’t see the right ovary because a fibroid was in the way but he assumed it had the same number as the left, which would make a total of 8-10. He described this as “pretty good” and based on my looking on the internet, although this is a bit sub-optimal it is way above average for my age so that is something to be happy about I think.
The IVF doctor was not happy with my fibroids. He said, as others have, that there are 4-5 of them. He measured the three largest ones, and said that the biggest was 6.1 x 6.1 cm, the second largest was 4.1 x 4.8, and the third largest was 4.0 x 3.7. These measurements are a LOT larger than the figures that my gyn. gave me a couple of weeks ago. And in fact, never have I had any number over 5.2 for the biggest one, ever. So this was rather a shock, to say the least. He said that he wants them out before doing IVF. He recommended that I see a doctor in S.F. who specializes in doing myomectomy laproscopically so it’s minimally invasive. I googled him of course and it does indeed sound like he is a leading expert in this area and people say good things about him.
So, looks like a change of plans here and it’s time to get these damn fibroids out once and for all. I will call Dr. Brill right away and try to get surgery scheduled as soon as possible (one of the women on the fibroids listserv I am on had the same surgery with him and based on what she said I’m guessing it could be 6 weeks or so till I could get in for surgery). Then my uterus will need 3 months to heal before I can do IVF. When he told me this I was just so disappointed, because I was really gearing up to do the IVF right away and also because I don’t have any time to waste and 4 months feels like a long time.
So right now I’m feeling rather frustrated and confused. Well, that's an understatement. Really I am reeling and seething. How could I get such different measurements on my fibroids from the IVF doctor vs. my gyn. Could the largest one really have grown 2 centimeters in 2 weeks (The gyn told me it was 4, the IVF doctor says it’s 6)? Or is measuring through ultrasound just basically not very accurate, or vary widely depending on who is doing the measuring? (I asked the IVF doctor about this and he said that perhaps the gyn was just looking at another plane, but I think he may have just said that to be polite, esp. since he earlier said that the largest one is spherical, which according to my high school geometry means that all the planes are the same…) I'll share more information as I get it about how big my fibroids really are.
And how interesting that whereas my gyn thought I was fine to get pregnant with fibroids this size, the IVF doctor is not comfortable with it. (I guess it makes sense that if you are going to bother with IVF you would be more conservative.) It also makes me frustrated to think that all the fibroid-shrinking efforts may not have done any good after all, and that I have been wasting all this time when I could have gotten them out a long time ago. But, I know I have to stop beating myself up, and just move on.
Also, now I wonder about what I was originally told by my gyn, that due to where my fibroids are I am not a good candidate for myomectomy, that if they cut them out there would not be much uterus left. I guess we will see what the S.F. doctor says. Now I am kicking myself, perhaps in 12/07 when my gyn told me that I should have gotten a second opinion on operability. But she was so categorical about it that it didn’t seem like it would be worthwhile. Or maybe some of the shrinking work I have been doing has worked and has made it so that we can even contemplate surgery whereas in 12/07 my gyn thought it was not possible? (That’s kind of a stretch though to make myself feel better)
On the bright side, this gives us time to detox my husband’s mercury and lead and hopefully get his sperm in better shape. I’m also going to get my mercury fillings switched out ASAP and want to double-check to make sure every last bit of those heavy metals are gone from my system after the big detoxing I did in 2007.
So it looks like I need to focus on whatever fibroid shrinking I can do prior to surgery (my coach made me a special fibroid shrinking meditation tape and I will listen to it every day!), keeping my eggs happy in waiting until the fall, and on having a successful surgery and my uterus healing well after it. (I’ve never had surgery before, so am curious about what can be done energetically pre and post op that would be helpful…) I’ll also keep doing the stuff that Walter suggested to keep bonding with the spirit baby.
Ok, this is hard but I’m not giving up.
Not only is this news stressful and disappointing to me, I feel like I'm letting all of you down. I don't want to discourage anyone in their quest to shrink their fibroids naturally. Looking back on my situation, I think there are some reasons why I might not have had the success that I could have with my fibroid shrinking efforts.
1. One big reason is that it took me so long to learn what exactly one is supposed to, or can, do and not do, and eat and not eat. And what kind of things are effective or not effective. Unfortunately, it seemed like I had to go by trial and error, and many of the books or doctors I consulted did not really know what would be helpful and even steered me the wrong way in many cases. For example, vitex and progesterone cream may help some people but they were totally useless for me, and I'm particularly annoyed at the chiropractor who got me on the progesterone cream because now I'm reading it can even make fibroids worse. An acupuncturist I saw for a year and a half who claimed to have the answer turned out to not really know what to do about the fibroids after all. (We won't even talk about the first acupuncturist, who was really helpful at first but then got really flaky and left town right when I needed help the most...) When I first had the fibroids, I didn't have a good sense of how to apply the ideas in books like Healing Fibroids: A Doctor's Guide to a Natural Cureto create a practical and balanced diet, so I ate too much tuna and got a mercury overload, and I didn't get enough iron so I got really anemic. It was all just too overwhelming and too much information to sort out and figure out how to really make work. I spent so much time muddling around, and at times felt so frustrated and alone in this that I couldn't deal with it and went back to eating "normally" (e.g. meat and dairy). Also if only I had known about abdominal massage and hula hooping, I could have been doing it every day for years. If only I knew all the things I know now when my fibroids were first discovered 5 years ago! I would have done things so much differently.
2. The last year and 4 months has been a particularly busy one for me both personal and work-wise, so that has interfered with being able to do all the things I would have liked to do. In particular I have been particularly lax on the exercise. If I had been able to hula hoop or belly dance for an hour a day, and get more exercise in general and spend more time on some of the mind-body work, maybe that would have made a difference. My lower abdomen still feels cool, which means I haven't succeeded in getting circulation going there sufficiently. What if I had...
3. One thing I have really learned through this is that it's very difficult to try to shrink fibroids while trying to conceive. During the luteal phase, you are not supposed to do the exact kind of things that would help shrink fibroids -- take strong Chinese herbs that are designed to bust up stagnation, do vigorous exercise that involves shaking, massage your abdomen, and take enzyme supplements that can help break down the fibrin. So half the time during the last nine months I have not been able to attack the fibroids with the full arsenal. Also to help boost fertility they give you extra estradiol and progesterone, which could make the fibroids grow and also they overload your liver which is not good for fibroids. Given my age, I rushed into trying to conceive as soon as I got the green light, so I haven't had the luxury of giving the fibroid shrinking the dedicated focus that it probably needs.
So, despite my current predicament, I still do believe this blog has value, and that what I have been doing has value, for the following reasons:
1. If I hadn't been doing all of this, heaven knows how big my fibroids would have been by now
2. I now know what needs to be done to prevent fibroids from growing, which will help me prevent them from returning post-myomectomy. Many people have to have myomectomy more than once, which seems incredibly sad to me. I'm hoping that with the work I have been doing, I have gotten to the root of the problem and can prevent a re-occurence.
3. I am hoping that someone out there who is in the position I was in 5 years ago, of first discovering that they have fibroids, can use this information to get rid of them or at least keep them from growing. According to the Chinese medicine literature, something can be done as long as your fibroids are less than 10 cm, as long as you can give it enough effort and enough time. In my case, I really don't have time, that is my problem. If I can help anyone else, it will make me feel better.
4. All the work I have been doing the past 1 year and 4 months has helped make me an overall happier and healthier person, and I've learned a lot of things that will help keep my husband and myself happier and healthier for years to come. I also think all this work has likely contributed to my antral follicle count being above average, because trying to get energy flow better for the fibroids also helps the eggs. As Walter Makichen told me, all the work I have been doing shows. I have to be happy about that.
Sorry for the rather long post, just trying to make peace with this as I'm rather freaked out right now.