[TRIGGER WARNIG / CAVEAT: In December 2016, I was diagnosed with an ectopic pregnancy: something which had – oddly enough – been an almost lifelong fear of mine, to the extent that I’d put off trying to conceive for years, because I was so terrified of something going wrong. As a health anxiety sufferer, I have an extreme phobia of hospitals, and of surgery in particular, and this post – plus the other diary entries I wrote at the time – are a reflection of that, so please read it with that in mind. Needless to say, this post may be triggering for anyone who is currently pregnant, or who suffers from anxiety. If you’d like to read my ectopic pregnancy story from the start, you’ll find all the posts here.]
You guys. You guys.
I honestly don’t know how to even begin to thank you for all of your messages of support on yesterday’s post on my ectopic pregnancy diagnosis and subsequent methotrexate treatment. Seriously, there are no words for how grateful I am: and, as you know, I normally have aaaaalll the words, so that alone should tell you how totally overwhelmed I am (in a good way, I hasten to add). I haven’t been able to reply to you all individually, and if you’ve emailed me, you should know that I’m way, way behind with that, but I have read – and then re-read – every single one of your comments, and if I could reach through the screen and give you all a huge hug right now, I totally would. And, you know, I’m not much of a hugger, so take from that what you will.
I’ll be honest: as well as being the longest post I’ve ever written on this blog, it was also the hardest one to hit ‘publish’ on. As I mentioned, I’d actually written the first half of it a few months ago, long before I even suspected I might have an ectopic pregnancy, and I was scared to publish it even then, because here’s the thing: I know how all of this sounds. Even at the absolute height of my anxiety, I’m still very aware of how irrational I’m being, and let’s face it – no one wants to be The Crazy Girl, do they? No one wants to be the mad one, the sad one, the one who jumps at her own shadow and has to sleep with the light on for fear of those thoughts that come swirling around in the dark.
The fact is, though, I AM that person: or, some of the time, at least. Until this month, I actually hadn’t BEEN that person for a very long time, so when it all came crashing down on me, I just didn’t know how to cope – but I DID know I couldn’t keep it to myself any longer, and honestly, I’m glad I didn’t try to. Before publishing my blog post, I asked Terry and my parents to contact my family and friends, to let them know what was going on: I just didn’t feel able to do it myself (I don’t know why, but it’s sometimes easier to talk to a few hundred internet strangers, than to a handful of your nearest and dearest), but I obviously didn’t want them to hear about it on the internet, so Terry and my folks made a few phone calls, and sent a few texts, and honestly, it was the best thing anyone could have done for me.
I’ve always known I lucked out in the family and friends department, but nothing could have prepared me for just how amazing everyone was, both on the day itself, and in the days that have followed. I’ve cried lot over the past 24 hours, but they’ve been good tears as well as bad ones, and I’m just so, SO grateful to have so many people supporting me, and telling me everything will be OK. And then, of course, there are you guys, with your wonderful comments, and your stories which, once again, have moved me to tears.
You’re awesome, is what I’m trying to say: and I will never, ever forget that. I have more to say on this subject (Probably a LOT more, knowing me…), but a few of you have been kind of enough to ask for an update on the current situation, so I just wanted to pop in, and let you know that things are… well, as good as can be expected, I guess.
I’m now on Day 4 of my Methotrexate treatment for ectopic pregnancy, and today I headed back into hospital for another blood test, to start to establish how well the treatment is working. Ideally, we’re looking for the HCG (pregnancy hormone) levels in my blood to start decreasing, which would indicate that the ectopic pregnancy is responding to the methotrexate, however, we’d been warned in advance that, as the drug takes a few days to kick in, it’s common for the levels to actually have risen by day 4 instead. (Which is just awesome, right? I’m like, ‘OK, body, you’ve had your little joke, now go stand in the corner and THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU’VE DONE…’)
The hospital reiterated this fact to me as they took my blood this afternoon (An event which I managed to get through without the help of Valium: I felt like an absolute rock star, but then the nurse commented on how tired I was looking, and I was forced to admit that, actually, that’s just what my face looks like without makeup…), and it’s also mentioned on almost every website I’ve read on the subject of ectopic pregnancy and methotrexate treatment, but I nevertheless ended up curled up in a small ball on the floor, rocking back and forth and crying like a baby when the phone finally rang a few hours later with the blood results. I’m not sure rock stars do that. Maybe really crappy ones? I don’t know.
Anyway, as expected, the HCG levels have, indeed, risen again since Sunday, meaning my body is an absolute asshole, and I’d quite like to trade it in for a new one, thanks very much. (Again, this was EXACTLY what was expected, and I’d been specifically told NOT to panic about it, but panicking is basically the only skill I have right now, and I’m damn good at it, so…) The good news, however, is that the rate of increase has gone down fairly significantly, and the levels did NOT rise quite as much as we’d expected them to. I’m not going to say this is a hopeful sign, because the nature of health anxiety is such that nothing anyone tells you (With the exception of ‘Hooray, you’re totally cured!’ obviously…) is going to stop you thinking you’re about to die any second, but it’s not a BAD sign, let’s put it that way. (I still want that new body, though, and I want it to be one of those robot ones from Westworld, so I can power myself down every night and get a bit of a break from my own stupid thoughts…)
My next blood tests will be run on Saturday, and that really is the crunch time. At that point, the doctors will be looking for at least a 15% decrease in HCG, which will tell them whether the methotrexate treatment is working. (Although this is the best case scenario, it’s still not a case of ‘game over’: as I mentioned in my previous post, ectopic pregnancy is a serious, and potentially life-threatening condition, and, no matter what happens now, I’ll still require regular monitoring, for a few weeks at least). If we DON’T get that decrease, however, there are two options left: they can either repeat the treatment… or they can give me surgery. Which, given that this is my biggest phobia, and that I’d literally rather juggle crabs* than be given general anaesthesia, is the thought that’s still keeping me awake at night, and making me feel like I’m trapped in a now three-week long nightmare, which I just can’t seem to wake up from.
I’m not looking forward to Saturday, needless to say. At the same time, however, I cannot WAIT for Saturday, because if the news is good, I swear to God, I will be the happiest woman alive, and will never complain about anything ever again – not even people who walk really slowly when you’re in a hurry, or use the phrase ‘I could care less’.
I have three more days to go, and I’m not sure there’s enough cake in the world to get me through them, but I DO know I’m going to do my best to find out. Wish me luck…
*I REALLY hope I’m never given this choice, but at least I know what will be in my Room 101 now, huh?