Sunday, May 8, 2011

Something To Relate To

I just finished watching a Frontline episode entitled "Facing Death."  I've been interested in end-of-life issues for a while now since I've experienced the death of three grandparents.  Deciding when to stop treatment is very, very difficult because most people want to believe that there is always a treatment option available that can prolong their life.  Watching a relative or loved one die is very difficult but watching them die slowly in a hospital on life support, I think, is much worse.  I would highly recommend watching the episode; you can do that on-line.

We managed to escape for 24 hours this weekend.  I've been thinking about getting away from home for Mother's Day for several months now but just put the plan into place last Monday.  It took some maneuvering with the family to do it and although I explained that the infertility has been very painful and I thought they got it, they made statements later which makes me think they really don't understand it.  So be it.  I did the best I could to not be distant and remain loving when I said no to offers for brunch or dinner today.

However much like some British subjects who might have wanted to escape the Royal Wedding last weekend and their only clear option was hiding under a rock, if you ventured online or even stepped outside your house today, you couldn't escape Mother's Day.  I knew Mass would be a particular problem spot and it started with a young couple holding the doors for us the Los An.geles Cathed.ral and the woman saying to me, "Happy Mother's Day."  Hmmm.

The priest didn't much better when he asked all the mothers present to stand and also if you were currently pregnant, you should stand to, to come get a carnation.  I thought about standing and should have done it because I found it a bit isolating.  Sure, there were hundreds of people there but I still felt self-conscious.  And it made me think the Church or some leaders in the Church don't get it or understand the teaching.  All that matters is that you're open to life, right?  Faithful to the Magisterium.  What if I was the woman who'd had one or more miscarriages and I can't stand because I'm not currently pregnant?  What kind of crap is that?  I've done everything the Church sees as permissible to get pregnant.  I count and deserved that carnation.

But back to the Frontline episode....  Someone makes the statement in the show like, "I don't want to ever stop treatment no matter how small the chances are that it won't make me live better or longer."  I think how people view end-of-life treatment can be very similar to how they view infertility treatment.  It's not OK to say, "I'm not doing this anymore.  I surrender.  I accept because the treatment is making me more miserable than I need to be."  You know, we can do one more bone marrow transplant, or one more IVF cycle, or one more round of Clomid.  Right now I see the Femara as a last ditch effort but part of me is also thinking that it's pointless to go through this.

Before July 2010, when I began the diagnostic testing my husband said that we shouldn't expect to get pregnant until we know what's wrong and it's fixed.  Well, that's happened and we're still not pregnant.  The months on Clomid were really bad and made me life worse in those moments.  I don't want to do the Femara if that's going to happen and I just feel so much pressure during the treatment months.  When do we start asking our NaPro doctors that when quality of life is diminishing, isn't it time to stop treatment?  Or are we always compelled to kept trying because is just might happen to us?


  1. I am hoping the Fem.ara isn't miserable (if you decide to try it). I think some of the docs will suggest when it is time to stop, but I wonder if that is something that comes with time. Probably the N.aPro docs who have been treating for a long time are more comfortable indicating when they find they have reached the end of the treatment road. At least as a path (I know this is totally different from both the end of life and IF treatment), I can't keep treating if it is no longer helping. Families don't like to hear when I have to discharge a patient for lack of progress, but it is what our code of ethics requires.

  2. I've wished so many times that my Napro doc would tell me that we should stop TTC, but every time we see her she has something hopeful to say or something else to try. I totally get what you mean by having a certain quality of life. I feel like I've reached the end so many times, but there's something that keeps me going.

    Femara was so much better than Clomid for me. I had fewer side effects and it was definitely gentler on my system. I hope the same for you!