Monday, September 2, 2013

tapping out - why I stopped treatment

Prior to making the BIG DECISION I'd read dozens of well meaning, but ultimately vague and unhelpful articles about how to know if you're ready to stop treatment. They're all basically short lists that can be condensed into one sentence:

 "You're a hot fucking mess."

Now that the BIG DECISION has been made, I thought I would be done pondering all the reasons we decided to walk away. Over the past few days the overwhelming feeling has been one of relief. I've been enjoying all the things one cannot enjoy while actively trying to get knocked up (caffeine and alcohol and allergy medication and intense exercise, ohmy!)

But I have a confession to make. When I got my last period I automatically called for a cycle day 3 appointment. I hung up before they answered, but the point is I called. Every now and then, as sure as I am that we've made the right decision, I find myself in this kind of blind panic.

Because I don't know what cycle day this is. And I don't know when my clinic will be up for IVF again, and I don't know what meds I should be on right now and I drank two glasses of wine last night and didn't hang my feet in the air after sex, etc, etc, etc.

It feels like I'm going cold turkey, that this treatment is a fucking addiction.

And I don't want to fall off this horse. In all the possible iterations of the next few years of my life, the only one I never want to happen is the one where we go back to treatment.

So, per the advice of the medical professional tasked with keeping me sane (ish?), what follows is the list of things that let me know I was ready to stop treatment.

  • I was tired of constantly feeling ill because of treatment. Excusing myself from commitments because I was too bloated, too wracked with nausea or headaches, or just plain too fucking exhausted.
  • I was tired of the emotional roller coaster. The cycle of hope and disappointment, the pervasive fear of doing something wrong that would reduce our chances.
  • I felt so completely fragile. I gave up so many things I loved to do because I was afraid of popping an over-sized ovary. I'm pretty sure the guys at my boxing gym think I have cancer because of my on again off again workouts over the past two years. I walked around at work in constant fear that I'd help boost an overweight patient in bed and wind up doubled over on the floor with a twisted Fallopian tube or that a disoriented patient would throw out a limb and catch me in the stomach, dislodging that month's imaginary embryo.
  • The end was so very very disconnected from the means. Treatment stopped feeling like something I was doing to get pregnant and instead just felt like I was ill and this was something I had to do to survive. The thought that a baby might come from what we were doing was crossing my mind less and less frequently.

And now, the kicker. The number one reason why stopping was ultimately a no-brainer when we actually were honest with ourselves and talked about it.

  • We didn't think treatment would work.

I could have put up with everything if we thought it would get us a child, but the truth of it is, we had no confidence that any treatment would could realistically pursue would be successful.

And spending thousands of dollars and immeasurable physical, emotional and mental torment on something you didn't even honestly think was going to work?

Yea, not a good idea.


  1. Hi, from ICLW! Yes... we stopped for the same reasons. Exactly. I miss ME. We have just over a month before Hubby has a vasectomy, and I hover between sheer panic and perfect peace every single day. It's so damned tough to walk away when it has become a way of life. Best of luck on your journey!

    1. Thanks! I see you're here from ICLW, but I can't find a link to your blog, I'd love to read it :)