Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Dr. Ninja and the Medicine Woman

I dedicate this post to Hossein Derakhshan (aka Hoder), an Iranian-born Canadian who has been held captive at the notorious Evin prison in Iran for committing the crime of blogging. Today, the 35-year-old received a sentence of 19 and a half years in prison, which meant he narrowly escaped a death sentence. If you want to read more about his story, click here or here. I am grateful to have the right to free speech and to be able to blog without the fear of being prosecuted.

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Today was my appointment with Dr. Ninja. I know that sounds like an insulting pseudonym, but it is not meant to be. Sattva's husband has heard of this doctor and likes to call him Dr. Ninja. And Sattva's husband makes me laugh. So using this pseudonym makes me laugh. And any reason to laugh is good enough for me. Enough. Done agonizing over pseudonyms. 

The appointment started off by going downhill at a rapid pace. Sort of like a beginner on skis, in a double-diamond slope, on icy conditions. He basically said that Dr. RE had put me at great risk of cancer by exposing me to the gonadotropin injections. He then said that egg donation was an outrageous idea, given that my uterus had never been stimulated (he used the word exercised) properly. That's when I said to myself: "deep breath, 'gusta"). It looked like this appointment was on the verge of blowing away the shred of hope I'd gathered in late summer.

Fortunately, the appointment did not continue to go downhill. Dr. Ninja gave away that he is a passionate man in the first 5 minutes of the appointment. He heard a few of the facts I shared and from there, stood up on his soap box and talked about the harm caused to women by the IF industry. He may have a point, but that's not why I was there. I'm just hoping to have a baby. So the impassioned doctor calmed down and let me continue with my explication. This permitted me to discover some of his other qualities such as his kindness and sensitivity.

To my immense (great is too feeble here) surprise, Dr. Ninja said he had treated a case exactly like mine in the past. I have never heard of a case like mine. Ever. Have you? Someone who never went through puberty, never had a period without medication, never ovulated. He tried to say there was a second case, but clearly, that second case was not exactly close. The woman had VERY irregular periods, but she still had them. But woman A was like me. He treated her and within 3 years she was pregnant. She went on to have a second child without his or anyone's (except her husband's) assistance. At the beginning of the appointment, he was going down that road. 3 years! Like I have that luxury. In 3 years I'll be 39 and pushing 40. So will Sattva. Woman A first consulted him when she was 32. Different scenarios altogether.

He listened to more of my history and focused on specific aspects. In an earlier post I wrote in August (Our Story), I referred to some HPA (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis) issues that I also meant to discuss but didn't. I'm again not feeling like delving into those depths at this moment, but there is a part 2 to the 'Our Story' post, and it is soon to be written (yes, and that's what I say about my dissertation). The short of it is that there is a bunch of trauma in my early history and I've known for a while that this is the origin of my reproductive woes. Some doctors have suggested this may have been the cause, although they said so with utmost caution. Other doctors have questioned me on whether that was in fact "really traumatic" or not. Fortunately, I was already in my thirties when I met that particular doctor, so I just looked at him without averting my eyes and say that yes, it was really traumatic indeed.

Dr. Ninja focused right away on this issue of trauma and wanted to hear about whether I had resolved it. Frankly, I've done a ton of work towards "resolving" it, but this infertility nightmare has brought it back. I cried like I usually do when I talk about that awful time in my life, but told him that I wasn't crying for then, instead crying for the impact it has on me now. In the last 10 years, I felt that in most ways, I had formed an acceptable narrative about my history, but this narrative is required to accommodate the bit about me never getting pregnant and having my own children. I can inform you that this has not gone smoothly (like you don't know).

By the end, Dr. Ninja said that he is certain that the trauma is what caused my reproductive system to shut down. He said, like I've always believed, that the eating disorder is just a side issue. He said that he could help me get my body ready for egg donation. Yes! After hearing more about Dr. RE (I stood up for him, since I really do think he is good), about the process that lead to the decision of egg donation and about Sattva's offer, he seemed to, as we say in French, changer son fusils d'épaule (which means change his mind). He said he would look at the 2 cases mentioned above and review the treatment protocols followed with them, look at my information, and get back to me with a plan.

However, there is one recommendation he made right away. Dr. Ninja wants me to go consult an energy medicine woman. Woawzer! Therein lies an opportunity to keep an open mind, wouldn't you say? He feels like I have a big energetic blockage and wants me to go see this woman. She's good, according to him and she may help with unblocking the energy of my shut down reproductive system (I know what you're thinking, Bunny.) I think I will humor him and visit this woman. Once again, I don't have anything to lose at this point. It should be an interesting appointment, so I'll keep you posted.


  1. I was thinking, "energy medicine woman sounds cool!" So there!

    I'm so sorry to hear there's a source for your reproductive challenges (you know, beyond some random biological wackiness). It sounds unbelievably hard and utterly awful, and the fact that it's had this additional consequence is heartbreaking. Fix Augusta, energy medicine woman!

    But all in all, sounds like a rough but good appointment. I hope the plan is a good one!

  2. I am so sorry to hear of traumas in your past that have repeatedly had effects on your repoductive life. I am so sorry you've had to face such a position. But, I am glad to hear the doctor is considering your "whole picture" in helping you.

    I say, why not try the energy lady? It can't hurt!

  3. This all sounds positive - its always good to have a plan and, while it didn't start out like you hoped it would, i'm glad that you were able to come to the same conclusion at the end. i'm sorry the beginning of the appt was so hard on you and that you had to bring up past trauma that obviously is very hard to discuss.

    i'm keeping my fingers and toes crossed in hopes that he and Dr. RE can come up with a good, solid plan for you and you can start moving forward!

  4. Sweet Augusta, I'm so sorry you've ever had to go through any trauma at all, especially any that has dared to mess with such a precious part of what you want from life. Gimme that trauma's address and I'll go kick its ass for you. A lot. So...sad face about what you've had to endure, but happy face about what seems to be a lot of hope on the other side. I'm fascinated about energy healing; let me know how that goes! Sending hugs upon hugs.

  5. ooh, i want an energy medicine woman. :)

    Sounds like you went through some ups and downs with Dr. Ninja. Did you have to take out the nunchucks to get him to finally come around?

    I am glad you have a plan and everyone is on the same page.

    Thanks for the update.

    oh, and as always, thanks for the webpage you gave me. I appreciated it.

  6. I'm so sorry about your trauma. Glad in the end your appointment went well and energy woman sounds promising.

  7. I don't think there is a limit to the number of times you can tell The Story where you finally can tell it with out feeling a little too much of it all over again. I bet you cried. Same pain, different manifestation.

    My heart is with you through this process. I hope it comes to you as a rule. No wavering. Always here.

  8. Even if it's all woo woo and stuff, I don't think it could hurt at all. The concern and care from her might have salutatory affects. Placebo affect is an eerily strong force, in my opinion, which is why I am very glad to have my new doctor who, while not doing anything differently than my previous doctors medically, makes me feel very CARED for.

    Ninja sounds like someone with a Big personality. Good for you for standing your ground; doctors can be so dismissive and arrogant. What kind of doctor is he anyway? RE?

    As for your trauma - I am scared to hear it because I'm afraid it will break my heart. It's already hurting me to know that you suffered a trauma that had such drastic physical repercussions. I do hope you find some healing with this doctor, the medicine woman, this blog, and - one day -your baby.

  9. Just catching up on your posts Augusta. You should head over to Maddy's blog as she has had a few consultations with an 'Energy Man' and she has had some pretty positive spin offs from it.
    Her blog is: http://lateforaveryimportantpregnancy.blogspot.com/
    Right down the bottom on the left hand side you can click on all her posts under the category of "energy man". It might help give you an idea of what to expect anyway.
    Hugs. xx

  10. Wow. First, that appointment sounds like a great deal of up, and down. And he sounds passionate indeed. It sounds like you kept returning him to the realities of your situation, which is very good. I have also heard this about the gonadotropins, about what the industrial-infertility complex has done to women's health. But, like you, I am left with this reality: I want a baby. And I am getting older. And so certain things have to happen a bit more quickly, and with a bit more help from science than my all-natural heart would like.

    I am sorry for that trauma. I do think that it makes perfect sense that it impacted you physically. We internalize things. They work their way into the bone, but in this moment I am feeling angry at the world that you had to deal with them at such a young age, and at all.

    I'm going to be so curious to hear what Energy Woman has to say. Keeping an open mind is exactly the way to go (people rolled their eyes for years over acupuncture and IVF until they actually did studies about it...and lo and behold most IVF clinics now have acupuncturists on site! Maybe one day they'll have energy healers, too).