I had trouble explaining this trip. It started at the check-in counter at Changi Airport. "Do you have any bags to check?" I was asked. "No," I replied. "None at all?" "None." "You're not transferring any from another flight?" "No." The woman behind the desk paused to look at me suspiciously. I shrugged. "I'm only going for a few days."

But of course that only led to more questions. I found myself changing my answers each time I was asked, trying to find a satisfactory explanation. Is it a business trip? "Yes. No. Sort of. It's a family thing. I'm visiting friends. I mean, it's more or less a holiday..." No matter how hard I tried, the conversation would end the same way - with someone's doubtful frown concluding, "You've come an awfully long way just for that..."

The thing is, I was never lying, exactly. For instance, I did get to meet the irrepressible Max and Vee, who are currently battling through what I hope is only the start of a 40 week wait, and I think I can safely call that "visiting friends". It was great to meet them both, to flesh out the people behind the blogs, and to enjoy a chat and a beverage or two, even if some of us take for-absolute-freaking-ever to get to the bottom of a glass, or the end of a thought. It's just nice to converse without feeling on guard against innocent small talk or thoughtless comments. Plus it turns out they're both thoroughly likeable people, and not once did they attempt to murder myself or anyone around us with an axe, so, bonus. Still, it's a long way to go for a mug of chai latte, a glass of red wine, and a chin-wag.

Really I was there to see MD, get my endometrium biopsied, and have twenty-three vials of blood sucked out of my veins in two sittings, the first of which required a prior, twelve-hour fast. What in the world did they want with twenty-three vials of my blood? you might ask, as I certainly did, although not til later, which is probably remiss of me. My answer came in the form of this list:

Fasting glucose, fasting insulin, fasting homocysteine, T-cell subsets, protein C, protein S, anti-thrombin III, APC resistance, FSH, LH, prolactin, testosterone, TSH, SHBG, tissue transglutaminase Ab, serum copper and ceruloplasmin, antinuclear antibodies, anticardiolipin antibodies, anti TjA antibodies, thyroid antibodies, lupus anticoagulant, immunoglobulin A, antigliadin Ab, CA 125, B12 and folate, blood group, hep B and C, VDRL, rubella, HIV, FBC, MTHFR C677T, prothrombin G20210A, factor V Leiden, nitric oxide synthase.

Yes, I'm off to google them now, too. As far as the biopsy went, I believe my words to Vee were, "It was nothing." Undrugged (I even neglected to take the suggested ibuprofen), I got myself into the stirrups, was swabbed, then had a flexible, plastic "thingy" passed into my uterus. The sucking and scraping lasted less than a minute and produced enough cramping to make me say "ow" in an adamant, yet conversational tone, plus some bloody tissue which was put into a jar. I felt a bit queasy for a minute or so afterwards, but by the time my jeans were buttoned I was already saying, "Wow - that didn't hurt at all," which is only a slight exaggeration of the truth.

"That's it then," said MD's nurse as she showed me out the door. "What now - up to Brisbane to visit family?"

"No," I replied. "I'm home on Wednesday."

"Really?" she said, and I sagged as I found myself facing that doubtful frown yet again. "You've come an awfully long way just for that..."

Results in three weeks.

Deeds: Unicef envelopes on plane. Carbon credits. Filling out survey at Sydney's Powerhouse Museum (I was rewarded with a coffee table book afterwards, but I didn't know that was going to happen ahead of time). Going into great detail about the strengths and weaknesses of said survey upon being asked casually by the people running it (strangely, no extra coffee table book for that).

A couple of shout-outs:

Babyblues deserves to feel good for using her doctorly skills to help Operation Smile recently. I'm sure her time and expertise was very much appreciated.

And Katie made her holiday shopping go further by purchasing a scarf to benefit a local animal shelter.


MLO said...

Those that don't suffer this infirmity will never understand to what lengths we who do are willing to put ourselves through.

I deal with another, more complicated disease, and, honestly, whenever I'm asked about how I manage, I say "You do what you have to." Right now you are "Doing what you have to."



The Town Criers said...

Glad it all went well and quite jealous that you got to meet Vee and Max.

ultimatejourney said...

That's a LOT of vials! (When I got started with my RE they wanted 8, to test for a subset of what you were tested for, and I thought that was a lot of blood to give.)

At this point, I'd take a day trip halfway around the world (well, plus flying time) for results.

I'm glad everything went well!

Thalia said...

I could tell you something about most of those, but sure by now you've dr googled everything. just one quick thing, which is that i hope they aren't just testing for MTHFR C67T, they should also be looking for MTHFR A1298C (those mean that at position 67 the Cysteine is mutated to a thymine, or at position 1298 the adenine is mutated to a cysteine). The second mutation is less of a problem, but you are better off knowing if you are homozygous for one or the other or heterozygous, as this changes the treatment somewhat. The critical thing with MTHFR is if your protein s level is off. If it isn't then you don't need to worry too much about the MTHFR except for taking extra folate.

Got any guesses as to which mutation I carry after that???

Hope you get home safely.

Somewhat Ordinary said...

Wow, twenty-three vials of blood! No wonder you were feeling queasy. I'm glad it didn't hurt because it sounds like it might hurt. Wishing you all the best!

Jackie said...

Hey Bea, have you been able to find "Is your body baby friendly" by Dr. Alan Beer? I've referred to it a couple of times on the blog and this book discusses in detail all sorts of immunologic problems that lead to recurrent miscarriage or implantation failure. If you can lay your hands on a copy, it might explain several of those tests as well as some more...

serenity said...

*sigh* so when are you coming to the States to get something else biopsied so *I* can meet you?

V. Jealous of Vee and Max. And you for that matter, meeting Vee and Max.

I got nothing on the immunology stuff, both my RE and I don't want to open up that can of worms. We're quite content to say that our BFNs are a result of the Monster, thankyouverymuch.

And yes. Carbon credits. I need to do that to offset our Italy holiday...

(good grief, can I make any less of this comment about you?)

Glad it went well, overall. Even if it was a long way to go for a couple of days.

Rachel Inbar said...

Glad the biopsy went well! You're so brave!

I posted an article on my blog (in May 2006) about the endometrial biopsy itself improving implantation rates after IVF. I hope this is true for you...

I believe transglutaminase has to do with celiac. It sounds like they're kind of shooting in all directions to try to find something, which sounds good.

Patience said...

Glad you're all biopsied, and hope the results come back positively! All those tests made my head spin.... it's amazing you're still upright after losing 23 vials of blood to the vampires!

Vee said...

What ? You mean you didn't see the axe in my hand bag ? hehehe
I think you did really well sculling that last bit of wine.

I am impressed with that list and still can't get over the 23 vials.

Have fun googling.

Anonymous said...

Do you at least have frequent flyer miles? All that travel can get pretty expensive.

TeamWinks said...

That's a whole lot of blood. You're a champ!!!

It's not that far, considering you would fly around the world six times over if it guaranteed you a baby!

Karaoke Diva said...

Here's to hoping those tests come back with the answers you seek and a solution that will put a successful pregnancy in your belly!

Jess said...

Seriously? That's a crapload of blood!!!

Glad you made the trip to and fro safe and sound! Good to have you back!!

GLouise said...

Good grief- 23 vials!

Next trip- come visit us here in the US!

Piccinigirl said...

I'm just glad you're home , safe and sound.
I don't think it's ever "too far" to a dream. I'm so glad you made the trip..hoping all the tests come back ok.

Baby Blues said...

Thanks Bea. You've inspired me. I really enjoyed volunteering for Operation Smiles. I'm signing up again once I get a chance.

KarenO said...

You should send the link to this post to all those who frowned at your answers. Glad you're back to a place where you can start blogging again :)

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