A Miracle for the Rheault Family
Organized by: Jolene Rheault
Jolene Rheault via Crowdrise
July 28, 2014
In 2010, we were surprised to learn that we were pregnant! With the information we currently have, we now know what a miracle our son Cayden is. We spent the next few years enjoying having a child. Pretty soon, we were ready to begin completing our family with another child.
We tried for a year and nothing had happened. I went in to see my ObGyn and was recommended to a Reproductive Endocrinologist. I had a vaginal ultrasound on my first visit and we discovered that I have PCOS and possibly Endometriosis. We scheduled a laparoscopy to diagnose and remove the Endometriosis. It was discovered that I have Stage III Endometriosis. There are only 4 stages.
Endometriosis is a female health disorder that occurs when cells from the lining of the womb (uterus) grow in other areas of the body. This can lead to pain, irregular bleeding, and problems getting pregnant (infertility).
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition in which a woman has an imbalance of female sex hormones. This may lead to menstrual cycle changes, cysts in the ovaries, trouble getting pregnant, and other health changes.
I was told after the surgery to keep trying to get pregnant for 6 months and then follow up. I was also put on Metformin to help control the PCOS. This helps regulate menstrual cycles, start ovulation, and lower the risk of miscarriage in women with PCOS.
Before the 6 months was up, I found myself checking into the ER with excruciating pain on my left side. The Endometriosis was back. Generally, Endometriosis takes several years to slowly grow back; mine came back in 5 months. I had another vaginal ultrasound done and it was discovered that I had an Endometrial cyst on my left ovary that was hemorrhaging into itself. If it erupts, the pain would be intense and I would probably end up back in the ER. It is approximately the same size as my left ovary.
I followed up with my doctor and discussed our options. With the rate that the Endometriosis is growing back, combined with a history of ovarian cancer in my family, my best option is finish having children and then have a full hysterectomy before I am 35. I turned 30 yesterday. So as you can see, this isn't necessarily a matter of money but more a matter of coming up with the money in a very short span of time. I still have this cyst and am scheduled for surgery this month to remove it.
My doctor also suggested I have a Sonography HSG done to make sure that not only are my fallopian tubes open, but that my uterus is clear and healthy.
The procedure is completed in a few easy steps.
A slender flexible catheter is passed through the body's natural openings into the uterus. Then, a transvaginal ultrasound probe is positioned.
Using a Sonography HSG, your doctor delivers a mixture of saline and air bubbles into the uterus, which then flows into the fallopian tubes. Under ultrasound, the saline and air bubbles are highly visible, allowing the doctor to follow the bubbles' path.
Your doctor will watch the flow of the bubbles to determine if your tubes are open. If the tubes are open, the bubbles may be seen moving through the tubes and spilling out over the ovaries. Your doctor will evaluate both tubes to determine if they are open.
After I had the procedure done, we discovered that my fallopian tubes are indeed open which is great and makes us a good candidate for IUI.
Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a procedure that involves placing sperm inside a woman’s uterus to facilitate fertilization. This fertility treatment does not involve the manipulation of a woman’s eggs, and therefore is not considered an assisted reproductive technology (ART) procedure. We have no male infertility factors contributing to our issues and so that also makes us a good candidate for IUI.
However, we discovered during the Sonography HSG that I have a polyp on the bottom of my uterus. My polyp is in a position that it is essentially acting as an IUD (An intrauterine device (IUD) is a small contraceptive device, often 'T'-shaped, often containing either copper or levonorgestrel, which is inserted into the uterus).
Uterine polyps are growths attached to the inner wall of the uterus that extend into the uterine cavity. Overgrowth of cells in the lining of the uterus (endometrium) leads to the formation of uterine polyps, also known as endometrial polyps. These polyps are usually noncancerous (benign), although some can be cancerous or can eventually turn into cancer (precancerous polyps).
I was told that when I have surgery to remove the Endometriosis that had grown back that we could remove the polyp as well. This is necessary for my health as well because a biopsy needs to be performed on it to ensure that it is not cancerous. If it is, that opens up a whole new can of worms.
At this visit, my doctor also took me off of the metformin as it was only treating my symptoms and not my PCOS itself. Many women are able to conceive while on Metformin so please do not let this discourage you, I just am not one of those women. We are attacking the problem directly with a medication called Dexamethasone. It is used to lower my adrenal glands and thus balance out my hormones. It is a very tricky medication as it causes depression, weight gain, irritability, insomnia, etc. I have been jogging 1.5 miles and eating a low carb, low sugar diet to counteract the side effects. Also, this will improve my recovery time after surgery.
Currently we are hoping to begin the IUI procedure in August following the surgery to basically give it a try before any Endometriosis starts growing back again. And it will.
I know some people are wondering why we do not just get a loan. Like I said earlier, we had been through about 5 layoffs in 2008-2010. This severely impacted our credit scores and we have been trying our best to raise them over the last several years. Our child Cayden is raised comfortably in a loving environment. He has plenty of toys, books and eats a wide range of food. He loves going to the park, riding his bike, and playing lego towers with daddy. He has a good life. However, there is one thing he does not have and that is a sibling. And that is the one thing we are having trouble providing him.
Infertility affects millions of women and men around the world. People who would make the most wonderful parents in the world are not able to attain their goals because the cost of artificial insemination is so high. Infertility is a burden- an emotional, financial and physical burden that nobody should have to bare.
Endometriosis affects almost a third of the women in the United States alone. It does not just cause infertility. It causes extreme pain. Women all over the world are forced on disability because there is no cure. The only option is surgical removal, or a hysterectomy. Even going through menopause is not a cure because it can stay in your stomach and continue to flare up, well into old age. It can turn into cancer as well, and that is why awareness is so important.
Symptoms of endometriosis can include:
Very painful menstrual cramps; pain may get worse over time
Chronic pain in the lower back and pelvis
Pain during or after sex Intestinal pain
Painful bowel movements or painful urination during menstrual periods Spotting or bleeding between menstrual periods
Infertility or not being able to get pregnant
Diarrhea, constipation, bloating, or nausea, especially during menstrual periods
Recent research shows a link between other health problems in women with endometriosis and their families.
Some of these include:
Allergies, asthma, and chemical sensitivities
Autoimmune diseases, in which the body’s system that fights illness attacks itself instead.
These can include hypothyroidism, multiple sclerosis, and lupus. Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and fibromyalgia
Being more likely to get infections and mononucleosis (ma-no-nu-klee-OH-suhs)
Mitral valve prolapse, a condition in which one of the heart's valves does not close as tightly as normal
Frequent yeast infections
Certain cancers, such as ovarian, breast, endocrine, kidney, thyroid, brain, and colon cancers, and melanoma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
PCOS is a syndrome that also has no cure. It can cause shame, humiliation and hurt. Between 1 in 10 and 1 in 20 women of childbearing age has PCOS. As many as 5 million women in the United States may be affected. It can occur in girls as young as 11 years old.
The symptoms of PCOS can vary from woman to woman. Some of the symptoms of PCOS include:
Infertility (not able to get pregnant) because of not ovulating. In fact, PCOS is the most common cause of female infertility.
Infrequent, absent, and/or irregular menstrual periods
Hirsutism (HER-suh-tiz-um) — increased hair growth on the face, chest, stomach, back, thumbs, or toes
Cysts on the ovaries
Acne, oily skin, or dandruff
Weight gain or obesity, usually with extra weight around the waist
Male-pattern baldness or thinning hair
Patches of skin on the neck, arms, breasts, or thighs that are thick and dark brown or black
Skin tags — excess flaps of skin in the armpits or neck area
Anxiety or depression
Sleep apnea — when breathing stops for short periods of time while asleep