Saturday, July 31, 2010

Post-Op and Cost of Treatment

Thank you for the advice on my last post.

At my post-op appointment, we learned that about 1/3 of each ovary was affected by the adhesions. One-third! That seems pretty extensive to me! Of course, Dr S. would not "commit" to the admission that yes, it was affecting my fertility, and yes, my fertility will now be greatly improved. Rather, he said it's a good thing we got them out, and that for a year afterwards we are in good shape.

Additionally, I spoke with Dr B (Ireland) at the AAFCP meeting about my case, and he had some excellent (very progressive) ideas... unfortunately, I have tried most of them already! I was asking him specifically about my TEBB (tail-end brown bleeding) because in his talk he really stressed the importance of getting rid of that brown bleeding from the charts. I told him I had been on the Food sensitivity diet for 8 months, and had been through complete treatment with Dr Toth, and my hormones are great. He mentioned hydrocortisone, which I have tried, and then he mentioned Intralipids! I was shocked he even knew about them, but he does do a lot more immune stuff than the majority of NaPro Drs. Of course, when I said I had tried those, too, he was stumped. But he had some good suggestions nonetheless, and told me I should get in touch with a NaPro Dr out in California, Dr D., about my case. After speaking with him I am now going to go back on Hydrocort (because I'm no longer taking prednisone and Hydrocort is much safer and gentler for my body, anyway - Prednisone gave me SHINGLES for crying out loud!!) and also see about Biaxin, another antibiotic to take cyclically. I never tried this particular antibiotic, but many, many NaPro patients have seen an end to their TEBB while taking it. Finally, he recommended a very progressive sperm analysis, which Dr Check never even did for us - it is called DFI: DNA Fragmentation Index. It can be read about here. Basically it is a way of seeing if the DNA make-up of the sperm is good enough for conception to occur. Dr B. said he has found this to be THE missing link on some couples where they literally tried everything else to no avail. And while most REs will say that a failed DFI means that even IVF/ICSI wouldn't work, that he (Dr B) has found some success in treating those men with high doses of antioxidants. He then mentioned "Alpha Lipoic Acid," which is one of the supplements my acupuncturist had ME on! He was happy to hear that I was also doing acupuncture :)

All in all, Dr B was awesome. I am going to stay in touch, probably send him my charts and see if there's anything else he can recommend based on them.

I'll also be getting in touch with Dr D. in California.

(I added to my list of Drs exponentially while at that meeting, lol!)

In other fertility-related news, I failed another cycle. I've noticed that I'm no longer even expecting anything when I "POAS" (pee on a stick) these days. I used to at least sit around in the bathroom and wait for the test, but this morning, I was so tired I just took the test, put it on the counter, and went back to bed for about 2 hours. I already know it's going to be negative, so I see no point in sitting around and waiting 3 minutes.

And that was a BOATLOAD of progesterone I wasted on nothing, by the way. Dr Check had me take 2 Prometrium vaginally and 1 orally, for a total of 600 mgs daily. I also wasted a ton of Lovenox.

See, that's another issue in being a Trying-to-Conceive Infertile as opposed to a Trying-to-Conceive Miscarrier. Money. I have to put a TON of $$ into each and every cycle in the hopes that "if" I conceive, I can implant and sustain the pregnancy. That's a lot of $$ put into the faith that egg and sperm are indeed going to meet. Whereas someone TTC with history of M/C can often justify the amount of $$ they're spending on all these crazy meds/treatments, and furthermore they can justify it QUICKLY (because it seldom takes more than 1 or 2 cycles of this type of treatment for them to achieve pregnancy again).

We are running ourselves into bankruptcy. Let me just give you an idea of what a typical cycle's costs are for me:

Dr office co-pays: $30 x 4 (being conservative)= $120
B/W shipping costs to Dr KK: $18
Prometrium: $30
Lovenox: $32
Naltrexone: $45
Metformin: $5
baby aspirin, Vit D, Vit E, Calcium, Omega 3s, probiotic: $150 (conservative)
acupuncture/Chinese herbs: $400

Total (conservative estimate, not including additionals like Pre-Seed, pregnancy tests because I have to start testing at 10dpo, OPKs, SURGERY costs, etc.)........................................................ $800/per cycle

Eight. Hundred. Dollars. Per. Cycle.

That is (believe it or not) actually the first time I've added it up. Seeing as it's a conservative and not including all the meds I USED to take, it was probably more like $1,000 for MANY cycles there.

Now, $800 may not seem like a lot to some of you. After all, IVF costs are much higher than that, AND, if the $800 you're spending results in a pregnancy in one or two months, what's wrong with that??

But for me?? It's been almost 2 years of $800-1,000 per cycle, WITHOUT success. And that now brings our grand total to...........................

$16,800 to $21,000.

Yeah. I can hardly believe it myself.

Add to that the money we shelled out for Dr Toth's treatments (a very pretty penny), and surgeries, anesthesiologists, hospital bills, etc. etc. and we've probably already paid the equilavent of 2 or 3 IVF cycles. OUT OF POCKET.

How much longer can I keep spending like this?? This is just pure insanity.



JellyBelly said...

I have tried very hard not to do the IF-related math. I am so afraid to the results, although I know that I would have a much larger home and probably a better car.

But I digress.

I'm so glad that you've found new doctors to add to your arsenal! Dr. B sounds like a great guy!

I'm continuing to pray for you buddy!!!!

... said...

I used to keep a running total on the $ we spent, but DH wisely said that was not a good idea. That $800/mo is just incredible.

You did increase your doctor roll! I'm excited to see what they say and how they can help you.

T said...

I too had spent hundreds of dollars each month on medical costs. At one point, I think I was spending over a thousand dollars (and getting in debt). It's incredible how quickly it all adds up.
I'm glad you found some new doctors and am hoping they can really help you. :)

Shannon said...

oh my gosh... this IS a lot of money.....
I pray it will all be work it and I'm just going to keep continuing to pray... pray... pray... for you, sweet lady.

Simone said...

I am so glad that you found someone with some new ideas. Biaxin worked for me with the TEBB. I had TEBB my whole life and never knew it was bad until I started Napro. We both took the 21 day course and it stayed away for two cycles. Now we are both taking it CD 1-10 every month to keep it away. The new SA sounded very interesting. Keep me posted if you do it. I am very curious about it. Can you get it done at a local lapcorp or does it have to be done somewhere special? GOOD LUCK!

prayerfuljourney said...

That is a boat load of cash you spend each month. My dh and I tried (when we were doing treatments) not to add up how much was being spent. It gaves us anxiety to think about it.

Girl, you have gone to such great lengths and expense to figure out what is going on with your body. I'm amazed by it all. Wow! No matter how it all turns are one that can say "I tried EVERYTHING." literally. God bless you for all of your efforts.

WheelbarrowRider said...

Anyone woudl be nuts not to think that is a boatload of money, but I am very excited about all that Dr. B had to say. I, personally, was very pleased with biaxin as I am sure you know and I hope it is easy for you to take (i just got the metal mouth, no biggie-of course took probiotics as prevantative). I hope the money and time and energy pay off in a big way soon!

Nick and Kristi said...

Ive never done a grand total of what we spent to get where we are at....If you can go long form on your taxes you should look into writing it off under medical expenses...I know last year we barely missed the point of being able to claim it on our taxes....It would be very frustrating to shell out all that money:(

My Heart Exults said...

It's tough to spend this much money every month and not have anything to show for it! Praying these new doctors will bring you new blessings!

Second Chances said...

That is a lot of money, but WHEN you conceive and have a little one, you will think to yourself that you would have spent twice the money to have him/her. So don't despair - persevere! Pray for perseverance and I will pray for you too :)

Amazing Life said...

Wow, I haven't added it all up in a long time because it is just too overwhelming! I hope the Biaxin works, I really think that helped us out.

E said...

I agree, that is pure insanity. It is not fair. At.all. Not fair. My heart breaks for you. Please know that I am continually praying for healing for you.

My DH had the DNA test done at Dr. Paduch's office in NYC. :) He said that Zoloft can sometimes cause the fragmentation, luckily it didn't in our case but I am glad we were able to rule that out. I am glad Dr. B suggested it to you!

mrsblondies said...

I hope the Biaxin helps. It's so great that you are adding more doctors to your arsenal. The money part sucks and I'm so sorry that that part is overwhelming. I'm praying so hard for you.

airing the chapel said...

TCIE, I'm seeing Dr. Del.gado in San Diego if this is the same doc; I suspect it is. Let me know if you need any feedback.

Amy @ This Cross I Embrace said...

airing the chapel,
I've been speaking with Dr Dave.nport, actually. She is the one with a special interest in immune-related IF.
Thanks, though!