Monday, October 08, 2007

A Missing Piece of the (Fertility) Puzzle?

Another one of the reasons that my postings have been spotty as of late is because my grandmother (my father's mother) is in the hospital. And, some very interesting things have developed due to this.

About three weeks ago, my grandmother (who lives in Boston with my 95 year old grandfather) was on the phone with my mother; she had been to the dentist earlier in the day and had Novocaine, and wanted to know how long it would take for the medication to wear off. During the conversation, she suddenly started babbling and garbling her speech-my mother went directly into "nurse-mode" and was trying to tell her to call for help.

At which point, my grandmother hung up the phone. And, my mother had no emergency numbers to call anyone else (my grandfather's nephew and his family live on the third floor of the building). Frantic, my mother kept redialing and tried to see how to call 911 when out of state.

Finally, my grandmother answered the phone. She was able to talk, and everything seemed fine. My mother insisted that she go to the doctor's the next day, but of course, my grandmother being the stubborn old bird that she is, hemmed and hawed about it.

Until the next day, when she still didn't feel well. My grandfather's nephew brought her (under duress) to the doctor. Who promptly admitted her to the hospital.

It was determined that she did have a stroke, but luckily it didn't affect her speech. She's been hospitalized before due to clots-once with a DVT (deep vein thrombosis) of the leg and a PE (pulmonary embollism) in her lung. But, up until this point, it never resulted in a stroke. So, she was observed, given medication, and released.

Three days later she ended up back in the hospital, because the arm in which they placed the IV began to swell. It turns out that she has a blood infection from the IV line (can we say "potential negligence due to a non-sterile field"?? Yah..). They also find ANOTHER CLOT in her arm, where the IV was, so they had to put in a PICC, gave her Coumadin, and now have to release her to a subacute facility for four weeks of additional IV antibiotic therapy. The hematologists then decided to do a more extensive blood analysis to see what's going on.

The testing shows that she has Factor V Leiden and Protein-S Deficiency. We're not yet sure whether the gene mutation is homo- or heterozygous, or what else is affected. But, she's had it her entire life. Which explains why it took so long for her to get pregnant. And why she had miscarriages before and after having my father, who is an only child, since FVL increases the risk of miscarriage, preeclampsia and placental abruption.

Ah, the wonders of modern medicine. For years, my grandmother thought that her infertility was "God's will", but it was just a case of genetics. It only took her 89 years to find it out.

So..........guess who's now getting tested for it? Yup. It's very likely that I have the mutation, given the family history (a few of my grandmother's sisters and brothers had strokes and similar clotting issues), but we won't know for sure until the tests are run. My father and brother also will need to be tested, and my mother is thinking of it also, because she has no idea if it's in her family.

Could this be the missing piece of the puzzle for me? Will finding this out help me get pregnant? Not that I want an additional diagnosis, really........but, if this is what's keeping me from getting (and staying pregnant), and it can be treated, then bring it on. I'm more than ready.

13 comments:

OHN said...

Wow...this may sound strange but wouldn't it be wonderful for grandma to know that she may have helped you ? (Unfortunately at the expense of her being so sick.)

My own mother had severe IF issues and when I had the same problem everyone said "oh, you are just like your mother"..I guess we are what we come from after all!

Good luck with the testing. I hope it gives you the right answers!

Shelli said...

I'm SO sorry that your grandmother's in the hospital.

And I also hope, for your own sake, that if this is what you may have, that it can be easily treated.

love love love to you,
S

Heather said...

Sorry your grandmother is sick. I'm so curious to see what the outcome of your test is. It may explain a lot of things.

laura said...

How fascinating for you to learn about this crazy genetic history. It makes me really sad for your grandmother, to think that for all those years she didn't understand why she had such troubles.

I hope she is doing okay, and am eager to hear what exactly you learn!

Nickie said...

that's crazy! I hope you get an answer soon. I found out in the midst of my infertility struggle that my mom has both Protein S and Protein C deficiencies which is pretty rare to have both. Her father had at least one of them. Turns out I didn't get either, but I went on baby aspirin anyway for a bit.

Can't wait to read the outcome of your testing. I hope your gma gets better very soon too.

Lut C. said...

Wouldn't that be something, if this is where it all gets turned around.

Meg said...

Well, er, I guess that's GOOD?

But I do hope your grandmother feels better soon.

Thalia said...

factor V from what I understand is quite treatable, so if this is the issue I'd say it's good to know - but why hasn't anyone tested you before hand? Anyway, let's hope you get some answers quickly. And I hope your grandmother gets better fast.

Jessica said...

WOW.
First of all I'm so sorry to hear your grandma is in the hospital. :(

I do think it's amazing how things happen. And a lot of times unexplained things have an explanation- we just don't know it.
I agree, not that you need another diagnosis, but IF it's the problem- it's good to know and I pray it's something that can be taken care of so you can see some light at the end of the tunnel.

Always lurking about, thinking of you and praying as well.
:hugs:

Gumby said...

I had to have testing too for Fragile X and something else, I don't remember now...
It was due to the fact that I had a totally shitty first IVF cycle (I have high FSH, hubby has Y chrom microdeletion) in which I supposedly had a whopping 4 potential eggs, which turned out to be only 2 that were retrieved - one of which was immature and the other didn't fertilize! The doc said since there was only one egg they didn't know where the problem was (sperm or egg) so off for testing to see if I also have genetic problems that affect my eggs. The tests turned out OK but the waiting for the results was the worst! I wish you the best. This whole process is such a horrible thing that none of us deserves!!

Nearlydawn said...

I have a similar blood clotting issue - it was found because of testing I requested after repeat early miscarriages. I was so happy when I found out about it (weird, I know) but I was so SURE it was the missing piece.

I hope you find answers to this open question very soon.

Debbie said...

Wow, that is a lot to handle. I wish your grandmother the best.

I hope that if that is what you have that it is easily and quickly treated.

~Deb

Isabel said...

A bad way to find out some useful news. Hope things start going good.