The Appointment 

First I would like to thank everyone for their support.  I say everyone because there are too many people to thank individually.  I am truly humbled by everyone’s support.  Its been overwhelming especially when lately I haven’t had a high opinion of myself.

Last night and this morning I was a mess.  I broke down going to sleep and woke up this morning the same way.  I wish it was because the Rangers got shutout last night to that mediocre Capitals team but it wasn’t.  I was scared for how my life was about to change.  I was down on myself that this is what it had come to because of my body.

After I collected myself this morning, I was ok heading to the appointment.  The most stressful part was getting across mid town Manhattan to the FDR and dealing with lunch time traffic.  We only got to the appointment five minutes before so it was a little bit frantic.  But I didn’t have a long wait and getting in an out only took an hour.

Now to the diagnosis, I didn’t get the same there is nothing that can be done answer.  Instead the diagnosis is that there needs to be further confirmation as to the extent of the Y Chromosome Microdeletions.  If there are partial deletions of the AZFb then a decision would have to be made as to whether to pursue Microsurgical Testicular Sperm Extraction.  If there are full deletions of the AZFb then there is nothing that can be done.  As the previous urologist confirmed there’s nothing I need to be concerned about with my long term health other than monitoring my testosterone levels.

To further confirm to the extent of the deletions I had blood drawn to specifically test the extent of the Y a Chromosome Microdeletions.  The cool part of it is that whatever parts of my blood that are not used will be saved for further research being conducted by my doctor on male infertility.  I had to sign a waiver to do that which I was happy to do.  Anything that would benefit men dealing with infertility I am all for.  This is me passing down my genes for the benefit of future generations in a way.

Now comes the hard part waiting the next 2-3 weeks for the results of the blood work.  It’s going to be difficult but it doesn’t feel as difficult as waiting for the appointment.  Good thing for me is that I’m running a half marathon on the 17th and that’s where my focus is outside of work.  There’s nothing more that I can do.  I’ve taken the first step and know that I’m doing something for the first time in two years.  But I’m still scared as to the fallout if the test results show the worst case scenario.  I really hope that isn’t the case because I don’t know what would be next.

The Calm (Panic) before the Storm

Well here I am just two days before my urologist appointment seeking a second opinion 27 months after my first opinion.  It’s a place I never thought I’d go back to but things have changed.   The options for becoming parents has shrunk.  This is the last and only shot to become a parent unless something changes.

The last few months have been awful personally for me.  The last few weeks have been extremely stressful.  The appointment is a big part of it but there are so many other parts of my life it impacts that makes it very complicated.  To say I’m scared is an understatement.  I’m scared of the fall out if nothing can be done and where I go from here.  I’m scared of going through more testing.  And I’m really scared of having to go through a biopsy.

It’s really hard for me to see the happy ending coming out of this.  With how down I am on myself I don’t see myself being able to get through this.  Last Monday I almost had a panic attack at work and I’m worried it won’t be the last time in the upcoming days, weeks and months.  The truth is I am in panic mode about the course of my life and where it’s heading especially with turning 35 next month.  Never did I think that at 35 my life would lack suck direction and feel like it has no purpose.

I really hope this appointment provides more clarity but it’s most likely going to become more complicated and unclear.  If I’m told that further tests are needed then it’s complicated and unclear on that end.  If I’m told that there’s nothing that can be done it becomes more complicated on what to do next.  It’s the panic before the storm.

  

“You Are Not Alone” The Infertile Men Fraternity 

As part of Resolve’s National Infertility Awareness Week, I am participating in their bloggers challenge.

One of the many reasons I started this blog over two years ago was to connect with others going through similar journeys.  Though statistics show that one in six couples go through infertility you run into few of them in real life.  Of those infertile couples one third of them are due to male factor (despite the myth that infertility is a woman’s problem).

Men by nature are not transparent when it comes to emotional topics.  We are raised to be tough, keep things on the surface and push any emotions beneath the surface.  Thus there are very few men who are infertile who do speak up about their journeys.

I recognize that I am not every man and not every infertile man out there.  I am unusual in that I’m comfortable in speaking up about infertility and male infertility.  That doesn’t make me a better man than those infertile men who aren’t.  I’m just different though I am not alone. 

Society’s stereotypes of men has created this stigma with being an infertile man.  Though personally I have not felt it there are many men who are infertile feel like they aren’t man enough to get their wives pregnant.

For the infertile men out there, I am here to tell you that you aren’t alone even if it feels that way.  

There are many infertile men out there.  Men like Tom Arnold and Gordon Ramsey who have had the courage to speak up.  You aren’t alone when you feel inadequate that you are unable to get your wives pregnant the way most men are.  You aren’t alone when you are the only one of your friends who isn’t a dad because of your body.  You aren’t alone when you struggle to put the smile on your face when deep down you hurt.  You aren’t alone when you feel hopeless that infertility isn’t something that you can fix.  You aren’t alone when you are scared that you’ll never become a dad.  You aren’t alone when it feels like a bad nightmare that you cannot wake up from.  

Rather than thinking you are alone, the reality is you are part of a Fraternity that is made up of many great men.  Regardless of whether or not you go onto become a dad you will always be a brother in this Fraternity.  I am proud to be a part of this Fraternity and hope the other infertile men out there are as well.  Because none of us are alone.

  

Postponement 

My anxiety along with depression has been out of control lately because of the upcoming appointment with the urologist.  The last thing I wanted to do was push it back when I had waited two months to make the appointment.  I wanted to just get it over with.    

Recently K started a new job after a two year hard search.  Due to her starting that new job she wasn’t able to take off next Wednesday which would have left me going to the appointment alone.  I thought about going alone but I didn’t feel it would be right to.  This is our journey and it impacts her just as much as it impacts me.  The goal is for us to become parents together not just me alone.

So I have moved my appointment to Tuesday May 5th when K will be able to take off to come with me.  It’s not what I wanted to do but what I had to do.  A lot of this infertility journey for a lot of us is doing what we have to do rather than doing what we want to do.

The challenging part will be controlling my anxiety as well as addressing my depression another two weeks.  It’s been hard enough as it is and will be even harder.  But nothing about this journey has been easy so I don’t expect it to now.  I actually expect it to get even more difficult.

It’s not you It’s me

I have been sitting on this post for a few weeks with me working through depression and the anxiety of my upcoming appointment but a conversation came up that made me get back to it.  A recent post I wrote about a few weeks ago about friendships impacted by infertility led me to getting together with that group of friends two weeks ago.  I felt I needed to not let my infertility get in the way of great friendships that have meant a lot to me.

Going into the weekend I thought I could handle being in the presence of my two friends that are dad’s, my friend who will become a dad in the next few months and his pregnant wife.  I thought I could handle them bringing up topics concerning their kids and getting ready to become a parent.  But I was wrong.  I’m not that strong at least not at this point if I’ll ever be.
There were only 2-3 points that weekend when these topics came up.  Yet each time it came up it got me thinking how I will never be able to have their experiences because of my body.  I felt I had nothing to contribute to those conversations because of my body.  All the deep dark feelings I’ve been feeling came up as I sat there in silence or playing with my phone.
In case one of those friend’s reads this, please don’t apologize for anything you said.  You don’t have anything to apologize for and neither do our two other friends.  The reality is this has nothing to do with you and everything to do with the shitty hand I was dealt and how it’s brought up feelings of having little self worth.
I don’t think it’s fair for any of these friends to avoid these topics around me as it is a big part of their lives.  I feel like I would be denying them their happiness and sharing of their life.  I feel like they’d be walking on egg shells around me.  I would feel like I am a burden being around them.
As much as it sucks unless my situation changes I don’t think I can hang out with them much anymore.  Our lives are very different today and we have very little in common.  That’s not anyone’s fault either it’s just what has happened in our lives.
I know there are those who feel people with children should be more sensitive and empathetic.  I agree they can be but at the same time there is only so much they can do.  They can be empathetic (my friends definitely are empathetic) but at the same time they can’t pretend they or their wives aren’t pregnant.  They can’t pretend that their children make up almost their whole life.  Asking them to avoid talking about these topics around us is unfair to them.

This is one of those situations where I don’t know if there is an easy answer and its different for each person.  For me the answer is to communicate how I feel without lashing out at others recognizing my hurt has nothing to do with them.  I also recognize that for me I just don’t fit in with people who have children.  It’s too tough for me and I don’t want it to all be about me.  That’s not a friendship to me.  It’s best for me to distance myself from those social situations.  I know it sucks but it is what it is.  And it has nothing to do with them and everything to do with me.

The Deep Dark Pit

The last two years have been a roller coaster some highs and mostly lows.  This year has been no different.  Except this current low I’m on has brought on the worst depression I’ve faced since my infertilty diagnosis and the deepest darkest place I’ve been in since I was a teenager and went through a serious period of depression.  

Lately with me appointment two weeks away I’ve gone through my mind about the fallout of a worst case scenario of being told there is nothing that can be done.  I’ve had thoughts about whether there was a reason I’m not able to have children and questioning my self worth.  I’ve doubted the type of person I am and that I’m just not good enough to have children.  That I’m too weak and not worthy of having a legacy.  That I would suck at parenting and damage the child we raised.  That society is better off that I don’t become a parent.

This has led to me starting to think that there is no point to living life.  I’ve accomplished all I can and there is nothing left to do.  Understand I could never harm myself.  I fear death already.  Going down that road on my own is something I’m not strong enough to do.  But I’ve gone to bed some nights thinking it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if I didn’t wake up the next day.

These thoughts go back to growing up with ADD struggling in school and socially.  I never thought I was good enough.  I always had high expectations of myself because no one outside of my parents thought I was capable of succeeding when challenged.  Infertility has dug those feelings up as an adult only worse because unlike back then my whole life isn’t ahead of me.  This is my life and without being able to have kids it tells me that once again I’m just not able to accomplish much of anything.

This all maybe just irrational thoughts for nothing and on April 22nd I find out there’s a chance we could have kids.  But there’s a good chance I could be at the beginning of a middle aged depression that I never get out of.  I thought I would be better prepared mentally and emotionally for this appointment than I was two years ago.  But right now I don’t think I am.

  

“I’m not Supersticious but I’m a little Sticious”

Back in October 2012 K and I purchased our first iPhones (the iPhone 5).  Being a guy who loves gadgets I loved it.  I no longer needed an iPod for my music.  I had my phone for that and everything else.  But that phone would be the phone where I would have some of the most devastating conversations in my Adult Life. It’s the phone where I got the call on about my negative sperm analysis and blood test results.  It’s the phone when I first heard the phrases Non Obstructive Azoospermia and Y Chromosome Microdeletions.

Don’t get me wrong I loved that phone and how much it let me do.  It was the phone that was my guide in my half marathon training last summer/fall.  Over the last few months the battery started to weaken and I knew it’s time with me was coming to a close.  Today my new iPhone came and has been set up.  

Which brings me to the title of this thread which is a quote from the great Eli Manning from the 2007 America’s Game done on the Super Bowl XLII champion NY Giants.  The part of the show where Eli talks about how before the NFC title game against the Packers in sub zero weather he asked his fiancé to sit outside rather than a suite because the Giants had a better record when she attended games where she sat outside and a bad record when she sat in a suite.  He had the quote “I’m not Supersticious but I’m a little Sticious.”  On a side note she sat in the Suite for the game without telling him……but the Giants won the game anyway.

So at a time when I need some good luck I hope that getting rid of my old phone and going with my new phone will bring me some good luck.  Though I’m sure to some people it may sound crazy and that’s ok because I admit I’m a little crazy.