One Treatment to Rule Them All

As an Atheist, I am fortunate in that I can belly up to the Religion Buffet, and sample each one, without offending my upbringing or current religion.  I can taste a little Buddhism, sample a bite of Catholicism, sniff at the evangelical spread.  I can compare them and decide which, if any, I would like to try.  And, being an American, I can walk away from the buffet with nothing on my plate, if I want to, and go find a nice tasty soft-serve ice cream machine.  You know, that whole freedom of and from religion thing. 

sunface13What inevitably scares off my appetite, though, are the statements that one religion is superior above all others, and that’s the one I should believe in.  Or, that there is One Truth (which usually happens to be espoused by that particular religion that is claiming there is only One Truth), and if you don’t believe in it, all manner of terrible things are going to happen to you.  It all seems so arbitrary to me.  How can so many people say different things and each think that they are right and everyone else is wrong?  Why can’t we all accept that we each have different ideas and leave it at that? Why does there have to be one right answer?

I was pondering this theme the other day when I realized that infertility treatment is a lot like religion in this concept of One Truth.  Think about it: REs are our prophets, spiritual leaders, rabbis, priests and ministers.  We take their word on what we should do to be gospel.  I certainly took what Dr. Uterus told me to be the One Truth.   He was so confident, so assured of his method that I didn’t question it. Who was I to know what was right? I didn’t have his training, his knowledge, his experience.  And, he seemed so damn sure of himself. You can only get mature eggs with an intramuscular HCG trigger for IVF?  Ok. I don’t need a Clomid Challenge to test my egg reserves? No problem.  Menopur is the best drug out there? Fine. Sign me up.  Lining measurements? Pah! I can eyeball it.  I don’t need to do Lupron through the whole cycle? Whatevs.

drinksmachineBut, I became disillusioned with Dr. Uterus, or more specifically, with his staff.  I began to question why bad luck was the only explanation he could give us.  I began to resent that he didn’t feel the need to change things up to at least give an illusion that this time there would be something different in the mix that could make that subtle yet crucial difference.  I began to question his judgment in continuing to work with his crazy-ass embryologist.  In short, I began to lose faith in him and his truth.  

So, I sought out new guidance.  Enter Dr. Salsa: he is just as confident at Dr. Uterus in his abilities, but has a much different method.  This time, I’m using Follistim and I get to do a subcutaneous HCG injection to mature the eggs for retrieval.  He does a lining check at every visit during the IVF.  His first test that he ordered for me was a Clomid Challenge.  I’ve been on Lupron the entire time I’ve been stimming. 

And yet, I get the same impression that he is just as certain that his way is The Way to baby.  Again, it all seems so arbitrary to me, this emphasis on My Way is the Right Way and no other way will do, particularly when it comes to seemingly trifling stuff like which medication to use and how much.  There are lots of medicines on the market, so why does just one have to be the right one?

Perhaps the real answer is that doctors really do like to play God, or more specifically, play minister, prophet, etc.  If that’s the case, then even if this works and we actually do get a baby out of it, I will still have to deal with the medical professionals who see their way as being the only way.  And, thank goodness that I get to live in a world that allows for second, third, even fourth opinions.  I’ll just now take those opinions as one piece in a larger puzzle. 

image: top right: sunface13, bottom left: drinksmachine

9 thoughts on “One Treatment to Rule Them All

  1. Well, no clomid challenge here, but lupron the whole cycle, with lining checks/follicle checks a plenty, subcutaneous hcg shot, and puregon. I’ve learned that I like to judge them based on my own research, which I do a lot of, and I read up, and even though my doc may not be fond of something (such as v*agra to grow lining, if I ask to do it, we give it a go). So that’s it for me, but, I do love my RE…
    Good luck with the cycle!

  2. Very interesting thought. I do think we put a level of trust in our doctors that is almost religious-like, but, I think that, to some extent, we have to do that. We have to believe that they have belief that what they are recommending will work. Otherwise, why would they take such chances with something as important as our emotional and physical health.

    Now, that all said, my belief is that, like with religion, we should have the right to question it to determine its “worthiness” to us and have the right to change if it ceases to work for us.

  3. Yeah the whole black and white thinking in religion or medicine bugs me. Whatever Dr. Salsa believes, I’m just hoping that “his” way works with “your body” this time.

  4. In my experience, Doctors really like to fix things, and they do not like it when things do not work. They read the literature, they try the protocols, then they modify the protocols depending on the patient. All the doctor really knows is what he or she has experienced, and what has worked for him or her. Most people like their doctors to have confidence, so many are reluctant to say “I don’t know.” If they are a good doctor, they will not be offended if you go for a second opinion. They also should not be offended if you ask why they are doing what they are doing. You can always ask questions. Never be afraid to ask questions.

    Take the above for what it is worth. Just try not to feel like you are disloyal. And remember you can always ask questions.

  5. Since my prophet, er, RE, sounds exactly like Dr. Salsa, I can assure you, as a true believer, this is the one true path! 😉

    Seriously, I hope the change in protocol is just the change you needed!

  6. At first, I envied women who were confirmed believers for their faith as they went through IF treatment. It was cool: Whatever happened was “God’s will.”

    But then I realized that when truly awful random shit happens to us, it’s really, really hard to accept that God, who at least from the Christian perspective is supposedly omnipotent, omniscient, AND good, would decide to hit you with a massive whammy. And that just sucks.

    So I’m with you at the buffet: Out of habit, I’ve found myself praying, but I’m also willing to turn my mind to an orisha or a bodhisattva. IMHO, all these human images are refractions of the same, great, living, and alas somewhat indifferent spiritus mundi.

    IF treatment has always left a strange taste in myself for the very reasons you write about: It seems so arbitrary and so one-size-fits-all. I guess we do have to go with the flow, which is very irritating for gals like us who like the question why.

    Huge hugs to you. Subq hCG? That rules!

  7. As you say, each individual doctor is generally absolutely convinced that his way is the best way. As patients, we are asked to put a huge amount of trust in them.

    But sometimes we also need to trust our gut instincts and, if need be, to ask for a second, or even a third or fourth, opinion.

    Whether Dr Salsa’s way is the one true way or not, I hope it is the one that works for you.

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