Tag Archives: Pregnancy

The Urine Sample

Every month, I have the humiliation of doing a pregnancy test before I can be prescribed my Revlimid. The humiliation is on two counts. The first and hardest is because we all know that I, in all probability will not be able to have the babies the natural way, if any way at all. I am all too aware of this. The second count as also on a personal level, and that is as time goes on with my treatment with it’s stupid side effects and expanding jelly belly, the physical act required to get pregnant falls further and further away from my grasp.

Every 28 days, when I attempt to pee into a cup, I am reminded of these things. No matter how many smiles I am greeted by when the form is signed to confirm that I am not pregnant, I cannot help but feel hard done by. I was so much prettier in 2011 and I’m pretty sure I would make an awesome mother. Just ask the dog.

Given the emotions it stirs inside me? I have to mentally prepare myself for the question I get once a month, because apparently the negative urine sample is not enough. ‘Is there any chance you can be pregnant?‘ No there bloody is not. I am a essentially a barren leper who cannot tie up her shoelaces. The one time there was a remote chance of a ‘no’, Mamma Jones was with me, so I lost the satisfaction of the truth and still said ‘no’ to save us all the embarrassment.

The thing with a myeloma clinic, granted I have only experienced the one, but I am sure it is an issue that all childbearing age myeloma sufferers on Revlimid or Thalidomide experience in all the clinics across the land, is that due to the age of your average sufferer, the act of doing the pregnancy test is never seamless.

The test itself can often be overlooked until after the appointment, and even if it is not overlooked, I still have to get the jar, do my business and chase down a Medical Trained Person in front of other patients to give my sample to. To me, it just highlights my pain. And the question I ask you is this, who really wants to see my pee? Probably not the five or six people waiting impatiently for their appointment.

To cope with, or dare I say, to avoid the harder thoughts associated with doing the pregnancy test, I have decided to make something of an entertainment from it. The entertainment generally requires me being proactive, when it comes to serving up my pee. Even if I am in private with a Medically Trained Person, I will make a joke out of having to do it. Humour as a defence mechanism? No way. Not me.

Two months ago, I had to interrupt a Medically Trained Person talking to another patient to ask for the pregnancy test, and for some unknown reason, the look on the fellow patient’s face was a picture. I wanted to shout at him, that yes, young females can get myeloma and yes, we also have a less than 5% chance of getting pregnant and yes, I am painfully reminded of this every month. I did not shout at him however, I just took great pleasure in seeing the embarrassment on the Medically Trained Person’s face. She does not know yet that I do not embarrass easily. I did not get any humour from this month’s test, so I am using this to remiss about the good times.

Completing the sample is a challenge in itself. Like the Crystal Maze or darts. I am not one who can pee on command, so I have to make sure I drink a sufficient amount of fluids well before my arrival at the hospital (for your information, I discovered recently that being well hydrated helps people to enter my veins also), and then, I have to hold in the liquids until the appropriate time. I have started to blame this act for my weight, something that is also captured every 28 days (the nursing assistant felt the need 15 minutes ago to point at my weight last month after I was weighed today so I was aware of the further gain). You may not be aware of this, but the menopause can weaken one’s bladder, so there was one occasional three months ago where I had to find somebody quick snappish to release the pressure.

And now for the biggest challenge, something that has become a game, successfully and neatly, peeing into the jar. I have never been able to do this. Not myeloma never, but in life never. I got close to it last month, but all I way say about this month’s attempt is thank goodness they have bucket loads of antibacterial hand wash.

This week is special, because not only do I get to confront my fertility demons today, on a Thursday, I also had to do it on Tuesday morning prior to a MRI scan. Well, I did not have to do a sample, I was just asked the question.

I do understand that it is a legal requirement, but sometimes, I would like people to realise that it is not just a tick box exercise to me. And, let’s face up, there are so many other things to wind myself up over on clinic day. So much.

On a lighter note, here is my pee. I can confirm that I am not pregnant.

IMG_0916.JPG

EJB x

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Pregnancy Prevention Programme

Thalidomide comes with strict controls, especially for the ladies of childbearing years. I am one of those, especially now the fake menopause is ending. If you do not know why thalidomide requires a signatory, Google it. I do not need to Google it because yesterday I was given a very helpful pamphlet entitled ‘Pregnancy Prevention Programme’. If you do not know what that is about, then I will think you a simpleton.

Relax. I’m going to tell you anyway.

So, my new treatment, like the old one comes with regular pregnancy testing. Now, I understand why this is a requirement, but I am still traumatised by the sex chat I had with a senior Medical Trained Person on 22 August 2012 by my hospital bed. I remember the rules and I vaguely remember where my stash of nearing the sell by date condoms live. Did you know that a condom is barrier protection? Well, it is. Tell your kids.

I am used to the humiliation of being exposed to regular pregnancy tests, even though my treatment and My Myeloma means that I may never have children of my own. I assume though, that one must be subjected to such controls because there are stupid people in this world. One such control, which I had to sign yesterday was with regards to the birth control I was going to use whilst undergoing my treatment. It was great, because I was sitting a room with the nice, new, Medically Trained Person and Mamma Jones and when the question came, ‘what birth control method are you going to use?’ I had a quick conversation with myself, wondering how I was going to answer this question. The first point started, ‘well, there is this boy…’, but I shut that one down pretty quickly to ‘have you heard of unrequited love?. Again, I stopped it because nobody needs to be subjected to that. I then moved on to ‘well, I have cancer, my hair is non existent on my head and you just prescribed me a healthy dose of facial hair inducing steroids and I am in bed by 22:00hrs every night, so nobody is going to want to tap this anytime soon’. Again, I did not vocalise that one. Then, I thought ‘shit, my Mum is with me’., but I think she likes to be apart of these discussions, so I am sure it was fun for her. Fun for me on the other hand… We are very close now, my six year old niece made it so. To put an end to my puzzled look, at the Medically Trained Person’s suggestion, I opted for abstinence. At least then, I can say that is why I am not getting routine Special Cuddles. I wish I had this excuse before. I am not expecting a barrage of eligible bachelors taking pity on me anytime soon either. What is really good about all of this, is that if my circumstances change, I get to talk about it with the Medically Trained People. Thankfully, I am a fan of everybody knowing my business, so it’s just an extra person to text, should anybody realise that I am the Bees Knees in spite of My Myeloma. I mean, I am more mobile now.

I then got to pee into a jug, just to confirm that I had not gotten myself pregnant in the last seven days. I was not. Shock, horror. Relief.

And that was it. Well, until next month when I will have to pee into a cup, correction, jug (targeting issues) again, and then hold my breath for the negative because some people are not aware of personal responsibility. Sure, people make mistakes, but I have cancer, so I have to remember Rabin’s Rules. Well, if the time ever arose and I wasn’t a randy drunk, I’d remember Rabin’s Rules.

At least I thought that was it until Mamma Jones asked me the result of my pregnancy test again over lunch. The conversation went something along the lines of this…

MJ: What was the result of your pregnancy test?
EJB: Negative.
MJ: Phew, I thought it would just be Sods Law if you were pregnant. You know… It’s a possibility.
EJB: No it wasn’t. I am a grown up…. Anyway, they did a test last week…. Bloody Lara.
EJB: [uncomfortable embarrassment]

So all you 28 year olds… Try speaking to a parent about that.

It doesn’t matter anymore though does it. I am not a catch and I have taken a vow of abstinence. I hear that it is really fun.

EJB x

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And Again. And Again.

Guess what I was asked today? Again.

I believe the question was out of courtesy only, because I still had to urinate into a cardboard bowl and transfer some of this into a plastic jar. It was delightful. I had to give my hands a good old scrub afterwards. I can handle many things. Blood tests? No problem. The bone-marrow biopsy? A walk in the park. Handling my pee? I am not a fan. It is warm. Walking your warm product across an open plan treatment room to give to your nurse is not something I want to repeat on a daily basis. At least it was better than the start of Cycle 2, when WM had me put it in front of her on the table.

The purpose of the urine sample then?

I have been asked this question many, many times. The answer has always been the same. I would love nothing more than being a bit ‘loose’ right now, but I cannot. Not even loose; a singular special cuddle would suffice. I am 28. And yet, my answer is always the same. “No, there is no chance of me being pregnant.”

Unless I was to blaspheme, there is no way I could be pregnant. True story.

🐣

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