It’s been a little while since my last update so wanted to post about how things have been going.
My dad is coping well with chemotherapy and for the first time in my life, we have been talking more. I still find it very difficult to actually talk to him about his illness, and half of this I attribute to the way he is, and half to my borderline. It is really hard to explain how I actually feel when I want to talk to him about it but I will use the following situation to try to explain it.
A week ago, my dad went to the hospital to get the results of a PSA blood test (I believe PSA is a marker which tells you the progress or regression of the cancer in his prostate). The results came back at 30, whereas before the chemo started they were over 80 – and he phoned my mum and told her this news, which she relayed to me. Obviously I was really happy with this news, but didn’t know what it meant in regards to his bone cancer (a secondary to the prostate cancer).
I told James I wanted to drop into my parents that evening to talk to him about it, and ask him what it meant. I felt confident I would be able to maintain the conversation and get the information that I needed. My main worries were a) breaking down into tears whilst talking about it, b) laughing (I laugh when I am nervous and it can be completely inappropriate at times like this as you can imagine), or c) losing my nerve and not asking at all.
When I sit down and think about it, I wonder, What actually am I scared about, talking to my Dad about issues that are important and delicate? Is it because my Borderline renders me without the skills needed for this type of conversation? Or is it because he brought me up not to ask about things like this? I can’t imagine it is the latter as I know neither my brother or my sister (both half) are backwards in coming forwards when asking about my Dad’s illness. Perhaps I am scared of opening up, but I can’t imagine why. Perhaps I am genuinely not interested (subconsciously), but I don’t agree with that either.
When we arrived, I sat there and knew I was procrastinating bringing up the conversation. I counted down in my head to the moment when I would ask the question, “So what did the doctors say about your test results?”, and although it sounded pinched and forced, I didn’t care because at least it had come out of my mouth. Throughout his response, I focused on maintaining eye contact with him, to make him know I was interested (DBT interpersonal effectiveness skill: GIVE) in his response. Sometimes I find that when I am doing this skill, I spend so much effort thinking about carrying out ‘GIVE’ I actually forget to listen to what is being said to me – which defeats the whole object of the exercise. I must work on this.
He told me that they said that the PSA being lower is a really good sign, but he now needs a body and bone scan to confirm the status of the bone cancer (They found it in his shoulder and his hip). I asked him to keep me updated. The conversation was very strained, but it was an improvement from a previous me who would have avoided the conversation entirely and consequently appeared as though I don’t care, which of course I do. I obviously still have work to do, but baby steps and all that.
In other news, I have been spending a lot of time looking into fertility and the cycles that my body is supposed to go through each month. As I explained in the last post, James and I are thinking of trying to start a family at around April time this year. I stop taking my birth control pill, Dianette, at the beginning of December, and we were planning on using condoms until we were ready to try.
Now, rewind 10 years, and I want to explain a few things. When I was about 14/15 I started noticing dark hair growing on my chin and upper lip. Fast forward a few years of irregular periods (more rather than less), lots more hair, several doctor and consultant appointments, I was diagnosed with poly cystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). These were the scans of my ovaries, taken at the time:
At the time, there was conflicting information about my future fertility, with one consultant telling me I would have trouble conceiving naturally, and another telling me I would have no problems at all. At the time, it didn’t really mean too much to me (I was going through my lesbian phase… say no more but this post briefly explains) and didn’t really give it another thought. Before I met James, I had got my Mirena Coil taken out after having it for 4 years and had 3 months of periods which were between 28-32 days apart. Although I wasn’t in a relationship during these months, I hoped it meant I was ovulating regularly.
After meeting James, I quickly started taking Dianette the contraceptive pill, mainly due to it acting as a contraceptive, and partly for its benefits in PCOS with the facial hair. I had noticed a small improvement but not much. I am so sensitive about the facial hair issue that I shave pretty much every day anyway so don’t really notice the problem any more.
Coming back to now, at the beginning of December I went to the doctor to talk about coming off the pill and asked him how long it would take for it to come out of my system. He said it could be immediate, or it could take, worst case scenario, up to a year, without it meaning there is a problem. I set up a Progesterone Serum test on December 27th (22 days after the first day of my period in December after coming off the pill) to check if I was ovulating (As far as I am aware, the way it works is to measure your progesterone level, a level over 20 indicates you HAVE ovulated).
Admittedly, since coming off the pill, James and I haven’t been using any contraception. We have spoken about it and said that although we aren’t actively ‘trying’, it wouldn’t be a problem as such if it happened before April, and left it at that.
The progesterone test on the 27th came back negative, meaning that I haven’t ovulated. It was repeated on the 3rd and also came back negative – so at least up until the 30th, I hadn’t ovulated. I am now 5 days late for my period and I took a pregnancy test which was negative. So, I am assuming I still haven’t ovulated and it is just a waiting game until I do. I wouldn’t be anxious about it if I didn’t have in the back of my mind about the PCOS and the fact that this might mean I am infertile.
What it comes down to, and I hate to admit this, is that fact I feel as though my body isn’t capable of carrying and growing such a wonderful thing as a baby. I don’t feel I am good enough. I know it comes down to self esteem and the fact that beneath it all, I hate myself and have very low self esteem. Of course, I put a front on. I tell myself, James won’t find me attractive unless I am confident. He won’t want to be with me if I am moping around about how ugly, fat and useless I am. No one wants to hear that. People will assume I am fishing for compliments or attention seeking but at least on here I can write about it and how I genuinely feel without fear of being shot down or made to feel worse.
Something that isn’t helping my self esteem is my weight. I am now back up to 12 stone 2 lbs but still have absolutely no motivation to do anything about it. I wish I could get back to 11 stone but feel too lazy to exercise so of course it is my own fault. I am still pole dancing, but all I can see on any pictures are a big fat bloated stomach and legs covered in cellulite. James tells me how beautiful I am, but in my head I am thinking, How can you say that? You must be lying? Are you trying to be funny? Can you not see how disgusting I am?
I do wonder sometimes if there is a link between my PCOS (a symptom of which is depression) and perhaps a pre-disposition to Borderline but there are no studies to confirm this.
Anyway, hope you are all doing good and will update soon.