A Year Without Answers

This is a guest post from a patient who lives in Europe. He recently recontacted me about his experience with male infertility and how it affected him.  Moved by his story and by his emotional fortitude, I asked him if he could share his remarkable journey with others. 
“The day we met with Dr. Turek was a week filled with hope and happiness. Almost a year earlier, on the same day, I went through a biopsy with the result that there were no sperm. So when we found out about Dr Turek, this really felt like the last chance, the last hope. Therefore the decision to travel across the world to see him was an easy one. The visit and procedure went well, but, again, the result from mapping showed no sperm. And no answer as to why this is.
It has been a year since I spoke with Dr. Turek about these results, a year characterized by disappointment, anger, sadness and worst of all, no answers. There were simply no answers to be found. Why me? Why now? What now? Literally a thousand questions ran through my head interfering with my daily life, keeping me up at night and affecting my relationships. I had never felt anything like this before.
I wanted so badly to not feel alone in this. I wanted someone to understood my plight, without me having to explain every small detail, because you can´t explain this feeling.
I needed to talk about it. I just couldn’t bury it. But, who was I going to talk to? And what would I talk about? I felt isolated as there appeared to be a big taboo regarding this topic. Anyone I spoke to told me focus on other things in life. But how are you supposed to do that when all you think about is the fact that you can’t have your own children? I knew no one with a similar experience who would step forward and talk about his experiences and feelings. Google searches were pointless, as the Internet does not care and information on coping is useless.
That year was best characterized by the feeling of being lost and trying to find my way in darkness without a map or light. I felt that I was in a deep, dark place, especially when I tried to look forward into the future.
Feeling alone, I began suppressing everything. All feelings, thoughts and discussions were avoided. I told my close family that I did not want talk about this matter anymore. It was a buried subject for me, never to see the light of day again.  The reason for this was that talking about this issue within the family only made things worse. One problem with this approach was that the bright spots in my life also suffered along side. The subject became an 800-pound gorilla that, although ignored, never left the room. Maybe the gorilla was bigger than 800-pounds as the family dynamics changed greatly.
Then I became angry, sometimes uncontrollably. This was when I could see that I was approaching rock bottom. The slightest annoyance, comment or action sent me into a furious rage where I often exploded at whomever was next to me. Many times it was my wife, which led us to the brink of divorce. We were both tired of fighting and there appeared to no other solution to end the fighting but dissolving the marriage. This moment was a real eye opener for me.
What helped keep me going to some degree during this time was my job. As a futures trader, my work was very involving and in the moment. Believe it or not, it was also logical and predictable, in a mathematical sort of way. It could be explained and reasoned with and while doing it, I could leave all my troubles behind. But I couldn´t hide in my job forever.
I turned the corner at rock bottom when I realized that if I did not start controlling my emotions and start being honest with myself, my life as I knew it would change dramatically. It was on that day, a very cold one in December, that I realized that I was just too exhausted to continue to fight with myself and others. I couldn’t bear to face another year continuing on the same as the last. So, I stopped lying to myself and began to face the reality of my emotions.”
The second and final part of this guest series will be available Monday, March 19th.

10 thoughts on “A Year Without Answers

  1. Hi,
    I could easily relate to this post as my husband is going through azoospermia.
    It is really very hard. I really want to experience child birth and having bilogical child but it is not possible. I’m very confused and lost and don’t know what to do next.
    If we have infertility issues, how to be positive?

    1. Try to stay positive.
      I know it is easier said than done.
      But look at each other. Talk to each other. Remember why you got married, why you stayed together.
      Usually there are no children involved in those stages of a relationship but there is a lot of love. Right?
      Focus on that.
      Focus on what you have instead of what you don´t.
      It worked for us. It made it easier for me as a man to get to terms with my situation.
      That was when I started to have more joy and happiness in my life.
      It is not something that will change over night so give it some time but the heartache will not remain forever (unless you let it).

      1. This is a wonderful reply – I can relate in so many ways. As a cancer survivor, I had no idea what the physical and psychological consequences of the disease would be. At 18 years old, I had no idea that the chemotherapy that saved saved my life would also prevent me from creating life. I have mentally wrestled with this for more than a decade – it is more painful than any treatment I ever received while battling Hodgkins Disease. That said, I could not agree more with “S” in being thankful for what I DO have. A loving, understanding and compassionate wife, who has supported me through some of the most difficult times. Trust me – your husband is hurting inside and needs you now more than ever. Stay positive and focused on each other and you will begin to heal together. God bless.

  2. Hi S,
    We found out about DH’s NOA early in the year. Finale last week when we were told the varicocele op didnt work and FSH too high hence there was no point for a TESE. We have already anticipated that and on the donor list although its quite long but prob a good thing as we (me in particular) are probably not ready.
    I have read your blog entries and can relate to all aspects of your story. You are such an inspiration. I hope I will get there some day. Thank you for your story.

    1. Dear MeltDown (great name!), I would hate to throw a wrench in your plans but in my practice there is really NO FSH level that can accurately predict the absence of sperm on FNA Mapping or microdissection TESE. Really. Its just NOT that good. Be happy to talk more off-line.

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