[Trigger warning: This post deals with ectopic pregnancy and its treatment. If you suffer from health anxiety, or are going through early pregnancy, this one is probably best avoided: thanks for understanding!]

dealing with ectopic pregnancy and methotrexate treatment

You guys. You guys.

I honestly don’t know how to even begin to thank you for all of your messages of support on yesterday’s post on my ectopic pregnancy diagnosis and subsequent methotrexate treatment. Seriously, there are no words for how grateful I am: and, as you know, I normally have aaaaalll the words, so that alone should tell you how totally overwhelmed I am (in a good way, I hasten to add). I haven’t been able to reply to you all individually, and if you’ve emailed me, you should know that I’m way, way behind with that, but I have read – and then re-read – every single one of your comments, and if I could reach through the screen and give you all a huge hug right now, I totally would. And, you know, I’m not much of a hugger, so take from that what you will.

I’ll be honest: as well as being the longest post I’ve ever written on this blog, it was also the hardest one to hit ‘publish’ on. As I mentioned, I’d actually written the first half of it a few months ago, long before I even suspected I might have an ectopic pregnancy, and I was scared to publish it even then, because here’s the thing: I know how all of this sounds. Even at the absolute height of my anxiety, I’m still very aware of how irrational I’m being, and let’s face it – no one wants to be The Crazy Girl, do they? No one wants to be the mad one, the sad one, the one who jumps at her own shadow and has to sleep with the light on for fear of those thoughts that come swirling around in the dark.

The fact is, though, I AM that person: or, some of the time, at least. Until this month, I actually hadn’t BEEN that person for a very long time, so when it all came crashing down on me, I just didn’t know how to cope – but I DID know I couldn’t keep it to myself any longer, and honestly, I’m glad I didn’t try to. Before publishing my blog post, I asked Terry and my parents to contact my family and friends, to let them know what was going on: I just didn’t feel able to do it myself (I don’t know why, but it’s sometimes easier to talk to a few hundred internet strangers, than to a handful of your nearest and dearest), but I obviously didn’t want them to hear about it on the internet, so Terry and my folks made a few phone calls, and sent a few texts, and honestly, it was the best thing anyone could have done for me.

I’ve always known I lucked out in the family and friends department, but nothing could have prepared me for just how amazing everyone was, both on the day itself, and in the days that have followed. I’ve cried  lot over the past 24 hours, but they’ve been good tears as well as bad ones, and I’m just so, SO grateful to have so many people supporting me, and telling me everything will be OK. And then, of course, there are you guys, with your wonderful comments, and your stories which, once again, have moved me to tears.

You’re awesome, is what I’m trying to say: and I will never, ever forget that. I have more to say on this subject (Probably a LOT more, knowing me…), but a few of you have been kind of enough to ask for an update on the current situation, so I just wanted to pop in, and let you know that things are… well, as good as can be expected, I guess.

I’m now on Day 4 of my Methotrexate treatment for ectopic pregnancy, and today I headed back into hospital for another blood test, to start to establish how well the treatment is working. Ideally, we’re looking for the HCG (pregnancy hormone) levels in my blood to start decreasing, which would indicate that the ectopic pregnancy is responding to the methotrexate, however, we’d been warned in advance that, as the drug takes a few days to kick in, it’s common for the levels to actually have risen by day 4 instead. (Which is just awesome, right? I’m like, ‘OK, body, you’ve had your little joke, now go stand in the corner and THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU’VE DONE…’)

The hospital reiterated this fact to me as they took my blood this afternoon (An event which I managed to get through without the help of Valium: I felt like an absolute rock star, but then the nurse commented on how tired  I was looking, and I was forced to admit that, actually, that’s just what my face looks like without makeup…), and it’s also mentioned on almost every website I’ve read on the subject of ectopic pregnancy and methotrexate treatment, but I nevertheless ended up curled up in a small ball on the floor, rocking back and forth and crying like a baby when the phone finally rang a few hours later with the blood results. I’m not sure rock stars do that. Maybe really crappy ones? I don’t know.

Anyway, as expected, the HCG levels have, indeed, risen again since Sunday, meaning my body is an absolute asshole, and I’d quite like to trade it in for a new one, thanks very much. (Again, this was EXACTLY what was expected, and I’d been specifically told NOT to panic about it, but panicking is basically the only skill I have right now, and I’m damn good at it, so…) The good news, however, is that the rate of increase has gone down fairly significantly, and the levels did NOT rise quite as much as we’d expected them to. I’m not going to say this is a hopeful sign, because the nature of health anxiety is such that nothing anyone tells you (With the exception of ‘Hooray, you’re totally cured!’ obviously…) is going to stop you thinking you’re about to die any second, but it’s not a BAD sign, let’s put it that way. (I still want that new body, though, and I want it to be one of those robot ones from Westworld, so I can power myself down every night and get a bit of a break from my own stupid thoughts…)

My next blood tests will be run on Saturday, and that really is the crunch time. At that point, the doctors will be looking for at least a 15% decrease in HCG, which will tell them whether the methotrexate treatment is working. (Although this is the best case scenario, it’s still not a case of ‘game over’: as I mentioned in my previous post, ectopic pregnancy is a serious, and potentially life-threatening condition, and, no matter what happens now, I’ll still require regular monitoring, for a few weeks at least). If we DON’T get that decrease, however, there are two options left: they can either repeat the treatment… or they can give me surgery. Which, given that this is my biggest phobia, and that I’d literally rather juggle crabs* than be given general anaesthesia, is the thought that’s still keeping me awake at night, and making me feel like I’m trapped in a now three-week long nightmare, which I just can’t seem to wake up from.

I’m not looking forward to Saturday, needless to say. At the same time, however, I cannot WAIT for Saturday, because if the news is good, I swear to God, I will be the happiest woman alive, and will never complain about anything ever again – not even people who walk really slowly when you’re in a hurry, or use the phrase ‘I could care less’.

I have three more days to go, and I’m not sure there’s enough cake in the world to get me through them, but I DO know I’m going to do my best to find out. Wish me luck…

*I REALLY hope I’m never given this choice, but at least I know what will be in my Room 101 now, huh?

[P.S. If you’ve stumbled upon this post because you’re worried about, or are dealing with, ectopic pregnancy, I’ve found The Ectopic Pregnancy Trust to be an excellent source of information, which you can find here. Again, if you’re also dealing with health anxiety, please be aware that even the first page of that site contains very frightening information, however, so your doctor should always be your first port of call!]

37 Comments
  1. In spite of your anxieties you have gotten through four days of treatment, and it sounds like it is beginning to work. Stay strong ❤️

  2. Best wishes Amber, I really hope it all gets sorted out and you’re feeling better soon. By the way, although you may not feel like it, you’re being incredibly brave.

    Also, you’re super inspiring to other anxiety sufferers by sharing your experience (like me!) I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes recently, in part because my anxiety took me to the doctors once per week to make sure I didn’t have cancer. They gave me blood tests basically just to shut me up and then were surprised when it turned out I was actually sick. My anxiety definitely peaked in the 6 month period after my diagnosis but it does get better and you will feel like the ‘old you’ again.

    Hang in there ☺

  3. Dear Amber, be well. Anxiety is horrible; pregnancy loss is devastating. Take time to heal. Sending love and prayers from Pittsburgh, PA.

  4. You’re doing really well Amber, fingers crossed for no surgery though.

    However it may be worth asking if spinal anaesthesia is possible rather than a general?

  5. When I was being bullied at work but couldn’t resign because of bills and other awkward things someone said to me, “You know what Churchill said…” and I thought of the Nancy Astor/poisoned coffee quip because it’s the only thing I can ever remember. However, as I was pretty sure they didn’t want me to poison my colleagues’ coffee, I shook my head, tried to look interested, and hoped it wasn’t about the Boer War. As it turns out, amongst the gazillion other quotables he produced was, “When you’re going through hell – keep going.” I found that comforting as I had no choice and was at the stage of going to M&S for tins of G&T and drinking them on the tube. We do, somehow, keeping going, and even when what we think of as us – as Izabel, as Amber – reaches the rockface and can’t then something comes along inside and says to our brain, “Go away, moron, let me drive,” and so we get there even if we think we can’t. All the best for Saturday and I will wear my new green dress in solidarity 🙂

    1. I love that quote – might have to steal it, in fact😉 EIther that or have it painted on the wall of the hospital waiting room which has started to feel like a second home this week!

  6. Wishing you the very best and a speedy recovery. It is incredibly brave of you to share your hardest moments and biggest fears. Thank you for being so honest and courageous.

  7. Amber, your body might be acting like an asshat but you are being freaking amazing. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other and eating all the cake ☺and you’ll get there.

  8. You’re doing great, it’s just a few more days. Binge on some light tv (with absolutely no sick people) and cake, and try not to think about it. I’m sure your body will get the memo by Saturday. Sending you happy thoughts!

  9. I was on Methotrexate for a couple years and it was not fun. So sorry you’re having to deal with all this but sending good vibes! You’re brave and a badass and will get through this!!

  10. Hi Amber;

    Thank you for sharing all you’re going through. Very hard time for you, it would have been so easy to say, “Hey guys, I’ve got serious health problems right now, catch you later.” In fact, as you say, writing probably is a probably a great help; just wish it wasn’t happening to you at all. For now I wish you and Terry all the best. SO glad you have his strength an support. And may you be writing diary posts about your days again very soon!

  11. Hello! I’m sending positive thoughts to you and your family, and am so grateful that your readers have been supportive. I also experience some fairly severe anxiety (although mine has varied over time, sort of how you describe yours has done), and I really appreciate you being open and your readers being so supportive. It is really, really nice to see. I know you mentioned also that you have found the positive stories to be helpful, so I thought I might share mine. Like you, I am terrified of general anesthesia. (So terrified that when faced with an emergency surgery, I asked if I could have an epidural instead, considering the risk/certainty of paralysis preferable to the risk/certainty of death.) HOWEVER. I have had two surgeries, and I am fine! (That exclamation point signifies my enduring surprise at my own survival.) In fact, I was the star patient of both of my doctors when it came to recoveries. I think the combination of being terrified of medicine (i.e. never taking anything unless completely unavoidable) and being compliant to the point of OCD really works in a person’s favor in that situation. And since I think those might be qualities you have as well, I think that even if you had to have surgery, you will come through it okay. I hope this helps – I’m hesitant to bring up surgery, but if you are like me and thinking worst case scenario, I thought a positive surgery story might help. Best wishes for good results this weekend!

  12. Amber you are incredibly brave and I’m sure you are much stronger than you ever thought you be. I keep my fingers crossed for good news on Saturday and sending you best wishes for a speedy recovery.

  13. Dear Amber, I wanted to react to what you wrote yesterday, but I had to read and re-read your post again and again and I couldn’t find the words. I was worried about you and checked back today thinking that you surely had something better to do than to write another post but I am so glad you did and we can hear about how you are doing! To comment on yesterday’s post: I love your blog and I love it because of you – the fashion also, but the way you think about it, write about it and also how you write about anything else. It was maybe you who wrote that you usually want to follow bloggers where you can read about them too, not just “this is my favourite pink skirt and I always wear it with heels” type of posts, and I am certainly like that. That is why I follow you and worry about you as if – I know that may sound creepy – I knew you as a good friend of mine. I am so glad you wrote about your general experience with anxiety, I had a differently themed anxiety, but I had very similar experiences and you really described it in a way that made me feel a connection to you or anyone having these kind of problems. I think this is incredibly brave and important to write and talk like that so that more and more people can find out that they are not alone and maní people experience similar things. For me it is something reassuring to know.
    All my thoughts are with you, do whatever it takes that makes you feel best under these circumstances and do not worry (as if that would even be possible…) about anything else. Take only one step at a time and repeat to yourself how incredibly strong and brave you are, because you really are.
    Take care.

  14. Dear Amber – you are amazing. There is a whole army of us behind you. I have been thinking of you ever since you posted the first post about this. Keeping fingers firmly crossed. You can do this – you are doing it right now, with every breath and every appointment and every day that passes, you are closer to being well.

  15. I didn’t comment yesterday because I truly didn’t know what to say. I actually typed out a couple comments but then didn’t post them because, well, what could I possibly say? I’ve never gone through this or felt like this and I can’t even begin to imagine how scary this is for you. But I guess I’ll just say this: Hi Amber, I’m a regular reader. I’m here. I’m happy to read whatever you feel you want to post about. I’m very sorry for what you’re going through and I hope very hard that everything turns out in the best way possible. You and Terry (& Rubin, obviously) are in my thoughts. I hope the cake helps. ❤️

  16. Darling girl, I’m just catching up on your blog after about a week away and I am so sorry you’re having to go through all this. You have my fervent hopes and steady prayers for better news in the weeks to come. You have been very brave and I also hope you will one day come to see that. Love, Barb in Texas

  17. Amber,
    I know you said you aren’t religious, but I’m praying for you and your speedy recovery. I’m also praying for peace for you as you go through this. I have some anxiety about the dentist. I was there today for a routine cleaning and as always, had to take a Xanax (Valium doesn’t work for me) and my husband had to take off work to drive me. So I can to some extent, understand your anxiety. Eat all the cake you want and update us when you can.

  18. My very best wishes to you Amber. I’m usually a lurker on your blog, but I had to come out of the woodwork when I read your previous post and then this one. I’m sending you all the love I can from halfway across the world. I hope the news on Sunday is wonderful and that you get better, really really soon. We’re all rooting for you here. It’s very brave of you to write about your anxiety; thank you for that. It makes it easier for the rest of us to talk about anxiety more and to take it seriously and not feel scared about getting help. You’re a rockstar.

  19. So glad to see this post, I have been hoping you were OK. Even if you don’t feel up to posting anything, maybe Terry could do a ‘guest post’, just so we know how you are? I mean, I love your posts, and don’t want you to feel any pressure to post if you’re not up to it, but all your faithful readers have been worrying about you!

    Thank you so much too, for being brave enough to open up to all of us. As someone who also has mental issues (I have Asperger’s syndrome and associated depression/social anxieties), it can be really hard to tell anyone about it, for fear of people not understanding and judging. Every time I meet someone new, I am stressing about whether to say anything or whether to just leave it. So thank you for being so open, it makes the rest of us feel not so much alone! Sending you all the *hugs*

  20. You are so brave for sharing your story, and I’m so glad that it helps. Keep writing, eating cake, whatever that helps you ~ I hope you find lots of awesome cake to eat. And because that just doesn’t feel like enough, sending all the best thoughts and prayers for both you and Terry. xx, bonita

  21. Well it’s Friday now so not much longer to wait, I hope you are ok (I know you are not but you know what I mean, as ok as you can be given the circumstances). Good luck tomorrow, I really hope the HCG levels have gone down as much as possible and I’m so sorry for your loss and what you are going through right now x x x

  22. Hi Amber! I’m not particularly good at words – But I did want to send a little love and encouragement your way, and say I hope you and your body will be okay again soon <3

  23. I’ve only just caught up with this and I’m so sorry you’re going through such a tough time. Anxiety about anything is horrible and you must feel so powerless. You’re not, though, and I know you’ll come through this and one day it will be just be a bad memory. I never know the right thing to say in these situations. but its obvious you have the support of many, many internet strangers. xx

  24. Hang in there, Amber! Thanks so much for the update. I really hope you manage to have a few calm hours between now and Saturday while you wait.

  25. A random reader sends you lots & lots of sympathy and best wishes for a speedy recovery. Both your posts are really moving and so well articulated. Facing up to anxieties is incredibly hard. Based on my own experiences I can hardly begin to imagine what you must be going through.

    Once you’re ready to think about it, I have found that mental health support for anxiety problems is very good in the Edinburgh area. There wasn’t a waiting list when I was referred and they provide regular one-to-one CBT appointments. Writing down what you’re feeling seems to be strongly encouraged!

  26. Hello Amber,
    I am reading this on Saturday and hoping and praying that you get good news with the new blood test! Please take care of yourself and give yourself the space and time you need to heal – I’m so glad that Terry and your family and friends have been so helpful. Sending hugs your way (and to Terry, as I’m sure this has been traumatic for him as well!)

  27. Hi Amber. I’m just catching up with my blog reading so have had to read back a week. So sorry to hear your news but glad that you’re on the up now. Be kind to yourself xx.

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