Wednesday, April 23, 2014

R.E. Stands for Rockstar Extraordinaire

 *Resolve to Know More Blog 4 of 7
When Dr. Drew Tortoriello leaves his office at Sher Institutes in New York City every night, they should make an announcement over the intercom saying, “Elvis Has Left The Building. I Repeat: Elvis Has LEFT The Building.”

I know I speak for hundreds upon hundreds of people when I say, “I have the greatest reproductive endocrinologist in the whole world.” No, really, I do. Just Google "Drew Tortoriello Reviews". It will simply astound you; I’ve never seen anything like it.

Anyone that has undergone fertility treatments knows about the dreaded success rates statistics per clinic. The stats in my age group are pretty dismal across the board, country, and world, for that matter.  You can be the best damn clinic in the universe, but you can’t make crappy eggs shine. You just can’t. However, an amazing, inventive, innovative RE (that’s short for “reproductive endocrinologist”) can find ways to boost the quality of those eggs to yield the best possible results in an extraction. And that’s exactly what Dr. Tortoriello did for me.

I think Dr. T (as he is affectionately called by his patients and colleagues) is an artist. Many RE’s are happy to go by the book, by standard forms of practice, and are often reluctant to take too many chances for fear of messing with their success rates. In fact, many RE’s will turn some patients away because they don’t want to screw with their success rates (although the reason they will give you will have something to do with your diagnosis, not their fear of failure). I have had a lot of friends through Resolve tell me they were turned away from various doctors like “you will never become pregnant” and then went to another RE and got pregnant. Sher Institutes will not turn anyone away. And Dr. T will do his best to make his patients parents. He helped to make me and my husband parents. I am proud to be one of the minority to have had a successful cycle first shot out of the park with my own eggs at the ripe old age of 43. Anyone that has researched IVF success rates knows that is kind of a big deal. I don’t think this would have happened if I’d gone to just any clinic. Sher Institutes is quite cutting edge and innovative; they are always the first to try new techniques, despite the risk to their success rates. Some patients might even be wary of trying out a clinic that is so unique because there is a bit of medical maverick involved. But I believe that is exactly why I am a mom today.

Dr. T used some innovative techniques that worked totally to my advantage, such as embryo banking cycles (to preserve the age of my eggs), human growth hormone (to boost the quality of my eggs), had me take supplements at home for weeks leading up to my treatment including CoQ10, melatonin, Quercetin, and Picnogenol. These are not standard practices, but I believe wholeheartedly they boosted my chances of success.

Dr. T is also highly available to his patients via email and phone. I remember the first night my husband injected me with Gonol F, I had a weird tingling sensation in my face, which of course freaked me out. I called the office on a Sunday night at 10PM, and within 2 minutes, Dr. T called me back personally, talked with me about what had happened, and reassured me that I was fine (and I was.) 

He also is highly respectful of patients being their own advocates. I have had so many long, question-filled phone calls and emails to him, as well as lengthy, inquisitive office visits that would surely drive anyone crazy, but he was always patient with me, gave me as much time as I needed, and answered every question. When I challenged his protocol choices after doing my own exhaustive research on meds, he listened and explored all options with me, instead of just telling me it was his way or the highway. I ended up putting all of my trust into my Dr, and went with what he suggested. It worked. But he didn’t make me feel stupid for all my questions or scare me into listening to him.

In addition to Dr. T’s artistry, his bedside manner is a combo of Golden Retriever and “Hey Girl” with Ryan Gossling (If you’re reading this, Dr. T, sorry; just telling it like it is. ;) I have no idea how he can remain so calm and actually show up to work each day when he has to deal with people like me—that is, women self-injecting hormones  that cause meltdowns because Dunkin Donuts ran out of the maple glazed. He is a great guy, and not just because he helped me get pregnant. He is a great guy because he is genuine and kind, and really wants to help people.

Dr. T actually provides free egg freezing for cancer patients. FREE. He does it because he wants to help people preserve their fertility, and not have to deal with financial burdens of fertility treatments when they are already struggling with the financial and emotional burdens of cancer.

Dr. T of Sher Institutes has changed the lives of thousands of people and I am one of them. I was genuinely sad to say goodbye to him on the last day of treatment, and will be forever grateful for his impact on my life.

So thanks, Elvis. ;)

Left to right: My husband Brad, Dr. Tortoriello, me, our baby Nicolette Star


*In support of National Infertility Awareness Week  (and my own healing process), I have hijacked my own cooking blog to come out of the closet and discuss infertility. I hope that these blog entries will help—even if just a little bit— lift the terrible stigma that surrounds this disease. The amazing people involved with the non-profit organization Resolve have supported me every step of the way on this 5-year-long, insane journey. I will always be grateful.

I would be honored if you would help spread awareness by sharing this blog on your Facebook, Twitter or other social media pages!

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