Merry Birthday Jesus!

I know I was all sad and stuff in my last post (like “oh I don’t feel like talking”, blah blah blah)  but I’m feeling more like myself again (for the moment–but this may be transient). I’m nearly ready for Christmas: house decorated (but still need to finish cleaning–I hate cleaning, so I might give myself a B- in cleanliness and organization but whatevs), cookies made (I chocolate-dipped oreos and pretzels and sprinkled different things on them, for example: white chocolate with crushed candy cane bits–making chocolate dipped stuff is a WAY bigger pain-in-the-ass than just baking something, IMHO), presents bought and wrapped (I $pent almost as much on the wrapping as I do on the damn presents), groceries bought for the carefully planned Christmas dinner (which, same as Thanksgiving I’ll be cooking, because of course nobody else is volunteering), and there’s one more thing…

OH! I’m missing an excuse/lie to tell my Mother-In-Law (MIL) to explain WHY I have to leave in the middle of making dinner–because I have to go see Dr. Angel for monitoring and of course the best time for him is between 3-4pm. Hello drama, my old friend, how ya doin’?! I’m a horrible liar. I have no idea what I’m going to tell her. But as you already know, I don’t want to tell her anything because, well, I just don’t want her asking about it and I most definitely do not want her to say anything to my (shady) SIL. Mr. MLACS is totally backing me up about not saying anything, although it will be awkward because at some point during MIL’s visit we are both going to have to “excuse ourselves” to go do IUI #2. We’re kind of just thinking of saying “we’ll be back in a couple hours” and leaving it at that–MIL won’t pry. But yeah, so that’s what’s up….

I had everything planned out for Christmas, but I didn’t plan to succumb to depression and anxiety for a week and fall behind on my preparations, because I didn’t plan for IUI #1 to fail and thus necessitate IUI #2 during Christmas. Yup, infertility is nothing if not inconvenient, right?

I saw some friends this past week and that was a wonderful pick-me-up, plus Mr. MLACS is home now for about a month and we are getting along, plus I’ve had some more acupuncture from Star, plus Dr. Angel is…well, he’s an Angel.

In other news, Doc Angel and I had a pow-wow today after my monitoring session. The day he took my betas (12dpo) my Progesterone was only 2, and we all know that is pitifully low, right? Right. I have 3 months supply of Endometrin (progesterone suppositories) so given that my progesterone was so low, Dr. Angel wants me to begin progesterone the day of IUI #2. I was really surprised my progesterone was low, because my boobs were huge and I was having crazy nightmares (which always happen when I’m pregnant or on progesterone supps). But, I’m oddly relieved because now maybe I can blame low progesterone and not sh*tty egg quality for my failed IUI #1, and there’s the ‘silver lining’.

Also, Doc Angel said my testosterone is totally normal (25) right smack in the middle of ‘normal’ range and my free testosterone was also normal, though I cannot remember the exact number for it. I was surprised, because (if you’ve read my ‘about’) then you know I have a lot of excess coarse androgen-promoted hair growth on face/stomach/thighs, which unfortunately does not go away just because I got my testosterone ‘in check’. I suppose this is what spironolactone is for, because it blocks the androgen receptors in your hair follicles to prevent the hair growth. But I’ll never take that crap.

I also spoke to my Gastroenterologist (GI) doc about postponing my next Remicade infusion for a few weeks in case it may be interfering with implantation. Surprisingly, my GI was totally for it and said he didn’t prefer to use it in pregnancy if I can avoid it, but to monitor my symptoms and let him know if I’m feeling bad. This means I have to diligently use my Rowasa enemas every. single. day. But who knows, maybe I will be able to get off of the Remicade indefinitely, and that…would be priceless.

I’ll talk more about IUI #2 later, but for now I’m gonna play these cards close to the vest. I’m using the same protocol as last time (Femara + Bravelle + Trigger + IUI) except with different dosages/days and adding progesterone supps. I hope you ladies all have a Merry Christmas and cheers to Jesus! XO

 

Advertisements

More Rain Before The Rainbow…

pink ribbon

Uh, hey guys…I, uh, well…*looking down, hands behind back, kicking dirt*

Fuck it.

My Mom was diagnosed with terminal Breast Cancer that had metastasized to her lungs at age 55 in 2006, and she passed away at age 59 in 2009. And now her Mom, my Maternal Grandmother, has been diagnosed with Breast Cancer this week at age 83.

I HATE CANCER. I FUCKING HATE CANCER. ESPECIALLY BREAST CANCER.

Both my Mother and Grandmother were cigarette smokers and both diagnosed after age 50, but Dr. Angel still thinks I should be tested for the BRCA gene. Regardless of the presence of the BRCA gene, I am still at higher risk of Breast Cancer given my family history.

But that is really far from my mind right now. My Grandma is my last living grandparent. We have a close relationship. She still lives with my Dad and helps my sister run our family daycare. Grandma and I stuck together during my Mom’s illness–I didn’t talk to my Dad for 2 years, though I have since forgiven him and seen a change in him that lets me know that he has been exorcised of his demons and won’t do me any more harm in his lifetime. My sister is a different story…we have a volatile relationship and she is bittersweet…sentimental one moment and heartless the next…probably the most fickle human being I’ve ever known. My Grandma stood by me during my Mother’s illness, while my Dad and Sister picked me apart as their grief manifested as rage. Grandma and I went to church and prayed for those assh*les to wisen up and stop being miserable and vomiting their misery onto everyone else. I really believe that praying for them to gain wisdom and compassion has manifested change in both of them, but I still don’t trust my sister–I’ve been screwed over too many times.

I wept to the social worker during my Mom’s illness. I was having a complete mental breakdown because I had had this vision of my family coming together and supporting each other and lifting my Mom up in her time of need…and what happened was a Jerry Springer episode gone horribly wrong. I was treated as an outsider, as I had been living in Hawaii for several years, and ultimately I became the target of all my Dad’s and my Sister’s anguish. The social worker said that terminal illness causes one of two outcomes in families: it either brings them together or tears them apart. And there’s nothing I could do, except try to support my Mom–and they made it VERY hard for me to do that. I had put all this behind me and moved on to have healthier relationships with my Dad and Sister, but I’m having PTSD now…my Grandma is going to die the same way as my Mother did in our family home…I can’t help but harken back to those dark days…and after 2013 has beaten me to a pulp with marriage difficulties, chronic illness + health crisis, 2 miscarriages, Infertility…I’m afraid that I don’t have the strength to endure going 10 rounds with my family if they decide to regress and act the way they did during my Mom’s illness…I’m literally sick to my stomach just thinking about it.

I am very active with Susan G. Komen for the Cure and I fundraise for a memorial team in my Mother’s memory. It’s cathartic for me, to feel that in some way I am fighting this disease that will ultimately claim the two most important women in my life. And when somebody asks me what they can do, all I can say is “fight for a cure“.

In other news, I’m currently in the midst of IUI #2. But I know you’ll forgive me if I don’t feel like talking about it. In fact, I don’t feel like talking at all. I love you guys, and I’ll be keeping up with you, but if I post and comment less consistently it’s not because I don’t care. It’s because I care too much. XO

**Edit**I’d like to add that I’m relieved to have my Mr. MLACS at home with me as of yesterday–I didn’t have him when I went through this ordeal with my Mom and he is a great source of comfort and stability for me. I’m still hopeful that I will be able to introduce my Grandma to our rainbow before she leaves this world. Also, I talked to my friend who’s dating Dr. Angel’s son (she intro’d me to Dr. Angel) and told her I was overwhelmed by anxiety and depression post IUI #1. So I’m sure it was no coincidence that Dr. Angel pulled me aside today after Mr. MLACS walked out of the office and said “I forgot to mention that the hormones can cause or amplify any issues like depression or anxiety, perhaps you’ve experienced some of this?” to which I replied “Oh. Well yes I have.” And Dr. Angel said “Well that’s normal and if you need to talk please come and see me.” He really is my Angel, this guy. My cat slept on my head last night and is currently cuddled next to my butt on the couch–he missed me for the 36 hours I was away, and I missed him too–he is definitely my baby. I know I sounded morose in the above paragraphs, and part of me is–but the better part of me is still optimistic and grateful. XOXO

It’s My Birfday!

Well, it was my birthday today (Dec 16th, I know that wordpress is going to post this as the 17th but here in the the USA, Central Standard Time, it’s still December 16th–my birthday).

I haven’t written in the last few days–because I’ve just felt inexplicably awful and I had nothing to say except “Help”. I had begun to wonder if I would ever feel good again. Everything made me cry–I would get a lump in my throat and just burst out in tears, and the tears would quickly fade but then I would be left feeling exhausted, confused, and unrelieved. Everybody seemed to hate me–I interpreted everyone’s actions/inactions in the worst possible way (example: my friend didn’t text me to confirm dinner plans in the afternoon on Saturday so I assumed he had found something better to do (because I am SUCH a boring loser) and then he texted me around 6pm and asked where we should go–I had agonized over nothing). I have been consumed by anxiety and depression in a way I haven’t been since I started medication 7 years ago. And I was SO stressed thinking “My depression and anxiety is going to RUIN all the potential of IUI #2”, but I couldn’t make it stop. This feeling of desperation about screwing up IUI #2 was the worst. It’s worse at night (dark, cold, lonely) and I found myself awake until 3am every. night. this. week. It didn’t seem to matter how many “warm fuzzy” Hallmark Christmas movies I watched, I couldn’t shake my misery.

Until Today. I stayed up late last night tidying my house because I wanted to wake up and not be irritated by all the stuff on my “to do” list that still wasn’t done and then having to look at my house in disarray. So I fixed everything before bed. And I woke up excited to go see my friend (the acupuncturist) Star to begin treatment this morning. I brought her a cute little treat bag of chocolate dipped oreos that I had sprinkled with crushed candy cane (as I’ve previously suggested (click here) it’s always good form to bring treats). I felt relaxed the moment I walked in the door and saw Star’s smiling face. Star took time to thoroughly go over my medical history, and then she began treatment with an interesting technique. I don’t know what it’s called, but she had me hold up my right arm in front of me, and she asked my body (not me, my body) a series of questions about what is bothering it (spleen? stomach? kidney?) and when my arm would ‘give’ when she pushed she would consider it an answer from my body–my body said my kidneys and stomach are weak/having issues. Then Star had me hold up my hand and asked my body if events in my life had caused my weaknesses, and at what age these occurred. My body replied that I had traumatic events at ages 12 and 22, which I can only assume were related to my very piss poor body image/disordered eating–at those ages I literally hated my body and wanted only to be thin, and not just thin but pin-thin (which is not even a possibility for me, I know, because I eventually did become very successful at my eating disorder and started under-eating/over-exercising and even at 10% body fat the smallest I got was a size 4/6). So, I told Star what had happened at those ages, and then she tapped down my spin and pushed those things out of my body–I felt a physical release. Next, I laid down on the table and Star placed the acupuncture needles at various points (not the first time I’ve had acu) and told me to relax and call for her if I needed her. The needle that was placed to detoxify my kidneys kept falling out–which intones that I am overwhelmed with impurities. Toward the end I could feel the toxins begin to release into my blood stream and I became quite uncomfortable. But when I sat up after the treatment, I KNEW that good things were happening–I knew I was in the right place and that Star was the right person to help me on my journey to a baby. I appreciated that she focused on my fertility too! She gave me suggestions for books and supplements, but without any pressure. I have smiled all day–genuinely smiled. And laughed. This huge tension/stress knot in my left shoulder has all but disappeared and she didn’t even touch it. I feel lighter and more energized. It’s ah-maz-ing. I just wish she took insurance! But she’s worth every penny.

I had a good rest of my day too, gluten-free pizza for dinner with my family and gluten-free cupcakes made for me by my sister. Lots of well-wishes and happy birthdays on facebook. And a lovely little card from one of my IF/RPL soul sisters, as well as a book of fertility philosophy from yet another IF/RPL soul sister arrived in the mail 🙂  I feel so loved and nurtured, like I was falling through the sky but I’ve now landed on a cloud. I feel like, no matter what happens with IUI #2, I think I will be ok (but I’ve only just begun the hormones so no promises).

I have to give a shout-out to Mr. MLACS as well, because he’s been a complete gem. While he can’t be here in the flesh to comfort me, he has made himself very accessible across the miles and has answered every phone call and listened patiently to every meltdown. He has not allowed me to worry about finances. He had a lovely orchid plant sent to surprise me the other day (I love Orchids)! He’s giddy about Christmas and has been shopping online and loads of boxes have been arriving from Amazon.com, mostly wrapped, mostly gifts for me. And my most favorite thing: it’s a birthday tradition for me to go to the Nutcracker ballet for my birthday, and he bought us tickets and we’re going to see a performance on Friday in the city (where I have to pick him up from the airport). I love having something to look forward to!

In closing…as I was cleaning/organizing my house today, I found a “rainbow maker” that my Dad gave me a couple months ago when we first moved here. I LOVE prisms, those crystals that project rainbows onto the wall, and the one my Dad gave me has a little solar panel that projects the light onto the prism…I hung it in my bedroom window. I sighed wistfully and hoped that this means I’ll be holding my rainbow this coming year. And I didn’t even cry. XO

86% More Hopeful Than Yesterday

Click HERE for the Attain Success Rates webpage….

As I’ve been (obviously from my ‘FML’ posts) fighting anxiety and depression like it’s my job (thanks hormones) and I’m determined to see the mf*ing sunny side of life again, I began searching for statistics. I don’t expect things from God–I pray more for understanding, acceptance, and comfort than I do for outcomes–so when I want to believe that something will go my way I look for a statistic that is in my favor. And as luck would have it (or God, maybe God was throwing me a bone here) I found some very encouraging statistics via Google search! I would like to thank Attain fertility for providing me with HOPE that I may yet find success with IUI’s…because according to Attain there is an “86% chance of pregnancy with multiple IUI’s”. It doesn’t say percentages like 40% pregnancy within 3 IUI’s or 60% pregnancy rate within 6 IUI’s…and I don’t f*ing care if this 86% includes people that have had 100 IUI’s to finally get pregnant. Obviously this statistic does not account for live births, but before I even worry about that I need to believe that these IUI’s and all the mf*ing hormones are going to open the door for me to begin to worry about the RPL factor…This 86% statistic calmed me and helped me to stop hyperventilating about this upcoming 2nd IUI and stressing about the future (IVF, childlessness), and I will be forever grateful to Attain for posting this (possibly fabricated) statistic so it was there for me to reference in my time of need. **And if this is a skewed statistic and your RE tells you it’s BS…PLEASE DON’T TELL ME…I need to believe in this like a little kid needs to believe in Santa Claus…I’m clutching this statistic like a little safety blanket and if you try to rip it away from me I’ll bite you. XO

New Age

According to Wikipedia (yes, I’m quoting wiki, this is not a term paper)

“The New Age movement is a Western spiritual movement that developed in the second half of the 20th century. Its central precepts have been described as “drawing on both Eastern and Western spiritual and metaphysical traditions and infusing them with influences from self-help and motivational psychology, holistic health, parapsychology, consciousness research and quantum physics.”[2] The term New Age refers to the coming astrological Age of Aquarius.[1]

I realized today that I don’t need medicine, I need healing. I need someone to help me break the chains that I’ve been dragging around these past months and revive my body AND spirit. I already had a masseuse that I LOVE who I think of often but haven’t seen since I moved back to my hometown–he’s amazing. First thing I did was call him and I’m going to see him this Friday. But I was talking to my friend ‘X’ the other day and she said “Why don’t you talk to our friend ‘Star’ and see about doing acupuncture with her? She specializes in fertility and the chiropractor she works with is also wonderful!” I had actually told ‘X’ that my current chiropractor (who ‘X’ used to babysit, and she is my age, so that’ll tell you he’s a very young man) has never addressed my UC or my fertility concerns with his treatment–at the initial visit I told him everything and he seemed compassionate, but ever since then I just feel like I’m a punch in his timecard and he could give a sh*t less about why I’m there and if I’m getting what I need out of the treatment. Sure, he asks me how I am and what I’ve been up to, but then when I ask him he always responds by telling me about his pregnant wife (they’re having a BOY!) and even though I was am genuinely happy for him, how stupid is he to keep droning on about how “we never go out but I’m happy to stay home with my pregnant wife” to a woman who has professed herself chronically ill and infertile??Actually, he’s not stupid, just naïve I think. Regardless, I don’t ever want to see him or his pregnant wife (or their eventual baby) ever again. The thought of him nonchalantly asking me what I’ve been up to and chastising me for canceling my last 4 appointments just makes me want to puke. So I’ll be moving on. And it’s fate, I’m sure, because I had a long conversation with Star today and she was amazing–she said ALL the right things…she didn’t make me feel like a bad person for the arsenal of meds I’m on (though she did say she’ll want me to take a particular probiotic and a particular brand of aloe juice). She said my EXACT words, which are “Eastern and Western medicine can and should work synergistically” (FYI the word ‘synergy’ is one of my most favorite words ever). I knew she was the right one for me. I’ve known her since we were little girls although we haven’t been in close touch as adults, and I know her nature–she is gentle and kind. I told her that I feel guilty about all the meds I’m taking but that I’m doing the best I can to try to balance meds with lifestyle (ex: gluten free) and supplementation (ex: fish oil), in hopes of “patching myself together enough so my body can be a good place for a baby to grow”. She is also a doula, so I told her I’ve had to let go of my dreams of an entirely holistic lifestyle and a water home birth–these just aren’t options. I told her I’m not opposed to chucking all my meds and healing my autoimmune issues with lifestyle and supplementation, but that given what I’ve been through it’s impossible to imagine. I told her that I wish to have a baby this year in the hospital where I was born, with her by my side as my doula–this would be my dream come true. I told her that I am having a hard time believing that this can and will happen, after this past year (of chronic illness and miscarriage). She was very comforting without being too “touchy feely” and she asked some good questions too, so I feel she’s caring and also competent. I told her I’m about to do another IUI and that I’d follow whatever plan of treatment she recommends, and she asked me if I could come in on Monday or Tuesday?

And I told her Monday, because Monday is my birthday, and it’s a very good day to start something new. And I’ve been crying on and off all day ever since, just letting it out–it needs to come out. I just realized that I’ve been falling and getting up and dusting myself off all year long…and I’m tired and I need to heal, or I won’t be a good place for a baby to grow.

I’m conflicted about doing this month’s IUI, because it might be good for me to take some time off of the hormones and focus on my health and rebuild my sense of wellbeing. But I don’t want to wait. And moreover, Mr. MLACS’s schedule is changing in January so he’ll be gone when I’m ovulating and I’ll have to use ‘spermcicles’ and that makes me nervous. So I want to move forward this month, but first I want to shake these feelings of grief, humiliation, inadequacy, shame, pessimism…get rid of all these bad feelings and replace them with good ones like hope, confidence, self respect… I’m ready for a ‘New Age’, both literally and figuratively.

I am 100% Sagittarius

I am 100% Sagittarius