Awards Are Only Cool If I Get One

Rule #99 (if you haven’t read the handbook): Awards are only cool if MLACS gets one

And I’ve noticed that the Liebster has recently gone ‘viral’ amongst the RPL and IF bloggers, but I haven’t been nominated. So I may remedy the situation by making up my very own award and nominating myself for it. So there (sourpuss snotty-pants).

No actually I’m just kidding (ish).

Anywhoo…nothing super badass going on around here. I went to pick up Mr. MLACS from the airport in the city yesterday, and I spent a ridiculous amount of time perusing World Market because I wanted to buy something for the house. I found a ‘pouf’ and got all worked up and excited when I saw it was marked $20 (down from $79)…until I saw all the little foam beads leaking out of it…and the sales guy came along and I pointed out that it is leaking these beads and it appears there was no way to fix it (the torn inner shell was not accessible)…and he just shrugged his shoulders. Like, really dude? This thing is a worthless piece of sh*t that Goodwill would turn down, but you’re trying to sell it?! It was the first thing I saw and it killed my buzz when I realized it was unsalvageable and the sales guy didn’t give a rat’s ass. But…I continued to fiddle around and look at stuff, and I actually ended up buying: rosemary lavender hand soap (in a mason jar), chocolate (always), Moroccan Tangine sauce, and a loose-leaf tea diffuser cup (I only had one and needed another so I can make tea for visiting friends). I reeeeeeally struggled because I wanted to buy these linen curtains for our bedroom and the price was reasonable–$30 per panel ($60 for 2 panels). Buuuuuuut, I’m supposed to be saving money and I know there’s lots of other places I could put $60 to better use, so I ultimately ditched the curtains in the kitchen section (Isn’t that sh*tty of me not to put them back where they belong? Well, it’s a ‘wash’ due to the disappointing ‘pouf’ incident). I decided that I want to get a firm grip on our finances in 2014, so I ordered the Dave Ramsey ‘starter kit’ and it came in the mail the other day (I’m sure you ALL know who he is, since I seem to be the last one on earth to have heard of him–but click HERE if you want the details). I’ve only just begun to read his book, ‘Total Money Makeover’. But even though I haven’t even touched on Dave Ramsey’s financial planning tools, I had this little voice in the back of my head when I was looking at those curtains in World Market that was saying “What would Dave Ramsey do? Dave Ramsey would put the curtains down. Dammit.” So, while I cannot attest to the efficacy of Dave Ramsey’s financial planning tools, I can say that the system seems to be working for me because I now hear his voice in my head, chiding me for considering non-essential purchases after I proclaimed I wanted to dedicate 2014 to paying off debts. *Sigh*

I have been wanting to try Red Robin (a chain restaurant specializing in burgers) because they are the ONLY place I’ve heard of that serves a gluten-free bun. So after my less-than-stellar experience at World Market, I trotted over to Red Robin and enjoyed a burger on a gluten-free bun and a side of gluten-free fries (the fries were served with a gluten-free honey poppy seed sauce that was to die for). It was quite delicious!

Later, I checked into a hotel room (since Mr. MLACS was getting in suuuuper late) and I was pleasantly surprised by how nice and modern it was–I got a good price on www.hotels.com and I was so happy with it that I wished I didn’t have to leave…but I had made plans to meet friends downtown for a fancy steak dinner. I was feeling ‘icky’ all day and was going to deny myself even a glass of wine…buuuuut, I ended up having a glass of Moscato and oddly enough I felt better afterwards (and drank tons of water at dinner). We had a lovely time and I was happy that I procured leftovers to bring to Mr. MLACS, since I felt guilty that he wasn’t there to enjoy it with us. It’s rare that I have an occasion to put on make-up these days and most of the stuff I wear is either spandex or has an elastic waistband, so this was a golden opportunity to put on ‘real’ clothes and polish myself up a bit. And the company was excellent!

After dinner my friends and I went our separate ways–I went back to the hotel room. Mr. MLACS’s flight kept getting more and more and more delayed. I was going to pick him up from the airport but his last flight didn’t arrive until 3am, so he ended up catching a cab. Poor guy! He was beyond exhausted. Well, and so was I. We slept in and ran to a couple more stores before we headed outta town–I had to go to Trader Joe’s (omg I love TJ’s) and also go to a gourmet cupcakery to grab my little sister her fav cupcake (Hey, maybe my award can be the “Best Big Sister” award). We also had lunch at (my fav) PF Chang’s on our way out of town–I had their gluten-free chicken lettuce wraps and those filled me up, so I was able to box most of my gluten-free fried rice to take home. Yummmmm.

We left the city just in time, as it was ‘misting’ and the closer we got to our hometown, the slicker the roads got. By the time we reached our town, the highway traffic was moving at a snails pace due to accidents and then it took us an HOUR to drive through town to get to our house–I had a couple close calls where I was sliding and might have easily caused an accident–thank the Lord we made it home ok. And now, it’s just me, Mr. MLACS, and kitty all tucked away in our cozy little apartment–he’s playing Grand Theft Auto 5 (PS3) and I’m blogging while watching ‘Sense and Sensibility’, having just finished my leftover gluten-free fried rice from PF Chang’s. Life is good.

Oh, and as for the TWW…well, I’m definitely convinced that the Clomid and Femara do bad things to me, because I’m having far less symptoms this month since we only used Bravelle (I actually let Mr. MLACS touch my boobs! Cuz they don’t hurt. He was shocked. And very happy. TMI. Sorry.) We also did the horizontal mambo, without lube (well, except for the progesterone supps), and it didn’t hurt. I actually have cervical mucus–and it’s great 🙂 XO

 

Do Y’all Have Any Idea WTF Is Up With This…???

I just posted my protocol for IUI #3 (click here) or you can click ‘IUI #3’ on my menu. I’ve used an INSANE amount of Bravelle. I have a high AMH (4.57). Yet…I still only grew 2 follicles…please read my protocol and give me any insight you can about how the f*ck you can have “high AMH” and “poor ovarian response”–this seems to be an anomaly. And, my right ovary flatly refuses to produce a viable egg–Dr. Angel says most people have a ‘dominant ovary’–do y’all have a dominant ovary? Anybody else have a protocol that got you less-than-stellar results (what was it)? And then, what did you do that worked? I mean, seriously, I want as much information as you’re willing to offer about what drugs you used, how you responded, and anything else that might make me understand how 23 viles of Bravelle can yield 2 stubborn follicles? Anyone??? I bet you I am the only blogger on here with an AMH high enough to be PCOS-ish BUT barely responds to injectables…I said I wanted to be ‘unique’ NOT ‘special’. Dammit. *Sigh*

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

 

Are We There Yet??????? Geez….

Sorry, bullet points:

The Essentials:

  • 2 follies on left ovary: ‘19.5’ and ’17’, hopefully tomorrow morning they’ll both have grown a couple millimeters.
  • My OPK was very negative, so I’m not terribly concerned about ovulating early (although I’d be lying if I said I was totally unconcerned).
  • My Estradiol was 665 today (but I still don’t have my lab results with Estradiol + TSH that were drawn last Friday)
  • I’m CD15 today (Monday) and today was my 8th consecutive day of 75iu Bravelle shots
  • Tomorrow (Tuesday, CD16) I’ll take my HCG trigger shot
  • Wednesday (CD17) Mr. MLACS will be ‘called to duty’ (a nod to his video game) and we will have our IUI
  • I’m still sick with a head cold and it’s making me pissy and nervous because I’ve obligated myself to cook a big Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday

To Expound Upon that:

  1. I saw Dr. Angel this morning and waited all day for Dr. Angel to call me back to tell me if I am to have a Bravelle shot or the HCG trigger shot today (he said one or the other but not both). I was wrong about my 2nd follie measuring so close to my lead follie the other day–it wasn’t. Today the lead follie is at 19.5 and the 2nd follie is only at 17, so Dr. Angel decided that I should have my Estradiol drawn (oh and I still don’t know my Estradiol & TSH values from 3 days ago) before we decide if we should trigger today (CD15) or trigger tomorrow (CD16). I freakin’ forgot to take my OPK earlier…maybe that’s because…
  2. Every day for the last 4 days Dr. Angel has asked if I can wake up at 6:00am and page him at the hospital to see if he is available so he can meet me between 6:15-6:30. Every fuggin’ day some pregnant lady has either been delivering or in some kind of crisis, so I’ve been told to wait for Dr. Angel’s call. So that is my life now, just waiting for Dr. Angel to call and invite me in for some QT with the dildocam and a shot in the ass. I’m on my 8th day of the everyday monitoring & daily shot in the ass, and it’s not as exciting as it was in the beginning. Now it’s just tedious.
  3. I’m SICK with a nasty head cold, which came on about 4 days ago. I’ve been sleeping like sh*t. I feel like crap. The skin under my nose is eczema-like from all the wiping and nose-blowing–being sick makes this whole song-and-dance with Dr. Angel far more annoying and inconvenient. It’s like, I’m either waiting on phone calls or trying to sleep or just trying to entertain myself and I migrate between the couch and the bed like a zombie. Cranky? Sho’ nuff.
  4. Mr. MLACS was gone for over 3 weeks…then returned home last Friday…and we have not been intimate because Dr. Angel told us not to since he was expecting to trigger Sunday and do the IUI Monday–since I’ve been sick and he’s been tired it has not been a big issue. BUT NOW Dr. Angel has pushed the trigger shot to Tuesday and the IUI to Wednesday…Mr. MLACS is only home for 2 weeks! I’m thinking about just having sex tonight (Monday) since we’re not doing the IUI until Wednesday, because MFI is definitely not our issue so I’m not worried about him not having enough sperm. But then…I’m not really in the mood either, I think I’m more-or-less just bored and mostly I want intimacy with Mr. MLACS, not necessarily sex…but he can’t be lovey-dovey with me because he’s horny like a 16 year old boy. So it’s like, either we go “all the way” or we “wait” until our IUI, as there is no in-between with him right now. Super frustrating. I should probably just wait until the IUI, right??
  5. Ok, so I called Dr. Angel’s office circa 3:30pm to see when he wanted me to come in and which shot he intended to give me based on my Estradiol. They had me come in and get the Bravelle shot today (Monday), and (as noted above) pushed the trigger to Tuesday and the IUI to Wednesday–because my Estradiol was only 665 (which is good but leaves wiggle-room for stimming one more day). I had the shot today and it hurt like a mofo–Dr. Angel must’ve just hit the wrong spot.
  6. I’m supposed to page Dr. Angel tomorrow morning circa 8:30am and aim to be in there by 8:45am to get my HCG trigger shot (unless another pregnant patient takes precedence again).

I’m ready to get off this roller coaster, and I don’t just mean with the stims and the dildocam appointments. I’m ready to finish settling my house and get into a routine with Mr. MLACS and this new job and schedule. And I’m very f*ing done with this head cold–it’s making everything seem much harder than it ought to be. And as a disclaimer, I know plenty of you have endured worse on your ttc journeys, and I may sound like a big whiney baby…and all I can say is…you might be right; maybe I am a big whiney baby. Kudos to you for being so hardcore. XO

Lackluster. But I’ll Take It.

Update**

I saw Dr. Angel yesterday (Friday) and my uterine lining was ‘7’–plus my follies were a lovely ‘14.5’ and ’14’ on the left ovary and the cyst on my right ovary is continuing to resolve–plus I got my HCG shot delivered via FedEx–plus I retrieved Mr. MLACS from the airport. However, it was a bummer having to inform Mr. MLACS that Dr. Angel said “no hanky panky” until after the IUI. Naturally, Mr. MLACS was rather disgusted at the thought of waiting 3+ weeks for his ‘welcome home’, only to be cock-blocked by our OBGYN. However, there is a ‘silver lining’ because there were 2 packages delivered yesterday: My HCG shot AND His brand new ‘Grand Theft Auto 5’ video game. So we both felt rejected–he ditched me for his video game. But that was ok, because I didn’t have any expectations since he’s been working every day for the last 23 days and had a long flight home. Even after rising early to go see Dr. Angel and driving 4 hours round-trip to fetch Mr. MLACS from the airport, I still managed to rally myself to do 40 minutes of walking at 3.6mph on the treadmill and some serious stretching–I noticed my muscles were more tense than usual…I’ve been wondering if I might have caught a cold…

When I woke up I realized that I do indeed have a head cold. Congested, slightly achy, throat sore from snoring/ breathing through my mouth (Mr. MLACS confirmed that I was snoring). I blame myself for not using hand sanitizer at every opportunity. But honestly I don’t mind, because if my (auto)immune system is busy fighting a head cold then maybe it will forget to attack my colon (Ulcerative Colitis).

Today I woke Mr. MLACS at 7am and dragged him with me to witness the follies/ uterine lining/ fancy chair/ dildocam. My husband is 6’6″, which I can only assume was the reason that Dr. Angel apologized for the dust on his ceiling fan when we walked into the examination room–because I certainly wouldn’t have noticed it (and FYI, I don’t think to dust my own ceiing fans until I see dust hanging off of them, so who am I to judge?). My uterine lining measured ‘8.5’; my two follies on my left ovary measured ‘16.5’ and ’16’; the cyst on my right ovary continues to shrink (hooray). I was happy with the progress and Mr. MLACS gingerly reached up and dusted off Dr. Angel’s ceiling fan as a courtesy before we left. We swung by Walgreens to pick up some OPK’s and Tylenol. When we got home I POAS–my OPK test line was barely visible so I’m nowhere near ovulating on my own (not a big surprise, because I usually don’t get a positive OPK until CD16 or CD17 and it’s only CD13 today). Hoping to trigger on Monday and do the IUI on Tuesday. Also, Dr. Angel had blood work done yesterday and I forgot to ask him about my Estradiol and TSH levels. *sneeze*sniffle* I have to be at Dr. Angel’s office tomorrow morning at 7am, and I’m hoping that Mr. MLACS will remind me to ask about my labs because my brain doesn’t function well at this hour–especially when I have a head cold. This weekend thus far is not the ‘romantic reunion’ I had hoped for; Mr. MLACS is playing his video game and I’m on the couch with my cat and my box of tissues blogging about my ovaries. Meh, sometimes life is lackluster, but I’d rather have good news tainted by ‘blah’ than bad news coated in ‘glitter’. XO

Into The Great Wide Open

“Into the great wide open
Under them skies of blue
Out in the great wide open
A rebel without a clue”

These are lyrics from the song “Into The Great Wide Open” by Tom Petty.

I just went to lunch with a group of 5 girlfriends, 3 of whom I know well and 2 of which I feel comfortable enough to have ‘girl talk’ with. One of them is 6 months pregnant, and another one had her 4 month old son with her–he’s adorable and I enjoyed holding him and playing with him. But as we all sat down, the conversation began with everybody gushing over the pregnant one, talking about their own prior pregnancies, and then…talking about who plans to have a baby next. Only ONE of them knows my story, as she and I are very close and I’ve told her about the shots in my ass this week. I was quiet for a few minutes, but finally I just blurted out “Well we are trying to have a baby–and by trying I mean TRYING HARD–and I’ve had two losses already this year.” Let me tell you, that if you want a group of gossiping women to STFU real quick, tell them that. They all looked at me, especially the pregnant one, and I could tell they felt bad. The pregnant one and the one with the 4 month old both offered that they had endured recent miscarriages before their recent successful pregnancies. I hope I don’t regret saying something to them. But you know, I wouldn’t be true to myself if I didn’t. I want people to know about infertility and miscarriage. I want people to understand. I want to be able to talk about my loss at the same table with people celebrating pregnancy/children, without feeling like we are on two different sides of the fence. I think it’s possible, but we (Infertility and RPL sufferers) cannot expect to cross that bridge unless we build it ourselves. So I’m over here with my bricks and my mortar….beginning to come “out of the closet” and into the great wide open with my infertility and health struggles…Don’t get me wrong I’m not ready to stand up with a bullhorn or see myself on a billboard but telling a group of women is a start, right?

In other news, the f*ing copious amounts of gel that Dr. Angel uses on the dildocam, combined with the whacky hormones seems to be giving me a yeast infection. Gross much?! It’s not bothersome (itchy or smelly) but it is visible, so before we began our daily probing, I mentioned warned Dr. Angel of my situation and asked him if this might be common during infertility treatments and monitoring and if it was necessary to treat it. His answers were: YES it’s common, particularly because the hormones I’ve been taking can change the PH of the vagina. And NO, I don’t need to treat it at this time. Icky, but manageable.

Next, he said my follies appeared “squished”, because they are getting bigger. However, neither of the follies on my left side measured much bigger than yesterday, which makes me want to double my dose of Bravelle, but Dr. Angel thinks they are fine and the measurements are ‘off’ because the follies are smooshed–which I could see that, because whereas they were previously spherical in shape, they had become more oblong. My uterine lining is at about ‘6’. The cyst on the right side has continued to shrink, which of course is a good thing. Speaking of good things…

I get to pick up Mr. MLACS from the airport tomorrow!!! I’m so excited to see him! But I have SO MUCH I want to finish around the house before he arrives! Before he left I told him that the reason I hadn’t been unpacking and organizing is because he was in the way–which was quite true–but he’s been gone for 3 weeks. Of course in my defense, one of those weeks was spent working and worrying at the new job. Then this week has been all about the dildocam and other facets of our IUI cycle. But honestly, I have procrastinated. XO

 

Share Your Nuts!

Well, I’ve been telling you that I’m “going nuts” lately, and I am humbled by your responses and encouragement to continue to “share my nuts” with you. Also, I decided I needed to bake something for Dr. Angel because he’s been so kind and in my opinion he’s basically doing charity work by giving me UNLIMITED ultrasounds and an IUI for the very small fee of $350 per month…and I had a bunch of pecans at my house…and this recipe is so easy to make…so TAH DAH! I made these delicious holiday spiced pecans, packaged them in cute little Christmas treat packages I found at the ‘Everything’s A Dollar’ store, and passed them out to Dr. Angel and his office staff yesterday afternoon. And ate a whole bunch of them myself–they are like crack to me–as I was dividing them up to give away I was like “one for you, one for me..one for you, two for me” etc. Yup, one good nut deserves another, right?! Slippery slope.

Sweet Spiced Nuts

The situation with Dr. Angel was a bit precarious yesterday, as when I had suggested “Same time tomorrow?” at our Monday visit, his reply was “Well no, it’ll have to be in the afternoon–I’ll call you.” And I was like, “Um, ok then” and left wondering how that was going to work out. I woke up yesterday and called Dr. Angel’s office, and they informed me that Dr. Angel was out of the office and they had no idea when to expect him back that day. Hmmm. So I went about making my nuts and finding cute little packages for them at the dollar store (you know, one of the many important ways I fill up my unemployed time now) and waited…and waited…and finally I called them at about 2pm to say “Hey, it’s after noon now, so, um, any idea when he’ll be back?” and the lady sounded really awkward and cryptic in her reply that went something like, “Um, I haven’t talked to him to tell him you called earlier..and um…I’m not sure WHEN or IF he’ll be back in the office today…” And I recited what Dr. Angel had told me, verbatim, about me coming in the afternoon. It got me nowhere. I was concerned for several reasons, because they have my damn drugs in their office and because it was already 24hrs after my first shot and I knew I should be having it about the same time each day. I was shocked at how clueless they seemed, I mean, it was the middle of a regular business day so I would expect them to know a ballpark of where their damn doctor is and/or get a hold of him to ask him what he’d like to do about me. Geezus. But they finally called me an hour later and chipperly announced that Dr. Angel was back in the office and I could come by. So I came by and passed out my nutty treats (maybe this little PR stunt will get me a better response next time this happens) and experienced the fancy chair/dildocam, then got my Bravelle shot–bless his heart, Dr. Angel had found some smaller needles in his office to use for the shot and I didn’t even feel it this time.

Today, I went to see Dr. Angel and crew at 11:30am. I’m happy to report that my left follicles #1 and #2 had grown to ’13’ and ’11’ respectfully (and Dr. Angel taught me how to convert his measurements so that’s why I can now report my follicle sizes). The hemorrhagic cyst-y looking follicle on the right is at ’16’ and holding, so maybe it’s not such a problem after all. I told Dr. Angel and his nurse about my delusions of Ovarian Cancer and they laughed at me, so I guess that means I have nothing to worry about cancer-wise (yet). My lining is measuring between ‘4-5′ and I’m CD10 today, which doesn’t seem to concern the doc but what do you ladies think? Judging from these measurements do you think I’m doing ok with my follie sizes and my uterine lining on CD10? Or am I behind? Dr. Angel seemed unconcerned and figures my follies will be over ’20’ and we’ll do the IUI on Saturday. Oh but you can bet your sweet asses I will be getting some lovin’ from Mr. MLACS on Friday after I pick him up from the airport. Whether he wants it or not. Game ON.

As far as how I’m feeling mentally/emotionally, I’m better on the Bravelle than I was on the Femara. But physically, the Bravelle has been causing me headaches (which are rare for me unless it’s sinus-related). My butt no longer hurts because Dr. Angel is using a smaller needle–not sure what size but I hardly feel it. I’m slightly concerned that the Bravelle is kicking up my autoimmune issues, which I had considered before I used it–it’s highly purified but it comes from somebody else’s body so there’s always a chance that my body will consider it an intruder. My colitis has been mercifully ‘quiet’ for the past 3 weeks but I was having symptoms today, which made me think the Bravelle may be the cause. Or not. I will keep you posted on that. I had previously considered using Gonal-F because it is synthetic (when I was wondering if I might need injectables) but it’s more expensive so I wanted to try the Bravelle. We’ll see how this little science experiment works out (hence the title ‘My Life As A Case Study’) TTFN. XO

 

 

Oh My Heavens It’s SO BIG!

I feel absolutely INSANE.

I finally saw Dr. Angel yesterday afternoon (after “Super Soul Sunday”) and I warned him that I might start crying and if I did then he should understand that he’s not hurting me, I am just crazy, and it’s not his fault–so please don’t take it personally. And he smiled and told me that this was only the beginning and the hormones will get worse on the Bravelle. FML. And then he looked at my ovaries with the dildocam. Left ovary had two juicy follicles he measured (no idea what the measurements are in “infertility speak” cuz e’rybody always talks about triggering when their dominant follicles are “over 15”, etc. and I didn’t ask him to convert his measurements for me). And the right ovary had one juicy follicle but it was oddly shaped and appeared to have something protruding into it…Dr. Angel said, quote, “It may be a hemorrhagic cyst or something.” No mf*ing clue what “or something” may be. I remembered to bring the drugs and paraphernalia with me, expecting that Dr. Angel would teach me how to do the Bravelle shots. But he flipped the script on me and said he’d like for me to begin Bravelle tomorrow (today) so that he can see, quote, “If those follicles are leftover from the last cycle or if they are from this cycle.” I asked him how he would be able to tell and he said, quote, “If the follicles are new, then they should increase in size, but if they are old then they probably won’t.” Well, ok then. He offered to keep my Bravelle and accoutrements at his office, and I was glad because that’s one less thing for me to worry about. And I left, went home, and took my last Femara tablet.

I returned to Dr. Angel’s office today to have another US and (finally) get my first Bravelle shot. I gotta ask you guys, have you ever sat in a chair in the OBGYN or RE’s office that raises you up and tips you back so that you’re practically upside down and your lady parts are in the air at eye-level with your practitioner? The ultrasounds yesterday and today were my first experiences with this fancy chair, and I don’t hate it but it’s weird as hell, don’t you think? Just sayin’. So anyways, Dr. Angel first looks at my left ovary and measures the 2 follicles from yesterday, and I notice they have grown–hooray, they are “new”! And then…he looked at my right ovary…and WTF??? The potential ‘hemorrhagic cyst’ from yesterday that had been about the same size as the other two follicles now seemed to be taking up my entire f*ing ovary! I was like…”Um…is that seriously the follicle from yesterday?!” And he didn’t say much, he was just clicking away taking measurements and he even made a 3D color image of my ovary to get a better look. I was like, “Whoa dude, this looks bad, is it bad??” And he was like, “Nah, it looks like a hemorrhagic cyst”. And I was like “But from what I’ve read about other people’s cycles, the cycles get canceled when they have a cyst! Is this cyst gonna mess up my cycle?” And he was like, “No it won’t cancel your cycle.” And I was like “Cool–my right ovary can be delinquent as long as my left ovary is still in the game.” But really, I’m like, what the hell is wrong with my ovary??? I’m over here wondering if my Remicade + Clomid cycles have given me ovarian cancer or some sh*t. And when I think I might have ovarian cancer, the first thing that pops into my mind is “Please Lord, let Dr. Angel ignore my ovarian cancer and let me get pregnant and have a baby before I die, Amen.” I am such a whack job.

Then, it was FINALLY time for me to get that Bravelle shot. And all along I was thinking I would give it to myself in my stomach. But Dr. Angel is pointing at his butt saying “So you’ll want to make sure you don’t hit your sciatic nerve…” and I’m thinking…”Damn, how the hell am I s’posd to give myself a shot in my ass”…I’m flexible but this seems unrealistic/unfair. And then…I see this GIANT MF*ING NEEDLE and I’m like “Lord Jesus are you serious?! Is THAT the needle?! How big is that??!” And Dr. Angel is just showing me how to mix the Bravelle with the filler solution but I am not even paying attention because I’m too busy looking at this ridiculously HUGE needle. It’s a good thing I’m not a curious person and I hadn’t examined the contents of the box Freedom Pharmacy sent except to make sure the meds were there, cuz I might’ve changed my damn mind. I asked Dr. Angel what size needle that was, hoping that my eyes were deceiving me, but he said “23” and my face fell–it really is as big as it looks. I was still pants-less holding a sheet around me as I’m watching Dr. Angel get the shot ready, and finally it was time and I held the sheet awkwardly with one hand (so Dr. Angel had access to my buttock) and grabbed the counter with the other hand…and…it wasn’t that bad. But I’m gonna be straight with you: my ass is still sore from it. And for the record I’m not afraid of needles–been stuck countless times for bloodwork and IV’s and even had Botox on my face a few times (don’t judge me), but those needles were child’s play compared to this one. Damn. Luckily, I have to have an ultrasound every day and I’m only taking the Bravelle 75iu once a day, so I looked at Dr. Angel and said “I will seriously pay you extra if you will give me these shots.”

Can I also mention (of course I can but you don’t have to read it if you don’t want to) that my Dad has a girlfriend. Any of you out there whose Mom/Dad passed away and you’ve had to deal with your living parent dating while also dealing with the loss of your other parent? Well…it’s been rough. My sister openly HATES the girlfriend and will have NOTHING to do with her. I’ve been living away from home for most of this time so I only have to see her occasionally because she lives 2 hours away and they alternate weekends (he goes there, she comes here). I don’t like her, but I don’t hate her. However, the girlfriend has two sons and they seem to really like my Dad. And these sons have small children of their own. And…all of a sudden lately ALL my Dad talks about when he comes home from visiting the girlfriend is playing with her adorable grandchildren. Today, he even told me what he intends to get each of her grandchildren for Christmas! Can somebody PLEASE take the dagger giant syringe out of my still-beating heart?! And he fuggin’ knows exactly what I’m going through–I’ve told him everything. He’s just stupid. That is all. XO

 

Syringe to the Heart

Are You There Oprah? It’s Me, MLACS…

Totally chaotic post…just gotta get it out…the first step to solving a problem is admitting you have a problem…

I’m sitting on my couch in my fuzzy pink bathrobe, watching Oprah’s “Super Soul Sunday” on her OWN network, and I’m on the verge of tears and I’m trying to figure out what, exactly, is causing me this unrest…

Here’s the background: My dear departed Mother was a HUGE fan of Oprah (but nowhere near obsessed, just appreciative). When she was diagnosed with terminal cancer I wanted to contact Oprah and tell her how amazing my mother is and have Oprah listen to her and hold her hand and tell her she’s wonderful and give her a trip to her orphanage in Africa or something along those lines. And I did write to Oprah, but I was overwhelmed and unprepared to do something more extreme to get Oprah’s attention. And really, I realized, that shouting my mother’s praises to the world on Oprah and sending her to Africa would not make her life any more or less meaningful–I realized you do not have to be a billionaire or start an orphanage to signify that you meant something to this world. I could get all Eastern philosophical on you but you know what I’m talking about–if you don’t and you’re curious then may I recommend the teachings of the Dalai Lama.

Anyhow, I haven’t been following Oprah since she left daytime television, because her network cost extra to add to my cable packages and also I’m sure because Oprah reminds me of my Mom and the many things I wanted for her that I couldn’t give her in this life. This sh*t is heavy and I can only deal with it in small doses. In fact, I’ll just keep rolling here, I’ve wondered more than once–since disease is called dis-ease and some say it is a sickness of the soul–if I just sat here and thought of every fear or sadness I’ve ever had, and cried it out, if maybe my Ulcerative Colitis and other immune issues would go away. But I haven’t been compelled to try that. But I digress…I just flipped on the tv last Sunday and Oprah was talking to this older woman with dreadlocks and I was intrigued so I began watching “Super Soul Sunday”, which is where Oprah talks to people (I think mostly authors and public figures) who have spiritual messages about life. It’s intense. And today, Oprah is talking to Mark Nepo (who I haven’t read) about what brain cancer taught him. This guy is a PhD. He’s written a bunch of books. And Oprah thinks he’s a prophet. It makes me Feel. So. Small. And who am I now? I used to relish philosophical conversations and awakenings, and now I’m pained when I watch somebody else experiencing this sort of freedom and lightness of their soul. I feel so tired and heavy. And I don’t even know what the hell is burdening me, exactly, how to get rid of it, how to make sense of it.

I wonder how much of this is a mid-life crisis and how much of it is hormonal. I’m on day 5 of Femara. Anybody else found themselves under fire from random bullets of emotion? Did it stop when you quit the Femara? Just wondering. I would like to think that this will all resolve its self (probably wishful thinking and I should probably get some therapy). I had a fight with Mr. MLACS the other day that seriously challenged my will to procreate. He should’ve known better than to berate me for anything, given that: I had a hellatious week at the new job (which was a disappointment); I feel unsettled and somewhat ashamed about quitting the job (even though I KNOW it was the right decision); I had to fight with Freedom Fertility Pharmacy and jump through hoops to get my drugs; I’m frustrated about our finances; I miss him terribly; I have no idea what I will do with myself–whether I get pregnant or not–I realized that I need to start setting goals…short-term, attainable goals, and fulfill my purpose beyond wife and motherhood…I feel like I’m just waiting to exhale. Mr. MLACS spoke to me as if I hadn’t a care in the world. And that PISSED ME OFF and got me really, really, upset. So upset, between this fight and the other above mentioned factors, I was rendered useless yesterday and spent the entire damn day in my pink reindeer pajamas stalking your blogs and googling sh*t. I did however force myself to the gym for 45min of cardio, because I know it is important to our procreational efforts. But I’m feeling literally and figuratively stuck inside a box, as I haven’t left the house.

I was supposed to meet Dr. Angel at 7am this morning to have an US and learn how to shoot my Bravelle. I even took a cold pack and placed it in my box of drugs and paraphernalia, and then placed the box in the car, just so I wouldn’t forget it. I was so anxious I couldn’t get to sleep! And he had told me to page him at the hospital juuuuust in case he was there doing a delivery. So I paged him. And of course, he was there attending to a first-time-mom who was just 6cm dilated. Just my luck. He said he’d call me and I haven’t heard from him, so I suppose this kid is taking it’s sweet time entering the world. It’s stupid but this also makes me feel small, like, her having a baby vs. me needing to shoot my drugs is no-contest as to which is more significant. And then this brings up the feelings of: it was supposed to be MY turn in October. It could’ve been me in those stirrups, but it’s not. I don’t dwell on this much (I’m not a “dweller” in general, I’m impatient and hurry to move on) but it’s worth mentioning because these feelings are there.

I’m f*ing frustrated. I don’t understand what is happening to me, but I have been stumbling through dark and unfamiliar times in my life and I know that I will be able to look back with perspective when I’ve reached the other side of this bridge. It’s just, I didn’t realize I was even ON a bridge (metaphor for I didn’t realize I was in crisis/a life transition) until I was already in the thick of it. Like I was just ambushed by life.

And by the way, you know (I think) that I am a spiritual person and I believe that these uncomfortable, painful experiences in life are growing pains and ultimately a gift. I may be empowered by whatever self discovery or nugget of universal truth that may be gleaned from weathering this storm. Are you listening Oprah???

**also I must add that Oprah films her “Super Soul Sunday” at her estate on Maui, and glimpsing the islands makes me feel very homesick–the Midwest is my Roots but Hawaii is my Wings–I miss the Aina, Kai, and Mauka…I felt that freedom and lightness of spirit there. That’s a tale for another time.

You Can Take This Job And…

Oh yeah, yesterday was “the straw that broke the camel’s back”. I am diggity-done.  

The “training” I received consisted of me watching my supervisor work at the speed of light for 2 days without her explaining ANYTHING to me, but then asking me if I “have any questions”…Lady, where the hell do I begin?! I took a few patients on day 2, which sort of familiarized me with the computer program and order of events, but I had no idea that on day 3…I was expected to do everything seamlessly and almost independently…guys, this clinic is an urgent care clinic and they see 100+ patients a day and most of them are new patients (which means a lot more paperwork and data entry) and the clinic wants everyone’s waiting time to be 5 minutes or less in order to stomp the competition. HOLY BALLS. I was stunned that they just threw me in the mix on day 3. They are lucky I have worked at clinics similar to this one before or I would’ve just gotten up and left because it was so stressful–I sure as f* thought about just getting up and walking out–it was mind numbingly difficult…I had to concentrate so hard…I was just barely coping…my face was beet red and I thought my head might explode…

 Things I did Perfectly:

1. I greeted each patient as they walked toward the counter,asked if they would like to be seen, and asked if they had previously been seen at the clinic. If existing patient I verified their demographic (address, phone) info.

2. I asked for I.D. and Insurance cards (if new patient) and if they were current or not (existing patient) and scanned them into the computer

3. I explained the new patient paperwork, made sure all the new patient forms were signed, scanned them into the computer and labeled each file correctly in the patient’s chart (ex: HIPPA privacy practices form).

4. I made sure I entered the insurance info correctly (double checked the member & group numbers) and noted their copay in their chart.

5. I collected the copays and scanned the receipts to the patient’s chart AND recorded the copay in the system, accurately.

6. I scanned and allocated incoming lab results to the correct doctor to be reviewed.

7. I scanned lab orders and placed them in the bags with the correct specimens (urine, blood, culture).

8. At the end of day 3 I attempted to answer the phones and direct calls, which I handled appropriately (no one sitting on hold or getting hung up on).

9. I refilled the printer and the toilet paper without being prompted…I asked how I could help when they were busy and I was observing…I remained calm when a woman passed out cold (face first) in the waiting room on day 2 and an ambulance had to be called to transport her to the hospital…

10. I put up with having no lunch break (or even a break) on an 11 hour shift.

That is more than what they should dare to expect on day three at a clinic like this (for $11.50/Hour), and really, they are fools for letting someone so new take on so much responsibility because I could have really messed things up. I did make 3 mistakes that I know of

1. I checked in a patient under the wrong name/person (they don’t use people’s birth dates to look them up in the system, they use names, which has a larger margin for error).

2. I listed a guy’s middle name as his first name when I entered him in the system (then they called in scripts under the wrong name, but someone caught it before the patient left the building because they called him ‘Robert’ (his middle name) and he was like ‘my name is Andrew’)….and do you know what my b*tch supervisor said to me??? She said, “Do you not know how to read people’s names off an I.D.?” Thing was, it was 5pm and I was shaking from hunger and stress, having NOT EATEN or taken a break ALL DAY…that is why I made that mistake.

3. As I was learning the system while checking in 100 patients while trying to do everything quickly, I did scan a few documents to the wrong patient’s charts–BUT to my credit I caught all but one of those mistakes and corrected them–of course b*tchy supervisor caught the one I didn’t catch and redundantly told me “you can’t be doing that”. Assphinctersayswhat?

I could tell she was waiting for me to apologize and say “Oh my goodness I’m SO sorry” but I just looked at her and slowly nodded my head and resumed what I was doing–because what I wanted to say was…well I just wanted to punch her in the mouth. The supervisor was snide–I could tell she wanted to tell me off but instead she just kept looking at me sideways and using a nasty tone (um, same difference, she may as well have just spat it out). She rolled her eyes when I asked questions and flippantly said “I don’t understand what you want”. She gave me the evil eye. She knew I was floundering and NOT ONCE did she ask me if I was ok or if I was feeling comfortable with what I was doing–she KNEW I was uncomfortable. All I got was either silence or negative feedback. The “head” doctor ordered pizza for the staff and she didn’t even offer me any and I know it wasn’t because I’m gluten-free…it’s because she’s a b*tch. And the “head” doc that day is a dick compared to the other doctor (the one that hired me) and I guess he was riding my supervisor’s a** that day and I KNOW it’s annoying to train people but bottom line: she railroaded me right on outta there. And it’s not because she felt threatened by me–they LOVE her there and she really is a wiz at everything, but she has no business being in a supervisory position, because she doesn’t want to teach–I don’t think she wants the added responsibility, but she loves ‘running sh*t’ at the clinic. And hey, more power to her–but God have mercy on the new people that are supposed to be learning from her.

I had already planned to go out to dinner with a friend I call my “fairy godfather” (he’s older, wiser, and extremely resourceful) last night to discuss my options and I went straight to the restaurant in my scrubs and slammed a glass of wine before he even got there. I hadn’t eaten all day so I got a delightful buzz from it. And when “fairy godfather” showed up I ordered another glass of wine along with a phat dinner of prime rib, broccoli, and sweet potato *drool*. He waved away my concerns and entertained me by hitting on the very sweet young waitress (making her stammer and blush). I had another glass of wine for good measure. Since I had worked from 9a-8p with no lunch break and FedEx was delivering my package of fertility drugs today, I had begged the office at my condo complex to accept the package and put it in my garage, which they thankfully did, because their office closes at 5pm and doesn’t open until 9am and I needed to be at Dr. Angel’s office at 9am to learn how to give myself the Bravelle shots.

I woke up this morning with a hangover-ish headache (gawd that makes me feel old) and showered and got ready to go see Dr. Angel. I took the package of Bravelle out of the fridge (p.s. freedom pharmacy shipped it without any cold packs, is that bad?) and I set it on the kitchen table so I wouldn’t forget it…I was preoccupied thinking about how and when I was going to offer my resignation to the clinic, whether or not I would add any critique of my “training”…I was almost to Dr. Angel’s office when I realized I forgot the damn drugs and after the doc had most graciously agreed to squeeze me in on a Friday, I had to walk in the clinic with my ears and tail drooping and tell him I didn’t have my drugs with me. And bless his heart, Dr. Angel said “well aren’t you supposed to start the injections on Sunday?” and I said yes, and he said “well can you perhaps come in early on Sunday?” and I said yes–but didn’t want to inconvenience him–to which he replied it would be better this way because then he can take more time to go over everything with me, if I didn’t mind coming in at 7am–and I ask you…how lucky am I??? I mean, if I needed a ‘silver lining’ for this week this is IT.

And around 4pm today, I sent my resignation email to the (nice) doctor who hired me. I know, email is not the best way BUT he offered me the interview and the job by email, so since I only worked there a cumulative 26 hours, I figured I could quit via email, and after careful consideration, here is what I wrote (with names excluded):

Dr. Nice Guy–

Thank you for the opportunity to join your staff, but I am writing to you to give my resignation. I would definitely recommend ‘ABC’ to friends and family, as I believe you provide the best Urgent Care in ‘XYZ’. I appreciate how dedicated the staff is and how they synergize.

However, I would offer that if the “training” I received is how your other new front office employees are going to be trained, then you may expect a bumpy road ahead of you.

If you would like to have an exit interview with me then I’d be happy to take the time to give you some feedback that may help you retain your new front office staff and set your new clinic up for success.

Otherwise, I’d appreciate it if you could mail my check to:
(My Address)

Best Wishes,
MLACS

Then I waited on bated breath to see what Dr. Nice Guy’s response might be. And this was his email reply:

Wow, did I miss something?

I would definitely like to discuss what comments you have. If there is something to improve, obviously that is something we would like to do.

If you can give me a call at the clinic today I’d appreciate it, I’m here until 8 pm.

555-5555
Dr. Nice Guy

I know, really nice huh? I was thinking more like “go f* yourself, I hate myself for even considering hiring your ungrateful incompetent a**”. But obviously, Dr. Nice Guy has a touch of class. I thought about putting him off so I could take time to choose my words carefully…but then I thought “Nahhhh, I wanna get this over with so I can enjoy my weekend without anything hanging over my head”. So I called him. And I very tactfully told him what I thought–that he has a great thing going with his clinic and staff, but that the training lacks:
1.Objectives (these are the goals of the clinic, this is the role of the front office staff, etc.)
2.Expectations (our front office staff handles ‘xyz’. You are expected to be able to ‘abc’ within 2 weeks of training and to be able to fully integrate by ‘xyz’)
3.Method (how to train an employee, such as: explaining each task slowly–giving time to ask questions as the task is carried out–having the employee write down the steps to the task in a personal notebook to be reflected upon as needed–having the employee practice the task so that they’re comfortable BEFORE being expected to carry out the task during work flow).
I remarked that while I am not aware of the experience level of other new hires, I myself have gone through training to work at two other large and demanding clinics and I was overwhelmed, so I could only imagine how impossible the task might seem to others who have no medical office experience or those who have only worked in smaller offices. Not to mention, that a less experienced person who was thrown into the work flow as I was would most definitely make a lot more mistakes. AND YES, I ‘went with it’ since I had his ear and mentioned that, while his supervisor is extremely skilled at her job, she is NOT a good teacher and in fact was the antithesis of helpful. I mentioned that another coworker was the only one who actually offered to explain things to me and give me helpful tips on how to navigate their software, etc.
And Dr. Nice was actually quite appreciative and offered that he would still like to have me as part of the team, but I took that opportunity to add that I also had some personal reasons involved in my decision–but that ultimately it was yesterday’s events that tipped the scales (intoning that the option of me coming back was off the table). I told him I didn’t want him to feel as though my presence there was for naught, and I had reached out to offer the feedback because I genuinely want their new clinic to succeed. I told him that everything at the ‘home’ clinic seems to click because his staff is so dedicated and they work so well together–they have an unspoken system–but that that sort of synergy is non-transferrable so the new clinic will need to rely on clear objectives, expectations, and method. Yeah…I may have said too much. But you know what? F*ck it. I’m proud of myself. XO