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Category Archives: Healthy

Great Timing

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Join us as we embark on our very last (at least that’s the plan) go-round with IVF (In-Vitro Fertilization) and bring our journey to become biological parents to a close one way or another. We have decided to detail our entire experience here both as a documentation of our own family history and as a way to share the ins and outs of a process most people (thankfully) will never experience.

Final IVF Days 1-3

Tuesday was my “Day 1” – infertility speak for “first day of menstrual cycle” – and the day I call our reproductive endocrinologist (known hereafter as RE) to let him know we want to start an IVF cycle. The timing of these things is not flexible – you are at the mercy of your body’s whims, and you MUST get a blood test on day 2 or 3 to check for hormone levels. I made an appointment for Thursday morning and of course, the earliest they could see me was 8:45 – the exact time I’m due at school on Thursdays. But the appointment is not optional, so I took it and made arrangements to be late. One of many times my job has had to conform to the demands of my reproductive system. Luckily, I have pretty flexible jobs and very understanding bosses.

Now lets review the joys that awaited me at the RE office this morning:

1. I got to undress and wear a white paper blanket for “privacy”!

2. Next… ultrasound time! We got to get in there and see what my wacky ovaries are up to these days. Turns out, one of them is up to no good. The left one has already returned to its wily, endometriosis-growing ways. Super. The other looked clean, which, I guess is a relief. The RE asked me how I was holding up – was I okay or was I worn out? All I could say was “worn out” – I think he suspected. We are growing weary of each other – our relationship wasn’t supposed to last this long.

3. The blood draw was next – my favorite! Luckily, today my veins decided to cooperate and give it up on the first stab. Unfortunately, my overall constitution wasn’t as accommodating – I got that “uh oh” feeling of dizziness that sometimes comes after these blood letting sessions.

4. But I persevered! For there was paperwork to do, and lots of it! So much so that I got to sit in the special meeting room adorned with the 3-d model of the female reproductive system to work on it. There are legal documents to attend to with every cycle: what should happen to the embryos if one or both partners die?, who gets custody of the embryos if the couple splits up?, do you give us permission to chip the “shell” of the embryo with a laser to encourage “hatching”?, on the day of retrieval, who’s sperm should inseminate the eggs – the husband/partner or a donor? Once the legal documents are completed, I still have the Female Patient Health History forms to contend with. By now, my head is spinning.

5. The really fun part: ordering mega-expensive medicine. Luckily, we have a few vials of medication left over from the last cycle, so the nurse didn’t have to order as much for us. I waited as she faxed the prescription order to the specialty pharmacy (they don’t carry these drugs at your average CVS – they have to be shipped from the specialty pharmacy in Texas direct to my door) and then told me that the drugs would arrive tomorrow. One problem with that – since the shipment is so expensive FedEx requires a signature, which means someone has to be home at the time of delivery AND one of the medications has to be refrigerated immediately upon receipt (its boxed with an ice pack). One problem with that: Turns out, Randy and I both have jobs – someone has to pay for all this medicine. Randy agrees to try and work from home tomorrow since its really difficult to try and lead Girl Scout meetings from home.

6. I stopped by the restroom on the way out, dizzy, a little nauseous, and reeling from “this can’t be happening again” type emotions. Once in the relative privacy of the stall, I lose it. I don’t want to be doing this again. I cannot imagine putting myself through this even one more time. The elevator is spinning around me on my trip down to the parking garage. I call Randy. He arranges to work from home the rest of the day so he can take care of me. I text my coworkers and tell them I can’t make it today. They are, once again, amazingly understanding.

So my first trip to the RE this cycle was less than a blazing success. I spent the afternoon sleeping on the couch while Randy worked quietly from the dining room table, stopping occasionally to check on me and tuck me in again. The highlight of the afternoon was confirming my drug order with my dealer – make that pharmacy. We went over the order, confirming all the quantities and came to a total – only $2059 this time! What a bargain! (Actually that’s not sarcasm – last time the drug bill was $3k) And because of snow storms across the country, their shipments are behind a day and the medicines will be delivered Saturday, making it possible for Randy to go into the office.

But the best, most awesome part of the day happened a little later when I calculated the probable date of my official pregnancy test and guess what: its my sister’s due date! Wow – didn’t think this through.

I want to curl up into a cardboard cave of coziness like Einstein here. Hopefully, tomorrow will be better. 🙂

Fun With Scalpels

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As a part of my reproductive system’s ongoing evil plot to ruin my life, my ovary thought it would be super fun to grow some cysts over the last few months. Whee! So my reproductive endocrinologist decided to do a laparoscopic hysteroscopy and ovarian cystectomy. In other words, to open me up with three small incisions and take a look at my insides via a small scope and then remove and laser out anything that wasn’t invited.

I had my surgery on November 10th and it was just as fun as it sounds. Here are some highlights:

  • My arm became a blood geyser when the nurse put in my IV and my hospital bed,  gown and blanket looked like a crime scene.  Oops.
  • The cyst was bigger than they thought and they almost couldn’t get it out laparoscopically, so I narrowly escaped a big, nasty incision! Phew!
  • My left ovary, fallopian tube, and uterus were all stuck together by endometriosis (crazy-mutant uterine lining tissue that grows wild outside of the uterus and causes all kinds of problems, including cramping and infertility).
  • The doctor was able to “clean out” my tubes and ovaries and restore them to a normal state. He classified my endometriosis as moderate to severe – and we didn’t even know I had the disease! I don’t do anything half-way.
  • I accidentally dunked my gown in the toilet when I went to the bathroom during my post-op holding period. Fun Fact: that was the second time I accidentally dunked an article of clothing I was wearing in a toilet that week. Only, the first time I wasn’t drugged…
  • My mom is a saint – she practically moved in to bring me food and help me continue with my craft production during my recovery.
  • Randy makes a great nurse – but he didn’t wear a classic nurse’s uniform as I requested.
  • Vicodin wreaks havoc with my emotional and gastrointestinal well-being.
  • Turns out its not really a good idea to schedule a craft show for three days after surgery, no matter how quickly the doctor says you’ll recover. Knitting deadlines kinda take the fun out of the recovery time when you should be snuggling in bed, watching bad movies and sleeping all day.

I’m feeling pretty much back to normal now and have been promised that my monthly cramps should be much less grizzly now. Thanks again to all my meal bringers, hospital-sitters, and well wishers!

Take # ??: Photo #305

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I may have made a breakthrough in my seemingly never-ending quest to find a non-leaking, easy-open water bottle that I can throw into my work bag and not worry about.  This may be the one.

Paradise: Photo #283

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Having one eat-out meal per week with no diet rules is life-changing.  It helps with cravings and gives your covetous mind something to hold onto those nights you are eating broccoli and grilled chicken (okay I don’t actually eat broccoli and grilled chicken, but it paints a picture).

Five Guys Burgers and Fries is practically cathartic after a month of fiber and antioxidants. 

Sour: Photo #280

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Clementine season is most definitely over.   😦

Month in Review: Photo #278

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Randy said the Month of Living Healthfully would go by really fast and I didn’t believe him.  But just like that, its over and it was easier than I ever imagined.  Below are some of my highlights of a healthy month:

  • I lost 2.5 inches around my waist
  • I lost 9.6 pounds – almost reaching my goal of 10 pounds – and I bet I’ll hit that next week
  • The quality of my sleep most definitely went up even if the amount of sleep didn’t increase as drastically.  There is a lot to be said for turning the TV off, as much as I hate to admit it…
  • I have learned that 1200 calories per day can be plenty if I eat the right kinds of foods – minimally processed, real foods are so much more filling (I admit this begrudgingly, much like above bullet)
  • I have taken the edge off of my loathe for cooking and have even made up a list of kitchen supplies I would like to purchase to make cooking even more palatable

I wish I had tracked even more variables, such as blood pressure and fitness tests.  But one can only focus on so much – and I think that in a month full of many other pressures and pitfalls, the above list of accomplishments is plenty.  Bottom line: Am I glad I did it?  Certainly.  Would I do it again?  Yes!  Would I recommend it to others?  Definitely!  Am I planning to totally and sinfully gorge myself on pizza and candy during the Lost premier tomorrow?  Without a doubt.  Hey – a month without pizza is a long time.

Randy and I both plan to continue most of our healthy habits into February.  We feel like we’ve barely scratched the surface, barely gotten started.  So I will continue to limit myself to 1200-1300 calories most days, try to work out several times per week, and try to limit my intake of processed foods.  But I’m going to be a little more lenient about the processed foods than I was this month (so that I can go back to a mindset where a granola bar doesn’t cause me to physically panic).  And we are going to go back to our old rule of eating out one meal per week with total and complete abandon in regard to dietary restrictions.  Hopefully these relaxed guidelines are enough to keep me motivated and in check (some people have told me that I tend to have an all-or-nothing mentality).  And hopefully, I will be reporting another stellar health month on March 1st.  Until then, this blog will return to regularly scheduled programming.  Thank you for tuning in.  🙂

Last Day: Photo #277

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Today is The LAST Day of The Month of Living Healthfully!

Of all days to discover a miracle at the gym.  The machines I use have iPod docs.  I knew this already – I can read quite well and saw the label every time I climbed onto the ski machine this month.  What I didn’t know was that when you plug your iPod into the dock you can watch your videos on the machine’s TV screen!  I watched two of my well-worn episodes of The Office today while sweating my brains out, and it was amazing.  Now I just need to download more videos…

Coming tomorrow: Month of Living Healthfully wrap-up and review!