Saturday, September 30, 2006
The rest of the family, well, we each had our moments. It is truly WRONG to see a young person die. I always thought the next time I would be at a church for B, it would be for his wedding. He would have made a fantastic husband, father, and grandfather.
It was so hard to see him being buried near my Grandmother, and so comforting at the same time. My Aunt will be buried near her son and my Uncle will be buried near his mother when it is all said and done. Hopefully not for many years to come.
I see my cousins, B's siblings, and my heart breaks over and over. I think of the bond I have with my own sister and I know that they must be inconsolable. However, they are going on.
I notice the family. We don't necessarily like each other, but we always love each other. There is a significant difference. This love is evident this past week.
Last, but certainly not least, I realize what a good husband I have. He totally stepped up, and I realize it is because he has made my family his. In every sense. For this I am so grateful considering I couldn't say the same for all of my cousins' chosen spouses. But each of the ones who I noticed this in, I thanked them. Since I appreciated them for holding us up, when we had no strength.
With so much love present, I feel empty. Numb to everything else. Grief leaves me this way. It is almost like an overload of feelings that drains me to nothing. Especially since I know that nothing will be the same, I don't feel the same.
Change. Death brings change. I don't always like change, but I know that it is needed. I just wish that this change didn't have to happen.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
His battle with brain tumors started 12 years ago, involved three brain surgeries, chemo, radiation and ended with a massive brain aneurism.
From the very beginning he had strength, courage, selflessness beyond his age. He never complained about his situation. Never asked "Why me?" Always more concerned for those left behind. He taught me so many lessons even though I was his senior by 8 years.
Today, while he was unconscious I told him these things. I also told him that he was my hero. He is, has always been, an example of a person that I should aspire to be like.
As I mourn, I will remember the lessons he has taught me. Carry them with me forever, along with all the happy moments. I will try to stop asking "Why B?" After all he truly was the very best of us all. And, if there was anyone that God would want near him, it would be him.
As I know he was always mostly concerned with his family, please pray for them with me.
May God's peace and grace fill their hearts' in this time of need. May his healing qualities enrich them in this difficult time and may they realize that they are not alone. I ask this in the name of your son, Jesus. AMEN.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
We don't pursue the medicated IUIs. I continue with the fertility monitor and if by some miracle ovulate without medication we take advantage. After all it would be remis of us not to take advantage. (A free ovulation!)
Please note that I seriously doubt this will happen since I've ovulated once in the last nine months without medication and considering my prognosis of anovulation, it would be a miracle. But miracles happen.
The benefit of the break will be not to be on medication. Not to feel pregnancy symptoms at least for six months. To be able to think clearly. To regain a balance of life and feel less crazy/out of control. To be able to have hope that it will happen someday.
At this point, I don't seriously think it will happen. Therefore, before I am put thru additional treatments of IUI and stronger medication, I need to gain hope that it might be a possibility.
What do I plan on doing in the next six months? Blog, read blogs, read and write on the Vent board, relax, drink my wine, yoga, walk, read coping books on infertility, and maybe see a counselor specializing in infertility or seeing a hypnotist. (The last two are a little out of my usual scope of things, but I need to come to peace with things and calling for reinforcements seems like a good idea.)
Also, planning on finally finishing the letter to the Senator, my post on secondary insurance and finishing my own application, etc.
Wow, I feel like a weight has been lifted.
Monday, September 18, 2006
It was rather an uneventful event in and of it’s self. It had come with several months of me talking and T saying, “Whenever you are ready.” It was the day I stopped taking the Pill and started the pre-natal vitamins. The day, I said to myself, “I’m ready to be a Mom.”
Two years later, there is nothing more I would want to be. Yet, I feel further away from achieving that goal. I’ve sat on trying to obtain secondary insurance. I’ve hit a low with false hope and my body. It could be self preservation, but it seems that I don’t have faith that it will EVER happen biologically. And during this cycle, except that I absolutely HATE active cycles, I simply do not know if I am or not. But with my track record, I seriously doubt it. (I hope I live to eat those words.)
With the fact that T’s car died today (of all days) and we will need to buy a new car in the next few days. I think it may be time to stop and take a break. It seems all the signs are there.
It is time to recharge the batteries. To save some money for trying to conceive since, even with the secondary insurance, it is a daunting financial endeavor. To come to grips that I am anovulatory with PCOS and that for us to have a child it will take more than having intercourse more often. It will take more than Clomid. And I fear more than IUI. Yes, I know that I should have accepted this by now, but I feel like I mourn the situation each time we hit a crossroad in the journey.
With a break, will I be ready to resume in February, probably not, but it will be nice to have a break. To have intercourse, just to have it. To try and loose the 9 pounds that I’ve gained since Christmas. To take a vacation. To escape this madness, this hopelessness, this uncontrollable experience, at least for a little while.
Then I ask myself, will I be OK with others getting pregnant and having children while we wait. I think to myself that this will ALWAYS be the case. It most definitely been the case in the last two years, it will be the case in the future. It is a fact of life, children will be born. And I refused to become bitter because of my body. Again, F*CK my body! I will be happy for them because those babies were meant to be. Not to say, I won’t shed a tear or two or say “how I wish.” But, I will be the PROUD auntie D.
But, it does make my want to escape the holiday season intensify. How I truly want to skip Christmas. It is the time of year, that it becomes evident that our apartment/family is lacking someone. Truthfully, it is the time of year that really hurts. And this year, well, I’m just not looking forward to it. Actually I’m not looking forward to any part of it; shopping with families all around, Santa Clause and all of the children waiting to take their photos, Christmas cards announcing births, the Pregnant Army, etc. Skipping Christmas seems like self preservation at this point.
With all of this said, a break sounds really good at this time too. A break. If only, I could find an island to stay on for the entire six months. To avoid everything baby. (Not to worry, I’m not talking about any of you.) But, it would be nice to avoid all things baby when it comes to me. No more questions. No more admitting of our infertility. No more. At least for 6 months, then we will rethink the situation and go on with the next step of IUI.
Six months seems random. But it isn’t. I’ve decided that December, January, and February would be break months anyway. (My baby sister is getting married next October, I refuse to not make the wedding.) Therefore those were designated as time off anyway. Also, I can partake in flex medical spending account thru my company. It seems like a good idea to get that started before we do the secondary insurance. With all of that said and done, it is also the smart thing to do.
A two year present to myself for this awkward anniversary, a trying to conceive break. So hoping it will be a peaceful six months.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
The reason that I'm intrigued by this syndrom is that visually I don't have a great deal of PCOS characteristics. My Primary Care and Gynecologist, both dismissed PCOS despite my hormone levels. The only hormone that is out of whack is my testosterone. So, I've been intrigued to see what characteristics do pertain to me.
My initial research led me to The International Council on Infertility Information Dissemination, Inc. (I have a link to the site on the left.) On this site, it has PCOS frequently asked questions. Per this site, many women with PCOS suffer from the following (I've highlighted the items that effect me.):
- Amenorrhea (no menstrual period), infrequent menses, and/or oligomenorrhea (irregular bleeding) — Cycles are often greater than six weeks in length, with eight or fewer periods in a year. Irregular bleeding may include lengthy bleeding episodes, scant or heavy periods, or frequent spotting.
- Oligo or anovulation (infrequent or absent ovulation) — While women with PCOS produce follicles — which are fluid-filled sacs on the ovary that contain an egg — the follicles often do not mature and release as needed for ovulation. It is these immature follicles that create the cysts.
- Hyperandrogenism — Increased serum levels of male hormones. Specifically, testosterone, androstenedione, and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS).
- Infertility — Infertility is the inability to get pregnant within six to 12 months of unprotected intercourse, depending on age. With PCOS, infertility is usually due to ovulatory dysfunction.
- Cystic ovaries — Classic PCOS ovaries have a "string of pearls" or "pearl necklace" appearance with many cysts (fluid-filled sacs). It is difficult to diagnose PCOS without the presence of some cysts or ovarian enlargement, but sometimes more subtle alterations may not have been recorded, or are not recognized as abnormal, by the ultrasonographer.
- Enlarged ovaries — Polycystic ovaries are usually 1.5 to 3 times larger than normal.
- Chronic pelvic pain — The exact cause of this pain isn't known, but it may be due to enlarged ovaries leading to pelvic crowding. It is considered chronic when it has been noted for greater than six months.
- Obesity or weight gain — Commonly a woman with PCOS will have what is called an apple figure where excess weight is concentrated heavily in the abdomen, similar to the way men often gain weight, with comparatively narrower arms and legs. The hip:waist ratio is smaller than on a pear-shaped woman — meaning there is less difference between hip and waist measurements. It should be noted that most, but not all, women with PCOS are overweight.
- Insulin resistance, hyperinsulinemia, and diabetes — Insulin resistance is a condition where the body's use of insulin is inefficient. It is usually accompanied by compensatory hyperinsulinemia — an over-production of insulin. Both conditions often occur with normal glucose levels, and may be a precursor to diabetes, in which glucose intolerance is further decreased and blood glucose levels may also be elevated.
- Dyslipidemia (lipid abnormalities) — Some women with PCOS have elevated LDL and reduced HDL cholesterol levels, as well as high triglycerides.
- Hypertension (high blood pressure) — Blood pressure readings over 140/90.
- Hirsutism (excess hair) — Excess hair growth such as on the face, chest, abdomen, thumbs, or toes.
- Alopecia (male-pattern baldness or thinning hair) — The balding is more common on the top of the head than at the temples.
- Acne/Oily Skin/Seborrhea — Oil production is stimulated by overproduction of androgens.
- Seborrhea is dandruff — flaking skin on the scalp caused by excess oil.
- Acanthosis nigricans (dark patches of skin, tan to dark brown/black) — Most commonly on the back of the neck, but also but also in skin creases under arms, breasts, and between thighs, occasionally on the hands, elbows and knees. The darkened skin is usually velvety or rough to the touch.
- Acrochordons (skin tags) — Tiny flaps (tags) of skin that usually cause no symptoms unless irritated by rubbing.
I may actually suffer cysts or large ovaries, but my insurance doesn't cover ultrasound for infertility testing, therefore my RE has never gone that far. Also, from what I've read you only need to have three of the symptoms to be considered with PCOS. So despite the fact that I don't have hirsutism or obesity (The ten pounds that I would like to go away, don't put me in this category. Also, please note I am not complaining, actually kind of grateful.), I do have PCOS.
After my initial research, I purchased a book titled PCOS and Your Fertility by Colette Harris and Theresa Cheung. An interesting tid bit:
People with PCOS should take extra vitamins and minerals. Because they produce too many stress hormones: cortisol and adrenaline. And when you are under too much stress, "they start to wear you down and overproduce not just cortisol and adrenaline, but testosterone, too. Excess cortisol, adrenaline, and testosterone will not only make PCOS worse, but will also drive your body toward irregular periods and subfertility. The adrenals rely on vitamins C, B5, B6, zinc and magnesium, and these are rapidly depleted when you're under stress, so a good multivatimin and mineral every day makes sense."
Why is this interesting? Well, because I ALWAYS have some type of cold. In the last three weeks, since reading the above paragraph, I've been taking an additional vitamin C to my pre-natal vitamin. Guess what? No colds.
Granted, I found a few more interesting tid bits, but the above paragraph was the most poignant.
Ultimately, to my Primary Care and Gynecologist, please consider more than what you see on the outside, because you may be overlooking something.
Now, I hate active cycles. Why, because they give me hope. Again, it should be word banned from my vocabulary. Especially when it is false hope. Let me explain.
Like I said, I've been on Clomid for four cycles. The first was in May. I admit, I had no idea what to expect. The cycle was active. I felt nauseous, absent minded, crampy, experienced a keen sense of smell, etc. Basically, everything that I hear pregnancy causes. So, my first cycle I was convinced that I had ovulated. Since my gynecologist gave me the script and sent me on my way, I wasn't being monitored. I figured from body changes I had ovulated on CD 13. Although I never got a LH surge on my hand dandy monitor.
Well, at my first and second appointment with the RE, I found out that I was completely wrong.
My first appointment with the RE, I was at CD 30. They gave me blood work to determine if I did indeed ovulate. It came back inconclusive. As a result, I was told to come back in a week if my period had not started, which I did. During that blood draw, they saw the progesterone spike.
Yes, people the gynecologist had given me bad advice about when to take the Clomid as well as the wrong dosage, and as a result I ovulated between CD 30 and 38. Also she didn't tell me that my monitor would work while on the Clomid. (Because my PCOS doesn't come along with a high LH which she must have known considering I had that checked at her office.) So, despite all the body signs I read, I never surged.
Very aggravating considering I was convinced that I had ovulated and could possible be pregnant. Granted the four home pregnancy tests and the beta confirmed the opposite.
I did a little bit more research and found that Clomid causes pregnancy symptoms. Somehow I find that cruel.
So, the RE upped the dosage to 100mg and directed me to take it on CD 5-9 instead of CD 1-5. I've ovulated three times on that dosage. Also, relatively early for me(CD 20, CD 18 and CD 18). Much better. At that dosage, my symptoms involved cramps pre-ovulation, moodiness, and forgetfulness. Nothing really bad and to be honest, my body was really behaving by not having pregnancy symptoms. In my book, it was being considerate.
Well, I think I may have thought that too early. My body is misbehaving again. I know, when has it been cooperative or supportive in this endeavor?
For the last few days, I've been experiencing cramps, an accute sense of smell, nausea, moodiness and forgetfulness.
DO NOT SAY IT.....WHATEVER YOU ARE THINKING....PLEASE....DO NOT SAY IT TO ME OR THINK IT.
I really feel this false hope again. As a result, I am guarding myself and chalking it up to that. FUCK my body. I am stopping the mind games!
So, this two week wait will only suck even more than usual not only because of the active cycle. Besides the fact I had a bridal shower last Sunday that I forbad myself from drinking at; I also have a family party this Saturday that I won't be allowed to drink at! UGH! Also, my test day is J's wedding. YUP, my fourth active cycle SUCKS right now. The only thing that could change it, well I don't need to say it, because you all know what could change it.
With that all said. I am not in a bad place. Honestly, I am feeling calm, cool, and collect. I don't want to get my hopes up anymore. If it happens I will be ECSTATIC. However, if it doesn't I want to just accept the SUCKINESS of infertility and move on. It will be the only way I can get thru this situation.
Also, despite this post, I am always HOPEFUL. I am the eternal optimist. And even when I fight hope, I am hopeful.
Praying that FALSE HOPE dies a long and painful death, soon.
Sunday, September 10, 2006
laughter without sorrow or sun without rain.
But God did promise strength for the day,
comfort for the tears and a light for the way.
And for all who believe in His kingdom above,
He answers their faith with everlasting love.
I've been praying for peace, grace, and faith.
Peace provides calm, acceptance, and openness to the future. Grace is the sensation of having someone else in control. Faith is peace of mind that the Almighty God will take care of everything for us. They are healing gifts that I am desperately yearning for right now.
Notice, I have not been praying for hope.
Hope is disappointment, especially when it comes to trying to conceive.
In the next two week wait, I'm asking for peace, grace, faith, and a little strength.
Today, at a Bridal Shower, while I was sitting next to the only pregnant person in the room. Well, because it was the only seat available. I realized that there was only one person in the room who knew besides me of our dealings with infertility.
While, I was sitting there my mother-in-law and I were chatting along with the rest of the women in my husband's family. I hardly feel close to these women, except for the one who knows. And I hardly feel guilty that the majority do not know.
However, as I was being introduced to an old family friend as T's wife and that all important question was posed to me by my mother-in-law. "When are you having children?"
I thought quickly of my options. 1. I've been diagnosed with high testosterone and don't ovulate without medication. Also we have started going thru infertility treatments. 2. It really isn't any of your business. 3. We're working on it.
I choose number three. Thinking while saying it that telling my mother-in-law maybe need to be done before the family wedding in October.
It feels like I'm confessing a dirty secret. Not sure why. I'm not embarassed about the diagnosis. But, we don't have a close relationship. She is my husband's mother. However, they aren't very close either.
How I wish we would just get lucky soon so that I wouldn't have to make any more confessions to people that I don't feel inclined to share with.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
I’ve literally been angry with my body. Yes, I know exactly how stupid that sounds. I'm angry at my body but not at myself. See, I think that I’ve separated the one into two in order for my psyche to deal with the frustration of trying to conceive. Please note that I’ve never been thrilled with its operating skills when it came to the reproductive system, but the last few months have definitely brought it more into to focus.
After reading about Large Pandas. It turns out that they too only ovulate once a year and have to resort to ART to have a child. Somehow, I feel a camaraderie with the animal. After all, I too have only ovulated once in the last nine months au natural and have to resort to drugs to get myself to ovulate. I wonder if I could get into the endangered species category and have the national community pay for my ART.
I may have found an insurance. However, I need to finalize it and as soon as I do I will share with you all what I’ve learned. Call me crazy, but I just don’t want to jinx it.
Last week, I was swamped at work, trying to find insurance and I have been put thru a ringer with my parents.
They think I am their slave and have given me several tasks to be completed by October for my sister's engagement party. One including booking flights for my Grandparents. Not a big deal in and of its self. More than willing to do it, because yes I would like to see my Grandparents. But, when your mother calls you 27 times in 7 days. Well, I’ve had it. Last three calls, my father YELLED at me over the engagement invitation list. I’m doing the script, I have nothing to do with the list. Last time I checked, I’m 30 years old and beyond the point where he should be yelling at me, especially over a wedding that is not mine!
Don’t they know I have enough stress in my life, that I don’t need them to add to it! Not to mention that stress is not conducive to what I am trying to accomplish.
Yesterday, after the SIXTH phone call and the THIRD call of me getting yelled at, T has decided to change our phone number to a private number. Yes, it does sound extreme. But, I am starting to see his brilliance in this situation. The wedding is a year away and if they are this crazy about the engagement party. Imagine how crazy they will be over the shower and wedding. Now, is the perfect time to change our number. Craziness.