Month: November 2013
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Acu-Pros vs. Acu-Cons

People often ask me how being treated with acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine differs from being treated in an OB or RE’s office… I usually respond by muttering something snarky about the amount of needle pokes, but truthfully, there are a lot of differences!

I’ve been thinking about and adding to this list for a while now, and I hope it helps someone who is just getting started on their infertility journey and is wondering what path to take, or someone who has been on their path for some time now, and feels that they need a change of direction.

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Acupuncture/TCM vs. Western Medicine:  The Good

Little to NO blood work with TCM vs. Lab blood draws 3-5 times per Western cycle

Acu appointments are as relaxing as lying on a warm massage table with soft music playing while taking a little nap vs. Stressful and sometimes humiliating “get in the stirrups for Dr. Dildocam” RE appointments

TCM practitioners practice open, honest communication vs. Doctors and nurses who sometimes hold your lab results hostage until you blow a gasket over the phone

No nasty drug reactions with TCM or acupuncture vs. Western meds that can cause hot flashes, nausea, headaches, and other even nastier side-effects like OHSS

Naturally guide your body to better all-around health vs. Forcing your body into submission with synthetic hormones

Less risk of multiple births vs. Some Western meds and treatments where multiple birth outcomes are commonplace, risking the health of mom and babies

Acu and TCM influence you to clean up your diet vs. Western meds which make you emotional, irrational, and generally like a narcoleptic T-Rex, eating everything terrible in its path.  And then napping.

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Acupuncture/TCM vs. Western Medicine:  The Bad

Acupuncture and TCM are often not covered by insurance policies, forcing out of pocket costs vs. Infertility treatments with an RE, which are sometimes covered up to a certain point

Acu and TCM require patience, and seeing results can take 3 to 6 months with treatment vs. Western meds and in-office monitoring, which offer immediate gratification (and delicious lab results to obsess over!)

Acu appointments may happen as much as once or twice per week for the treatment period vs. RE monitoring which typically lumps the bulk of the appointments into the beginning of the cycle

Acupuncture and herbs can only do so much for someone with a severe case of whatever-is-causing-your-infertility vs. Western medicine’s ability to diagnose and treat – sometimes surgically correct – issues which Eastern medicine just can’t combat effectively

I’m not gonna lie:  herbs taste gross when brewed as a tea, but some come in capsule form vs. Western meds which mostly come in pill form… Or as injections and suppositories, which are also not fun…

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Acupuncture/TCM vs. Western Medicine:  Your Choice

I realize that I threw a lot at you there, but it really comes down to this:

Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine have been around for thousands of years.  They are tried and proven effective for many, many situations and different types of people – especially for fertility.

While TCM can’t be expected to treat everything under the sun, the success rates for fertility, while hard to pinpoint due to erratic research information, are there.  There are no (or very few) side-effects, you’re healthier and less stressed while you’re committed to the program, which helps to enrich your life in general, not just in the baby-makin’ department.

Western medicine is nothing short of a modern miracle with its ability to combine egg and sperm in a petri dish, and create life outside of the womb.  There’s no substitute for what doctors and nurses can do in labs, but Western medicine also isn’t your only option.  Your Ob-Gyn may not know what to do with you beyond a few cycles of Clomid, but that’s no reason not to educate yourself on the choices you have for your body and reproductive future.

If you have Unexplained Infertility, PCOS, or Endometriosis (and other fun diagnoses!) and are tired of feeling hormonal, defeated, and anxious, then Acu and TCM may be worth looking into.

If you’re struggling with a severe diagnosis, a physical abnormality like fibroids or a tubal issue, or are just not capable of giving three to six months to this process, then stick with that RE.

Actually, no.

Stay with your RE, but find out if they will allow you to solicit the help of an experienced and fertility-specializing Acu/TCM practitioner during your Western treatments.

I truly believe that everyone can benefit from at least some aspect of this process, whether it’s the dietary and lifestyle changes, the herbs and supplements, or the acupuncture-induced zen relaxation.

I don’t think I’ve met one person who has seen an Acupuncturist for fertility that has regretted their pursuit of the Eastern path, whether it worked for them directly, indirectly, or perhaps not at all.

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Is there anything that any of you might add to these lists?

What has been your experience with Acu/TCM vs. Western medicine?

Who has a success story – with either treatment option – or both! – that they can share to encourage others?

Who wants me to stop asking questions and just end this post already?  😀

***

…Fine.  You win.

Happy Hump Day, y’all!

The Infertility Oscars, Part Two

Hi all,  I know I’ve owed you a Part Two for a while now, and I apologize for leaving you hanging.  The husband and I have had two devastating losses in our families in the past few days, and in the chaos that comes with grief, things like blogging have taken a back seat.  We

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The Infertility Oscars, Part One

I’ve tried to write this post three times now, for days since the event on Wednesday… The words either won’t come, or they come all at once.

Neither situation is conducive to an articulate blog post.

I’m having a hard time figuring out how to adequately express how I feel about the awesomeness that was RESOLVE’s 2013 Night of Hope gala.

I guess I’ll just start at the beginning, and cover every excruciating detail…  As is my way.  😉

The husband and I decided to take it easy the day of the event, allowing ourselves to sleep in, wandering out to get some greasy diner breakfast that morning, and taking a nice walk around Soho in the beautiful, sunny, fall weather.  We also found a little corner grocery, and stocked up on drinks and snacks for the day, since we knew we’d be holed up in the hotel room getting all pretty for a couple of hours.

…What?  It takes work!

It takes him less time to look like a stud than it takes me to put on mascara.  Cheater.

It takes him less time to look like a stud than it takes me to put on mascara. Cheater.

Anyway, once we were all made-up, ironed, pressed, and coiffed – okay, once I was – we two soft Midwesterners managed to hail a cab all on our own (after walking a couple of blocks…) and were on our way to the pre-event rehearsal at Chelsea Piers.

…And then our taxi got pulled over.

It was kind of hilarious at the time, because with all of the flashing lights and sirens constantly going off in the city, we really had no clue we were being stopped by police until the man in blue approached the window.  People we told later said that they had never been pulled over in a cab, and they’d lived in the city their whole lives!

We chalked it up to bad luck, but luck was with us in that the incident was a quick one, and we were still very much on-time for the event rehearsal.

As we arrived and checked in, we met Rebecca, my contact from RESOLVE, who had been in touch with me since I found out I’d won the award.  She was so amazingly helpful and friendly, and she made me feel completely at ease when I was nervous about many aspects of the evening.  We walked through the layout of the ballroom where dinner would be served, and she showed me how I’d be approaching the steps to the stage.  She even offered to let me give the steps a trial run if I was really that scared I’d trip on the way up.

Or down.

SPOILER ALERT:  I didn’t actually trip.  I’m not sure my feet even touched the ground, to be honest.

After I had a handle on the layout of the room and a schedule of the events in my sweaty little hands, the cocktail hour before the event began.  The room started to fill up with people in suits and dresses, and the bar was mercifully OPEN.  The husband and I didn’t know anyone, so we grabbed a bar table and sipped our water, just taking it all in.

After a while, we were approached by some interesting characters:  a lawyer from a New York surrogacy law firm who was a former lobbyist, a doctor from South Dakota who specializes in sperm DNA (and who had a little silver sperm pin on his lapel), and finally, I was taken off to a corner where I had the honor of meeting Barb Collura, the President and CEO of RESOLVE, and Corey Huffman, who was to introduce me onstage.  Both of these women were so sweet, and made me feel so comfortable.  We had some photos taken and chatted a bit, and then they were whisked away to other responsibilities.

Me with Barbara Collura, President/CEO of RESOLVE

Me with Barbara Collura, President/CEO of RESOLVE

I just have to say that every single person I met that night – and there were many – was so lovely and welcoming.  Being a Bible Belt Midwesterner in a huge, gritty, fast-paced place like New York City was a bit of a culture shock sometimes, but knowing that there were people in a big ballroom from all over the country and all walks of life, people who had a connection to RESOLVE and to infertility, and people who were there because they honestly care… well, that made me feel right at home, despite the distance.

Once the dining room opened up, we found our table and started meeting our dining companions.  The husband and I were seated with the four fabulous lawyers who were awarded one of the Hope Awards for Advocacy, and their husbands.  They were so much fun, and such an inspirational group of ladies to be seated with!

Dinner was fantastic, what little of it I was able to eat… I was so nervous about getting onstage!  Luckily the wine was poured without my asking, so that gave me a good excuse for a little lubrication of my nerves, if ya know what I mean.  During the meal, there were several speakers, including Barbara Collura, celebrity blogger and infertility advocate Rosie Pope, and the host of the evening, actress and advocate Elisabeth Rohm.  There were a few testimonial videos shown as well, and throughout the night there were announcements of how much money the event, which doubles as a fundraiser, had raised so far.

By the end of the evening, over $213,000 was raised for infertility support, awareness, and research!  How awesome is that?!

As dinner began to wind down, the clock was ticking on the awards ceremony getting underway.  There were just a couple of awards in front of me, and each one took less than five minutes from introduction to acceptance and applause.  It was just a few minutes before I’d be up, and I was only half listening to the speakers, and half reviewing the remarks I’d written…

Oh.  About those remarks…

I started, stopped, wrote, and rewrote what I wanted to say at least ten times before we arrived in New York.  Nothing was right.  I finally woke up early on the day of the gala and started typing… I think the problem was with the pen and paper.  I need to type to really feel free, I suppose.

And so, I emailed myself the basic points I wanted to hit while I had the chance, not really thinking about about how I’d go about printing them.

Well, I never did end up printing that email.

Sitting at the dinner table at the Night of Hope gala, waiting to be called to the stage, I realized that I was going to have to take my cell phone up onstage with me.

Awesome.

And yet, maybe it was appropriate for a blogger to have chosen a technological media from which to read her remarks…

Remarks which I will give you in their entirety in the next post, as I don’t want to lose anyone with the monstrous length of the post as it would be if I kept going.

Please come back for Part Two, which I’ll get out just as soon as possible!

 

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Bits of the event from my handbag at the end of the evening…

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Guess what today is?

Don’t say Hump Day… Don’t even say it…

 

SWEET BABY JESUS, TODAY IS THE DAY!

 

Okay… okay.  Bring it down a notch.

Let me tell you about the last 48 hours first…

So yesterday, Tuesday, the husband and I crawled out of bed at 2:30am and got our sleepy behinds out of the house in Toledo somehow managed to arrive at the airport in Detroit on time for our first flight.

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Good morning from 25,000 feet over… Kentucky maybe?

We flew from The D to Music City USA, Nashville, TN, first, and were able to have enough time there to utilize the facilities and score a couple of cookies from an airport cookie stand.  Our connection there left about 40 minutes after the first one landed, so we had just enough time before we were off on the second leg of our journey.

From there, we were off to New York.  The flight was uneventful, though I managed to get a window seat, but all I saw was clouds for most of the trip.  I also had to ask the flight attendant for hot water so I could mix up my herbs.  Pretty sure I looked suspicious with my little canisters of powder in my purse, but no one said anything to me…

Now I haven’t been to the city since high school, and honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect because I know so much has changed over the years.  The airport itself was packed with people, as one might expect in a city as populous as NYC.  We managed to find a taxi and started off toward our hotel.

We had some time to kill when we arrived, though, having sort of forgotten that even early check-ins don’t typically allow you into your room as early as 11:30am.  We left our luggage with the front desk, and headed out to explore the city.

Since our hotel is in the Chinatown/Little Italy/Soho area, we were not disappointed in the people-watching.  After walking for a bit, we got some coffee (tea for me, thanks) and sat in a little park to decide where we wanted to go next.

A sculpture in the park.  I don't know what it is, but it looks like taffy... I'm willing to bet it probably tastes like Hep C, though.

A sculpture in the park. I don’t know what it is, but it looks like taffy… I’m willing to bet it probably tastes like Hep C, though.

Ultimately, we decided that since we could see the new World Trade Center building above the rest of the skyline, that we’d walk over and check it out a little closer.  The memorial site is still being worked on heavily, so we weren’t able to get in, but the building itself was beautiful, and I can see why people say that it’s like a symbol of hope standing guard over the city.

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We walked down to Battery Park and just enjoyed the sights from there.  We took some photos by the water and did touristy things where there weren’t a lot of people around to judge us for being touristy.  Ha.

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Aw, New Jersey… Looking good from here!

The fall colors are beautiful in the city this time of year – I’m so glad we didn’t miss the window before everything turns brown and dies!

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This isn’t the best picture, but the husband really wanted a shot of the spire of the Empire State Building over those pretty trees there.

We walked and walked and walked some more, before we had finally killed enough time for our hotel room to be ready.  As we walked back to Soho, we decided that we were le tired, having been in three different states, two airplanes and a taxi, and having walked a good 10 miles since 3am.  As we got back to the hotel and got our things unpacked in our teeny-tiny (but nice!) hotel room, we made the mistake of sitting down on the comfy bed.

In our defense, there was no where else to sit, let alone stand, at the time with our stuff all over, but we ended up just vegging out in bed, watching Moonshiners, in the most exciting city in the nation.  And then we napped.

This city may never sleep, but we Midwesterners sure do.

Ultimately, we got up and got moving around dinner time, and ended up at a cute little place in Little Italy.  We had rice balls stuffed with sausage and peas, a giant pasta dish to share, and the husband ordered me my favorite dessert, crème brûlée.  It was a great meal and experience, and as we were preparing to leave, we learned that the table next to us had flown in from the Detroit area, too.  We chatted for a few minutes, wished them safe travels back to the homeland, and then went on our way.

It really is a small world, even in a HUGE city.

After traveling, lugging luggage, walking all over, generally stressing out about everything, and a full meal of carbs and sugary dessert, we were wiped out.  Back to the bed we went, and I fell asleep with my laptop in my hands, intending to write this post twelve hours ago.

But, alas, here we are now, and thankfully so, as I doubt I’d have been able to string two words together last night.

Which brings me to The Other Thing.

I haven’t yet written what I want to say on stage tonight.

I KNOW.  I’ve had ALL THE TIME.

I mean, I know what I want to say, but not how I want to say it…

I guess I’ve just been occupied with my dress and shoes and travel arrangements, but as I write this now, cozy in my bed in my tiny hotel room in the biggest city in the US, reality is hitting me.

HARD.

The hours of this day are going to fly by as we have so much to do.  This event starts at 6pm, but I need to be there by 4:30.

Somehow I need to get breakfast, lunch, herbs and vitamins, showering, primping, and acceptance speech writing all into that short period of time.

I can do it, I know, but it’s still just as intimidating as when I thought about writing it two months ago…

With that, I better go and attend to my many responsibilities.  As well as wake up the husband, who is somehow still asleep while I click-click-tap next to him.

Speaking of him, here’s a cute picture I took of the man in question yesterday.  What a sweetie.  🙂

He said it would be chilly in New York, so he wore a coat and grew a beard.

He said it would be chilly in New York, so he wore a coat and grew a beard.

I better get going, but I wanted to keep you all updated as much as possible because, after all, you are the reason I’m even HERE right now.

So for that, and for so many other things over the past four years:

Thank you.

Thank YOU.

THANK YOU.

Now wish me luck so I don’t fall down onstage or say vagina in my acceptance speech.  🙂

REAL QUICK LIKE…

Hiya friends. Things have been cuh-razy around here, what with Halloween, getting ready for the New York Night of  Hope trip (which is NEXT WEEK OMG), and having a mystery illness last weekend, so I’ve fallen behind on posting! I just wanted to let everyone out there know that YES, I am still alive, and

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