Tag: RE
Video

Things That Are Good

Today’s blog post is brought you by things in my life that are good (spoiler alert: it’s ALL THE THINGS), and Liz Lemon.

Why?  Because I’m happy, and because it’s my damn blog, and because Liz Lemon is my spirit animal.

Ready?

*****

So I know I haven’t posted in a few weeks, and it’s mainly because I’ve just been so darn busy.

Yeah okay, some of that busy-ness has been in the form of catching up on my dvr-ed programming, eating whatevathecrap I feel like, and generally carving out a deeper ass-indent in my couch, but some of it has actually been productive, yo!

But really, I’ve been up to some things in my regular old life these days.

THINGS, you guys.

Firstly, I’m like 98.56% sure that I ovulated on cycle day 15 last month.

FIFTEEN.

WHAT?  Like, without drugs??

Uhh… apparently so.  The new herbs McStabby has me taking seem to be working some kinda miracles down-unda, and I’m hoping the miraculous normality continues into this month.

So yay for functioning girly-bits!

Also, McStabby totally went all bitter renegade Infertility Advocate on me at my last appointment.  Seriously.  He was all like “UNEXPLAINED INFERTILITY IS SUCH A BULLSH*T NON-DIAGNOSIS, GOD!” 

It was crazy, and awesome, and I almost would have laughed, but I was too impressed.  Basically, he is like SO OVER hearing about unexplained infertility as a hard and fast diagnosis.  He wants some of his UI patients to start looking more into other causes of infertility, like immunological issues and bacterial infections.

There are really no reproductive immunologists in this area, so he wants me to start with my OB rather than my RE.  He said that the OB may be more receptive to requesting some of these tests, and less likely to blacklist me from the office for even asking.

Because, you know, I see an acupuncturist, take Chinese herbs, and want to talk about antibiotic therapy and testing for immunological disorders, and I guess some fancy doctors don’t like that stuff.

So I’m trying to decide if this is a path I want to explore, or if I want to just want to keep on keepin’ on with the whole “infertility on the back burner” thing.

It’s a conundrum, to be sure.  I have no idea what to do here.

Aside from that, another cool thing happened:

I made a friend on Facebook.  A FRIEND WHO LIKES BOOKS.  I ran into her a while back in the comments section of a book blog I read, and she and I bonded over our shameful love of Bar Rescue marathons (don’t judge me).  I recognized her name as a news reporter for a local station, and lo and behold, she is also on the Facebooks and is totally friends with another blogger I love.

It was sorta meant to be, you guys.

Anyway, I sent her an email letting her know about the new RESOLVE support group I was looking to promote, and asked whether she thought the station would be willing to share a flyer on their website or via social media or something, and she was like “why don’t you come on my Sunday cooking show and we can talk about it on the air?”

And I accepted.

I was nervous as all get-out, but I think I actually spoke in coherent sentences (without any accidental swearing, yay!).

One thing did happen that I feel badly about, but I didn’t realize it until well after the show had already aired…

Prior to the taping, I was talking with my interviewer and a few other people in the room about infertility, and about people they knew that had struggled to get pregnant.  One of the women mentioned her sister, who had had years of trouble conceiving, and we talked about her sister’s stories of a coworker who was an unhealthy drunken chain-smoker that had magical Duggar-like fertility.  We’ve all heard stories like this, and it’s enough to make a compassionate infertile roll her eyes at the injustice of it all.

During the interview, I said something like “why can the girl at work who drinks and smokes get pregnant, and not me?”, generalizing, and referring to that bit of conversation we’d had off camera.  Apparently, some people I work with may have thought I was actually talking about someone specific in our office who is pregnant (and not a drunken chain-smoker at all, by the way)… which came to a bit of a shock to me, because OMG I WOULD NEVER!

I feel like such an a-hole, even though it was a completely innocent comment that had nothing to do with anyone I actually know.

Ugh.

So, you know… Tracy – 0, Tracy’s Foot-in-Mouth – 68,759.

Oh right.  Here’s the link to the video… I’m after the Fitbit segment at about 2:40.

And you know the best part of that day?  I spent two days prior deciding on what to wear, ultimately coming up with a navy sweater over a coral shirt and some light khaki pants.

You know what happens when you wear khakis, right?

Yep.  Tracy – 0, Scumbag Uterus – 159

Okay, so I guess that was a good thing with some bad undertones… but ultimately it was a good thing, so it still fits within the parameters of this good-things-and-Liz-Lemon-themed blog post.

YESSIR.  Still counts.

The last good thing I want to talk about is my RESOLVE support group.

We met for the first time last night, and while I can’t discuss specifics, I can tell you that we had a pretty nice turnout for a first meeting!  Six women attended, and I feel like it was a great mix of people in different stages of their journey to parenthood.  We had some lively conversations, there were a lot of different topics thrown out for further discussion at upcoming meetings, and I feel like the women who attended really wanted to be there.

This group means a lot to me, both in the sense that doing the legwork to make it happen is very fulfilling, but also in the sense that I have really been missing being a part of a group that exists because of a shared passion.

Also, we’re kind of like the really sassy Island of Misfit Toys, and I kind of love that.

So it’s all good right now.

Like, ridiculously good.

Marriage?  Good.

Work?  Good.

DVR capacity?  Good.

Life?

Bring it on, life.  I’m pretty happy accepting only good things from you for a change.

Let’s keep up the good work, eh?

Status

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.

***

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.

***

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…

***

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.

***

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!

Status

Direction

Today was my first meeting with Dr. F, the head of reproductive medicine at the University of Michigan.

Before I even met her, I met with a nurse who took my vitals and reviewed my file with me, and a resident who talked to me about all of my past treatments and doctors.

By the time I met Dr. F, I had already told my entire life story to two separate people, and they had relayed the information to her.

Dr. F was very compassionate, understanding, kind, and warm.  That made me like her.

She was also confident, sharp as a tack, very direct, and didn’t beat around the bush.  That made me love her.

After exchanging pleasantries, she made mention of the fact that we’ve been trying a loooooong time.  I agreed, and she said that typically in a situation like this, she doesn’t start by dictating the course of our future, but asking where I would like to go.  She understood that I am savvy when it comes to my body and what testing and treatments are out there, and that I am a professional internet research.  She liked that I had asked for testing from Dr. K when it seemed like we were not getting anywhere, and she actually LOOKED at my BBT charts.

Like, looked at them.  Studied them.  Seriously.

And she likes that I’m in acupuncture!

I like this lady.

So, after discussing where I’ve been and what I’ve done previously, Dr. F said that it seems like I’ve had a fairly thorough workup, especially with the recent testing I’d asked for.  I brought in a typed up summary of all of my recent test results, and that made the process of going through the important levels much more efficient.

She asked why I had never had a laparoscopy, especially with my history of heavy, painful periods, and I told her that none of my previous doctors had thought it necessary.  She thought that was odd considering that all of my ultrasound records show what looks like a cystic area on my left ovary.  Suspicious, and worth taking a look.

She schooled me on some of the finer points of recent studies showing little difference between the success rates of women with endometriosis having laparoscopies, and women who went without, but also said that diagnosing endometriosis can help to better determine treatment plans in the future.  She wants to have me complete some other testing first, and then consider a lap in a month or two if we aren’t successful at that point.

She also was honest with me about my timeframe for conception… It hasn’t happened in four years, even with all we’ve tried, and without IVF, it may be even longer before we find success.  She wants me to consider IVF within this calendar year if we aren’t successful soon.

Honesty.  I get it.  I’m right there with ya, sister.

It’s been almost three years since my HSG, so Dr. F wants to have me do a hysteroscopy as soon as my next cycle begins to rule out uterine polyps or fibroids.  Let’s not waste time!  I like that!

I’m also being screened for cystic fibrosis, and having my thyroid panel redrawn, including thyroid antibodies to rule out autoimmune thyroid disease.

All of these things make me feel like we’ll be getting a clearer picture of my overall health and fertility, but one thing Dr. F said took me aback.

“Has anyone ever told you that you have PCOS?”

“…Uh.  No…?”

“Well that’s odd.”

“…Is it?”

“Yes!  Look right here!”

And then she proceeded to show me how I have several instances of increased androgen levels on different lab results, and that my follicle counts during the AMIGOS study were quite a bit higher than what’s normal.  Per Dr. F, if I had irregular cycles and insulin resistance as well, she would diagnose me on the spot, but she sees enough evidence in my overeager ovaries and the hairs on my chinny-chin-chin (which I meticulously pluck!) to make the call.

The thing about having PCOS when you don’t have insulin resistance is that there’s not a direct game plan.

I don’t need to lose weight.  I don’t need to take Metformin to control my blood sugar.  I don’t need to diet (though I already am, a bit).

In my case, the treatment would be medicated cycles.  In this particular case, Dr. F wants me to do Gonal-F hybrid cycles with IUI.

If we do one cycle that fails, we will proceed to the laparoscopy, and after recovery, try another before reevaluating.

All in all, I feel like there was a lot discussed today, and I feel like there’s a plan in place.

I do so hate standing still…

It’s nice to have direction, and to feel confident in medical professionals again.  I know there’s still a long way to go, and that none of this may actually make a difference, but it’s still nice to feel like I’m moving forward again.

🙂

Oh, and here’s a video that made me laugh till I almost peed.  Almost.

Status

Unexpected

June 17th, 2011.  CD16, 3DPO…?

So yesterday at this time, I was settling in to the thought that I had about a week’s wait before ovulation.

Today, apparently, I am firmly in the Two Week Wait.

Crazy, right?  I know!

I went to my chart on Fertility Friend and checked out when I had my temp rise, which lined up exactly with the time frame the ultrasound tech told me she thought I had ovulated–two to three days ago.  So, I did what any obsessive TTC-er would do; I manually overrode the system and placed my ovulation date.

I feel like such a cheater!  And a slouch!  Not only did I not know I ovulated, even if I had been using OPK’s to test, I probably wouldn’t have started using them until after the day I actually ovulated anyway!  And forget about Sexy Timing!  We probably would have started yesterday, had I not received the unexpected news about my premature ovulation. Thankfully, there was one little “encounter” a few days ago that made it onto the chart before the egg-drop, or I would have to chalk this month up to a total waste before it even got off the ground.

What is my body trying to do to me??

Read More

Status

RE-Day, Epilogue

This is totally going to be me: On my period and all smug and Zen and crap. Just wait.

Alright, first of all, thank you for following all of this madness today.  I wish this blog had a Facebook-like status update button so I could have avoided bogging down the whole site with teeny two-sentence posts.  Alas, I am not that savvy, and so, again, thank you for sticking around!

The rest of RE-Day went a little like this:

After a bit of a wait (and a delicious lunch), I was brought in for my date with the ultrasound wand, which is just as much fun as it sounds.  The very nice ultrasound tech told me a few things I already knew (thanks to a good friend!):  My uterus is retroverted, my egg supply looks good in both ovaries, and all of my girl-parts look like they’re healthy and in the appropriate places.

She also asked me what cycle day today is for me, and I told her–CD15.  But, I said, I have long cycles and ovulate late, so I don’t expect ovulation for another few days, maybe even a week.  Trust me.  I chart these things.  Religiously.

The very nice ultrasound tech informed me that it looked to her like I already had ovulated on my left side.

Wait.

What?!?

Pardon my French, lady,  but No Freaking Way.

Read More

Aside

RE-Day, Part VII

Made it through the blood work without losing consciousness, so I’ll count that as a win.  There’s a backup for ultrasounds today, however, and I was given the choice to either wait, or come back another day.

I chose to wait.  Currently grabbing some lunch at the little bistro in the medical office building.  Chicken caesar wrap?  Yes, please!

Aside

RE-Day, Part VI

Just met the RE.  She’s a really nice woman, and she has a plan.  She also instructed me to check out a book called The Fertility Diet, and to give yoga a try. It sounds like Femara and Ovidrel may be in my near future…

I’m currently waiting for a date with the ultrasound wand, followed by some blood work.  Hooray for getting poked and prodded.

Aside

RE-Day, Part V

There’s a giant tub of meds in this room.  The room where they’ve left me unattended for an extended period of time.  Bored out of my skull…

I’m seriously considering filling up my purse.

Who wants some free Menopur?

Aside

RE-Day, Part IV

Just answered the same questions for a fourth nurse.  I think they’re testing me.  Don’t worry, folks, I promise that I really am infertile.

Oh, and if one more person says to me “Oh, bridal consulting must be such a fun job!”, I swear I’m going to shove a crinoline down their throat.

Aside

RE-Day, Part III

image

Aw, damn.  Just missed it.  Hopefully they’re putting on more of these meet-ups.  I could use some peer support!

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