Tag: TCM
Status

What To Do, What To Do…

Friday, March 15th, 2013.  CD3.

So with this “lean PCOS” diagnosis, comes a whole line of decisions yet to be made.

On the one hand, I am having acupuncture, and am using a line of Chinese herbs to help regulate my cycle (which is regular in its timing, but irregular in its awful, terrible, painful heaviness).  My acupuncturist is skeptical of some of the Western treatments for PCOS, and feels that since I am of a healthy weight, and am maintaining a healthy diet, that she can regulate my cycle and hormones to a natural balance with the use of herbs and acupuncture alone.

On the other hand, my new RE has offered Metformin.  While I don’t appear to be insulin-resistant, there are many studies showing that Met can help regulate the balance of androgens and estrogens, which is a large part of my problem.  My testosterone levels are a bit high, and my estrogens are a bit low, which I’m sure is causing crappy eggs to emerge.  The husband’s swimmers are turning up their nose at said crappy eggs, or they are attempting to fertilize and failing because they are just so damaged.

Metformin could help over the course of a few months… And so could the herbs and acupuncture combo.  What about combining the Eastern and Western treatments?  What about adding Pregnitude, which sounds like a more natural alternative to Met?  What about adding supplements to my already hefty list of pills?  I’ve heard good things about the combination of CoQ10, myo-inositol (one of the ingredients of Pregnitude), and L-Arginine?

If I was younger, I would try each for four to six months until one of them worked, but let’s face it – I’m not getting any younger, and neither are my eggs.

Oy.  So many choices.

I sometimes wish that I was the type of person I used to be.  The type of person who could just take the doctor’s orders without question and proceed happily.

Not so.  Not anymore.

I’m the person who asks questions with every recommendation.  I’m the person who brings such a disturbing amount of knowledge into the exam room that the doctor asks what she can do for me, rather than telling me what I’m going to do.

Now, instead of orders, I have options.

Rather than making up my mind, I am going to the internet for help.

I know we talked about this recently, but can anyone out there shed any light on lean PCOS and the effectiveness of Metformin vs. Pregnitude vs. TCM and acupuncture vs. egg-quality-improvement supplement cocktails?

Help, internet!  Help!!

 

Status

Acupuncture 2.0

Thursday, March 7th, 2013.  CD22, 5DPO.

 

I know I said last week after my first acupuncture appointment that I would have to withhold judgment until I’d had a few more sessions, but I feel like now, after my second session, I’ve had enough experience to know how I feel.

I am loving acupuncture.

I was skeptical at first, but last night’s session was wonderful.  Yes, there was still some pain in spots, but it was only momentary, and I was relaxed enough to fall asleep, which I never thought would happen!

Another thing I’m really going to like is that each treatment session begins with a friendly chat with Tamara about how the past week has been going.  I like her, and it almost feels like therapy.  She’s down to earth, and she isn’t preachy.  She encourages me without being smug, and she seems to be happy with my progress after only one treatment.

She was impressed with my pretty positive OPK, and happy to hear that my libido is waking up a bit.  I also told her that last weekend I was able to spend two full days doing nothing but reading and drinking tea at my leisure.  I guess I never realized how hard it has become for me to actually sit still, and I don’t know if it was the acupuncture or not, but I’m glad I gave myself a couple of days off!

After the treatment session, I went home feeling amazingly relaxed.  I made myself a yummy steak, eggs, and sautéed spinach dinner, and then cuddled up on the couch with some warm tea and American Idol.

(Side note:  Does anyone else want to toss Nicki Minaj off a tall building, or is that just me?)

Just as Tamara said last week, I was wiped out after my treatment again.  I was in bed super early and slept like the dead.  I am still feeling a little fuzzy around the edges today, but I do feel rested and peaceful.

I also picked up a new week’s worth of herbs yesterday.  Evergreen Blossom Phase 4 is the herbal blend meant to be taken the week before Aunt Flo arrives.  It helps support blood flow in the uterine area and Tamara says it will help my cycle to ease up a bit.  She thinks that the reason that my periods are so heavy and painful is because the blood is not flowing in that region as it should be.  She asked if I ever have clotting, which I definitely do – always – and she said that is a definite sign.

I’m hopeful that this formula will help me be able to feel human while Aunt Flo’s in town, but the absolute BEST part about this new herbal blend that I’ll start taking this weekend is that it’s not something I have to drink!

Capsules!!  WOO!!  😀

OH!  And I started a new book by Randine Lewis, The Infertility Cure: The Ancient Chinese Wellness Program for Getting Pregnant and Having Healthy Babies.  I’m only a short way in at this point, but it’s all very interesting and working well with the TCM path I’m on right now.

So while I have no idea if this path will help me with my overall goal of having a healthy baby, I do know that it’s helping me relax and focus in the short term.

Which is something I need.  Badly.

In other news, I have quite an active few days ahead of me!  Two of my BFFs are coming to town this weekend and bringing their little ladies with them, so we will have a houseful!  I think it will be lots of fun, and it’s something we really need to do now, since one of these gals is having her second baby in a couple of weeks, and the other is moving to Japan!

After a fun weekend of girl time, I’ll be starting next week in my new position within our company.  I wish I could tell you what my title will be, or whether or not this is considered a promotion, but I honestly can’t.  At least not right now… My role is going to be different from any other position in the company that exists right now, and it’s partially up to me to help define what I am going to BE and DO around here.  It’s a great opportunity for growth, and an even better one to put my creativity to use on a much larger scale than I have been able to thus far.

I’m excited about this transition, and will be sure to update once I know a little more!

Also happening next week is my appointment with my new RE, Dr. F!  I’m a little nervous for the appointment, not because I’m new to this process in the least, but because my records from Dr. K probably won’t be delivered to me in time for the consultation.  I won’t be going empty-handed, as I have copies of all of my records from the AMIGOS study, and I have been sure to at least record the test results I’ve been given, even if I don’t have an official hospital record of them.

Honestly, I’m less worried about what she thinks of my test results, and more worried that she will say that it all looks normal to her.  I’m worried that she won’t think it’s necessary to do any further testing, or that she will say that acupuncture is a waste of my time and money.  I’m worried she will be like Dr. K and not listen when I tell her that something is wrong…

I know these are irrational fears.  I chose this doctor because she has a reputation for looking at the whole patient, and treating the issues first instead of going straight for the big guns.  I guess this will give me another thing to talk to Tamara about at next week’s acu-therapy session!

Whew!

Anyway, apologies for the short novel of a blog post here.  Sheesh.

I’m not sure if I’ll be posting again for a few days, so I hope you all have a fantastic weekend!  🙂

 

I don’t care that it’s not relevant to this post – there just aren’t enough LOST memes in the world.

Status

Don’t See That Every Day…

Saturday, March 2nd, 2013.  CD17.

OPK

Sorry for the crappy phone pic – I was just so excited!

That, my friends, is a VERY positive ovulation prediction test.

You might be thinking, “Big fat deal!”, but what you don’t know is that the odds of me getting a flaming positive like that one in a non-medicated cycle are very slim.  I don’t know why it is, perhaps what the doctors have told me is a “weak ovulation”, but my hormones don’t like to rise and fall very impressively on their own.

It’s also pretty awesome that I’m getting a positive OPK this early in a natural cycle… I typically don’t see this until closer to CD23!

So now I’m wondering, what’s with this sudden burst of enthusiasm from my endocrine system?

Is my body having some kind of resurgence of its natural cycle after having been on meds for so many months in a row?  This one I doubt a bit, mainly because last month was my first off-meds month and I’m honestly not even sure I ovulated.  I definitely didn’t have a positive OPK, and I tested for ten days straight…

Is it the dietary changes I’ve made, trying very hard to exclude caffeine, sugar, dairy, anything processed, and yes – even gluten, that has helped to even things out so quickly?

Is it the Chinese herbal dirt-ass-and-foot tea I’ve been drinking in strong doses twice a day for what… four whole days now?

Is it the one acupuncture treatment I’ve had thus far that’s made such a difference in this cycle?

I really don’t know why this cycle seems to feel better, more normal, than most, but I do know that I’ve felt very full in the pelvic region since leaving the acupuncturist’s office.  That’s not something I typically feel unless I’ve had several days of injectable meds and I know that my ovaries are full of ripe follicles ready to burst.

I have no way of knowing if what I’m doing in the off season is helping me or hurting me, and I realize that this might all be a coincidence.  It’s enough of a difference, though, to encourage me to keep at it!

Day by day, folks… day by day.  🙂

Status

Acupuncture

What does it feel like to have twenty needles sticking out of your wrists, ankles, knees, belly, and ears?

Well, yesterday I found out.

I wish I had taken a picture, but maybe another time…

For those of you unfamiliar with acupuncture, here’s a Wiki definition:

Acupuncture is an alternative medicine methodology originating in ancient China that treats patients by manipulating thin, solid needles that have been inserted into acupuncture points in the skin. According to Traditional Chinese medicine, stimulating these points can correct imbalances in the flow of qi through channels known as meridians.

Here’s a play-by-play of how my first appointment went:

I arrived a little late because the weather outside was frightful.  In truth, it was straight-up Apocalypsing out there, and the acupuncturist, Tamara, understood.  Typically you don’t want to be late for this sort of thing and show up all stressed out.

When I first met my acupuncturist (is she a doctor?  I’m not sure!), she immediately made me feel welcome and comfortable.  She has a really down-to-earth personality, and doesn’t take the Eastern medicine thing too seriously.  I mean, she’s serious about what she does, but she knows when to insert an appropriately placed eye-roll to help you realize that she isn’t trying to be the lone white girl raised by Chinese herbalists.

She offered me some spicy chai tea (so I loved her immediately, of course), and we went to her office to chat about my medical history.  We talked for probably 45 minutes about everything I’ve ever been through physically and emotionally.  When it came to the fertility portion, we talked about it all.  She even asked me to see my BBT charts!  I wasn’t expecting that, and had not printed them off, but I am to bring them along next week so she can review them.

I was swept up in the newness of it all, and forgot to ask a lot of questions… oh, but I will!

After the interrogation portion of the appointment, Tamara asked me to hop up on the table and lie down.  She looked at my tongue and made some notes in my file (again, I would have liked to ask questions about that!).  She took my pulse in several spots on my body and then started sterilizing the spots where she was planning to put needles.

She talked to me about my diet and what I had eaten and drank that day, and started inserting needles into my feet and ankles.  I didn’t feel anything but a slight ‘tap’ most times, but there were a few needles that felt really twinge-y, some of which Tamara adjusted to be more comfortable.

She put a few needles in my wrists, and then she put one over top of each ovary, and one in the middle of my belly.  One more in the middle of my chest, one in each ear (!), and I thought she was done, but no… She put one last needle in my shin-area, and that sucker HURT.  She said it was because I had a blockage, but I didn’t ask what that meant because at that time, something else had started to happen.

My ovaries were on fire.  It seriously felt like there were electrodes hooked up to my egg-baskets.  Tamara said that was a good sign, and asked if it was too uncomfortable for me to relax for a bit, but I put on my big girl panties and dealt with it.  She left the room to let me “relax”, and said she would be back in a bit and that it was okay if I fell asleep.

Ha!  Sleep?  Yeah right, lady!  I have needles stuck all over me!!

She was gone for maybe fifteen minutes, and I did start to feel myself relaxing.  She had also put a warming light right over top of my abdomen, and the heat was making me feel fuzzy.  I didn’t doze off, but I did close my eyes and rest a bit until Tamara returned.

After she checked my pulse some more and removed the needles, we talked a bit about Chinese herbs.  I agreed to give the formula she suggested a chance, and after taking care of the financial aspects of the appointment, I headed back out into the cold to drive home.

I was informed before I left that I would be very tired and probably sleep really hard, which turned out to be completely true.  I was also very tired and sort of foggy-feeling most of today.  Even as I type this now, I am feeling very fatigued behind my eyes… I was told that this is normal and should last a day or two.

I am planning on seeing the acupuncturist once a week for the foreseeable future, and I’ve started taking herbs twice a day.

The herbs are interesting… there’s a specific formula for each week of your cycle.  I mix a couple of tiny spoonfuls with warm water, plug my nose, and drink it down.

They taste like dirt and feet and ass.  Not pleasant AT ALL, but I’ve done crazier things in the name of conception, so why not dirty-foot-ass tea?

So that’s that.  I know some people think I’m crazy for doing all of this, and some people think I’m crazy for waiting this long to try!  I honestly don’t care what people think… I just want to do whatever I can to get my body in order and as ready as I am for a take-home baby.

Parenting is all about sacrifice, right?

Might as well start now.

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