I’m deteriorating at age 33

Foot

This foot brace fit into zero shoes so I had to borrow a leg brace so I could walk outside my home.

Katherine told me we both have tinnitus.  There’s nothing you can do about it!  I was rapping loudly to the Nicki Minaj verse in Monster in my car and I started hurting my own ears, like a speaker was broken.

Anyways, in addition, I need arch support for a sprained ankle from April which I thought healed.  (I was walking Bingley and he found dirt with crawfish water dumped in it and started lunging at me when I guarded the food area and I stumbled on a gentle incline).  My ankle is progressively aching.  I sleep with the foot brace otherwise my ankle is at this odd angle which skeeves me out.  I went to the PCP again (shout-out to my paid deductible) and saw a nurse practitioner who used to work with Dr. H at the fertility clinic and recommends her.

Sprained ankle

Crying at last line

I can’t afford new sneakers/flats in every color.  I’m going to continue wearing sandals in the 100+ temperatures.  So these will arrive tomorrow.  Maybe I’ll deliver them!  (I deliver for Amazon; that’s another post.)

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I own much more aesthetically pleasing flip flops.

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No more binge drinking :(

Jooleloren

Follow @jooleloren on Instagram for more illustrations of your very same life

This plus autoimmune and endometriosis inflammation plus fatigue.  On vacation, I went to a fancy dinner followed by pub trivia followed by karaoke and many margaritas.  I love margaritas.  Didn’t get out of bed until 5pm the next day.  Worth it.

My IVF protocol

iui-injectables

Would you rather…give yourself stomach/butt cheek injections daily or…

Bug Mouth

…have a David Lynch nuclear moth frog climb into your mouth just the one time? Long-term side effects

From my IVF nurse, Jillian:

If your IUI is not successful in July – then we can proceed right away with IVF with your period.  She is suggesting the following protocol: Birth Control Pills / Follicle Stimulation Hormone Injections / Antagonist Injections.

As per the Tramadol / Tylenol 3 for pain, you wouldn’t need to stop these until you were to start the injections for the IVF cycle – which would be around September 1st (ish).

 

Did you know you get a special nurse for IVF who is very sweet and emails you?  You do!  She says egg retrieval/transfer will be around mid-September.  This helps me plan for doula clients.  I am nervous about going off pain medication not because I’m scared of pain, but because I don’t know how my body will react and I’m scared of not being productive.  Doula work rejuvenates and gives me joy and I’d like to take clients for as long as possible.

 

GF HelloFresh June Week 3

HelloFresh peppercorn

Crushed peppercorn steak with creamed kale and potato wedges

HelloFresh Rachael ray

Rachael Ray’s grilled buffalo chicken and mashed taters

Slaw not included as the carrot fell in the trash while I was peeling it

Hellofresh chorizo grits

Chorizo and kale skillet over cheesy grits

Gf tiramisu

Trent bought me gluten-free tiramisu because he ate all the gluten-free cinnamon rolls I keep in the freezer for births.

 

Discount code: NIMBUS

 

Lorde Apologizes for Comparing Taylor Swift to Autoimmune Disease

Lorde Taylor swift

“I’m kissing you but please don’t kiss me if you’ve had any birthday cake because then gluten will cause a rash on my skin.”

From Spin

On the difficulty of maintaining a friendship with someone as famous as Taylor Swift: “It’s like having a friend with very specific allergies. There are certain places you can’t go together. Certain things you can’t do. There are these different sets of considerations within the friendship. It’s like having a friend with an autoimmune disease.”

Lol sounds pretty accurate.  Ok Katherine, the choices for your happy hour plans are the Tex-Mex restaurant we go to every time or two high-end fine dining establishments that will watch for cross-contamination.  Tex-Mex it is.  Thank you for inviting me to the brewery tour!  I’ll pour Tito’s into an aluminum bottle and hide it in my voluminous purse.  So your wedding.  May I bring a cooler?  Can we reschedule plans for a third time?  I’m really fatigued from life.

We get to try an IUI?!

Ultrasound June 2017

I only have one cyst?!

Dr. H and Dr. Garza spoke on the phone and he gave her his full confidence in her treatment so perhaps she is soothed.  The ultrasound showed I ovulated normally on my left side last time and I have a 5 cm cyst on my right.  Only one, so that’s good, but confusing.  Dr. H confirmed there would be no down-regulation with IVF and I may have weight-lifting restrictions, which would affect my Amazon Flex delivery work, but doula work should be fine.  Dr. H said, you can try IUI next month if you want.  Huh?  “I can’t give you a great percentage chance but until we’re waiting for your IVF cycle….” 407 bucks compared to 12k.  Why not?

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Trent and I excitedly went to our infectious diseases screening and ordered the recommended Clear Blue Digital Ovulation Tests and Greenies pill pockets.  A great month to do an Amazon Prime trial.  Did you know you’re supposed to stop drinking at 9am, pee at 10am, and then test at lunch time?  I always tested in the morning, which is 10am for me.  Peeing schedules make me nervous now that I have urinary urgency!

Did you know Trent is super-grossed out by needles or poking or massage?  Who hates massage?  It is a great sacrifice for him to perform massage on me.  I went first so I warned the phlebotomist, who was very gentle.  I can hear them laughing in the back now.

Now that Dr. H has my AMH levels, we wait to hear about the IVF protocol.

Today’s horoscope from ScorpioMystique:

“Cancer is the sign of fertility, motherhood, sentimentality and nurturing. This week is about getting very clear about what you’d like to birth in your life.”

A BABY.  I want to birth a baby, that’d be great.

 

THE best advice I’ve read for a partner of someone with chronic pain

Endo lap

This is your partner’s bloated, scarred abdomen after laparoscopy 2. Do NOT let any children or animals touch it!

23 Tips for Men on Supporting a Partner with Chronic Pain

Every time I read this, I’m reminded of how I need to be on top of my pain.  I’m definitely one to skip pain medication because I’m cautious of being addicted or I think how I’ve handled worse.  Now Trent and I remember I don’t want to play catch-up with pain.  I would advise my doula clients who are utilizing pain medication to do the same.  That Fentanyl might not make a dent if you’re at the point where you’re trying to run away from your own body.

Some highlights from Pete Beisner:

1. I think that it is important to think of pain as your common enemy, not as a part of your wife or baggage that comes with her. It is something outside of both of you that impacts both of you and that can kill your marriage.  (Nil: when you have to cancel a family visit, a fun date you’ve been looking forward to, when you can’t be intimate, when you can’t hike on your vacation, or your wife falls asleep before you get home from work, blame the disease.  The disease is taking things from you and your partner.  You’re not lazy.  You don’t need to try harder.  A person with chronic pain is trying too hard with little result and it can be frustrating and easy to blame yourself.  I am so thankful I was finally diagnosed because it validated how I felt and I was less guilty about ignoring chores and sleeping long hours.  However, not until after excision surgery did I feel exonerated because the fatigue was vastly decreased.  I realized the endometriosis and pain were devouring my energy.  Those “sickness and in health” vows are easy to say because it’s a scenario forty years in the future, it will be mutual, we’ll have money and kids to take care of us.  No one expects to become a caretaker in the first years of marriage).

10. The key thing to remember is that pain builds even while you are managing to ignore it. The longer your wife is in pain, the more of it she experiences and the less she can block it out. So what would be an objective level 5 pain your wife can block out to make it a level 2. But when she is no longer able to block it, it will come back as 6-8. Beware of this whiplash phenomenon.

3. Your primary job is to help your partner avoid a pain storm. They feel unmanageable and you can do nothing more than watch helplessly as your partner writhes in pain. Two secondary jobs you may want to take on are helping her groom to whatever extent makes her feel better and monitoring medication side-effects. Narcotic pain medication makes many people extremely constipated. During the fuzzy days immediately post-surgery, your wife may not notice and it could end up being a week. You don’t even want to think about how that kind of constipation is resolved. So, keep that on your radar.  (Nil: this makes me laugh now but going to the bathroom after surgery or giving birth is frightening.  It’s nice to have someone remind you about stool softeners/laxatives.)

9. I hope that you do not reach a place of un-managed pain, but if you do, here are some tricks that I have learned for helping a person get through the worst part of a pain storm. What you want to do is temporarily flood her nerves with other novel sensations that make it harder for her brain to record all of the pain signals. You have to change the sensation at least every twenty seconds for it to have any impact.  (Nil: Trent has learned well the different kinds of massage I request for different types of pain and this will distract or relieve pain.  During a birth, counter pressure is helpful during contractions, but between, while mama is resting, light touch, massage, scratching, can distract and soothe her body, which is still managing a lower level of pain.)

13. Control access to your wife based on your wife’s wishes, and especially her level of introversion or extroversion. My best friend’s wife is a social butterfly. So when she recently had a mastectomy, she wanted everyone there. When my wife is in pain, she doesn’t even want her own mother in the room. She wants me, a firmly closed door and darkened room. My job is to not allow her to guilt herself into allowing visitors when she is not up to it.  (Nil: I still feel guilty for not keeping social obligations even though all plans I make come with a disclaimer.  I noticed when traveling I forced myself to be extroverted, upbeat, and not show signs of pain or exhaustion around family and this resulted in me not being able to get out of bed.  I feel relief when Trent can be my bouncer and explain to the outside world that I’ve reached my limits.  He actually offered to communicate this to ex-friend Juniper after she crashed my life, but I didn’t want to draw out the interaction.  I was still glad to know he had my back.)

 

Nil: Women (not men) with chronic disease have a high rate of divorce.  Bless this man for writing this article, respecting his wife, and taking on the difficult role of caretaker.  As a doula, I observe men initially feeling helpless and upset when they cannot solve their partner’s pain or take it on for them, but there is so much a partner can do to ease suffering.  Thank you to my caretaker.

 

Blog-shaming my husband who refuses to engage in fertility acupuncture

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I can only hope this is where the needles will go.

 

Guess who loves acupuncture?  Trent.   He’ll tell you all about how it cured his allergies and fixed his clicking shoulder injury from falling off a bicycle with one needle.  We both go to Tony and call him our guru.

So I naturally assumed I would be doing acupuncture in conjunction with IVF, but not with Tony,  who is not a fertility specialist and doesn’t come to your recovery room after your embryo transfer.  I’ve heard the success stories.  I asked my friend who recommended the fertility center to tell me about her acupuncturist and she called to say she’s pregnant!  I let out a shrill cry and jumped around the room and then sat down because the Tylenol 3 was making me dizzy and it’s the first day of my period so I probably bled on another item of clothing and ruined it.  This is a good sign.  Must do acupuncture.

Then I looked on the website and in three months,  the acupuncturist can improve sperm morphology.  Oh, really!   There are studies I would link to but I’m on my tablet and lazy.  I immediately Gchat Trent at work and ask him if Wednesday works for him because we’re already behind!  He is not about it.  I offer to use my savings, don’t care, let’s do this.  He is not about it.

Why the sudden change?  We go to a sliding-scale clinic and an initial appointment at fertility acupuncture is $140.  Trent is frugal to the point of being expensive.  He will try to save money and ultimately spend more money because he didn’t bite the bullet to shell out the cash needed in the first place.  Trent keeps us in line, which is awesome for the most part.  But we’re spending 12k on IVF!  This may be our one shot!  Don’t you want to give it the best possible chance?  Do you have another inheritance I don’t know about coming to you?  I immediately barrage him with yelp reviews (5 stars, 15 babies from infertile couples) and research studies.  I was being playful, but for some reason this situation was triggering for Trent.

Trent calls me after work and suddenly he doesn’t believe acupuncture works at all.  Like, aggressively so.  Huh?  What cured your allergies?  “Probably changes in diet and exposure.”   What about your bike injury?  “I stretched more.”  What caused the blood to move out of my broken toe?  “Time.”  In one day?  Trent didn’t have an answer for that one!

Here’s Trent on why he personally will not do fertility acupuncture:

Cause I think it’s bullshit.   I don’t think acupuncture and fertility are related at all.  It’s money, it’s time, it’s effort, I don’t want to do it.  I don’t care right now to even bother.

I said I was sad, because I initially perceived this as Trent not caring enough about our chance at being parents.  I will pay (a reasonable price) to dance naked in the moonlight on spikes if that ritual gets a baby inside me.

Trent: that’s like saying, I’m sad the sun went down, there’s no reason for it, it just kind of happened.  (Okay, WOW, invalidating.)

Then Trent said I was invalidating HIS perspective by being sad, so I knew the discussion was devolving from there.  This is another fun part of infertility.  As partners, you get to mourn the infertility side by side and it comes out as anxiety, anger, hypervigilance about honey-do lists, depression, exhaustion.  No one mourns the same way or understands another’s grief or knows when they themselves are grieving.  And then you have to make life-changing decisions with the little money you have left after medical treatments for chronic diseases.  Maybe if you spent your money a different way, you would be pregnant.  And you do it all while being in pain or after your third 12-hour shift, depending on your role in the relationship.  The few things which are in your control feel too important to be left in your control.  Reasons I’m on Lexapro (which is actually going well, by the way).

And this is prior to IVF.  But I realize, together, we have been dealing with medical issues for more than a year and surviving.  It definitely feels like surviving.  I could do with some enjoying of life or straight chilling.  Not that those joyful moments don’t exist, but I would like a few of those moments in a row, stretched out over time.  Although a lot of blogs scare me with how physically draining/emotionally exhausting/life ruining IVF can be, that kind of sounds par for the course.  And hey, maybe we get a baby out of it all instead of 9 centimeters of cysts.  Also: I realized it’s not that Trent doesn’t want to give conception its best possible chance, he has truly disavowed acupuncture (I mean, this dude really talked it up as of a few weeks ago, so we’ll tackle that bizarre perspective change another time) and believes his healthy life changes will improve morphology, so that makes me a little less melancholy.

Does anyone have any experience with acupuncture and herbs for male infertility?   I’d love to hear whether the money was worth it, but Trent will say any positive stories are confirmation bias.  🙂

4 Pristine Bathrooms You’d Fuck Up With Your Heavy, Heavy Period

 

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“A white marble bathroom says, “I’m a rich fancy woman who’s bled all over this expensive toilet and on the floor at some point, and there’s probably still some left between the floor tiles.” You deserve the luxury of this lavatory, even though once a month you may drag your bloodied body like a wounded animal across the marble tiles then straight into the marble tub, where you may even bathe in a little bit of your blood by accident. Wow! What a dream bathroom you’d definitely fuck up with your period.”

 

From Reductress