Monday, March 31, 2008

The Montréal Report

Hubby and I are home from our jaunt to la grande ville. After a bit of a slow start (some confusion at reception that delayed us for about an hour), we got to see the urologist. He had read our case notes and examined hubby, before sitting down with us and giving us some good news.

I think.

I reserve the right to take that back, cause I simply refuse to believe that we EVER get good news. As we all know, I fall on the wrong side of the stats every time... so I am hyper cautious about anything that has even a semblance of optimism here. It just doesn't happen to me.

Anyway, the urologist said, "I am 99.9% + positive that we can aspirate good sperm without using MESA/TESA in your case." He could have knocked me over with a feather. Do what now?!? Yup. You read that right. He plans to use aspiration -- in a different location than our previous doc; not from the vas but rather the head of the testes -- closer to the source of production, to extract the sperm we need for IVF/ICSI. What this means is: (1) financial savings, (2) no surgery for hubby (pretty important in both our books if it can be avoided) and (3) Oh. My. God. We MIGHT get to use hubby's sperm and not need our last vial of donor sperm. No way. I'm shocked. I still disbelieve to some degree, but I'm shocked to think it might be a real option for us.

He reiterated that our case is complex, but he really doesn't feel that we will require MESA or TESA to find sperm that will be usable. He is sure that when the time comes, hubby will be good to go. He looked at me and said, "So we're good with him. Now to finish getting your case lined up." He asked if all our tests were done and I told him I still have one appointment to go.

He brought us out to our doctor's administrative assistant, and I got a peek at some of the results from last week's testing. Not all the results have arrived yet, but I can go to pick them up myself at the various places we had the tests done. I'll do that tomorrow to ensure I have copies. I'll need them for next week at the RE appointment on April 8. When I see that RE, either I'm done with my tests/follow-up and we move forward with some sort of calendar or I need to consult someone else. One day at a time, right?

Not a necessarily productive appointment today. But as hubby said as we wound our way out of Montréal, "That was just one necessary step to get us to the other steps."

One heckuva staircase we're climbing. God... I hope we get to the top.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Hospital Gown #1 Finished!

Here's the finished product. I'll be taking this with me to Montréal tomorrow 'just in case' someone decides they need some sort of peek at anything. In this business, you just never know huh?
Anyway, here's the material I used for this one.

And a peek at the final product, fastened in the back first. (I made sure to show you my bruises too... five days past blood draw. Pretty colours huh?)

And again, fastened in the front this time. Long enough to cover me so I don't get cold or blush with shame!

This material is for the next one. I'll get to that in a week or so. Wish me luck!

Canadian get-together

As for the Canucks' get-together, how does the first weekend in May strike folks? I believe it's the 3-4. We'd hook up on the 3rd likely...

Friday, March 28, 2008

A Stitch in Time

The bruises are slowly healing but at least they've finally stopped spreading! That's a bonus!

You know what I did last night? Well, this is sort of an ongoing project but in the last few days, it's advanced significantly. As some of you might be able to tell, and certainly those of you who know me in real life know that I'm not exactly a small woman. That comes with a few minor inconveniences, as it always has. Some of those inconveniences cause great embarrassment. For example, when I go for x-rays and the tech hands me a thin, tiny (one-size-freakin'-doesn't-fit-all-buddy!) paper shirt with a miniscule plastic stretchy tie, expecting THAT to go over my ample chest. Um... not. Try again. (TMI incoming: When your bras are in the double D or F ranges, it can be rather challenging!) The last time I had a chest x-ray, I gave the tech a sweet eyeful, let me tell ya! *blush* Anyway, I'd been mulling it over for awhile and I finally decided to bite the bullet: I'm sewing my own hospital gowns. Enough with the thin paper crap already. Give me something cotton that I can wash and reuse! Give me pretty patterns! Give me COLOUR already! Sheesh! That drab slate-blue is booooring! After a bit of searching, I found a pattern and altered it a tad, I bought some material and last night, I did a rough job of putting one together. I still have some hemming to do and the final touches on the neckline, attaching the ties, etc. But all in all, I'm super pleased. Now when I go to Montreal or even just to the local emergency room (when the need arises as sometimes it does), I'll have my own gown that fits and looks damn good too! Hubby thought it was great when I modeled it for him. He said, "Make sure you leave a little extra room for when you get pregnant." At least one of us is still optimistic.

Calling all Canadian Bloggers...
As mentioned a couple of posts ago, I think it'd be a great idea for us to get together. A few of you agreed with me. So with that in mind, who would be up for a gathering in Toronto during the weekend of April 19? Hubby and I can plan to drive down (we'll find somewhere to stay, I'm sure... I have a cousin there somewhere) and spend the weekend. Reply to the blog here or send me an e-mail (contact info available in my profile) and we'll get things organized! Assuming I'm not in the thick of IVF protocol by then, I'd love a weekend distraction!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A Little Overwhelmed. Okay, a LOT Overwhelmed.

I have to say, save for our lovely Easter brunch out with Pam and her husband V, it's been a rough weekend. So far, it's a rough week too. I'm feeling that I'm already caught up in the whole 'keeping an eye on the calendar for dates, procedures, protocols' etc. Is that good? I don't know. I know that Monday and Tuesday were bad days. Horribly bad days.

Monday was CD4. I wanted to go to my favorite phlebotomist for the bloodwork. So hubby and I got up Monday and headed out by about 10 a.m. or so. At the clinic, the phlebotomist looks at me and says, "I can't take these papers." I had requisitions from Montréal; she needed the Ontario forms. It's Monday. Easter Monday. A holiday. Great. Most clinics were closed. Most doctors were unavailable. I hadn't seen any doctor at that clinic before but luckily, the office is part of a chain that is networked, so they had some of my data. I registered, and waited to see a doctor who could simply make out the Ontario form for me.

By the time the doctor saw us, got the low-down of our situation, and printed the right form, the phlebotomist was on lunch. So we waited another 30 minutes for her to come back. By this time, it was after 1 p.m.

I finally got in to see her, and she thought she found a vein, but alas... no luck. After searching for a vein for about 5 or 7 minutes, she thought she had one in the other arm. And she did; she managed to hit that one and get the vials she needed. Man, did it bruise badly though; within about 20 minutes, I already had a black mark on my inner right arm. Nice. *sighs* Today that bruise is purple and blue and bigger than I thought it ever could get.

That done, we had a few more errands to get through. A new passport picture for me (my passport expires in early April) and wouldn't you know it, the new picture sucks. Cripes. I hate myself in pictures. I'm not exactly photogenic and seriously debated going to get another pic done. Stupid right? Yeah. I know. But I thought about it. Let me let you in on a little secret folks: listen up. What some people believe to be vanity in others, is actually a lack of self-confidence, or poor self-esteem. Think about that.

So Monday night, as of 10 p.m. I had to make sure not to eat or drink anything (other than water) because bright and early Tuesday (CD5), hubby and I had to go to yet another lab. Tuesday morning, off we went for the whole workup, including Karotyping for recurrent miscarriage, at one of only two places in the whole city that can do it.

Let's see, first I had to pay $230 for some of the tests that were not covered by the provincial insurance. Then, out came all the list of tests. I kid you not, it frightened me to just look at the list. There were at least 10 or 12 tests that needed to be done. I was petrified. New lab. New phlebotomist. New everything. I was so nervous... God I hated it.

I lay down (after explaining that if I didn't, the lab risked having me fall on the floor) and she tried, oh how this nice lady tried to find a vein. Lo and behold, she couldn't go through the bruise... apparently it would alter the results. Sheesh. Now I know. So she looked up and down both arms. Back of my hands. Upper arm. Inner arm. Wrists? By this time I was starting to shake. She stuck me once on the right and got nothing. So she called a coworker who gave it another try... over on the left side. I just lay there, trying to breathe. Not easy when you are as nervous as I am when it comes to blood and needles. She got lucky on the second stick and when I asked if she had got it, she replied yes she had. So I lay there. And lay there. I lay there some more. When they were all done. I finally sat up (rather dizzy). Sure... I asked, tell me how many vials you took? TWELVE?! FUCK OFF. You're kidding. TWELVE VIALS OF BLOOD from me? Colour me shocked. Or maybe just colour me pale... that works too.

I sat down and then they got the orange, carbonated drink for the OGTT. It tasted like a sweeter version of orange Crush to me. Anyway, I drank it down and sat for two hours. Hubby had his bloodwork done quickly (bastard; I hate him for that) and off he went to find a Tim Horton's for coffee, while I read a few newspapers and hung out.

I talked to a friend of mine from another government agency where I used to work. A former co-worker of mine was going through a most difficult time; her 22-year old son just passed away after suffering serious injuries after being in a housefire. The funeral was at 2 that afternoon. My plan was to leave the phlebotomists and go to the funeral. A bad day all around.

But wait... it was CD5. And I needed an ultrasound. Do you have any idea how difficult that is? Seriously. CD1 was Good Friday. Everything was closed. CD2 and CD3... the weekend. Everything was closed. CD4 was Easter Monday; my other doc's office was closed. I did leave a message though. Please oh please could I squeeze in on CD5 for an ultrasound?

I called them back while I was sitting there, processing that sickly sweet orange drink, and I left another message (with my cell number), asking that they call me. While I was reading newspapers, I got the call; could I be there for 1:45? They'd fit me in. Whew. Some relief.

Now then, back to the bloodwork. Before the second draw, they gave me a blanket to keep warm as well as a warm compress to try to bring out the veins in my right arm. They saw lots of surface veins and figured they could find one to work there. So two hours later, I'm lying down again and going through the same hell. It's traumatizing for me really. For someone who has tiny veins, hard to find, for whom it is actually painful, yet who needs to give blood for testing purposes and yes, I DO understand that, it's hard to get that across to those who do not know what it's like.

Actually, the third phlebotomist told me some interesting things. She told me that the size of a person's veins is hereditary. (Thanks Mom... at least I got some of your smarts to counterbalance!) She also told me that when they go through training, that they are taught how to find a vein in a drug addict's arm; a person who has ruined their veins. She said, "I can't even find those on you!" Isn't that nice to know? My veins are worse than those of a drug addict. Lovely. So yeah, it's painful. Problematic and painful.

Well, she stuck me once, but mother of God, it hurt like a bugger! I slapped the wall with my other arm. I tried to breathe. I tried not to yell in pain. She must have used a butterfly needle; fuck me that hurt. (Sorry for the language, but it is my blog after all.) For a moment, I think I passed out for a few moments, the pain was THAT bad. They only needed two vials at that time, but still. I was in so much pain. That bruise was evident before I walked out of there. It's deep purple. It's looking like a thick mark across my inner arm. I look like someone who's been beaten. No joke.

We left there and got something to quiet my hunger pangs. Then I dropped hubby off at work and I went to the doc's office for 1:45, for that ultrasound.

The cyst is still there, but it's markedly smaller; measuring at under 2 cms now whereas it was at 5. My doctor said that there was a great deal of fluid there as well, so he thinks it is shrinking of its own accord. He also said that lupron and BCP protocol prior to stimulation protocols will likely get rid of the cyst too. It gave me a lot of pain on Saturday past. He measured the antral follicles; I have 18 total, 9 on each side. Not bad for someone my age. He was pleased with that. And that's with no stimulation drugs either. Man, I wonder if I'm going to have to watch for OHSS too? Of course I will; cause that is how my luck goes.

So back at home, I could recuperate a little. I had laundry to do... wouldn't you know it, but the washer died in mid-cycle? I have someone coming to look at it on Saturday. If it isn't one thing, it's another. The week feels long and yet it's barely begun. Hubby and I go this weekend to Montreal for our appointment on Monday with the urologist. He will be able to tell us more news. Hopefully good news about being able to use hubby's sperm for IVF.

Please God, let us fall on the right side of the stats for once. How much are we expected to handle? Seriously? When is enough, enough? I need to get through all this for my own peace of mind. But how to keep my sanity in doing it all, when at the end of the day, I fear that we'll still end up on the shitty side of the statistics?

Oh yeah. To top it all off, I got word from another friend that she is p/g. She needed Metformin, and that was it. *sighs* Lucky wench. And crappy news from another friend; he is getting laid off tomorrow from his job in California. He's looking to move east, probably Virginia or something. I hope he finds something suitable; he and his wife have five-year old twins. And I am thinking about Pam and V after news of a BFN for them. My heart aches for them.

Life sucks sometimes. Everyone deserves a break, don't they? Don't they?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

New Friends!

It was so wonderful to meet Pam and her husband, V, on Sunday for brunch. I guess being a Newf, yanno, we're pretty sociable folks. So it was with absolute delight that hubby and I headed off to Perkins on Easter Sunday to spend a few hours in the fine company of Pam and her husband.

As V said on their blog, "We started talking when they walked up to Perkins and we stopped talking when we said our goodbyes." It was wonderful to meet them in person and I honestly hope we have the chance to hook up again soon.

Speaking of... there was some discussion of a get together for the folks in the Toronto area. I know I could make the drive down with little problem at all. Who'd be up for that I wonder? Maybe in April sometime? Post here and let us know. Maybe we can organize a little sumthin' sumthin'! Methinks Aurelia might be feeling housebound about now!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Looking Ahead

It's Thursday. Usually nothing out of the ordinary, but today's a very good Thursday. Today is the day before a four-day Easter weekend. Thank heavens for small things. Hubby and I are feeling overly tired and dragged out these days. I think it's the time change catching up with us. Or maybe it's the fact that spring is officially here, and yet the city is covered in snow that is about four feet deep. Snow rage has appeared for some folks, for others, it's more like dejected resignation. I knew we should have taken a sun-holiday in February.

With the long weekend, we have some plans. Our godson will be three years old tomorrow. Imagine. Where did that time go? I was TTC long before that little boy appeared on the scene. And here I am still TTC. That's rather depressing. Oh yes, I'm thrilled to have a godson and to know that he is happy, healthy and is celebrating his birthday. I just wish I could give him a playmate. Our godson's older brother will be having his First Communion on Easter Sunday too. We're going to pass along greetings and gifts tomorrow though, rather than attend Sunday as well.

Besides, we're hoping that FINALLY we can hook up with Pam and V as they pass through the capital on Sunday on their way back home. If all goes well, we'll be able to meet them in person, after two previous attempts failed to hook up. Crossing my fingers that the third time is a charm!

On the IF front, I'm expecting AF any minute now. That's a bit problematic; I need to go for CD3 bloodwork this month and after today, my favorite phlebotomist's office isn't open until Monday. So I'm hoping that we can somehow coordinate for Monday. If CD3 is Tuesday, I'll see if I can do it all at the same time as the OGTT and the karotyping bloodwork at 'the other' vampire's office. *shudders* I am NOT looking forward to that.

Somewhat disconcerting though is the pain in my right side. In February, I learned I had another cyst. Until then I hadn't really felt much. But let me tell you, I'm definitely feeling it now. I know I need to have another ultrasound appointment; maybe I can call my other doc here and see if they can squeeze me in to check the progress. Or maybe I'll hold off til we're in Montreal on the 31st and they can do it then. I'll give them a call to check. Nevertheless, it's obviously still there. And likely we'll go the same route; BCP (with no success) and then laparoscopy to remove it. Ya gotta love the rollercoaster.

Health news of another nature; my mom's not doing all that well at the moment. The surgery that she had last year for her stenosis was relatively successful, but unfortunately, it did not help the neuropathy. In fact, after testing last week, they learned that her neuropathy is worse this year than last. So she's rather upset at that news. Now they want to test other family members (my uncle and my aunts) who exhibit similar early-stage symptoms. And they've asked to test me and my sister as well. I'll do the testing as long as it doesn't interfere in any potential IVF cycle. Needles are not my forté and I'll do whatever I can to avoid that extra stress. Right now though, I'm just concerned about Mom and wondering what can be done, if anything. There is no diagnosed cause in her case (often neuropathy is associated with diabetes or other health problems) so right now, there seems to be no treatment. I'm not so sure I accept that. My sister, who is a dietician with many connections in the health field, in both the States and Canada, has heard that B6 can help. And like she says, "If the cause of up to 30% of all peripheral neuropathy cases is unknown, then do all these people go without treatment?" THAT just ain't good enough. More to come on this topic, I'm sure.

In the meantime, Happy Easter to those of you celebrating this weekend!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

An Evening at the Theatre

Belated Happy St. Patrick's Day (or St. Paddy's if you prefer) to you all! *raises a glass of green ale* I do hope you celebrated in fine style.

Last night, my husband and I attended the Paul Potts concert; and for heaven's sake, if you haven't heard him yet, PLEASE go listen. Every time I hear him sing "Nessun Dorma" I cry. It's one of the most moving pieces of music I've ever heard. Very rare are the pieces that literally move me to tears, but Paul has certainly nailed one or two of them. Anyway, in peeking at Paul's Wikipedia page yesterday, I learned that what began as a six-month sabbatical from his job as a Carphone Warehouse employee to go on tour, has become a full-time career; apparently, as of March 5, he e-mailed them his resignation. And rightly so. Anyone who can sing like this gentleman can needs to be sharing his talent with the most appreciative audiences, who are all going to clamour to see him. I know that if he were performing again tonight, my husband and I would be there. It's nothing short of spectacular. His story is heartwarming. It's easy to see that he's just a regular "Joe" and not yet comfortable on stage. However, as soon as he begins to sing, the insecurities slip away and is replaced by the self-confidence that is hiding inside him.

I often wonder if many of us feel like that. Basically, insecure individuals trying to find our footing in this world, wondering if we are doing the right things, and attempting not to slip up too badly while anyone's looking. But that somewhere, deep down, we all have some hidden skill. A talent that empowers us. Some aspect of our soul that permits us, when we indulge in it, to shine through and gives us the confidence to rise above. Something to think about.

Now, while hubby and I were listening to Paul's story and his most incredible voice, good news was happening in the blogging world! Welcome baby Owen to the world! Serenity had her little boy last night and I couldn't be happier for her! Go over there and pass on your good wishes. Love to you all in blogland.

Oh, for Only Half Nuts: I'm sure that if your son did venture north of the 49th parallel, he is safe and sound and I hope you're feeling better about his jaunt to visit us Canucks!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Images of Winter in the Nation's Capital

It's been one week since all that snow fell. For those who are curious, here's what it looked like.

This is looking out our front window, into our driveway and to one of the homes across the street. As you can see, our front light is virtually buried (two of the three lights on the fixture aren't even visible!). Nice huh?

And this is the front of our house, BEFORE the snowstorm hit. The big one that dumped 52 cms (21") on all of us. Nice time for hubby to be away huh?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Mixing it up!

Well, in changing the layout of this blog, I've lost a ton of links and stuff that I had in my sidebar. Have no fear, I'm slowly adding stuff as I think of it. And if I haven't added your blog back yet, please don't be offended! I had very little time last night and this morning to fiddle with it, but I'll get you back there, I promise. If I don't, feel free to swat me over the head with a reminder! Or, yanno, you could just leave a message. Come to think of it, that might be more effective.

I've also added a few blogs that I've been reading semi-regularly as well. Blogs that I've found through other IF bloggers' sites sometimes catch my eye and I bookmark them and head back every now and then to catch up. In particular, Everyday Stranger and Over my Ovaries... and On With My Life (previously: I'd Like a Refund on These Ovaries) are ones I check on often.

Hubby's been away on training for two weeks, so I've been flying solo. Now, while I LOVE being alone, I miss him terribly. I miss his smile. I miss his kiss. I miss his comfort. I miss his hand over my hip when I'm trying to sleep; for some reason, if I have any trouble sleeping, all it takes is him pulling me close in a spoon fashion and I'm out like a light. I miss his voice. I miss his reassurance. I miss everything about him. And I can't wait to pick him up at the airport this afternoon. And um... if you know me in real life, I beg, don't call tonight, m'kay?! The answering machine will be on duty, guaranteed! RAWR!

We have a number of appointments lined up as well.
March 25 - bloodwork for karotyping, glucose tolerance test (me), hormone levels (hubby)
March 31 - urologist for hubby (Montréal)
April 8 - RE consult for us both
TBD (CD3) - hormone levels for me

Next weekend is a four-day weekend. I am really hoping that we get a chance to hook up with Pam and her husband for a meal, or coffee, or whatever. Keep me posted Pam! Friday the 21st is also our godson's third birthday. And on Easter Sunday, our godson's brother will have his First Communion.

In the meantime, I'm still watching Ms. C and Serenity for birth announcements. I hope they have good news soon!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! Errr... NOT!

I won't say it. I know we're all thinking it. But I will not say how positively sick of snow I am right now. I will refrain from telling you that we've had more than 340 cms of snow this winter (that's over 130 inches for you folks south of the 49th parallel). I won't bother to bore you with the fact that this is the second snowiest winter on record, so far. I won't tell you that one of the city's 10 snow dumping sites is full. Nor will I complain that my back is killing me, my muscles ache, and I've ruined the skin on my hands from shovelling. Nope. I promise. I won't tell you any of that.

I will tell you this: my hubby is gone on a business trip and when we got dumped on yet again today with about 15 inches of snow, and that I started to shovel it all myself. I did some this morning before leaving the house (for about 45 minutes) and after work, I found even more to do. I set about handling it. But eventually I gave up in frustration. I stood in my 50 ft. driveway, hoping for help and that was when I heard the whirrring noise of my neighbor's snowblower.

I went over there and pleaded my case with Mary (a friend of mine and Marc's wife), and I was ever so grateful to Marc for agreeing to help me out. Of course, I wasn't going to sit on my laurels and wait for Marc do all the work. However, I believe he thought I was nuts when he came over with the snowblower and saw that I had the driveway 1/3 done. God love him for helping me out. I need to find a way to thank him for his kindness and generosity. Marc, thank you for today. I am so grateful.

Now then, I do have a question though. How many women who are TTC are out there in a snowstorm shovelling a 50 ft. driveway at all?

Hugs, kisses and the best of wishes to...
In the meantime, there's been a lot of good news in the IF blogging world.

A heads up too: I expect I'll be changing the colours on this blog soon. For a couple of reasons that have come to my attention (*waves to T in Montréal!), I'm going to switch to more neutral colours and maybe a different layout. So don't be shocked if you see something different next time you drop by.

Happy 67th Birthday Dad! I know you are looking forward to a vacation in the sun; use the American cash I sent you for a GREAT meal out while you're there!