Wednesday, October 28, 2009

ain't misbehavin'

At least, not particularly seriously, in my own personal opinion.

Despite the hilarity of some of the advice I received, I decided to observe the ban on (some) activities until after I am cleared by Dr. L (tomorrow). After what appeared to me to be my normal cycle ended, I had a couple more days of spotting, and I didn't think it wise to risk injury if I haven't yet entirely healed. (Not that chandelier-swinging was contemplated. Our ceilings are rather low.)

This past weekend, I managed to persuade a few sporting individuals that we needed to drive out and do a fall color tour in Shenandoah National Park. The leaves were really prime for viewing, but on the appointed day, Saturday, it was to pour and pour. My disappointment was keen, but I rescheduled for Sunday, even though my dear husband was unable to attend on that day.

Given my New England/Northeast roots, I understand that a fall color tour is to be performed preferably in the hills (and in a forest), and the touring done by car, perhaps with a short walk or picnic to get the up-close view. Not all of the participants fully grasped this car concept, however, and I felt I had to offer some more energetic form of activity. Hiking was the obvious choice, but I don't think I could even have hiked a mile, to say nothing of in the mountains. I feel much better, but I get really winded when I walk even a few blocks. (I have no idea why. My cardiovascular endurance is generally excellent, and they didn't operate on my lungs.)

Someone else proposed canoeing. I know, I know - but it was downriver only, the water level was very low (no rapids), and I figured that if we did hit a really dramatic patch, I could deposit myself on the shoreline and wait for rescue. It isn't the wilderness, after all. I need not have worried. The weather was just as fine as it could be; our 2-3 mile trip down the river was lazy and peaceful; and I rowed only enough strokes to say I'd participated (and any concerns about excessive exercise should be allayed by the fact that my rowing didn't seem to alter our speed or trajectory in any way). The doggy who came along seemed totally confused by the idea of floating vessels, but he clearly enjoyed the outing.

We finished up with dinner outside at a local fast-food establishment that sells cheesesteak, chicken fingers, burgers, and frozen custard, and we got everyone home in time for 7:30 Mass. Except for the absence of my husband, it was a perfect day. The general enthusiasm was such that I am going to be allowed involvement in the planning of another outdoorsy outing soon (we'll have to pick our venue carefully as it gets colder, of course). Suggestions? Oh, and if anyone wants information on the canoe rental place in Front Royal, let me know. I recommend them.

A picture of me in my canoe (I am very sad that the brilliantly-colored hills and trees look brown in all of my pictures):

Friday, October 23, 2009

great leaps forward

I can cough and it doesn't hurt. The under-the-skin stitch (in some other layer of something that I can't actually see) on the far left that had a searing/ripping sensation every time I laughed or moved leftward has stopped doing that. I can wear a lot of my clothes, I behave mostly normally at work (though my constant gas has come back - BUT ONLY AT WORK. WTH?), and this morning, when the walk light was about to change, I scooted across the street - almost a run. Next Monday is two weeks, and I think I may even try out being a strap-hanger on the bus. Milestones, and whatnot.

I have a follow-up appointment with Dr. L on Friday. I have all sorts of important questions to ask her. I didn't get my p+7 draw done this cycle because I figured all my signs were so wonky from the surgery-related discharge. But she said next cycle was time enough. And she gets to lift my restrictions on delightful activities like carrying more than ten pounds, wearing tampons, and sex.

Oh, while we're on the subject, I have a question, internet people. Yes, yes, she can clear me for sex when she sees me. But I know how this works - you always see the doctor and say, "Am I good to do x?" and they always say, "Oh, x? Gosh, I didn't know you were waiting on that. You could have done that weeks ago!" So I want to know - how long after surgery is one supposed to have sex?

I recognize that a careful observer might perceive an apparent discrepancy between this post and mine two previous. I can assure you that no such discrepancy exists. You see, having sex with me is a religious experience - guaranteed to bring back any person of good will even from the brink of despair. The surgical scar is a bonus. (Actually, my husband probably thinks that. He tried to get me to show it to all our guests. GOOD GRIEF.)

Happy weekend, infertiles.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

not all bad

Thank you all for your kindness and your generous words of comfort. They mean a great deal. And they remind me that I can hardly bemoan my fate, the wife of a doubting Catholic, when I have not been zealous in practicing that faith myself. I need to do more than I have been. I started a novena to St. Jude, after Jeremiah's wonderful suggestion. I think a daily Rosary is not a bad idea but I need to get myself in a good frame of mind to actually do it or I will wimp out.

I feel bad for posting something so upset after vanishing for a while. There are good things happening too. I have been getting more and more mobile and steady. I've been needing less sleep - but probably getting still less than I need, and I know I will heal faster if I sleep more. I'm not sure on the Friday and Saturday after major surgery on Monday, most people decide to host parties until 3AM and 5AM, respectively. On the other hand, I had my sister and my husband to do most of the cleaning (I did contribute a bit), and carry all the groceries, and be gracious to the guests when it took me several minutes to pry myself out of the couch and I couldn't greet everyone immediately. And it was really nice to see people.

I've not abandoned my housing hobby. Just another week or so until the last contingency closes on the tan house, and I either find a good comparable sale price or get to visit another potential home, if the sale falls through. And of course, I haven't gotten off the home decor kick. Although I tend toward the super-traditional (without going all the way to "your grandma's mausoleum" or "Victorian museum," I hope), there are some very good ideas incorporated in contemporary designs that I need to learn from:

Thursday, October 15, 2009

thyroid update

Pray, hope, don't worry, who is amazing and awesome, emailed me with a suggestion for a natural thyroid preparation that is actually available even during the current run on Armour and Naturthroid (can't ask me for details 'cause I just told you all I know). They're on back-order, I guess. Anyway, Dr. L obligingly mailed me a prescription. She said she doesn't recommend patients get drugs from Canada (it sounds sketchy-ish to me, but the only way I can get it is over the internet - I wonder whether my insurance covers that???), but I may fill it if I like. That was nice of her.

So now the question is - input? Good idea/bad idea???

Also, my sister just arrived - she is visiting for several days to supervise me and, no doubt, shame my housework (I did do the dishes, laundry, and some bathroom cleaning yesterday! But today I have been a total lump. Not enough sleep, I think).

Also, I have been a poor commenter - slightly braindead - but I have been reading. Will do better.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

jiggity jig

My powers of persuasion excelled, and though Dr. L apparently originally intended that I would be discharged Thursday, they let me go home when my dh came by after work and I am now happily installed on my beloved couch with a soft well-worn comforter. The bubble of gas (that they insert for the surgery so they can see everything, and then try to remove but never seem to get all of) has traveled to various places, including both shoulders, but the biggest part seems to be lodged somewhere behind my sternum. It makes every position uncomfortable, and I wish it would go away.

Also, Dr. L said that I do have an omega option - if I don't get pregnant, I can have both ovaries removed and the endo won't come back. So I don't have to spend the rest of my life getting surgery every five years to preserve organs that don't work.

It gives me an interesting dilemma for the next year - do I travel back to being what I can't stand being, someone who takes a positive and hopeful attitude toward every month's opportunity to ttc? Or do I descend into the depths of bitterness and refuse even to seriously acknowledge the one-year window that has a greater likelihood than we've ever had previously, and just wait it out so I can schedule the removal of my ovaries?

It briefly occurred to me that I can cut the Gordian knot by choosing neither option - and simply giving the matter wholly up to God, being a decent sport about ttc (as we always are anyway), but not becoming invested, and just figuring that He'll pick the option He wants and I'll know when it happens. Look at that - an opportunity for the true Gelassenheit that I haven't had in ever so long. I may be able to pull that off - especially as it would be aided by the fact that I really don't know which attitude I prefer (hope or fatalism), nor which outcome. Or I may not.

So I will take all this under consideration.

Also, please pray for my dh, if you would. He is having a very bad October.

Monday, October 12, 2009

small updates

All the info I have on my surgery comes from a short conversation my dh had with Dr. L while I was still zonked, and he doesn't interrogate in quite the ruthless way that I do.

(Meanwhile, I, and my wonderful nurses, have been trying for hours to get her to come visit me, since she is here at the hospital. Apparently she is on call in the maternity ward, and it strikes me as slightly unfair that women who already have babies should get to monopolize my fertility specialist, too.)

Here's what I do know. I was, typically, right where I'd have preferred to be wrong - the endo was much worse than she suspected. They removed several cysts; size estimates appear to be in the key lime range (all endometriomas are measured in citrus). She did not cut open my bowel; I *think* this is because I didn't need it, rather than because I screwed up the bowel prep, but I will verify this if I ever get a chance to talk to her. She told my dh that there is a 70% chance it will be back in 5 years if I don't get pregnant.

This prompts a number of considerations. First, I take that to mean she got it all (otherwise it would be 100%, right?). Second, well, this is bad news. I was hoping this would be an opportunity to move on from IF treatment (if I wanted to) and institute a lifetime ban on surgery on my reproductive organs. It doesn't sound like that will work.

But my chances of pregnancy are 30% or less (cue Naked Gun quote: "And there's only a 10% chance of that"). And that's in the next year, when my dh will be gone for a month, every other month. Someone up there has a sick sense of humor. My reproductive organs are not only useless for their intended purpose, but a ticking time bomb to boot. This is unacceptable, and if I have to have them removed to get this situation under control, I will.

Also, I didn't turn out to have a uterine polyp (I guess this is good, but then what was that?), and I can't tell whether she did the cervical cautery for the precancerous lesions. I'm pretty sure I could feel recent burns to my cervix, and I don't. This morning, though, she said she would do that.

In general, despite my big-picture brooding, I am in high spirits. I set about being a plague on the nurses immediately, and succeeded in quitting the morphine as soon as I woke up (eight hours ago, and I feel fine), getting the catheter out earlier than promised, and switching almost immediately to solid food. They also let me walk back from the bathroom unsupervised. I plan to exploit all these achievements to get myself released tomorrow. I am still VERY sleepy (but no longer groggy), but I want to be back in my house.

Speaking of which, my exhausted husband (who got no sleep last night, and no anaesthesia either), went home I think before 3 to get a nap and come back. I texted him after *my* nap to request my laptop (my TV's on the fritz, and the laptop is more fun than the BB), but he has not responded and it's been hours. I don't want to call him and make him feel guilty, but I am sort of wondering where he is.

still at large

to exasperate the blogosphere another day. Will have details eventually but for now SO SLEEPY!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

one way or another

It's basically over, in the sense that I am going to have to go to bed, if not in the sense that I succeeded in any particular respect.

I did get to Mass and confession (dh wanted to get home so I didn't stay to get anointing, but I did get absolution, so I'm satisfied). And I did get two loads of laundry done, including the bleach load with the pillows (they survived and they smell nice too). My ambitions to clean the bathroom met with less success. I mean, I did have to clean up the bathroom, after I threw up all over the floor. But bleaching the shower curtain, scrubbing the tub, and knocking out the soap scum - didn't happen. I certainly didn't get to doing the dishes and sweeping the laundry room.

In lighter news, I've crossed two items off my lifetime list of experiences: self-administering an enema, and projectile vomiting. I took all four doses of antibiotic #2, but, as previously mentioned, I threw one dose up immediately from the nausea. As to antibiotic #1 - forget it. I took one dose in the morning (before starting the Go Lightly), which made me gaggy but stayed down for at least an hour. After I puked the dose of antibiotic #2, I decided to hold off on the rest of #1 until I'd finished the bowel prep for the day, since I figured it was guaranteed to induce vomiting, and why throw up two medicines?

This turned out to be a solid prediction. At some point, I decided that I was giving up on the Go Lightly altogether. In hours and hours, I got down maybe an ounce of the stuff I had mixed with grape juice and seltzer over ice. In spite of ditching it and taking three dramamine, I felt queasy all day, a little bit of unnecessary rottenness. Late in the evening I figured I'd get down the remaining three pills, but the first one came up instantly, and at high speed. So, at least my bathroom floor has been bleached in part of its area. I didn't even bother with the remaining two - swallowing it to cough it up three minutes later is a pointless exercise. So I'm at 50% on the antibiotics, which is poor.

The bowel prep didn't fare substantially better. I finally took the plunge and took the enema, and after three (it says on the box you shouldn't do more than one in a day. Too bad), I think I'm getting close to that zen state of passing water - but definitely not all the way there. (One might well ask how I ended up with three of them. When the liquid it came with ran out, I thought about trying to make my own saline solution with table salt, when my eyes lit on the abandoned bottle of Go Lightly. Look - sterile liquid with salt solution built right in! I have to say, it was a whole lot better rectally than orally. And if you had told me last week that I would say that about anything, I would have told you to get your head examined.) I am figuring I'll give it one more go before I leave tomorrow morning, and if that doesn't work, well, I am not the genius who prescribed me only one bowel prep method and no anti-emetic - along with a nausea-inducing antibiotic that specifically says it is to be "taken with food," on a day I am permitted only to consume clear liquids. I don't think this whole endeavor was planned exceptionally well, is what I'm saying.

Now I'm off to get 90 minutes of sleep.

P.S. For anyone wondering how my surgery turns out, I'll spoil the suspense: I live. I'll post by Wednesday, when I expect to get home from the hospital, with any interesting news (I'm thinking here that no news is good news).

tales from the front

or perhaps, in some more accurate sense, the rear.

I was going to reward myself with a nice home decorating magazine (I never buy them) and a package of gum (practically a necessity at this point), but their entire selection of magazines was People, InTouch, and something called Vanidade, which I'm going to guess isn't a journal of international affairs. Or, more to the point, a home decorating magazine. And I forgot about the gum.

Working on my self-discipline, I chewed up two orange dramamine tablets as soon as I got home. The chalky orangey stuff is frankly rather nauseating...and yet I felt somehow better not long after taking them. A few ounces of Diet Coke did wonders for my energy level, and I then put the laundry in the dryer and started a bleach load with some whites. (Is there a secret to getting pillows NOT to discolor? I absolutely hate that, but I can't wash them every week, they're feather. In fact, I am not confident they will survive this round.)

Diet Coke is a clear liquid. It's just really dark.

Once my stomach settles completely, I am going to have some more Golightly and grape juice. With ice. We shall see whether that stays down. AYWH, whoever gave you four gallons to drink is a bad human being.

In the mean time, I summoned my courage and read the instructions on the enema package (which I bought under the close supervision of a fellow shopper. If I see someone buying stuff in an embarrassing section of the store, I literally leave. Puritanical New Englander, whatever - did you want to make sure I bought the best brand?! I did uncharacteristically pass up the best deal, on a three-pack, as the idea that I might need three - or an "extra strength" one - was too traumatizing). Reading the package may be as far as I get with this today.

Have you ever read the outside of an enema package? Fleet, specifically. It offers two (only two) possible positions for self-administering an enema. They're about as difficult to figure out as when I read some book written by an evangelical doctor in the eighties (he wrote it in the eighties, I was then a small child and reading the Babysitters Club) trying to explain alternative sexual positions. I passed multivariable calculus and I can draw a hyperbolic paraboloid on a three-space graph, but this stuff - forget it. All I know is it sounds deeply disordered (I refer here to both the book and the enema package).

The instructions did, however, unexpectedly prompt an interesting revelation about fertility. It referred to the "knee-chest" position in conjunction with a drawing of a genderless (and apparently nude. Is this a requirement for enema administration?) person with his/her/its behind stuck all the way in the air, torso at an angle, face and knees on the ground. I understood the post-coital (sperm-encouraging) knee-chest position to be on your back with your knees on your chest. But I am always wrong about these sexual (and quasi-sexual) things. So which is it? Because my enema package says I may be a fertile person who doesn't know to have sex properly.

I think I've just gotten hits from google searches by about five million teenaged boys with poor decision-making skills. Word.

soldiering on

If you haven't figured it out, I decided at some time this morning to live-blog bowel prep day. It's not STRICTLY live, but reasonably. I assume here that no one in the blogosphere has a weak stomach. I know live-blogging the State of the Union and such is more typical, but my life is way more exciting than that.

The day is going very slowly, but at the same time it is much later than I was hoping it would be at this point. I decided to take my shower (with antiseptic), go to the store and get some dramamine (to prevent vomiting - med student friend very helpful here as it turns out, but she pointed out that there are alternatives to the Golightly they could have prescribed and it occurs to me that writing out a scrip for each would be wise if prep day is Sunday. Heaven knows no patient is going to take ALL of BOTH), and then do the laundry and clean the bathroom (my dear darling husband cleaned most of the rest of everything yesterday, including the hideous collection of feathers under our bed. No, we do not have some deranged chicken fetish - we have a down comforter).

First, being all responsible, I decided to take another dose of antibiotic #2. I'm supposed to take four doses each of two antibiotics. The first one is flagyl, and it apparently causes nausea also (it did make me gaggy, but I didn't feel nauseous until after the Go Lightly). Since I was really queasy, I figured I would just take the less-evil antibiotic, as gaggy seemed likely to lead to me vomiting the flagyl and that would just be a waste. I haven't had a lot of episodes of false bravery today, but I overestimated my stamina here. Two pills of antibiotic #2 and about forty-five seconds and I vomited up the entire contents of my stomach, which, fortunately, was two antibiotic tablets, shreds of chocolate Ex-Lax, and a bunch of juice and ginger ale. I guess I'll have to make do with three total doses of antibiotic #2.

I then took a shower, vomited again for good measure, got dressed, put in a load of laundry, and am now off to the drugstore. We do not have any dramamine (or benadryl) in the cupboards, so I will fetch some of that, plus an enema. I have a pathological fear of enemas (Sew's bravery is well beyond my ability to imagine), but I think it's wise. Though my plan is to mix some Golightly with grape juice (over ice, apparently - it sounds like the stuff would be even WORSE chilled over ice, but I haven't tried it, so we'll see), I don't know how much I'll be able to choke down. I was advised not to take any more Ex-Lax (don't mix laxatives, apparently. Who knew?), and apparently they cannot do anything bowel-related until all I am passing is water. Whatever I have consumed to date has definitely not had that effect.

Takeaway from the day thus far: if you have to do bowel prep, don't consume anything but clear liquids for TWO days before (so there's less to pass and less laxative is needed). Do NOT add water to your Golightly. Rather, put half the powder in a blender with a tray of ice cubes, a can of red bull, a liter of Mountain Dew, and four to six shots of Vodka, to taste. Blend. Bring blender to bathroom, remove all clothing, lock door, sit on stack of old newspapers in front of potty (seat up), and consume pitcher. Leave when bowels return to quiet (make sure no one else needs bathroom for two hours); if not passing water by this point, repeat with remaining half.

It's just a theory.

Also, in my house, you can get to the bathroom through two doors: one from the laundry room, the other from the bedroom. My husband decided to occupy the bedroom napping and playing on the internet until 1PM, while I was in the, er, throes of various Golightly-related sequelae, traveling frequently in and out of the bathroom (mostly in). Is this grounds for annulment?

you've got to be kidding me

First of all, I want to be up-front about the fact that I cheated, and I'm now only regretting that I didn't cheat further. I was supposed to combine the powder with a gallon of water, but I only filled it halfway. Easier to gag down four ounces every ten minutes than eight, right? Right. And heaven knows it's not like my water intake would drop, because I immediately polished off six ounces of ginger ale once I finished the dosage. How crazy do you have to be to think that it's better to have eight ounces of filth-water than four ounces of filth-water and then an actual beverage? You have to be a pharmacist, that's what. These people are a hazard to right-thinking humans.

However, it strongly appears that I didn't cheat enough. I should have made it one-eighth strength and done shots...my understanding is that this wretched substance is supposed to be a laxative, not an emetic. I was dry heaving during the first dosage. During the second, I actually threw up. It mostly tastes salty, but with an unmistakable "lab chemical" flavor that convinces all of the forces in my digestive system that it should not be consumed or, at least, not retained. I have now given up completely. There is no point me trying to down this stuff if I am literally going to vomit it. In a fabulous demonstration of its helpfulness, Tepeyac is closed on Sunday with no communication with any outside party, and I am not calling an emergency line, as I am not in pre-term labor. So I need a substitute (suggestions ENTIRELY welcome).

At this point it becomes time to peruse the container carefully. As near as I can make out, the ACTIVE ingredient (in every sense) is polyethylene glycol, which I think kills cats, but I'll let that slide for the moment. It ALSO contains a substantial concentration of salts, including sodium (the apparent source of the salty flavor), potassium, and several others. Since the word "electrolytes" appears in large letters on the label, it seems clear that these salts are included to cause the body to retain a lot of the water that comes with the preparation, so as to avoid dehydration, a potentially dangerous side effect of diarrhea.

Here's my thought on this: who here is a moron? Yes, if you're going to induce a system purge, water and electrolytes are key. But these are helpfully sold in every grocery store and gas station in America in the form of Gatorade, which does not, to my knowledge, induce immediate vomiting. I grant that I am assuming that polyethylene glycol in water would taste better than this death cocktail, but even if I'm wrong, I strongly suspect that the polyethylene glycol (which is a white powder) could be provided in pill form, and patients simply told to drink Gatorade in the requisite quantity - they could even wash the pills down with it! Or the powder could be stirred into the gatorade, whose nuclear flavors are strong enough to conceal almost anything, including actual poison, which I am not convinced this isn't (see cats, above).

This is so obvious that the only conceivable reason the medical community has not come up with it is sadism. I am tempted to contact my med student friend and ask her how I could put this remedy together myself in my kitchen, but she has taken on the attitude that she has to take doctors' sides against me absolutely no matter what the circumstance and no matter how obvious that I am merely trying to vent (I note here that she is getting divorced and I do NOT reflexively take her attorney's side, or that of the law in general, and this "doctors are right and you're a bad patient" shtick is getting a bit tiresome), so I am on my own.

Happily, I do have some chocolate Exlax tablets tucked into the medicine cabinet. They recommend adults take two at a time, up to four a day, so I have taken two and am thinking of going for six total. They supposedly take 6-12 hours to work, which will be inconvenient what with me planning to go to Mass at 7:30, but at least that will be before my surgery.

Not pleased. Not pleased at all.

o festival day

Many major religious denom-inations celebrate today as a holy day, and I respect that. For me, however, the day's most notable quality is that it is Bowel Prep Day (BPD), which is the manner in which I will henceforward refer to it.

It is inspiring and comforting, when one embarks upon an artistic venture (here, blogging about bowel prep), to know that the great literary lights of our time have gone before, and that one's writing aspires to join an established canon, to add one gleaming facet to the jewel of literary exploration of a subject inextricably woven into the fabric of human experience. As every true student of literature knows, the seminal work on the subject of bowel prep was written by Pulitzer prize-winning author Dave Barry. Mr. Barry was (as one might expect) not preparing for the removal of endometrial adhesions; the anticipated event was a colonoscopy. Without further ado, then, the passage that established the canon:

[O]n the day before my colonoscopy, I began my preparation. In accordance with my instructions, I didn't eat any solid food that day; all I had was chicken broth, which is basically water, only with less flavor. Then, in the evening, I took the MoviPrep. You mix two packets of powder together in a one-litre plastic jug, then you fill it with lukewarm water. (For those unfamiliar with the metric system, a litre is about 32 gallons.) Then you have to drink the whole jug. This takes about an hour, because MoviPrep tastes - and here I am being kind - like a mixture of goat spit and urinal cleanser, with just a hint of lemon. The instructions for MoviPrep, clearly written by somebody with a great sense of humor, state that after you drink it, 'a loose, watery bowel movement may result.' This is kind of like saying that after you jump off your roof, you may experience contact with the ground.

MoviPrep is a nuclear laxative. I don't want to be too graphic here, but: Have you ever seen a space-shuttle launch? This is pretty much the MoviPrep experience, with you as the shuttle. There are times when you wish the commode had a seat belt. You spend several hours pretty much confined to the bathroom, spurting violently. You eliminate everything. And then, when you figure you must be totally empty, you have to drink another liter of MoviPrep, at which point, as far as I can tell, your bowels travel into the future and start eliminating food that you have not even eaten yet.

My endeavor today, then, will be to experience the truth of these assertions myself, and to share that truth, as best I know how, with the world.

I haven't started yet - I'm supposed to start on my drug cocktail at 10:00 AM Eastern, but I took my thyroid pill at 9:09 and wanted to give it an hour to absorb before I start taking antibiotics (synthroid apparently interacts poorly with practically everything, which is confusing to me, as it is supposed to be a clone of T4, which occurs naturally in the body and can't help interacting with all the food and drugs you ever consume, immediately), and dislodging the entire contents of my digestive system.

One of the questions to which I will direct my attention is whether consuming nothing but clear liquids (I'm planning on fruit juice - I don't know why Mr. Barry went with chicken broth. I hate plain chicken broth) and taking this concoction will get rid of my invariable early-menstrual bloating. I am not naive enough to suppose it will reduce the accompanying abdominal pain. Also worthy of note: I am not taking "Moviprep," but a substance called "Go Lightly," which I am sure was the manufacturer's attempt at humor. One might suppose oneself more likely to go, as it were, lightly, if one did not consume any laxative at all.

I would also be interested in hearing whether other ladies who took these preparations find Mr. Barry's description to ring true.

Friday, October 9, 2009

as the world turns

Everyone will be delighted to hear that I am finally on CD1 (though there is an argument to be made for CD2. Either way, I believe by Dr. L's measure I am close enough - and, in addition, and as predicted, not pregnant).

More importantly, despite the hideous lurking prescriptions that lie in wait for me to waken on Sunday morning, life goes on. The air is crisp; though the trees are not flaming red and orange because, for whatever inexplicable reason, I am not in New England where I clearly belong, there are leaves crunching underfoot; the sky is ever so blue, and there is a breeze in the air, enough to justify sweaters sometimes, and it promises, in not too long, of boots. I bought a small stack of firewood today. Many things, even if not all, are right with the world.

And that will lead you, inevitably, to thoughts of kitchen decor. It did, didn't it? I know. I have, as previously noted, largely been biding my time on the subject of houses. I continue to watch
and wait to see whether the tan house will return to the market (I am skeptical that the buyer has been able to sell his current home, the remaining contingency), and to wait pensively on the white house whose owner hates me. Maybe if I wait just the right amount of time, he will forget. Or lower the price again. While I am waiting, I should really be getting my mortgage pre-approval done, but I just sort of...haven't. In the next few days, I should really at least get one of those free credit reporting trial things and make sure everything is ship-shape, before I start the more intimidating process of applying, and comparing interest rates.

In the meantime, I have been dabbling, at a sedate pace, in my side hobby of home decor and remodeling. I had fixed most definitely on white-painted wood cupboards (possibly with an antiqued finish) as the Platonic ideal for the kitchen. Like these, for example:


But as I have pondered many photographs of the kitchens of others, I have found my mind unexpectedly broadened. It may be that I like colored-painted kitchen cabinets as well. The jury is still out on this matter, but I ran several photographs past my DH to gauge his reaction (he is favorably inclined toward a number of different versions), so the potential is there that this may be incorporated into my plans. I have explained to myself that cupboards painted in color are easy to change later to cupboards painted white, and paint is cheap. But here, consider some of my exhibits.

You've already seen my favoritest kitchen, which contains all that could be right with a kitchen, and so I must think seriously about its slate blue cupboards:


Then there's this simple and understated cupboard look, all in a nice light gray:


Similar idea, in a slightly bolder color:


I really like the look of these black cupboards, but I think you'd need to have a pretty big kitchen to get in enough light to balance them out, and I am unlikely to have a particularly big kitchen. But they're still pretty:


Traveling slightly further afield, there's always green:


Then there's the idea of doing more than one color - gives me room not to make up my mind, I suppose, but also requires having a better thought-out idea of the color scheme:


And on the subject of unexpected color in the kitchen in general: I have blathered on before, and at length, about my love for the Chambers copper stove. I still want one. But I am trying to convince myself that I could be happy with a more pedestrian white enamel one, because I am more likely to find one of those, especially at a manageable price.

I discovered that while white is OK, I prefer color (even if I can't have copper). Some colors aren't that interesting - for example, I don't want the butter yellow Rachael Ray stove, because I didn't get the old stove idea from her, hers has become too cliche, and of course the association has driven up the price of all the items in that color. I also don't think I could handle a pink one, although I think it would make a great housewarming present for my sister some time down the line. And while I think the red is very interesting, I don't think I could handle it every single day:


But there are some colors that did catch my fancy. Here's a blue one, for example. And there's also a pastel green - not 100% sure about this. And I think my favorite (after the copper, of course) is the pastel gray. Sadly, these pictures are too large just to paste in here.

Anyway. What better than a little kitchen color to brighten your day?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I quit again

Seriously, how many times do you have to quit infertility before it takes? Because I quit again.

In an amusing (to me) bit of situational comedy, I actually started this post while attractively dressed in a pair of paper towels in an exam room at TFC. I figured it was Dr. L's prerogative to make me wait, since I had shown up TWENTY-FIVE minutes late to my pre-op appointment. (This may - or may not - be a personal best.) This was not because I forgot until the last minute - oh, dear me, no. Rather, I spent an hour and fifty-five minutes making the 19-mile trip there from my office. A small PSA: while I love the concept behind hopstop.com, the 1C bus no longer goes to Ballston Station - and whatever you do, if you're trying to take public transit from DC to Fairfax, ignore any website that suggests you debark before the Vienna station. Seriously.

It turns out that they're going to cut out as much of the contents of my abdominal cavity as possible, including, if possible, removing the lesions (abnormal cells, not cancer) on my cervix while I'm under. It all sounds highly entertaining. Apparently I will be hospitalized for 2-3 days, and I will indeed undergo bowel prep on Sunday. So I should probably scrap my plans to be the ringleader of a big hiking trip that day. Um, and for the month thereafter. Sigh.

In lighter news, my coworker has invited me to come with her Saturday to a huge antique expo in the Shenandoah Valley. It will be five hours in the car. I am anticipating it highly. Really, acres of antiques are well worth any amount of driving, and the Shenandoah is so beautiful. And I could justify spending...some money...on a few things I've been wanting. Heaven knows I've priced enough specimens on craigslist to know what fair prices would be. (Not that I expect to see anything at fair prices.)

I am still planning to buy one of my two top houses (well, they're the two houses in the favorite location). My DH has recently expressed that he sees it as no certainty that we will own a home by Christmas 2010. So, he will have a nice surprise when I buy one. But there are no significant developments on that front. There's another candidate to see, but I don't think it will displace the frontrunners. So I watch, and wait.

Looping back - they took copious amounts of my blood, and the day wouldn't have been complete without a pelvic exam. (When is the day ever complete without one?) They also, of course, took a urine sample. For those familiar with the toothpick instructions famously cited by Wonko the Sane, I think the urine sample collection instructions at Tepeyac could give the toothpick people a run for their money, with bonus points for peculiar anatomical references.

When I was a child (and this accurately reflects my overall temperament), I thought that a failure to FILL the sample cup was a deficiency with moral implications. Armed with the better information of adulthood, I serenely placed my cup with its half-inch of urine in the specimen cabinet. Next to it I noticed another cup, full to the very brim, with a suspicious extremely pale yellow color. Someone is trying to cheat the system, even though it says expressly that you're only to provide the MIDDLE of your urine stream. All that is going to get you is concerns that you consume too much iron - and chlorine.

I know why they want my urine, of course. The insurance paperwork somehow requires that they collect it (and if this is not indicative of the insanity of the bureaucracy, I don't know what is), but if they test it at all, it will be to see whether I'm pregnant. (Hint: no.) Anyway, it would be too early to tell. Perversely, of course, now that my prediction that the 12th would be at least day 5 of my cycle is under the microscope, I am suffering from performance anxiety. What if the wretched period doesn't show by Thursday? I mean, if anything, it would be late. But if I were pregnant this cycle, I would be PISSED.

(Yes, Irony, I'm talking to you.)

I also have two bits of somewhat relevant data for you. Dr. L shared that the medical literature indicates that, following the total-endo-removal surgery, women have an 80% chance of conceiving if the endo is limited; 50% if it is moderate; and 30% if it is severe. (Odds are mine is moderate or severe, what with all the cysts.) Best chances in the first year after surgery. I have agreed to think about doing 6-12 months of clomid or tamoxifen if my first post-surgical p+7 draw comes back with hormone irregularities. I explained to Dr. L that I don't want to give this process any more years if I don't have to, and she was entirely understanding. So I may not do more drugs. We'll see.

My other fact: today, for my pre-op appointment, I took FOUR hours off work - and spent four and a half hours in transit ALONE. Not counting the appointment. I apologized to everyone for being late, but it wasn't easy to do. Because I blame them - for trying to drum up business among the hyper-Catholic circles in DC and having their dumb offices in Fairfax; for having no appointments later than FOUR; for being the people I have to deal with because of my infertility, even though they can't help and the medicine and even the diagnostics have made me worse.

But probably mostly because, where a few years ago screwing up my route would have made me humble, it now makes me angry - with everyone. I used to think that that was a product of law school, and the working world. It's not. It's a response to feeling guilty and screwed up, something I used to be able to do with grace, because there was an amount of it in my life I could cope with. Now my failures and deviations from the norm are on a cosmic scale, and there is not oxygen enough for all the apologies and excuses; and I am not sorry any more. I'm just angry that I even have to have the conversation in the first place.

I quit, do you hear? I want my life back.