Friday, June 11, 2010

I share

Sometimes it's emotionally exhausting to be emotionally exhausting. No doubt I will return to that, since that's the territory I'm wandering around just now. (Sneak preview: I'm reading more books. Some of them may actually prove helpful. And, of all unlikely sources, my DH may have found me a spiritual director. Plus he's been hobnobbing with a lot of Opus Dei while in Europe, and thinks we should get in touch with some in this area. OK...)

Anyway, in this post, I share things with you, that may, or may not, be helpful.

I went to my "what medication shall we use to make the misfit crazier and sicker in pursuit of a fictional pregnancy" appointment. Amusingly, Dr. L/C actually said that I should be concerned about one medicine (I actually forget which) based on the "risk" of producing 6-8 follicles. I tried to explain that I just won't make any treatment decision ever based on a fear of having sextuplets or octuplets. First of all (and yes, I know, high risk of birth defects, not fair to babies), 6-8 kids at once? BRING IT THE HECK ON. Not only do I beat all my contemporaries in the kid tally in one fell swoop - which, admit it, is every Catholic IFer's secret dream - but even if I had to take off a whole year of work to have basically uninterrupted bed rest, I would still be way ahead in terms of lifetime earning potential. One pregnancy, all the kiddos start school at the same time, favorable college financial aid treatment. It's like a bulk rate. And second of all, have you met me? Hello, I'm your patient, the misfit. You performed surgery on my train wreck of a reproductive system in October, and then told me that the next 12 months would be my best chance of getting pregnant, and then I had a 17-day and 12-day menstrual cycle consecutively? Nice to meet you too. We should get to know each other.

So at my request, she laid out what she considers all my treatment options.

(1) Tamoxifen. I can dig up what this regimen entails for anyone who is interested, but I have done tamoxifen before, and I am sticking to my resolution: No More Tamoxifen Ever.

(2) Clomid. This arguably has the same drawbacks as the tamoxifen. It increases the spike in estrogen early in the cycle (which is good, for fertility), so it aggravates the endo; it causes hormonal upset and consequently, in my case, total psychosis; and it will definitely knock out my cervical mucus. I know there's a regimen that's supposed to fix that (amoxicillin, B6, Mucinex), but I am pretty sure I have done those things before and they didn't help. But, what the heck - I can try again and be more diligent.

(2)(a) Low-dose clomid. Standard dose, per Dr. L/C, is 50mg. Wheelbarrowrider suggested 25mg to me - apparently she took it, and didn't have problematic side effects, but it still achieved the desired effect. Dr. L/C said she was willing to try that if I was interested.

(3) Injectables. From the plural, I always assumed that this meant an array of possible drugs, all of which you get via sharp object. Not so, apparently: "injectables" means that you shoot up a synthetic form of FSH (Follistim, GonalF, or some other brand) on CD3-7 once a day. Then they do daily or every other day ultrasound monitoring, and when you have mature follicles, they give you a trigger shot of HCG (because it mimics LH, and will consequently cause the follicles to rupture - i.e., ovulation), or, the more expensive option, synthetic LH. Couple of points about this: first, my FSH from this cycle (b/w CD3, today is CD9) is 11.something. The highest it had ever been was 9.8, so that's not cool with me. But Dr. L/C said it can wander up and down. And that that really wasn't that much different from 9, in her view. Clearly I'm not happy, though. Second point: I have read about other gals taking HCG. In my head, that was the only drug they were taking - not a trigger as a follow-on to a different injection. Also, in my head, people were taking HCG pills daily for maybe 14 days or something. Was I totally out to lunch? Is the protocol Dr. L/C described the same one everyone else has done?

Also, in other matters, my thyroid is better since doubling the dose but actually still high (i.e., hypothyroid) - my TSH is over 3. Either I need a few more weeks for it to stabilize, or I will ultimately be prescribed more. Can't complain about that. But, in my interrogation of the good doctor, did I remember to ask what my other blood test results were? No, of course not. Sigh.

So, yes, and I share other things. In another, tiny, epiphany, I realized something: a lot of my housekeeping failures are because I was actually never trained to do things properly. My home was not kept clean regularly when I was a child. I know how to do obvious things, like laundry, sweeping, and dishes. I was taught a couple of times to mop floors. And I've taught myself just a few things - self-cleaning ovens, for example. (I know, this isn't rocket science. But everything is a skill.)

But nobody ever explained to me, for example, how you're supposed to wash your walls properly. Or how often. Or the proper maintenance of closets so they don't mildew. (Maybe this is not really a common problem...) Or how to insect-proof your kitchen. (I suspect this would be totally different in Virginia anyway.) So, instead of freaking out constantly about my failures, I need to start by learning what I would actually have to be doing to do it right. And then figure out how much extra time I need to set aside to keep up with these things. The things I understand, I do keep up with, or at least, if I've let them slide, I get myself caught up pretty well.

Anyway, google may be able to help here, and I will share what I learn, in case it's helpful to others. So far, my darling blogger friends have told me that "Scrubbing Bubbles" (the spray stuff - I bought the orange kind) would dissolve my soap scum like magic, and it's totally true. The suggestion for Tilex was less magic - it works, but no better than any other bleach cleanser. The grout-mildew refuses to die completely. I will win eventually, though.

Last bits of sharing: I heard this fairly new song on the radio the other day, and it struck a chord (heh) with me. Not because I have this placid relationship that needs to be shaken up (ha!), but because I actually have a fairly high-drama marriage, and you can have too much of that, but I think some of it is what makes our marriage work. Because we're crazy people and we're nuts about each other, and who else would have us? Anyway, super-cute. And the singers are married, BTW. Enjoy:

Oh, yeah, and this is just too fabulous for words:


  1. I so totally relate to your "nobody taught me how to keep the house clean" thing. My mother's house was, and still is, disorganized and pretty messy.

    I have found two books that help. The Flylady taught me about picking up after myself and scheduling basic cleaning, and the ladies from How Clean Is Your House? (that show on the BBC) taught me about wall washing, airing out the mattresses, and basic home maintenance. Get them both from your library. Then I signed up for email alerts from which remind me to do all of the things I don't know I should do, like washing the cottonwood fluff out of the inside of my A/C units, or having the chimney swept and inspected in the Fall.

    I'm not a great housekeeper at all, but now I feel as if I have to tools to get there.

  2. Any mention of Femara at your appointment? That's what we used (per PPVI recommendation). I only took 1 dose on CD 3. I believe it works in a similar way to Clomid; however, decreased chance of multiples and decreased side effects- no crazy. It did have some effect on CM, but they suggested an over-the-counter supplement called Fertile CM which totally improved that issue! Anyway, just curious. Hope my comment is helpful and not an annoying suggestion. :-)

  3. I don't know how you girls do it with all that medication. Wowsers. But I know why you do! SO didn't take your for a country music gal especially living up north! I live in the heart of it in good ol Mississippi and don't even listen to it (though this is rare, very rare) and did you hear the news about Alejandro, Lady Gaga's new video? So sad. She dresses like a nun with bright red duct tape over her lower privates. What a sick sick woman. I thought I like her before this.

  4. I can't give to much advise on the medications to take. I've only taken chlomid one time before I was diagnosed with pcos, and it did make me a little nutty. I'm interested to hear what you decide though.

    Love scrubbing bubbles! Works like magic. Also 409 for the kitchen. gets rid of the grease!

  5. I am with you on the lack of cleaning knowledge...but I don't think it is my mom's house since her house is always crazy clean!! I think she tried to teach me, bless her. I am going to take The Mom's suggestions, myself.

  6. Wash walls? I've heard the phrase before, but managed to convince myself it was a myth...

    My doc said that if she sees more than 3 mature follicles on clomid that she'd want us to abstain--only 3! Forget that, we're trying. I happily admit that my dream is to out do all the fertiles by having multiples (or at least adopting multiples, or multiple sets of multiples, you get the idea). Now, all those fertile people out there would say, "If you had a child, you would think differently." But what they don't know is what it's like not to be ABLE to have a kid. So yeah, 6, 7 kids at once, is fine with me because going crazy chasing after them or changing a zillion diapers is better than going crazy because you feel unfulfilled.

  7. try CLR (calcium, lime, rust) in your shower- it's worked everytime I've used it. Love the song! BTW- I have a dramatic marriage too!!

  8. tamoxifen did not work for me, but letrozole / femara was the ticket ... and for a friend with a similar experience. I don't have endo though, so I don't know if it will affect that?

    I did have 2 hcG trigger shots after taking letrozole (non-injectable, it's a pill). Then I had prometrium to support the luteal phase until blood test time.

    Oh, and the doc recommended red wine from France or Italy ONLY - 1 glass a day - for 2 weeks before ovulation and 1 week after, but not the last week of the cycle. I am not sure if it was the anti-oxidants or the relaxation factor.

    Flylady was a great site for me too, though I"ve fallen off the house hold management bandwagon. I go on every now and then, and when I stop there are still a few things that stick with me so overall it's a good equation.

    As for bugs - I was my kitchen floor with vinegar & hot water with a few drops of peppermint essential oil. Keeps the ants away. I don't know about other insects though.


    BTW Thanks for stopping by my blog :)

  9. I have done the 3rd - hcg trigger following injections of follistim. I personally would try either clomid or letrozole first and see how you respond to it. I never had any bad effects from clomid (other than reduced CM), but didn't respond well to letrozole. Most people are the opposite.

    Scrubbing bubbles are the best. I buy in bulk and use it on everything - even kitchen cabinets and above the stove.

    I've never cleaned my walls. I need to figure that one out. Things that need to be done twice a year (flipping mattress, fire alarm batteries, etc.), I always do when the time changes to help me remember.

  10. I always heard that starting with 25mg of clomid was standard. What's her reasoning starting with 50? The more the better?
    Anyway, I like the idea of the injectibles for you for some reason - maybe because you already have super-short cycles and would those help you develop healthy follicles and ovulate properly?
    I second the flylady site for learning everything you need to know about cleaning your house and keeping a schedule, etc. It's pretty awesome! Maybe I should get back on that myself :).

  11. I was explaining Clomid to my DH a few months ago and he brought up the subject of multiples and I asked him his opinion about that. He said something along the lines of "Twins, cool - we could totally brag to "X and Y"- and say hey you were faster out of the gate, but we are ahead now!". My response was "I didn't know this was a competition!" My DH's response - "Everything is a competition!". I just laughed at how he viewed it. It does put an interesting take on it. Good luck with determining the new regimen. I will be praying for you! (And for the record, I actually haven't been on clomid, so I guess we haven't faced that issue yet.)

  12. I think that you should see if your doctor will consider femera/letrozole instead of clomid. I need to work on house cleaning skills too.

  13. I, too, am fighting the infertility battle as you know, but I admit I'm completely uneducated about all the options. I'm a slow mover, apparently so all we've tried is Clomid and IUI (this month - still waiting to see if it worked). That said, I will pray that God will grant you and your husband wisdom on treatment decisions - it can be overwhelming for us but He saw this coming eons ago and knows the right path to take.

    Oh, and one other thing - go buy the spray Clorox Cleaner - spray it on the mildew on your grout after you get out of the shower and leave it until the next time you shower. Instantly GONE. No scrubbing. Here in Georgia we get wicked mildew from the humidity and that one saved my sanity.

  14. My parents' house was always pretty messy, too (it still is), and the only thing I really learned how to do when I was younger was dust. I've figured out some pretty good techniques, but I'm still figuring some out. I don't know anything about washing walls! I'm definitely going to check out that flylady site!

    The next infertility treatment I'm supposed to do is femara for 5 days, followed by follistim, and then the hcg shot. I've just been waffling about it, but if we do decide to pursue treatment again in the fall, that's what we would do.

  15. I am pretty sure there is another HCG protocol. What Dr L C described was the more "conventional" approach. But some of these other bloggers have used HCG as luteal phase support -- though I am pretty sure it was injections, not a pill. (and not with a trigger injection, I think)
    I'm not that helpful, though, because I have not done it myself. I think Sew tried some different things with HCG ...

  16. I have never, ever washed walls. My mom never washed walls. Do people really do that? If someone tells you how, or why, you should post it for the rest of us!

    I don't think any IFer would fear multiples!

    Oh, and I'm not Italian. I am, in fact Welsh and Czeckoslovakian, but that doesn't really carry with it great food heritage. But a couple of years ago it seemed that a good wife should know how to make a good lasagna, so I put several recipes together into one that I liked. I don't make it all that often, but I love it when I do! So yummy.

  17. I'm just starting out on the meds portion of IF...I'm currently in the middle of a clomid doctor used 100mg, but when I used it a couple years ago she started me out on 50mg. I didn't ask questions about it since I thought that was the norm. I was bumped up to 100mg though because 50mg didn't do anything for me.

    I'll have to listen to the song "Let's Fight" when I get home...from the sounds of things your marriage and mine are a little similar! My DH and I love our crazy life and are mad about each other...even though we drive each other bonkers on occasion!! We also joke that no one else would put up with the other so we're "stuck" with each other for life! :)

  18. My favorite cleaning product is Mr. Clean's magic eraser. They're little foam sponges can remove just about any kind of grime, marks, etc. It's really only a one-time-use deal so I buy LOTS. Happy house cleaning!