Thursday, July 30, 2009

Not Cool

As in freakin hot. It has been 105 degrees for what seems like an eternity. You can fry an egg on the driveway, bake cookies on the dash of your car, and get a sunburn just looking out the window. Our air conditioning broke on Sunday (repaired on Monday thankfully), and the pool is 95 degrees (obviously without the heater on).

But what's REALLY not cool is the bill I got from RE Opinionator #3 for my consult. I was told the consult was $300 which I paid up front. This is the same price as the consults I have paid for at the other 2 clinics. However, the bill shows up today for $529. I am slightly miffed. And, I have a hunch this is what would be billed to my insurance company and would be reduced based on their contracted rate (which I KNOW they have). So really....should I be expected to pay any more out of pocket than the contracted rate they have with my insurance company, although I don't speficially have those benefits? I think not. But we'll see what THEY think. (After I let Mr. W call them. Tee hee.)

Not cool. Very not cool.

Monday, July 27, 2009


Disclaimer: Not intended to offend anyone older than me.

Ordinarily, my birthday is a fun day. The weather is pretty much guaranteed fabulous and one of my BFFs shares the same birthday.


Note the updated profile info on the sidebar.

Another sigh.

I am in birthday purgatory now. Caught between Scylla and Charybdis.

After 35, the IF world casts unfavorable glances your way. At 37, you start losing rights to discount plans, money backs, and shared risks. At 38, you move up a tier in the SA.RT data . At start getting the shoulder shrugs, especially after a failed cycle. You're technically still under 40 so you won't be thrown out the door. (Read the disclaimer.) You won't hear the gasps from the balcony yet. They will happily take your money to try again. Because it could still work, you know. But mentally, you are being pushed into the next column whether you like it or not. (Disclaimer.)

I have only been 39 for 36 hours. But two days ago, I was still 38. Is it possible my eggs crossed the point of no return over a weekend? Of course not. Is it possible they have arrived begrudgingly into a holding tank where their fate will be sealed by a roll of the dice? A flick of the magic wand? A click of the heels? An empty bank account? A lab's soured culture medium?

No Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

What Else?

Today was one of those days where you just have to say WTF?

For starters it was an OPK positive day. Great news overall, except my donor is fishing in Alaska. Or at least he was....until his BFF called me this morning to say he was taking Mr. W to the ER. Huh???

Apparently Mr. W had some excruciating amount of pain and decided he needed to go. I can only imagine how bad it must have been if Mr. W allowed himself to be driven to the emergency room. (Doctors are the worst patients.) Meanwhile, I'm a total train wreck but BFF calls to say they saw him right away and that Mr. W diagnosed himself (on the way to the ER) with a kidney stone. Turns out, he was right! A CT scan confirmed he had a 3mm stone in his distal ureter. They gave him some painkillers, a band-aid, and shipped him back out to finish his fishing trip. He comes home tomorrow - salmon, halibut, and a kidney stone heavy. So begins the process of getting the damn thing passed. (BIL is a urologist and wants to surgically remove it when he gets back. thanks...if possible. We don't need to be doing any unnecessary tampering with what jewels we've got to work with.)

As for me...I haven't really updated the GI issue, because well, I really don't have a lot of info yet. I'm still waiting for test results, followed by more results. To make matters worse, Top Doc's clinic (RE opinion #2)requires a slew of tests that my local lab managed to fucq up. So I have to go back for a redraw (as does Mr. W) and a repeat of the missed labs. Ok fine. But of course that doesn't move me to the head of the class anytime soon. And well, time's a ticking for August. Ticking right on by...

Ya know, if we could both just get our sorry asses healthy, maybe we could have a freakin kid or two.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Mr. W is on his annual fishing trip in Alaska. I'm sort of rattling around by myself (with three cats). I usually look forward to this week and typically plan a few girlfriend events, catch up on "stuff" that never seems to get done and just kick back. But work and a bunch of other crazy stuff has prevented most of that, along with the blasted 95 degree weather. After the holy crap that Mr. W and I have been through this year, I miss him terribly and find that nothing else I wanted to "do" really matters. And he has been texting me, wanting to come home already, only 2 days into the trip. All of this reminds me that there is so much more to be doing and enjoying than fretting over this IF crap 100% of the time.

I was thinking about all of this earlier today but then I logged onto Fac.ebook to see what everyone else was up to. I had no idea how hard those thoughts would be hammered home.

A guy I went to high school with has a 4-year old son with brain cancer. They have just learned after several surgeries that it's now terminal. This weekend was their Make.A.Wish event and he had posted pictures. To top it off, his wife had ovarian cancer 2 years ago and was in remission, but now it has come back. He will likely lose his son and wife in a very short time. Suddenly IF seems so minuscule.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Behind Door Number Three

And so the quest for the perfect clinic continues. We had our third opinion consult on Tuesday. It was interesting and informative, I suppose. He was a realistic optimist, I would say. He thought there was some work to be done in the protocol department to improve the outcome. He also said our situations are always the worst cases that walk in the door (severe MFI with old hag in tow). Nice. At least he's honest. So what other bombs could he drop?

1. I have some follicle recruitment issues, similar to the dominance syndrome. A variation of a protocol he's been testing in monkeys looks promising. I'm serious. He "monkeys around".

2. I may be tending toward new PCOS-like symptoms. Ok, this one is new.

3. He's a big believer in TCM, but says cut the herb crap. His jury was still out on DHEA.

4. He says skipping out on the wine is ridiculous. (Ok, he is scoring serious points, but I tell him not to blow sunshine up my skirt.)

5. He says Mr. W definitely needs to get some samples cryo'd soon.

6. From the land of WTF, he says my hormone levels are so normal it's silly that this hasn't worked. But clearly, I am a poor responder. So it may likely be a statistical game of which month or cycle will work this time. Or not. Or it may be more about which month my bank account thinks it will work.

7. And from the holy shit category, he thinks there MAY be a correlation between what has been going on in my GI tract and this IF. And therefore, he would not allow us to do IVF until the remaining results and/or treatment is done for the stomach issues. Oh gawd. More on that in a later post.

8. When I told him we had a consult at another clinic and would make a decision in the next few weeks, he asked who we were considering. I said Top Doc out of state. Coincidentally, he had just referred his niece to her because she lives in that city. He spoke very highly of Top Doc and admitted we had a very difficult decision to make. And so we do.

9. Oh, and according to him, I need to kick my optimism level up a notch.

He did dispel some myths...some reservations I had about going there, which I said a few posts back that I would elaborate on. He confirmed the lab is located on site. (I thought it was elsewhere.) He offered a reasonable explanation for an error that occurred a few years ago. (You never want to see an error, but the media blamed it on the lab. He explained it differently and I felt he was very candid.) However, he did confirm that other clinics in town may also use their lab, but said that physicians were not allowed in the lab.

So we're pretty much back to square one and have actually made a little chart. It's a tough choice and everything is on the line.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Not Enough Emoticons

My creativity is somewhat sapped, so I decided to summarize my past week like this:

1) Happiness: From finally wearing my wedding rings again for the first time in over 2 months.

2) Encouragement: In having dropped 12 of those IVF pounds. (See #1)

3) Control: In skipping out on 4 days of court depositions I was supposed to be in this past week.

4) Disgust: For the amount of money spent on attorney fees for above, that could have been spent on another IVF cycle.

5) Pleasure: In the freshly wood-fired pizza Mr. W made in his oven last night.

6) Relief: That the stray bullet yesterday veered into my tire and exited out the wheel, instead of through me.

7) Sadness: That I see Mr. W's parents aging quickly before my eyes and that they may never meet another grandchild.

8) Hope: That this next IVF cycle will work and that we will make the right clinic decision.

9) Bummed: That Mr. W is leaving for his annual fishing trip to Alaska soon.

10) Desperate: For this black cloud to move on its way.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Ordinary Post

I was formulating ideas in my mind this morning about some things I wanted to write in my next post. And then I read dear Kate's post on her ordinary life and it stopped me in my tracks. So much so, that I have decided to post another day, or maybe another time later today.

She has clearly hit the nail on the head (as she so frequently does). And...well...that's how it really is. I've got that same recycle bin. I've seen that same ultrasound screen. I know where that parking lot it. I've been naive. Those dice are rolling around in my pocket too.

Go have a read.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Back Up Plan

Next week is the consult with RE opinionator #3 - the local university. I have been awaiting a magical message from the universe to tell me what to do with respect to choosing the next clinic. Of course, the dream I had a few weeks ago suggested that RE #3 was going to be a bad choice, but I decided not to be judge and jury all at once and at least give him a chance, so next week's consult is still on.

Not knowing what will be the outcome of that event, I went ahead and scheduled a cycle for next month with RE opinion #2, at the clinic 600 miles away. Today was my preliminary coordination appointment (albeit by conference call), followed by a financial counseling appointment. I am relieved to be at least temporarily moving forward again. And, I am suspicious that this choice will end up being our final choice anyway, for reasons I shall elaborate on later.

However, this choice clearly will not be without its own set of issues. For starters, I have the travel factor. I have at least already booked my hotel room - just so I HAVE one. I have more flexibility on the flights, and can drive in a pinch, so I will wait that one out a bit.

Then there is the cycle fee. We were unsuccessful in our attempt to get insurance coverage this last renewal period. It's simply not offered in our state for small businesses like Mr. W's, so we will be 100% out of pocket for the fee and drugs again, and this clinic costs almost $3000 more per cycle than our last one. Needless to say, I'll be looking for meds if anyone has any lying around they'd like to dump. Cheap.

And then there's the explaining to everyone why I'm out of town for so damn long without Mr. W. Still working on that one...

Friday, July 3, 2009

The View From Here... better than the view from inside the endoscope yesterday.

If you look closely, you can see Mr. W in the middle of the picture weed whacking our path to the beach. It's a crappy picture I took with my cell phone. That's the sun shimmering off the ocean in the far ground. It has been almost two months since we have been to our beach house. Hence the need for weed whacking. The last time we were here, I was in my 2ww and had learned I had a BFM on the beta scale. M as in...maybe. Sigh. Other than this post today, I have decided to have an IF-free weekend here with friends. I'm going to relax. Enjoy the incredible weather. The local fireworks. And the idiotic things other people do at the beach on a major holiday weekend.

But I yesterday's scope. Thanks for asking, Meinsideout . It was, well, not ideal. But I guess, not horrible. I have a great GI doc. And that's saying a lot coming from me. Aside from Mr. W, I am not easily impressed with medical professionals. And perhaps, because of Mr. W, I am hard on them. I ask lots of questions. I don't like to be patronized or idiotized. I expect thorough and courteous treatment. And I'm ok with educated hunches for the inexplicable (duly disclaimed of course). I have no tolerance for pompousness and I dislike someone who has not at least "flipped" through my chart before they walk in the room. that too much to ask? I felt Dr. GI met these criteria with flying colors. And, he treated me like the educated, articulate person I am (even though Mr. W was present).

Ok, the scope. Dr. GI was genuinely concerned about doing it if I had a positive beta (because of the DIY IUI last weekend) so he had a blood draw done right then and there while we waited to begin. It was negative. Big surprise, but also too early, technically...which I told him. He said it was our call. I said based on our recent fabulous lab news the day before, I was fairly confident it was a bust. Mr. W agreed. Dr. GI said the only possible risk was the unknown effect of the sedatives administered for twilight. After some discussion, we agreed to proceed. I appreciated Dr. GI's concern and candidness. And he even let Super Doc watch the whole procedure!

I'll tell you how it went, but I want to say I am clearly not the poster child for endoscopies. If you ever have to have one, it will not likely be as miserable as mine. I was not in twilight for a good portion of it. In fact, I was awake, gagging, for most of it. After the cocktail was administered, I was given a little bite block with a hole in it to keep my mouth open for the scope, while preventing me from biting on it. And then I was out. Uhm...for a bit. I woke up (who knows when) gagging on the damn thing and feeling the hose go up and down my throat, followed by some suction action in my mouth and conversations between Dr. GI and Super Doc. And then I was out again. (Mr. W said every time I woke up they hit me again with the cocktail until apparently they decided I'd just plain had enough to sedate a cow...which I am not, but feel like I resemble sometimes.) I remember waking again and hearing the nurse talking and I remember opening my eyes a couple of times and seeing a little towel covering my face. In any case, Dr. GI told Super Doc my continual gagging was very common in people with IBS, and they don't know why, other than the body has a constant propensity to want to expel things.

So the verdict? Dr. GI took 6 biopsies - 2 of my stomach, 2 of my esophagus, and 2 of my small intestine. Those are all pending. He also used a second, ultrasound scope and scanned every organ he could. All normal. What he did find with the scope was severe gastritis in the stomach (excessive acid causing these little bumps) and jackpot...a hernia in my stomach! Did you know there was such a thing? I didn't, but now I have a little picture of one inside me. (Yeah, I got some nice photos as a GWP but I'll spare you all.) Dr. GI said the hernia is old, meaning it's been there awhile, but the recent IVF stress and weight gain have aggravated it enough to make me miserable. He didn't feel surgery was necessary and that a bit of weight loss (seriously, he said just a little...) should help, as well as some treatment for the acid. And oh, de-stressing. Uh...yeah. Of course, this is all pending the biopsy results which he expects to be normal.

So I went home somewhat relieved there wasn't something serious and that the ultrasounds were normal. Of course I have an incredibly raw, sore throat. And because I maxed out the cocktail service, I hailed whatever I tried to eat the rest of the night.

For the rest of the weekend, I shall relax and enjoy the sound of the ocean among the company of good friends. I might even have a glass of wine, if the stomach and throat will oblige. And next week, I'll resume the IF obsession and 10 more days in court, which ironically, are the result of... the view from here.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Progress Report

Or lack thereof. Progress that is.

Mr. W has been on the who's who of supplements for the last 2 months straight. He's been going to Ms. TCM. He's been taking his herbs. So on Friday we decided to get an updated SA to see if there has been any change in the severe MFI.

The verdict? It's all worse. There has been a substantial decline, so much so, that I'm in utter disbelief. All of the diet watching, vegetable consumption, antioxidant fixes, alcohol avoidance, and supplements were for not. A complete waste of money, time, and that effing four letter word. Hope.

I feel guilty blogging about this. Mr. W is at work and I had to email the results to him after they were faxed over this morning. We haven't even had a chance to discuss it. I haven't even cried yet. I am just completely numb.

Since most of us internets are statistic whores, here are the numbers:

Count: 1.5 million (down 75%)
Motility: 24% (down 63%)
Morphology: 20% normal (down 41%)

Yeah, I felt your jaw drop.

So now what? I just don't know. A few months ago I asked Mr. W to have some samples cryo'd. He thought I was being rediculous and so he didn't. Now, I'm really wishing we had, but I'm thinking maybe we still should. There was one very small improvement. So small, it's almost not even measurable. His swim-ups have been zero in the past. This time it was .04. Almost zero, but not, and obviously still abnormal. (0.2 and above is normal...note the decimal place.)

The crazy thing in all of this is his last endocrinology appointment was really pretty good. (Remember he has Type 1 diabetes.) His A1C had dropped a tiny bit, his cholesterol was WAY down, and his blood pressure was perfect. We even thought the supplement regime may have had an impact, along with diet.

It's sunny and approaching 90 degrees today. We're heading to our beach house with friends this weekend. I am down 10 pounds from my IVF weight. I guess there are still a lot of other things in life that I want to do besides have children. I'm trying really hard to find a bright spot in today. Sigh....My endo.scopy is tomorrow. I can only imagine what fabulous findings we'll have with that.