Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Vision Board'ing

So my friend and her boyfriend recently made vision boards (also referred to as Dream Boards) and it sounded like so much fun that I figured I'd make one for myself. Of course, I've had the flu so didn't really feel like buying magazines and shuffling through to find accurate pictures and then cutting/pasting etc... although I'm sure fun, just didn't have the energy. Doing it online was a nice easy activity to pass time while at home by myself, sick on the couch. 

Anyways... after a quick search I came across the website Dream It Alive where you can make them online for free. Cool tool. I'm sure I could have done an equally or better job on photoshop, but I liked that it encouraged you to fulfill different categories and write affirmations.

As an infertile, I found it an incredibly great thing to do. Law of Attraction ya'll! I'm sure you can make some educated guess about some of the elements in there ;)

My finished product:

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Reiki Reactions?

As infertiles, we're willing to try just about anything to stack the odds for success. That is one of the reasons long ago I began looking into holistic health and wellness practices. Diet being one of the first and most important contributors for me personally. I also tried various form of "holistic" treatments including acupuncture, craniosacral massage, and reiki.

I have been interested in learning Reiki since I first received it years ago while struggling through this whole infertility journey. It was a pretty profound experience then, and I believed my body was working through some things. I have since had sessions with various practitioners (some better than others as is always the case). Over the years my body has in fact gotten to a happier healthier state, though I admit, there are a lot of contributing factors... But as you take on all these infertility treatments; pills, injections, exams etc etc... it's nice to have a treatment that feels gentle and supportive. Some people love and swear by acupuncture... I could never really fully get on board with it. I tried... for one it didn't seem to help me all that much, and I also hated going. It felt like an annoyance and I didn't really "relax" during the sessions. It caused me a bit of anxiety being pricked with even more needles (when I was doing it daily for fertility drug injections and blood draws).

Due to recent studies (link1, link2) that have shown benefits to acupuncture, more and more REs are encouraging or supporting patients to pursue it in tandem with fertility treatments and IVF cycles. Personally, I have to believe that reiki has the same effect. By gently getting the energy moving through the bodily more smoothly/efficiently, and breaking up blockages, I believe the patient is getting the same result that acupuncture promises. Call it an airy-fairy wishy-washy theory, but if you haven't experienced reiki before (at least from a qualified and experienced practitioner) I strongly urge you to look into it.

Anyways, I believe, and I guess that's all that matters in my case, whether placebo or not. So this past weekend I went on the journey to becoming a practitioner in order to help myself first and foremost, but also others on their healing journey. There are 4 levels of Reiki training, and this was just my first. Basically we learned about the history of Reiki, the principals. How to give ourselves treatment (hand placements etc), and also how to give to others. In addition, we receive something called Reiki Attunements. In total over the course of the weekend we received 4 attunements which basically "plug" you into the energy. Again, I know this may sound a little far fetched to some, but experiencing is believing so don't knock it until you try it. It was pretty intense, and I experienced a wide range of physical sensations and emotions throughout the attunements. In particular a blockage I've felt in my right trapezoid for years was being released... towards/through my ear, no less. So it came as no surprise when I woke up the next morning with a massive ear ache.

The belief is that after receiving the attunements, your body pushes out the old dense energies and makes room for the lighter brighter reiki energies. Great... this is a good thing, and hopefully will aid in my overall sense of well-being... however that meant first I was going to get sick. Very sick. I had a horrible flu with aches, chills, fever the whole kit and kaboodle. In addition of course was the ear ache and a very swollen gland all on my right side. Coincidence? Maybe... but seems pretty crazy that first I feel the energy releasing that way and THEN it actually manifests in the physical.

I'm starting to feel better today which is nice. My ear still has a mild/dull ache.. not as bad as before, and it feels plugged, but the flu symptoms seem to have dissipated. I'm hoping that once I'm healed I'll have released that which no longer serves me and be on a path to feeling healthy and full of vitality!

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Bans Begin

Oh no...

I'm sure a bit proponent of this is in fact the tax component, but then the humanitarian in me wonders if these women are just in desperate times and resorting to desperate measures to support their own families...

Such a fine line.

With me considering surrogacy and having no one to really feel comfortable asking that huge burden of personally, and the cost locally being so high... options like this give infertile women like me a little glimmer of hope. And now looks like this is being taken away.

But the self-less part of me knows these women probably don't CHOOSE this... they do it because they have no other choice. Wonder if maybe it's ultimately a good thing for them. I dunno. Ugh.... so messy.


Allergies Abound

So I went in for some allergy testing about a month ago... You'd think after being poked and prodded for years with ultrasound wands, injections and blood draws would make me a tougher cookie, but apparently I'm still a wuss.

I had the back scratch test, and my back blew up.. no really. The doc walks in and just goes, "woah okay ya, that's quite a reaction." When he asked me what I suspected I was allergic to and said everything, I think he didn't believe me... or just thought I was kidding. He slowly learned that living in a bubble may in fact be my best solution.

Unfortunately, because I had such a severe reaction, they worried that the ones I didn't react to with the back scratch test, may still be in fact allergens for me. So I had to go back in a separate day to get under the skin testing. Then a bunch more things added to the list. Oh man.

Finally... I went back again a third day. That's three torturous days in a week. This is when I did the venom test for allergies to bees/wasps etc. They start with a scratch test on the forearm and then progress to under the skin shots slowly upping the does. Honeybees and Yellow Jackets were added to the list. I have an epipen for those because I've had mild anaphylactic reactions in the past. And I seem to get stung a lot. It's like they've got it in for me...

Oh and did I mentioned they discovered I have asthma too!? Fun times. So yesterday I had my first day for injections/shots and we couldn't get through all rounds unfortunately. Basically because I have so much I'll allergic to, I get 4 shots. 1 for trees/grass/weeds etc. 1 for cats/dogs/dust mites etc. 1 for honeybees and 1 for yellow jackets. Well my arm blew up after getting the trees/grass/weeds shot, and then I started getting a rash/hives on my chest so they gave me a prednisone tablet and had me sit there to make sure things didn't progress, which luckily they didn't.

It all begs the question, if I am so allergic to these things that are so prevalent in our environment, and my body is in such an inflammatory, reactive state all the time, how would I ever get pregnant? I'm not looking for an easy quick fix here, but is it possible that my allergies are really what are preventing me from getting pregnant? Hmm..

Interesting further was the prednisone tablet they gave me for my reaction. It was the same dose my doc has talked about using for a future FET cycle. Other ladies have that low of a dose as well, but now I'm wondering if mine needs to be a little higher given the extent and severity of my allergies.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Resolve's Hope Award - Best Blog Nominee

Wow. Just WOW WOW WOW!

So very honoured that this here blog, Femme InFertile, was selected as a nominee from over 200 submissions for Resolve's Hope Award - Best Blog! So cool.

Listen, infertility is no cake walk, and giving back in a little way to the community by sharing my story so openly is the least I feel I can do. I really would love to do more, but for now, I do what I can, and what I do best is write about it, talk about it, and above all be open about it. So I guess really blogging is just as much for the blogger as it is for the reader, hey? In my case that's true at least.

That being said, I really am truly so very passionate about speaking up on what infertiles deal with each and every moment of each and every day. I love this excerpt from an NBC News article:

"The longer the process drags on, the more uncomfortable they tend to become talking about it to other people. “Even in well-meaning attempts to make you feel better, people say something that makes you feel worse,” says James Grifo, M.D., director of the New York University Fertility Center in New York City. “Isolation is a defense mechanism against overload. It isn’t necessarily a good thing, but it’s what infertility patients do to protect themselves.”

And it's absolutely true. Opening up isn't for everyone. Nor are support groups or counselling/therapy. Each person going through infertility has a unique journey. No two journeys are alike. Trust me, I'm part of many communities and although we draw similarities here and there, there are always different factors at play. So just like those journeys are not the same, the way we cope and deal with it naturally aren't either. And they can evolve along the way too! Nothing is constant in this life.

Listen, I'll be frank, I personally think stewing in your sadness is a horrible idea... especially alone. Made worse only by the fact that those around you are not even granted the opportunity to show compassion and sensitivity towards you. Case in point, the bright eyed young pregnant co-worker next to you complains about the baby kicking...

But I'm also not ignorant to the fact that opening up to those around you brings its own perfect sh!t-storm of fun. You know how it is... there's always a type.

The Uneducated Well-Meaning Advice Giver:
"just relax and it'll happen" - you try to relax when giving yourself daily injections, having massive debt, and dealing with a revolving door of dissapointment. But sure, I'll just relax.

"have you tried accupuncture?" - no actually, I've been living in a bubble and haven't done any research on things to try... 

"You should just adopt" - because we all know having a biologically child that you carry in your own womb and birth into this world is the same experience to adoption. NOT. Can they be equally rewarding experiences? Sure... at least those who have adopted have told me so. But it's still not the same experience, and a person wanting one over the other is valid. 

The Overnight Seer:
"I know you're going to be a mom, trust me, I just know" - oh doooo youuuuuuu? Willing to bet your first born on that statement? Didn't think so.

"It'll happen. You're meant to be a mother." - oh good... because if I wasn't it wouldn't. *head scratch*

The Preachers:
"Maybe this is the universe's way of saying you're just not meant to be a mother." - oh good, because that 16 year old crack addict was higher up on the stork's list, ya that makes sense. 

"God has a plan." - Ya, well f*ck the plan.

Don't get me wrong. I am highly spiritual, and I do actually believe that everything happens for a reason, but not only is this incredibly unhelpful, it is also diminishing. Someone experiencing pain doesn't need to be reminded that this is their fate. They know it, they live it each and every day. Ugh. But as infertiles we have to remind ourselves that as hurtful as those interactions can be, more often than not, the person is well intentioned. They are doing what they think is helpful. Instead of just nodding and sweetly smiling, prepare yourself with some answers. I.e. "Actually, we've tried the whole relax thing, it didn't seem to work in our case, likely because we have actual medical reasons for not conceiving. Also new research has shown that stress has no impact on the ability to get pregnant." Of course, depending on the context, the person and the way you say it, it can always come off "cool", but it can also come off genuine and educational, or maybe you put your own funny spin on it like me. My husband and I like to joke around and we often laugh it off in public which tends to make people extremely uncomfortable. Oh well.

Anyway, I'm rambling. Long and short of the point is that it took me a long time to get to a place where I felt safe and ready to share my story. I was quite open with people from the get-go compared to most, but the ugly truth side of our journey? Ya... left that for after the 2nd failed IVF. And that's when this blog was born.

So all I want to say to you my readers. I know you. I see you. I get you. I'm here... in the trenches with you. I don't have my happily ever after yet... maybe I will someday soon. Maybe you'll beat me to the finish line like so many others before you. But know that I'm rooting you on. I'm wishing you success on your journey, but I also know that some days its so hard to see any glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. Hope is a fickle thing, but we women are born fighters. So month after month, failed treatment after failed treatment, we pick ourselves back up again. Why? Because we know what we want, and we'll do anything we can to get it, and we won't let anyone be ignorant to how f*cking hard it is.

ps. do me a solid and go give my blog a vote if you're enjoying.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Cooking for my Cause

So if you're anything like me, you absolutely will do anything and everything to finally see those two double lines pop up on your HPT. The most recent trend worth trying I decided was the Autoimmune approach to eating. So, being the good little infertile I am, I obligingly bought two of the most standard "must have" resources for this.

The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook by Mickey Trescott

and The Paleo Approach by Sarah Ballantyne

Of course I bought them about two months ago, flipped through them, and they've proceeded to sit on my counter unused. That being said I AM planning on using them, and have every intention of giving them a true effort, but I'm just not fully ready.

See as I settle into a new city, and absorb the fact that my third IVF failed, wondering if I'm destined to be an infertile forevermore, I decided I needed to be kinder to myself. This meant stopping the negative self-talk, the hate-on I had for my body, and in general, not restricting myself beyond what's necessary.

Right now we're "on a break" (oooooh... maybe I'll get pregnant.... NOT *insert eye roll*), so I'm letting myself cheat a little. If you've read my blog from the front end to the back end, which I'll admit is highly unlikely, you'll know I'm Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Alcohol-Free and have recently eliminated red meat and pork. So "cheat" for me, really just means, ya I'm going to indulge in this gluten-free cookie that has a tiny big of egg white in it. Or sure, toss me one of those buckets of almond-milk peppermint dairy-free ice cream bite tubs full of sugar... and fully expect me to polish it off. But for now it's keeping me sane.

So when do I plan to start? Well... I definitely plan to give it a go as I begin my 3 month round of Lupron Depot. Not only am I anticipating feeling pretty crummy while on it, providing even more of a need for healthy eating, but also we are considering following up with an FET and I'd really love to give myself the best possible chance as usual.

Funny thing is, I think my body has been pretty happy on my diet as is for the most part. Sure I could do with more whole foods and less sugar and corn, but overall my body has made some major shifts since implementing the strict diets aforementioned. For example, my cycles! TMI alert... you'd been warned, but I used to spot for 7 days pre-menstrual cycle. 7 DAYS! That's a whole period before my period. So basically half the month I was bleeding out my hoo-ha. Fun right!? But lately I've been wondering if maybe, possibly I'm pregnant month after month because no... more... spotting. Of course, never ever have I been pregnant, so this is the hopeful naivety in me, but still very promising to see such a healthy shift in my cycle like that.

If I can feel even BETTER... well sign me up. Just give me a few more cookies first... 

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Lupron Fears & Therapeutic Tears

So I just got off the phone with the pharmacy for my Lupron Depot 3 month injection. Ugh. Do you know how expensive those things are!? At least my insurance covered some of it, but then I did a bunch of bouncing around on the phone to get a very small, but also appreciated, co-pay assistance from the manufacturer. If you don't know what the Lupron Depot is, it's a treatment course for Endometriosis. It basically puts your body in a false state of menopause in the hopes of stalling the disease. It causes a lot of horrible side-effects, one of the most concerning for me is the very real bone loss effect. Need to up my calcium stat!

I'm in a great online forum and have support from ladies who've been on it before, but they do nothing to ease my fears. Everyone is different though, so we'll see how I do. Arrives tomorrow but no clue as to when I'm supposed to take it. Maybe CD1? How bizarre to live in a world where no one communicates anything and you really have to dig for all the resources and information yourself. So different in Canada from my experience. USA... figure it out!

Anyways, on a separate note, on of those mentioned ladies posted the following articles which caused tears to stream down my face. Sometimes it just feels good to be reminded that we're not alone in this journey, and that someone else understands. Infertility can be so isolating. I had a very frank talk with my friend who was just in town visiting, and we discussed it. How no one asks, and yet if they ask, it can be at such an inappropriate time. Or when they get an answer they don't know what to say. She admitted to it herself, and though she cares deeply she really doesn't know what to do. She tries, and I appreciate that much, but until you've lived it, I really don't think you get it.

So for you, my blog readers, a reminder that you too are not alone. That you're not the only one to not yet have their happily ever after, and not alone in worrying that day may never come. Hugs to you.

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ps. hope you like the new blog style, I got bored of my old one ;)