Back in the Stirrups

Normally I don’t talk to myself, but if you saw me this morning you would be convinced I was a lunatic. The talking to myself was necessary….because I was trying to talk myself down from the impending panic attack I was feeling knocking at the door to my sanity.

So my morning went like this….

I left my house and headed straight for the pharmacy. My original thought was, Great my appointment isn’t until 9:15 at the clinic which leaves me ample time to get my prescription for Letrozole and Estrace first (so I could get my butt to work as fast as possible after the appointment). Well as it turns out, my pharmacy opens at 9. SHIT. This isn’t the biggest deal, but I just knew they wouldn’t have it ready by the time I got there and so I would have to wait….which just adds stress on to the whole “missing work” thing.

I took a few deep breaths, and drove to the Starbucks next door. Might as well have a nice latte while I still can right? I got my coffee and proceeded to call Freedom Pharmacy to set up my Ovidrel and Gonal-F delivery. The good news….they actually had the prescription this time. The bad news….because of the holiday weekend they cannot deliver on Tuesday (the day I need to start the Gonal-F). My choices are tomorrow or Saturday, but my husband and I will both be gone starting tomorrow. And my office closes at 1 on Fridays in August so I can’t even have it delivered there! And in rolls the anxiety. I told her I would figure something out and call her back and I started to drive to the clinic literally out loud trying to get myself to calm down. When I arrived in the parking lot I was able to get a hold of a friend who lives a few minutes a way that is actually going to be in town for the weekend. I am having everything delivered to her and hopefully she gets it all in the fridge.

I entered the clinic feeling slightly better but still on edge just wondering what else might not go as planned. As I mentioned I met with the financial coordinator last week. At that time she told me the cost of my cycle, and that it would be due when I arrived for my baseline ultrasound (today), and that I could pay by credit card, check, cashiers check, or debit card. Pretty much anything except cash. Well then today the receptionist gave me a hard time about paying by check because of some random technicality in the system. I forgot to check how much my debit card allows in transactions per day before I left, and I was literally beginning to lose it when she finally figured out that I could pay by check. Such unnecessary stress!

Thankfully the actual appointment went well. It was with my preferred doctor at the clinic, Dr. M, and I was clear of cysts. Even the whole ultrasound while on my period thing wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I had a quick meeting with the nurse coordinator and then off I went back to the pharmacy.

As expected they did not have my meds ready. And I needed to pick up my thyroid meds as well which I knew I would have to ask them to do for me since they can’t seem to figure out how to keep them on auto refill since I take two different dosages. There were seriously like 8 people working behind the pharmacy counter and it was complete chaos. After finally talking to the pharmacist he tells me that one of my thyroid meds only has enough left on the prescription for ½ of what I need for a month. What?!?! How is that even possible? I was able to convince him to give me those pills so I could get through the weekend, while he got the refill from my doctor. It still took 30 minutes to get out of there.

By the time I got back to work I was a wreck stress-wise. I was thankful that my boss was not in the office when I got back. I got right to work and accomplished everything on my priority list quickly. Of course not long after I got back I got a message from my doctor that they will only refill my thyroid meds for 1 month because I need a blood test! I literally just saw her when she made me come in in May for a “Med check” appointment and she didn’t say anything about needing one soon. Actually I asked her to give me a lab sheet for Lab Corp in case I wanted to get one voluntarily. It was stupid enough that I had to go in for an appointment with her so she could “see how I was doing taking my thyroid medication that I have taken my entire life”…..and how this! I mean what a waste of time and money!

Keeping my eye on the prize, I am super grateful that all of this worked out and I know I need to seriously work on keeping a little calmer when I get curve balls. Honestly if my boss hadn’t made me feel so uncomfortable about missing work for doctor visits, I think I would have handled all of this better. I am so thankful I had no cysts and can go forward with this cycle, and that thank goodness my next ultrasound appointment is on a Saturday. My beta day will be Sept 23 or 24th which could be the perfect belated birthday present.

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The Next Level- Prep for IUI #4

Today was my appointment with the financial coordinator and nurse coordinator at my RE’s office.  It was a lot of information to soak up in an hour, but I left feeling more like a legit infertility patient.  I mean it’s not necessarily that I didn’t feel legit before, but my first three IUI cycles felt different.  For one, it felt reactionary and shocking.  I had no idea what to expect.  It was kind of like being in the kindergarten of infertility treatments.  You are qualified to be there, but they just easy you in with the “easy” stuff.  Apparently when you start injectables  you have graduated to another level, and shit gets real.  

First, I never had to see a financial coordinator for my Letrozole only cycles.  I just paid for each appointment when I came in that day, and no one ever really told me the overall cost for appointments or medication.  This time things are different.  Even when she came to the waiting room to get me she took me to a completely different part of the office I didn’t know existed.  For a mixed cycle (or straight injectable cycle), you pay for everything at your baseline ultrasound.  That includes all ultrasounds, two back-to-back IUIs, a Beta at their lab (they always sent me to an outside lab before), estridol testing, and possibly other things I am now forgetting.  She also gave me an estimate on my medication cost.  All in all, this cycle will likely cost about $600 more than my Letrozole cycles, which is honestly a big relief.  She also gave me an estimate on the straight up injectable cycle, which was about double the cost of a mixed cycle (5k-ish). Honestly I do not see us ever doing that, but rather going to IVF.  The other interesting thing was that she went over the positive beta scenario with me, as it relates to billing.  Up to this point, no one at the clinic had ever mentioned to me what would happen if I actually got pregnant.  I learned that they basically do monitoring for you until 8 weeks, and she went over what would be billed to my insurance in that case.  I also had to fill out a form that stated I understood all my treatment was out-of-pocket (until positive beta), which I had never had to do before.  

Next I headed into the nurse coordinator’s office.  She went over what seemed like a mountain of paper work with me.  She first informed me that apparently I need a PAP.  Mine expired like 30 days ago…..and my OBGYN takes like 3-4 months to get into for a PAP.  I sort of started to freak out, but apparently they do them in the RE office, so I am scheduled for next Wednesday.  Also if the schedule doesn’t work out for the IUI for my next cycle, I will need blood work, because I have a few tests that expire this month.  She then went over the cycle schedule and what medication I would be taking on what day.  She is also calling in my Ovidrel and Gonal-F now.  She then went over some handouts she went sending me home with about fertility stress management, counseling, resources, ect.  I sort of laughed at this only because I was a little surprised they wouldn’t have given it to me A YEAR AGO WHEN I BECAME A PATIENT.  Again, apparently when you start shooting yourself up that’s when they start taking you seriously.  The next set of handouts had to do with do’s and don’ts that will start the first day I take fertility meds through when I get a positive beta (again, this was not discussed for oral cycles).  Finally she started to grill me on my prenatals and supplements.  She even sent me home with a big bunch of prescription prenatals to try (because most over the counter ones make me nauseous).  

Then we got to the hard part……the demo on giving yourself shots.  I mean it seemed easy enough to inject into a red cube, but when I am shooting a needle into my stomach I think I will feel differently.  Maybe it won’t be a big deal by the time I get to trigger, but right now Ovidrel scares me the most.  For my oral cycles the clinic has always done that one for me, and its possible they will again at my CD 11 appointment but she said i may have to do it myself.  I really wish I had a best friend in the nursing field.  

I also talked to the nurse coordinator about trying to work scheduled appointments in the early morning or later afternoon, since I work so far away.  Basically she said they would do what they could but I should really hope that some of the appointments fall on a weekend.  The only way that will really happen is if my cycle is 27/28 days or 32/33/34 days.  At this point I am really pulling for the 32-34 range…….not that I have any control :-).  

Despite the overload of info I am really trying to keep the most positive attitude possible, and not focus on the “this is it or its IVF” thing.  We will see how that goes when I start filling my body with hormones.  I am super relieved that this cycle is *only* going to cost around 2k.   I really expected it to be a lot more.  it’s funny how 2k feels like nothing when you have already spent thousands more than that on something.  If it brings me a baby, obviously money well spent.  If not…….well lets not think about that.  It’s honestly kind of weird to be back to blogging about all of this again after so many months of just waiting.  I already remember how doing treatment plans literally takes over your whole life.  I do feel more prepared this time mentally and emotionally.  I am just really praying that everything goes smoothly with no unforeseen stress, and of course for that positive beta…..finally.  

 

 

Back in the Swing of the RE

I have been writing a post about my weekend, at my grandpa’s celebration of life, but it’s not quite where I want it. Sometimes it’s just really hard to express in writing, or words of any kind, the way you feel about something like that. Hopefully I get it to a place to actually publish this week….

In the meantime I am actually going to make a fertility related post (shocking I know). Last week I called my clinic. Actually I tried to log in to my online portal which has a copy of the mixed cycle treatment plan they did for me in February. I’m sure I have it printed out somewhere, but I it just seemed easier to look online…..and they had suspended my login info! I did what the website said to do, which was email the administrator…..and a week later no response. That is really annoying but as I was thinking about the possibility of starting this treatment plan next month, I decided to better call the clinic and make sure there is nothing I need to do before my cycle starts.

Good call on my part because as it turns out I need to go in for an appointment with a nurse coordinator and the financial coordinator beforehand. Of course the nurse coordinator was on vacation last week so she just called me back today. We set an appointment for this Thursday. Of course she only had really inconvenient times available which is basically going to mean I will have to take the entire afternoon off of work (bc the clinic is now so far from my office).

This only further stresses me out because if I get stuck with weird appointment times for all of the million ultrasounds I will need, I am going to stress out. I really want to give my boss as little information about all of this as possible, and considering he wasn’t exactly wonderful when I had to take time off work when my dad was in ICU, I don’t really see him being cool with me missing out on partial days of work, multiple days in a row. I literally have no idea how I am going to manage this without my stress level going through the roof.

On the bright side the nurse said I could come in on CD 1, 2 or 3 for my baseline ultrasound. This is means I might actually be able to get the IUI in September unless AF shows up on August 29th or 30th. There is still a chance she might show on those two days, but it does help a little. I will just have to wait and see on that one.

If it’s this month or next the biggest challenge will be balancing work and appointments without getting myself overly stressed. Those who have done a mixed cycle IUI….how many ultrasounds did you have before doing the IUI???

Currently….part two

It’s Friday….and its August….which means I get to leave work in 25 minutes because its half day Friday!  Wooohooo! 

Currently, I am…

Listening…to nothing really.  Most of the people in our office took today off after our grueling week of budget meetings so its super quiet. 

Eating…nothing right now but I had a major craving for cookie chips today…..and that is (shamefully) what I had for breakfast.  If you haven’t tried them, and you like a cookie on the crunchy side this is a treat for you.  They are delish.  I haven’t had them in months so it was a super special treat. 

Drinking….Water.

Wearing-A cute maxi skirt (black with a white pattern that is kind of hard to describe) from Target, and a white tank top with black Toms.

Feeling..  tired.  Its been a long week of longer-than-normal work days and some seriously early mornings.  I am also a little sore from my workout last night. 

Weather…The week actually started in the 70’s!!! but with crazy (for here) humidity.  Thankfully the humidity has gone down but the weekend shows temps back in the nigh 90’s.

Wanting..a nap.  And maybe a nice refreshing cocktail. 

Needing…..to stop online shopping.  Today has been a bit out of control, but I did get a killer deal on Nutiva Coconut butter and chia seeds. 

Thinking…. About nothing particularly interesting.  Just happy I have made it through the week. 

Enjoying….. that I feel a lot better today than yesterday (just was generally exhausted). 

PS- Happy Weekend.

Pills and Potions

The amount of pills, shots, suppositories, ect involved in TTC for those unlucky bunch of us is seriously out of control. Even right now on my “RE break” I still have a list of supplements I down daily plus my Synthroid. I am a sucky pill taker, especially when everything has to be spaced out throughout the day. How am I supposed to remember!?!? Setting reminders on my phone does not work. It just annoys me. On days I am at my desk all day at work (hardly ever) it’s easy. They are all right in front of me at my desk. When I am essentially working out of my car for the day….whole different story. It’s a daily struggle.

In the past few weeks I have attempted to incorporate another ritual into my routine. Last night my husband actually made the comment “You have so many potions now. What is going on with you?” I laughed it off and he is really exaggerating but I have been testing out a few essential oils.

Actually my interest started when my friend gave me a sample pack of a rapid muscle recovery soak. Since incorporating what I would consider to be hardcore workouts into my weekly routine, I am sore pretty much ALWAYS. The soak can be dissolved into a warm or cold bath, or dissolved into a cup of water and frozen to be massaged on sore muscles. The soak was not the miracle worker it claimed to be, but it did take the edge off so I ordered more online.

SIDEBAR-I was highly unimpressed with the customer service at this company. When I made my online order they did not give me a confirmation number. The internet page just said I would be getting an email when my product shipped. After a week of not getting the email I wrote into them to ask (they did not give a phone number), and my inquiry was never answered. A few days later my order showed up in the mail…..thankfully.

Anyway—one day while soaking in the tub after a brutal workout I looked at the ingredients on the label. Pretty simple. Epsom Salt, Eucalyptus essential oil, peppermint essential oil, blue#1. That’s it. At first I was super mad I paid so much for something I can EASILY make myself for much less $, and sans artificial dye. With that I started to research essential oils for sore muscles.

And from there it was just a quick hop and jump to essential oil for FERTILITY. I am now the proud owner of four bottles of essential oil. Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Clary Sage, and lemon. Clary Sage is known to have several positive effects on fertility but it does not smell great. It does pair well with citrus oils, such as lemon, therefore my potion #1 is clary sage, lemon, and sweet almond oil (a carrier oil). I rub it on my wrists and feet right before bed. I also have a blend of the almond oil, peppermint and eucalyptus that I rub directly on sore muscles. It tingles like Icy Hot only it’s much more natural. It does help the pain for sure.

Last night I was also reading about soaks in Epsom salt, baking soda, and apple cider vinegar for muscle recovery and whole body detox. I haven’t tried these yet but they are very interesting and I plan to try over the next month. Almost all the information I have read says do them at night because they will make you sleepy.

I am super excited to experiment with these things over the next month!

As far as an update on my nutritional goals. Well, all was going REALLY well until Friday night. I managed to get through the entire workweek with no alcohol, no coffee, no gluten, no dairy, no artificial sugar. And then Friday my husband and I actually had a date night, at a pretty nice restaurant. And it all fell apart….cocktails, a beer, shaved ice, queso dip, calamari, mashed potatoes, movie theater popcorn with butter, soda……THE HORROR. Even today I had a latte and a pastry at Starbucks and I am not enjoying a salad with bottled dressing. I have lost control!!! I seriously need to get my shit together. I need a sponsor or something to keep me on the straight and narrow.

Ok so in reality I had two meals and a breakfast that were way off base and a few unapproved snacks. Otherwise I actually stuck to my plan. I know I could have made some better choices and maybe just gone big on one meal and one snack rather than a few, but I have been very disciplined over the past month so I am not going to give myself to much grief. I do need to get my butt back on track now and live totally clean until I leave for Colorado on the 15th, which is doable.

On the fertility front I am on CD5. My last cycle was 31 days, and AF was a real B when she showed up on Thursday. Let’s just say a trip to Target for new pants was involved in the middle of the work day. Basically for my IUI to workout in September this cycle needs to be no more than 28 days. Even if she does show up on day 29 it might be a challenge because I need to get in for an ultrasound and be able to pick up my meds before 12 pm on August 30th because I am getting on a plane at 2pm. Otherwise I have to hope for 33+ days or I will miss my opportunity. I am really trying to just roll with it, however I know it will be super hard to wait another month.

I Actually Finished a Home Project

 

This has started out to be a really lovely weekend.  My stepson’s mom decided to stay in Tahoe on Friday night with my stepson, because it was HOT HOT HOT on Friday in the Sacramento area.  Literally by far the hottest day in a string of 100+ degree days.  SS was having such a great time in the mountains, and my husband was just getting back from a work trip in Vegas all week, so we let them stay an extra day.  I was bummed not to see SS but my husband was super tired from his trip and we had a date night!  It was literally the first time in forever we have gone to dinner together.  Actually if feels like we have had really no time together with just the two of us most of the summer.  It was actually so great to just chat, especially since he was gone all week.  

This morning I went to the gym, for the fourth time this week.  Usually I am lucky to make it twice, and I try to work out at home twice.  SS wasn’t getting home until late morning and my husband was doing some kind of fantasy football draft.  Class is at 9, which is the perfect time for me.  If felt so great to start my day with a hard workout.  When SS was dropped off he was clearly overtired and cranky so we just went to lunch, hit the grocery store, and came home to relax.  I even got a nap!  When I woke up i started dinner and then had a ton of energy so I decided to work on one of my home projects, which I never seem to have time to complete.  The one good thing about my husband being gone all week…..all of my normal weekend chores I had done before he got home!  So I actually had time!  Woooohoooo.

So I didn’t think to take a before picture, but to give you a vision, this food storage area in our nook was a disaster.  Completely unorganized and the shelves above with the Thomas Keller Cook books were not there, nor was the chalk board heart.  I scored the chalkboard heart at world market for like $8 last weekend, and the shelves I found at Ikea for $10 each.  I also added the chalkboard labels to my bulk jars (also a World Market purchase for $3 I think).  I was tired of having to open the jar and try to figure out what was in it, especially the ones with different types of flour.  I thought it would be nice to display these very nice cookbooks in the kitchen.  If you are not a foodie, Thomas Keller is known as one of the best chef’s in the world.  I am super lucky to live close enough to Napa where he has four restaurants, to have experienced some of the amazingness.  It is still on my bucket list to eat at the French Laundry.  Bouchon Bakery is a MUST stop on all of our Napa days.  My mouth waters just thinking about it!!  

–Random side story…..A few years ago I was flying home from Kansas and had a layover in San Diego.  On my final flight the person next to me started chatting with me.  I don’t generally chat on planes but he was super interesting and he mentioned he was a chef and I am really into gourmet food.  He had so many interesting stories about his career I was totally fascinated.  As the conversation progressed he mentioned that he owned a bunch of restaurants in Napa with his brother.  As it turns out, he was Joseph Keller, Thomas Keller’s brother.  I googled him after I got off the plane, and it was totally him!  I could have talked to him for hours!

Anyway…..Sorry about the crappy Iphone pictures, but I really wanted to document that I actually finished a project.  I hope you all are having a great weekend!

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