Happiness Cycle Day 13: Intralipids

I’ve got two hours to kill while hooked up to an IV bag of intralipids, so I thought I’d type up a post with my left hand. It’s harder than it seems!

I had a crappy sleep last night, as something’s up with my digestive system. I had the worst bloating and gas, which continued overnight and into the morning (poor DW). My diet is so clean right now, that I have no idea what could be causing it. My colon felt like a balloon that was inflating and reaching its maximum stretching ability. As I lay here hooked up to a bag of mayonnaise, all I wanna do is fart. But because they’re checking my vitals frequently, and I’m in a closed room, I’m trying to hold it in. Unpleasant!

Anyways, I’m happy to be doing the intralipids. It gives me some hope for this FET. While I wish we had two embryos to transfer, that’s nothing I can change. All I can do is give all of my love and hopeful energy into this embryo. The RE finally reviewed all of my immune results and wants to put me on prednisone, fragmen, and baby aspirin, in addition to the estrogen and progesterone that I will be starting someday soon. I’m happy that it seems like we’re finally being taken seriously now. Fingers crossed that our embryo is a good one, and that he/she thrives inside me.

As for the intralipids, today I’m having 100mLs injected into a bag of saline, to create a 20% mixture. Then the mixture is introduced to my bloodstream via IV cannula. I’m glad that I brought a blanket, because I feel so cold not being able to move. I also brought my iPad, a decaf vanilla Earl Grey Tea almond milk latte, and two slices of the paleo banana bread that I made last night. I haven’t been able to do much other than type on my iPhone.

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Once I get a positive beta, there’s another infusion (approx four weeks), and then one more after the six week ultrasound. Each treatment is $750, and out of pocket.

The cannula hurt going into my arm, but is fine now that it’s in. I can’t feel the intralipids at all, though I feel colder than usual overall.

The nurse comes by every 30 minutes to check my temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate,

It’s been about an hour and a half, and I’m almost done:

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Tomorrow I have to go in for monitoring blood work and ultrasound again. Hopefully we will find out when our transfer will be. We also meet with our family doctor, who will hopefully agree that it’s in my best interest to continue being off work until I’m in the right state of mind to deal with those additional stresses. DW has taken the day off tomorrow to support me.

More updates tomorrow!

Happiness Cycle Day 10- Good Eats

I love love love to bake and cook. One of my favourite things to do is to “healthify” different recipes. Sometimes I try to make gluten-free alternatives, other times completely grain-free, and recently more low-carb/low-sugar. I find that I have a love-hate relationship with sugar. The more I eat, the more I crave. If I don’t eat any sugar, I don’t miss it, but I can’t ever just have one cookie or just one slice of banana bread. Baking and cooking has been fun and therapeutic for me, but I do have to practice some self-restraint when my experiments turn out well.

Today’s eats:

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Grain-free bacon chive and cheddar biscuits (made with almond and coconut flour).

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Sugar and grain-free almond shortbread cookies (made with blanched almond flour and Splenda).

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Rogan josh chicken- one with rice, the other with “riced” cauliflower.

Happiness Cycle Day 9- Soup

*Warning: lots of ranting in this post today*

To be honest, today didn’t start off very well. I had really bad insomnia last night, and just cuddled with the little dog on the couch watching the Christmas tree lights twinkle, trying to talk myself down.

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The big dog fast asleep in the chair.

I had a couple of nice calm days this week, I’d even say that they were happy days, but then this new natural killer cell information has sent me down the rabbit hole. I feel anxious, angry, and more angry. Mostly with the way in which the Canadian public health care system works, but also with the way that things have worked out for us this year. Hands down, this has been the worst year of my adult life. I used to love teaching, and this year, I have hated it enough to consider going back to being a chiropractor. My wife has been ridiculously busy and stressed, and I feel like we’ve both been doing the minimum to get through each week. I miss my friends back home. I hate living in the suburbs, and wish we could move back downtown, as the only times I’ve felt restored recently is when I’ve had a chance to wander around downtown. I like to do things, see things, experience things, and other than working out at the gym or hiking with my dogs on the beautiful conservation lands, there’s nothing to do here. It’s hard to justify driving in too often, as traffic and parking are terrible, but I think I need to just suck it up and make more trips in. I miss working too, but the thought of going back to my school makes my anxiety worse. If only I could go back to any of my previous schools. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. Bottom line, I’m super unhappy right now, and that doesn’t even include how I feel about all of this TTC stuff.

Yesterday, I felt really hopeful about this upcoming FET. I saw my TCM doctor, and while I was resting with acupuncture needles in, I had daydreams of sitting on a dock on an Indian Summer evening with our child. He was about 4 years old, and we were fishing. I felt so good, like I knew this cycle was going to work.

Today, I woke up and laid in bed for a couple of hours, unmotivated, full of sadness. I am frustrated with our fertility clinic for not responding to my email sent earlier this week about pairing the intralipid treatment with some steroids, which is the typical treatment for high NK cells. Their reluctance to answer my questions, or give me any access to the specialist boils my blood. I have to communicate through the nurses, who generally don’t get back to me, and if they do, it’s usually after a week or two (ie. untimely). This brought up a whole bunch of old resentment that I have against this clinic. I wish they had tested us for all of the immune issues earlier, so that we wouldn’t have blown through six embryos. It makes me sick to think that we’ve only got one left, and that if we want to continue, it’s going to be a whole new round of IVF, which will be so physically, emotionally, and financially taxing. And while I want to think positively about this FET, the fact is that each of our three attempts at double embryo transfers only ever yielded single implantations. I know many people have had success with single embryo transfers, but having a 50% implantation rate with a single embryo means that we are going into this FET with a smaller likelihood of success than any of our other attempts. And what if the intralipids don’t make a difference? It’s apparently experimental, and many RE’s don’t believe in them. The top RE’s in the States recommend that intralipids are always paired with a corticosteroid to be effective, but my RE won’t respond to my request for them. And knowing how strict they are about things being “medically necessary”, I doubt that he will prescribe them for me. I am beyond frustrated here. I am feeling hopeless.

Oh, and after several months of super stable TSH levels, my endocrinologist called today to say that my levels went up a bit, though is still under 1. That could explain why I have been feeling a bit lethargic and under the weather lately.

I spent most of the day today stressfully running errands. I completed an assignment for an online course that I’m doing to get my guidance counsellor qualifications, I went grocery store hopping to get items for DW’s principals class tomorrow (she is providing breakfast for her entire class), and I took the dogs out. I also tried out a Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup recipe that I saw on YouTube. It turned out really well.

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But my favourite part of the day was my workout this evening. I did 20 minutes of rope climbing treadmill tabatas, which have become my favourite warm-up recently. Then I did 15 minutes of high intensity interval sprints on the treadmill. It felt soooo good to run and push myself. Later, I bumped into a friend of DW’s from her university days. He is this huge, jacked guy that she used to do powerlifting with, and he eggs me on, trying to get me to lift heavy weights. He invited me to lift with him today, which was super nice, but terrified me because I’m not my wife. You see, my wife is a meathead (I say this with great fondness for meatheads, as I am a lanky ectomorph who has always worked so hard for muscle), and weight lifting is seriously a talent of hers. She barely works out nowadays (maybe once every two weeks if she is lucky), and can do endless amounts of unassisted chin-ups. She does a couple of push-ups and her muscles engorge. Seriously talented. Anyways, my muscles, not so much. They are long and sinewy. I work hard on them, but my real strength is in general low-med intensity endurance. I can run forever at a moderate pace, and feel good doing it, but it’s boring. I love lifting weights, but suck at it, and so I was nervous that they would see how weak I am despite how hard and how frequently I work out. Today, we did squats and deadlifts, and because I was frustrated and anxious today, I went heavier than I usually do, and didn’t count reps, just went to failure. When I compared my weights to what DW usually lifts, I was pleased with myself. I did well today. That was my happy moment- lifting heavier than my wife does. Then I went home and feasted on my awesome Taiwanese Beef Noodle soup.

Happiness Cycle Days 6, 7, and 8

Feels like minus 15 degrees Celsius? No problem!
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I love baths. Just put on some jazz, turn the lights down low, diffuse some lavender and geranium essential oils… Soooo relaxing! A picture of our awesome shower, which we designed ourselves!

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My whole life, I used to put up and decorate the Christmas tree by my lonesome. It was a bittersweet tradition for me. Sad to be the only one that cared to put up the tree, joyful because of the warmth and beauty emanating from certain Christmas traditions. Ever since I met my lovely wife, I haven’t set up a Christmas tree alone again. We’re not done setting it up, but here’s a picture of the little dog enjoying the decorations.

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I brew my own Kombucha. This evening I was craving something fizzy, and dove into my last batch. It takes me three weeks to brew a batch, and I reuse old Kombucha bottles that I have previously purchased. This batch had the perfect balance of sweetness and carbonation. Delicious!

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Happiness Cycle Day 5- Books

I love to read in my spare time. I can usually tell within 5 pages whether I will enjoy a book or not. When I find a book I like, I binge read. Novels are usually devoured in two or three days. It is difficult to tear me away from the book, or to get me to focus my attention on anything else. I neglect things like household chores, feeding the dogs, reading is dangerous stuff!

I prefer real books over ebooks. I find it annoying to have to hold my heavy iPad or wait for the page turning delay on my eReader. Plus, DW bought me a Kobo back when their ebooks were under 10 dollars, and now I’ve seen their prices creep higher than their paperback counterparts. I also like the smell of paper and bindings. Some of you might find it gross, but I love the smell of old, yellow paged books too. I have a habit of pushing books I like on people, lending my own books out, and never getting them back. It sucks, because while I’m not a collector of things, I do like to keep books that I really enjoy. I need to get one of those stamps that says “This book belongs to the library of _______”, and develop a system for knowing who I’ve lent books out to. One of my favourite books, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is missing, and it really pisses me off.

Two books that I have read recently that I would recommend:

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Gone Girl was made into a Ben Affleck movie, and I really want to see it, but I’d have to go by myself, as DW is basically busy with work until the middle of December (teachers are overworked</em). The movie closes on Thursday, so I need to make a decision soon.

In the meantime, what are some novels that you would recommend? I'm always up for a good read.