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.

Happiness Cycle Day 2- Philip

I’ve been a bit sentimental this morning, so my photo tribute today is to my grandfather, who was a member of the Flying Tigers, a volunteer group of American and Chinese pilots who protected China from the Japanese during World War II. My grandfather trained with the US Air Force, and learned English along the way.

I randomly came across a video today, about the Flying Tigers, and recognized the third man from the left- it was my grandfather, in his youth!

Here is a screen shot:

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I joined a Facebook group for the Flying Tigers, and had a chance to reminisce with others about how wonderful my grandfather was, and what a true hero him and all of those who go to war for us are.

I also found out that there is some huge Flying Tigers reunion happening today somewhere in the States. I’m sure my grandpa is attending in spirit.

Here are some more pictures of my grandfather, who raised me with the purest, most true, unconditional love that I have felt in my life.

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Here is my grandma and grandpa’s wedding photo. Philip and Gloria. There was only one copy ever made. It was lost when they escaped Communist China, and was returned to them 30 years later, when they had already been in Canada, through a series of serendipitous events.

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Memories of them make me terribly sad, because I miss them, but their presence in my life was a source of great happiness. I am so grateful for this.