Saturday, February 28, 2009

Show & Tell: Distracting Myself

I have been trying all day to distract myself from my life. I am still incredibly sad about my cat, and incredibly stressed out about the test results. And incredibly sad that I just replaced my dryer and my hot water heater in the course of a week. As I just told my brother, I've had quite enough of being a grown-up this week. It isn't all it's cracked up to be. So what to do? Spend more money, of course!

After weeks of agonizing over which digital camera to buy, I just bought myself this:

And, in need of something to inspire me onward professionally, this:

And, in need of something to inspire me onward with this crazy TTC journey, this:

Ama.zon is like a whole new level of therapy inside my computer.

Want to see what everyone else in the class is showing this week? Head on over to Stirrup Queens and check it out.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Tests Done

I'm home. And freaked out. The MR.I tech was really chipper going in, and not so much coming out. I'm hoping I'm just being neurotic. Well, either way, the results are due back on Monday.

T. and I are off to lunch.


I'm currently jacked up on radioactive something-or-other, waiting for my bon.e scan. The radiology tech spent a lot of time with me this morning, explaining the test and reassuring me that (as long as the scan results don't show that I have a really bad disease) there is no reason we can't back to trying as soon as this is done. Well, he said to wait until Sunday or Monday, but since AF is due then, that shouldn't be much of a problem.

There is a little voice in the back of my head who is worried and afraid. I'm mostly trying to ignore her and her negativity. I go back to the hospital in a half hour for the scan, and then I'll have the M.RI right after that. I am hoping that those C.T scan findings are just the way my body is formed, and not something really, really bad.

Terrific T. has been reassuring me that everything is going to be fine, and that the findings on the C.T scan are going to turn out to be nothing. He has also been theorizing that after everything they are shooting me up with today for these tests, we are sure to have a Superbaby.

Putting Things Into Perspective

I received this as an email, and loved it, so I thought I'd share it.


I have to be at the hospital at 9:15 this morning, get injected with dye, and then come back at lunchtime for the fun tests to begin. Suckage, but better than being shot at.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Thank You

The kind words of support meant a lot to me. Monday was a truly awful day.

Kitty was diagnosed with kidney problems in December of 2007, so I have long known that the day was coming. I had thought that his lengthy illness would somehow make it easier in the end to let him go, but it did not. He truly wasn't suffering, up until the end--he was still purring and full of life. That's part of what made it so hard.

I know, on the one hand that he was "just a cat." On the other hand, he was an enormous source of comfort for me in the most difficult of times. The last few years have been tough on so many levels--the miscarriage, the stress of some of the health issues I've been through, and the drama and professional disallusionment caused by the Big Project, among other things. He was a bright and happy spot for me throughout.

He purred the minute I touched him--sometimes just at the mere sight of me. He curled up with me for hours on end, and was always happy to be picked up and cuddled. His favorite thing was to climb up onto my shoulder and snuggle into my neck--cute when he was a kitten, but spine-bending for most of the last decade! On the many, many nights that I suffered from crushing insomnia, he would lay on my chest and purr me to sleep. He always came when I called his name, no matter where he was. If he was out in the woods behind the house, he would start meowing from wherever he was, before I could even see him, as though to tell me that he was on his way. When my husband tried to exclude the cats from the bedroom in recent months so that they wouldn't disturb our sleep with their antics, kitty took to hiding in our bedroom until after the door was closed and the lights were off. He would then sneak up next to my pillow, where I'd awaken in the middle of the night to find him sleeping next to my head. He had a special personality for a cat. I miss him terribly.

I especially miss him today, as I am facing more medical tests and more stress. On Friday, I go in for a bon.e scan and an M.RI to follow up on the findings from the C.T scan that I had a month or so ago. I don't think I will be able to handle any more bad news. I could use his calming kitty influence today.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Sunday, February 22, 2009


I woke this morning to find that poor kitty had vomited up what little food I'd gotten him to eat last night before I went to bed. It was very liquidy, so hopefully he got SOME nutrition out of it, but he'd clearly thrown up three times, and one of the times, his vomit was speckled with blood. He still purrs like mad when he sees me, and seems okay, although off. But the end seems near, and I am completely heartbroken.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Shouting It From The Rooftops

I ovulated. On CD16!!! My hurty ovaries actually did something sort of when they are "supposed to." I guess that explains the pain. I also guess I shouldn't get too excited, since this happens every once in a while, and then things go back to crap. I don't know why I still get hopeful about things maybe becoming "normal" on their own. I should know better by now. But, as we fast approach Operation Clo.mid I have a rapidly decreasing amount of enthusiasm for the drug. I know it has helped millions of women get PG, and that's a good thing. But I barely take aspirin, so I really hate the idea of needing to take a fertility drug. And on top of that, there is the increased risk of multiples, which freaks me out. I have a friend who is PG with triplets after taking Clo.mid. She is enthusiastic. I would be scared to death. I know triplets are rare with Clo.mid, but still.

I think the end is near for kitty. Ugh. I really don't want to have to make this decision. But he hasn't eaten a ton in the last day or so, and I woke this morning to much vomit in the bathroom, where he spends the night. At first, I couldn't figure out what was in the vomit, but then I realized that it was sprinkled with kitty litter. He'd eaten it. That can't be a good sign. Maybe he's trying to off himself, to spare me the pain of deciding? (I'm sitting here giggling--I just can't help a little black humor in the face of making such a horrible decision). I can't even imagine why he'd eat the kitty litter, but I'm pretty sure that's what it was. There are just little flecks of it, and he's still going to the bathroom, so I don't think he's got a blockage. I let him out of the bathroom, and now he's gone off and hidden. Poor kitty.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

February Showers

The good news is that my shower this morning was hot, hot, hot. Hopefully, this means that the hot water heater is going to live to see another season.

The not so good news is that my ovaries hurt kind of a lot. I've been getting pretty bad right sided pain around ovulation every cycle for months now, with maybe a month or two somewhere in there where it didn't happen. Independent of this problem, I'm still struggling with the question of whether I go back to my same doctor, who I really like, or whether I pick an office that's closer to home. I think the solution for now will be to give my current dr.'s office a call to see if I can be seen for this issue, and then also use that appointment to talk to my dr. about Cl.omid (well, to figure out if she just plans on having me pop the pills with no monitoring or testing--which is exactly what I don't want). Then, if I don't like what my dr. has to say about Clo.mid, or if it turns out she's PG as I suspect she might be and won't be around for the foreseeable future, I can just make an appointment with the new clinic without waffling over whether it's the right decision. I think it really is a sickness, this ridiculouse need of mind to make the "perfect" decision on everything from pantyhose to vitamins to OB-GYN's.

Of course, even if I decide to switch dr's, I still haven't decided which clinic I should try next. It's a little hard for me to ask for recommendations, since I don't really know anyone in my area who has had kids recently.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Broken Appliances and Fixed Doctors

Well, maybe "fixed" is too strong a word. But, my PCP did FINALLY call me today. She sounded a little embarassed for taking so long. I need to have two tests done, to rule out any real problems. Her office is supposed to call in the next few days to schedule them. I am continuing to refuse to contemplate the possibility they will show anything bad.

But bad is exactly the prognosis for my dryer. We discovered that every time we turn it on, it throws the breaker. Our electrician, one of Terrific T.'s best friends, says that this means the motor is going on the dryer. It's a good thing I did all of that research on a new dryer, because it looks like that's what I'll be doing this weekend.

And just for fun, we think the water heater is going, too. We woke this morning to coolish showers. There's nothing better than a cold shower upon waking up on a freezing cold morning in February in New England. Unless it's a cold shower during a blizzard, which appears to be what I have to look forward to for tomorrow morning. Ugh.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

OBGYN By Democracy

I had the radiology department fax my scan results over to Dr. GI this morning, and I called my regular doctor's office to "remind" them they've been ignoring me. When I explained to the nurse why I was calling (two weeks and nada from them), there was a very long pause, and then the nurse promised that someone would call back this afternoon or in the morning. It was really odd. No one called me this afternoon. Terrific T. wants me to find a new PCP.

But honestly, it's more important to me that I sort out the OBGYN issue right now, because that seems eminently more solveable. I can't switch PCP's in the middle of dealing with this particular issue. It's too complicated, and it's not that she's no good, it's just that she's ignoring me. Okay, that's no good, either. But still, I will get labeled a crazy patient if I try to switch PCP's right now. Plus, with Dr. GI weighing in, I feel like I have the best of both worlds: a second opinion, without having to go to the trouble of actually finding a new doctor and going through the whole saga again.

And speaking of crazy, read the following descriptions, and then take the poll on which clinic you'd try next. I have a frontrunner, but I want to see what you all think:

Option A: Believes in integrative/alternative medicine, including waterbirth and hypnobirthing; two board-certified doctors who've been practicing for more than 10 years; a third who isn't board-certified and looks to be fairly recently out of residency, but worked on a high risk obstetrics floor of a major hospital post-residency; and a bunch of midwives and massage therapists on staff.

Option B: Has about 5 doctors and as many midwives on staff; most of the doctors are board certified; Has an infertility specialist on staff, but she's a nurse; there is a doctor who also has an "interest" in infertility (??); they also offer complete infertility services (their website isn't very good, so maybe I shouldn't knock the practice for it).

Option C: 4 smart female doctors who went to great schools and are all board certified. . .but they also run a hair removal service. (I still find this incredibly weird and off-putting).

A Little Shakespeare

To Clo.mid, or not to Clo.mid. . .that is the question at hand.**

I'm not sure what to do. With 17 cycles under my belt (in nearly two years, mind you. . .since I'm not one of those cycle-a-month kind of girls), I know that my cycles are at best erratic. Since my miscarriage, they have lasted 24 to 41 days. I've ovulated anywhere between CD12 and CD28. My luteal phase has lasted anywhere from 8 to 14 days. In short, I'm all over the place. My OBGYN told me six months ago that she thought we were headed for Clo.mid, and she would prescribe it when I was ready.

I guess I'm tempted to try for a few more cycles without Clo.mid. I really don't like the risk of multiples with Clo.mid, because EVERYTHING is riskier when there are multiples involved, and frankly, I'm neurotic enough. It's more than that, though. I don't want to need a pill to get pregnant. I don't want to have to jack myself up on hormones to make this happen. I just want to be normal, and I don't want to deal with side effects.

On the other hand, it's pretty clear that I'm not normal, at this point. With cycles like mine, I think I'd be a fool to keep trying without Clo.mid. I really fear having another miscarriage, another D&C, another delay in this whole process.

I wish there were a happy medium here. I tried B vitamin supplements for months, because I found some studies that suggested that might resolve cycle defects. However, I noticed no difference, and I'm just taking a regular prenatal multivitamin now. I wish there was something else that would make me normal.

There's one other thing that's bothering me, too. My OB seems prepared to hand me the prescription for the Clo.mid without doing any further testing. Is this normal? Does anyone know? Have you had further testing, before getting Clo.mid, or is it normal to just hand it out like candy?

I've also been thinking about switching OB's. We decided to keep my current one, because she was so great after the m/c. But, the hospital and the dr. are an hour's drive from our house, near my office. The last time I saw her (6 months ago), she was TTC#2, which probably means she's PG as we speak, and who knows what her plans are once she has #2. I haven't met anyone else in her practice that I even remotely like. In fact, of the two doctors who have seen me other than her (there are about a dozen), I most definitively DIDN'T like either of them. They were both cold and rude. If I was definitely going to stay at my job, and she was definitely going to be there, it might make sense to stay with my current dr. On the other hand, she hasn't been great when I've tried to talk to her about my weird cycles. She seems to want to just hand me the script for the Clo.mid. And maybe there's nothing weird about that, but I'm uncomfortable with it.

I basically have five other practices to choose from, at three other hospitals, all of which are within a 15 minute drive from my house (and currently, an hour from my office). I'm not crazy about any of them, for various reasons. There is one that seems to have very experienced female doctors who all went to top medical schools, and all have board certification. Sounds great, right? There's one little thing that I found really off-putting. They also run a la.ser clinic. Isn't that weird? It just doesn't feel right to me--it seems like a) something dermatologists should be doing, not OB-GYN's, and it b) seems like something doctors would do to make more money, which for some reason makes me uncomfortable and c) seems like something that would distract from the business of OB-GYN, and I want a doctor who is focused on and heavily involved in the specialty that I am there to see them about.

I wish it were easier to make decisions about this stuff.

**I'm still not sure what is going on with my outstanding medical issue. I'm working to get some forward movement on this today. In any case, I'm going to be positive that it's nothing, unless and until I know it's something. Which I fervently hope it is NOT.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Monday Randomness

I am deeply neurotic, as I'm sure you've noticed if you've been reading me for a while. It pervades every aspect of my life. For example, if I am going to buy something that I will have for a while, I want to make sure it is something that I will be happy with, so I research the item endlessly. It drives Terrific T. crazy. He will go to the store, pick something out, and buy it on the spot--not always with such great results. For me, I think it stems from growing up in a family where I didn't have a ton of spending money. If I was going to buy something as a kid, I wanted my money to be well spent. Nothing has realy changed.

In any case, when I went to pull the clean sheets out of our aging dryer last week and discovered they were soaked, I went into full research mode. I went to three different stores to check out their dryers, and their sales. I took notes. I created a chart, complete with categories regarding the features most important to me. I read through Con.sumer Re.ports, I read through online reviews, I read through anything I could get my hands on. And finally, I found the "perfect" dryer. . .at just about the same time that Terrific T. called up from the basement "I fixed it!" It turned out that the breaker had been thrown, for some reason, and was mislabeled to boot. I would have been really unhappy if we'd bought a new dryer and then discovered the thrown breaker.

We talked about TTC again this weekend. I had pretty much made up my mind about what I thought we should do, but we haven't really talked about it much since we came back from vacation. We're mostly on the same page. The second the medical thing is cleared up, we are back to trying. The only wrinkle is obviously the fact that I'm looking for a new job, and I feel a little conflicted about that, but TTC is waaaaay more important. I used to feel bad about the idea of starting a new job and getting PG, but I don't any more. I've put my time into the system and worked my butt off while other women were out on leave. If someone is going to be mad at me for taking a job and then taking leave a six months or a year later, oh well. And really, it only complicates things (assuming I get PG fairly soon--a crazy notion that I'm still ridiculously optimistic about) until I'm showing. Once I'm showing, potential employers will know what they're getting into without me having to tell. I thought Terrific T. would have more to say on the subject, because he really wants me to work in a place that is more supportive than my current employer, but he actually said that if I have to stay where I am until we have a baby, he could live with that. I have great health insurance (full IVF coverage, too!) and a very generous maternity leave policy, so there is an upside to that.

Kitty continues to do okay. Good, actually. He's frisky and happy, purring madly every time I'm near him, and eating up a storm.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Things I Heart

1. Kitty. He's doing well, surprisingly enough. He's eating well again, and seems full of energy. The crazy amounts of medication appear to be working. We're not out of the woods yet, but maybe he'll stick around for a little while longer.

2. My GI dr. That's right. . .who would've thought? My PCP has been a little slow to respond to the outstanding health issue, the weird findings on the CT scan from a month ago. We agreed that I would try to track down an old CT scan I'd had done a long time ago, in the hope that perhaps there were the same findings (and then we'd know that's just how my body is, as opposed to it being something really bad that might kill me). Unfortunately, a couple of weeks ago I learned that the hospital where I had the old CT done destroyed the records because they were so old. I called the office almost two weeks ago and told them this, and asked that the doctor contact me so we can plan what to do next. I also faxed a note to my doctor that said the same thing, and asked her to contact me for followup. When I last spoke to her a month ago, she said that if the old report didn't help, we were looking at doing an MRI. The problem is that it's been TWO WEEKS and she still hasn't called me back. I'm trying not to be crazy neurotic stalker patient, but I really want this resolved and behind me. I will call again on Tuesday. But in the meantime, I had a routine appointment with Dr. GI to follow up on the stuff that happened last spring. I am healthy again GI-wise, and she asked if we were back to TTC. I told her about the CT scan, and when she asked who my PCP was, she sort of got a look. She must've noticed that I noticed her look, because she was quick to say "she's very good, but..." and I finished her sentence by saying "she's very slow." She agreed, so my PCP must have a reputation for slow follow-through. Which is all a very long way of saying that Dr. GI told me to have the CT scan faxed to her, and she'd take a look and make a recommendation. How awesome is that? She's TTC, too, and about my age, so I think she totally gets why the delay is annoying (on top of it being merely stressful and scary to have something like this up in the air).

3. Terrific T. He cracks me up every day. My Valentine's gift: flowered Smart.wool so.cks. How random is that?

Friday, February 13, 2009


Yesterday, I had an appointment to take my cat to the vet. Terrific T. is of the opinion that it might be time to let him go, but I just can't bear it. As much as I know that there is no healing him, no "coming back" from his illness, he is still not all that sick. He runs to me, purrs, and is overall pretty lively. But, I also cannot ignore the fact that he is having various types of trouble, most notably that he isn't eating much (he has some sores in his mouth). I have been slowly resigning myself to the fact that I will likely soon have to make the decision to euthanize him. And honestly, it's completely killing me. I adore him. I don't want him to suffer, though. It's hard to know where that balance is, where his quality of life is still good enough, or when it's poor enough that I need to let him go.

So imagine me, big strong professional woman, in pinstriped suit, at the vet yesterday. . .sobbing. Yes, I was a complete sobbing mess, pretty much the entire time I was there. I promised myself before I went that I wouldn't do that, that I would be a big girl. If anyone from my professional life could have seen me, they never would've believed it. I think my vet's office must think that I am the crazy cat woman. But honestly, I adore the cat, and I've had him for more than a decade, and really, I've had a rotten 18 months, and I just don't need to be here with my beloved cat. But no one is giving me a choice in the matter, so deal with it I must.

The problem is that the vet can't really do anything about the sores in his mouth, because the treatment will likely harm his kidneys, which are already in serious trouble. The "solution" was to add a second antibiotic (he's already on one), and a narcotic painkiller. My vet is lovely and talented and creative, and very kindly told me that we are in uncharted territory at this point, given where he is at, but she still has suggestions. I'm embarassed to admit that my cat is now on two antibiotics, a painkiller, an antacid, and IV fluids once a day. Hence Terrific T.'s suggestion that perhaps we've taken things as far as they should go. I keep telling T. that my efforts with the cat bode well for him when we get old and grey.

I sobbed myself to sleep last night. But, when I got up this morning, I discovered that kitty had eaten the soft food I'd left down for him. He was purring and happy to see me this morning. He still seems full of life, and the painkillers haven't knocked him for a loop the way the vet feared they might. He seems. . .normal. I fear to say it, but there it is. So, this leaves me taking it day by day, still trying to figure out where the line is between not wanting to take his life before it's time, and yet ensuring that he has good quality of life, and not selfishly putting him through too much.

This seems so trivial compared to so many other issues people are dealing with, but it's still incredibly tough for me. I think that for women who want children but don't have them, our pets become important surrogates for us. I've been thinking about it a lot, and I think it's part of what makes this so hard for me. . .my pets have become dear friends, albeit ones who can't talk. If I had a child, I would no doubt be distracted, and maybe this wouldn't be so damn hard.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Weekend Update

I haven't been blogging much. I'm in a million different directions right now, but I'm happy to say that most of them are good. I am feeling incredibly positive about just about everything. I truly feel like we are headed in the right direction.

First, as I was lamenting just how rotten some people can be, I was reminded of how amazing people can be, as well. A local organization that does very good deeds had sent out an email saying that their donations had dried up. I forwarded the email around my office, and to another office, as well. 24 hours later, I had $300 and a carload of donations for the organization. Isn't that amazing? It restored my faith in humanity.

Second, I received an email back confirming that the potential employer in the warm and lovely place received my resume. I would be so happy if I got an interview, but even if I don't, just sending it filled me with hope. Putting one foot in front of the other has done wonders for my psyche.

Third, on Saturday, I took a significant step toward getting another job that I really want. It is incredibly hard to get hired by this particular employer, but I am feeling really positive about it.

Finally, AF finally arrived a few days ago, after a 37 day cycle. We won't try this month, because I still have a few medical things to work out. I've completely convinced myself that those things WILL work out, too--easy to do, since overall, I'm feelng MUCH better.

The only sad news is that my chronically ill cat appears to be taking a turn for the worse. I spent this morning sobbing over it. I've kept him alive for more than a year, but it's still going to break my heart when he has to go. I just adore him.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Where I'm At

While driving around doing errands yesterday, I was musing about this whole process, and lamenting the fact that the entire time I was engrossed with the Big Project, I had perfect textbook cycles of about 28 days, ovulating perfectly in the middle. Contrast that to now, when I appear to be back to my old, erratic cycles. My current cycle actually started in December, and I'm currently on CD34, and don't feel the slightest bit like AF is coming any time soon. Not that it matters, I suppose, since we can't try right now anyway.

But still, I was running through my head all of the things that were different about October, November, and December. I wasn't sleeping, wasn't eating well, lost a ton of weight, and stopped taking my vitamins. Not exactly the normal prescription for cycles evening themselves out. The only other thing I could think of was that I was staying with a female friend of mine during the week, because that logistically worked out better. And then I had sort of an a-ha! moment, where I realized that was probably it. . .the McC.lintock effect, which is now largely recognized by the medical community after almost 40 years of debate, wherein women who live together tend to have their cycles regulate. Weird. Unfortunately, Dr. has informed me that they don't know what causes the phenomenon, so I can't go to my doctor and ask her to just give me the pill that makes it happen. I wonder if she'd mind if I moved back in with her until I got knocked up?

I put my first resume in the mail yesterday. It felt really good. I know the economy is rotten, and the chances of me getting any particular job I apply for aren't particularly good. But still, it feels excellent to take action. I had forgotten how time-consuming it can be to look for a job. It takes forever to locate a position I'm interested in, and then another eternity to pull together all of the application materials, because I tailor them for every position. As I apply for stuff, I'll be able to recycle the application materials when I apply for similar positions, but since I'm just starting out, I don't have anything put together yet. Ugh. I wish I had more patience for this.

And then there is the networking. I've been watching what people have done over the last few years as they've left my office, and I'm trying to emulate the steps they've taken in looking for a new position. But really, I don't think I'm any good at networking. It feels too much like asking for a favor, and I hate to ask for favors. I know people are generally happy to chat and make connections, but it still makes me slightly uncomfortable.