Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Lupron Side Effects - The Monster Within

Starting Lupron for your IVF cycle or your Frozen Embryo Transfer?  Go directly to Menopause.  Do not pass Go or Collect $200.

That's what I was told to prepare for.  Ok maybe it's not exactly Menopuase but it could be comparable on a much smaller scale.  From what I understand the Lupron is to basically rid your body of all natural hormones related to female reproduction and put them on hold.  For Invitro the doctors want to have complete control over the hormones.  They need to when trying to get your body to produce that many eggs and be able to harvest them.  They do not want your body to ovulate on its own.  Thus the reason they say that the Lupron side effects can resemble those of menopause.

So what exactly are those side effects?  I was told that it would not be uncommon to have some pretty bad headaches as a result of having very little estrogen.  In addition hot flashes and some unusual spells of anger are likely.  My IVF coordinator called it the "Truth Serum."  So basically you are going to sprout horns, your skin will turn green, and fire will come out of your mouth.

I admit that I was scared of the person I would become after starting this injection not to mention how freaked out I was to start daily injections.  To top it off I would spend a good portion of that time with my in-laws.  I didn't want them see me going through the gruesome transformation.

Guess what?  The Lupron Side Effects weren't nearly as bad as I imagined.  They weren't exactly easy peasy either though.  The first couple of days were rough.  It was so emotional facing all of my feelings towards IVF that I had been trying to suppress.  The first day I gave myself the shot it hurt.  It hurt putting the needle in my stomach and it hurt when the medicine entered my blood stream.  How was I going to keep doing this and add additional injections.  My anxiety levels were increasing.  The next day I held my breath and administered the second dose and started feeling sick.  By the time my prince got home I was a complete wreck.  I didn't know if I could continue.  I lay in bed that night when some pretty intense emotions came at me all at once.  No joke, I was laughing and crying, mad and scared, depressed, you name it and I wasn't sure why I was feeling most of it.  It's unlike anything I could properly describe.  Those first two days were hard but somehow I found the inner strength I would need to overcome the mental challenges I was facing.

After that the next week went by with very few incidents and the injections got easier to give myself.  I did have headaches but they weren't too bad.  I had worse headaches with the Femara when I was doing my IUI's.  I was still the same person until the day came for me to add the next medication.  By that time I had been taking the Lupron for 9 days.  9 days of my body ridding itself of hormones.  That's when the headache really hit and my sudden outburst of anger.  I'm happy to say that the headaches only lasted for a couple of days and the anger outburst for a day.  However, it was quite intense and embarrassing as I was in a public place but that's a story for another post.

In the end I would say that the Lupron side effects were tolerable for me.  I was on 25 ml for the first 8 days and have been on 10 ml ever since.  In fact I am actually pretty happy.  Life did go on, I was myself most of the time, no fire breathing incidents and I was one step closer to completing the IFV process.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Full Circle of Birth Control

Growing up I was rarely sick and had the need to take very little medications beyond Tylenol.  Thus I had no idea how sensitive I would be to medications.

When we were first married I started having all sorts of stomach pains.  That's when I started getting involved with all sorts of doctors and tests.  At first it was just an appointment here and there without any answers.  We, being my husband and I, knew that we didn't want to wait very long to start our family and a couple months after we were married I gave up the birth control.  However, the stomach pains still persisted.

Shortly after our first Christmas I ended up going to the local Urgent Care for said stomach pains only to find out I was pregnant, barely pregnant.  That particular doctor started a big fuss that maybe my stomach pains were related to an ectopic pregnancy.  I was fairly naive back then and didn't think to voice my opinion.  Doctors know everything, right?

Sadly that pregnancy ended in a miscarriage shortly before I hit eight weeks but the stomach pains continued.  We were in college at this time thus my main doctors worked up at the Student Health Center.  They suggested that I take few months off from trying to get pregnant so we could do some testing to figure out the source of my stomach pains which also meant going back on birth control as getting pregnant would prevent them from doing most of the tests.

This went on for a year and being passed on from doctor to doctor some  more specialized than others.  After that year and some pretty major tests like radioactive eggs, cat-scans, and an endoscopy the doctors were still clueless as to what was going on.

That's when I made the decision to walk away.  I knew that the stomach pains while fairly constant would get worse with my anxiety and stress levels.  Thus I started trying to figure out how to combat the anxiety.  It's a constant battle but after a while I started seeing improvements.  The stomach problems never went completely away but I felt like I could function more regularly and when they started getting bad I knew I was probably stressing over something.

Jump back to the present.  We've been trying to get pregnant for many years.  We've finally decided it's time to  take the step of In-Vitro which means that I have to go back onto birth control beforehand.  Imagine my surprise when my stomach problems started getting worse from almost the moment I started the pills again.  Throughout the years I've been fairly good about dealing with my stomach problems but this time they seemed to be ever constant and I was feeling more sick than usual which is saying something since I've been taking all sorts of hormones for the last year and a half off and on.

I happened to be looking at the information on my birth control when I noticed that some of the common side effects were stomach pains, being sick to your stomach, cramps, etc.  That's when the light bulb went on.

I first started having my stomach problems shortly after I began the birth control the first time.  It's true that I was still having them during those few months before my first pregnancy when I wasn't on the pill but I've found that medications take a while to leave my body thus I often have lingering side effects, especially when it involves my hormones.

My doctor should have taken a guess that perhaps this was the source when I first started going in.  I know that my anxiety does play its part but had I known this bit of information way back in the beginning I think I could have saved myself a lot of that anxiety.  I wouldn't have started back up on the pill after my first miscarriage as in the end it was only adding to the problem.  Most of all, I wouldn't have needed to go through all of those tests, medications, and doctors' visits.  Hindsight is 20/20 I guess.  However, it hasn't been a complete loss.  I've learned a lot over the years and I finally know where and why my stomach pains all began.  Lesson learned I guess.        

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Book Review - Behemoth

So much to catch up on, so little time. I finished Behemoth, by Scott Westerfeld, a couple of months ago and I must say, I'm looking forward to the third book in this series to come out.

I don't know if I was just in a better state of mind to read this book or if I really did like it more than the first book, Leviathan. Perhaps it was the fact that I wasn't too confused by all the made up words and places like I was in the first book. The story line was already set up for me going into it.

Deryn (who is a girl pretending to be a boy so that she could be in the equivalent of the air-force) continues on her journey trying to save her country while keeping her secret when she finds herself in more than one pickle. Meanwhile Prince Alek escapes and is left trying to decide what really is best for his country, only doing it behind closed doors so that no one may reveal his true identity,waiting until he can reveal himself even to them without fear of being killed. He makes friends with a one of a kind creature who seems to have a pretty wicked sense of intuition.

Deryn finds herself falling more and more for the prince making it awkward to keep up the boy act.

In the end of I give this book 4.25 stars. It was a very fast read with a new world to step into.

Monday, April 18, 2011

How Do You Know He Loves You?

Enchanted is definitely one of my favorite "feel-good" movies thus this song if often stuck in my head. In fact I have been thinking a lot about this very thing over the last few weeks.

My mom and I were talking recently about the need women have for their husbands to show and tell their wives constantly how much they love him.

My prince has yet to fail me. If anything I'm pretty sure his love for me has grown regardless of the difficulties we face.

How do I know?

1.) He hasn't left me or even thought of it despite the fact that I often feel like the crazy lady.
2.) The other night he offered to start looking right now for jobs in a different city where I
would be able to find a job in my field as well. (No this isn't an announcement)
3.) He will bring flowers home when I'm feeling a little bit down.
4.) He doesn't chastise me when I don't get as much done as I could/should.
5.) He finds ways to distract me from my current ailments such as puzzles and games.
6.) He takes care of the chores and meals when I can't and usually does so without much
7.) He's pretty good about not solving my problems but rather being supportive and trying to be
8.) He is constantly trying to build me up.
9.) My dreams and aspirations are just as important as his.
10.) He tells me ALL the time.

Oh and did I forget to mention that even after a week of doing little more than showering and putting on the pair of pajamas he still tells me I'm the most beautiful girl he's ever seen? That's right, absolutely no make-up, sometimes even the hair was lucky to get combed, no keeping up with the eyebrows, nothing. Best of all, I'm pretty sure he actually meant it regardless of how I felt about myself.

This list could go on and on. I have just felt his love these last few weeks when I needed it most and know that I am truly blessed to have someone like him in my life. It's how I am able to move on.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

So Sick of Being Sick

This is going to be one of the venting posts, continue at your own risk.

So after my awesome ER visit for the stomach flu the doctor wrote up three prescriptions: 1.) To help my stomach problems 2.) To ease the nausea and 3.) To battle my anxiety. I left the hospital knowing that the next week wouldn't be fun and it would be a recovery week, after all I was pretty sure my esophagus and stomach had been left raw.

I didn't mind so much taking those three medications for a while. They relieved some of the pain and I slept through the rest. However, when I would fight the urge to sleep I apparently looked stoned. I went into my regular doctor a week later and she was shocked to see my prescription for the anxiety given my history and hate of a previous medicine. I had been given another anxiety medicine that was highly addictive, at the highest dose which could mean a terrible withdrawal process. Lucky for me I had only taken it for a week so it wasn't as bad as it could have been.

My doctor kindly put me onto an anxiety medicine that was supposed to be easy to get on and off. What she didn't tell me was her definition of easy and what I should expect. From day one I was as sick as a dog. Not only was I feeling extremely nauseous but in a lot of physical pain. (Prepare yourself for a TMI). One side effect was the kind that sends you to the toilet every few minutes, and it wasn't to throw up thank goodness. Because of this side effect there were hours and hours of painful gas that blew through my stomach like that of train. When it was all over I could hardly move, my stomach was in so much pain. I would feel my "best" about and hour or more before I needed to take my next dose and then the whole process was repeated.

This led to many sleepless nights and days upon days of sitting on the sofa with a hot pad on my stomach as much as possible. My ability to eat or want to eat has gone way downhill. Last time I took an anxiety medicine it took me a week before I started to feel normal. My counselor also said it was a good thing my body was reacting the way it was so quickly to such a low dose. It was a sign that it was working and my body was recognizing it. I made it five days and to no avail none of the symptoms were showing any mercy and my anxiety and stress were actually going up. That's when I decided I couldn't go on another day. I couldn't even make it a week.

Yesterday I skipped my first dose. I was hoping that things would start to feel a little better but so far I feel as crappy as ever. I have mixed feelings about my decision which of course in turn causes more stress but I made a choice and now need to stick by it.

I hate feeling so sick! I hate medicines! I hate that there is really nothing at this point I can do to improve any of this except wait and hope that my choice was a correct one and in a few days I will feel more like myself, something I haven't felt for over two weeks.

The good thing? I have a very patient and loving husband who is trying his best to help me as best he can through this.

I'm ready to step out of this personal hell and move forward.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Keeping Up With the Healthy

So after coming home from a Spring Break filled with a bunch of crap food I made some serious goals to improve my eating habits. For one week The Prince and I were not going to eat any processed sugar but rather substitute it with things like this bowl of plain cheerios and strawberries (one of my fav's). In addition I was aiming to drink 8 glasses of water a day and working out.

I did really well the first few days, I found my snacking cravings went up as I got rid of the treats but that too became manageable.

Then I got sick and not just any ordinary sickness (no I'm not pregnant). I caught the worst case of stomach flu known to man last Friday. I had hardly eaten anything. To be exact I had one small bowl of cheerios and glass of milk in the morning and a glass of water in the after. Starting around four it all started coming out. To keep from going into grotesque details just know that for about five hours strait me and my toilet or were held together by strong bonds.

At that point The Prince took me to the er. I can't tell you enough what a great man he is. He stood patiently by the door listening to all those wonderful sounds just to make sure I wasn't dying, because I sure felt like it. There was even one particular time he came in to hold my hair back which was not exactly dry if you know what I mean. The hospital hydrated me, got my heartbeat down to an acceptable level, gave me some medicine for the nausea and some sort of medical cocktail to numb my throat and stomach so I didn't have to feel the pain for a while.

Here I am a week later still terrified of food and have thus thrown anything health related out the door. My stomach is still raw and having a hard time with digestion. One again the Prince came to my rescue buy going to the grocery store and stock piling on things I could eat like jello and pudding, crackers, juice, basically soft things.

I'm hoping that I won't always feel this way and I can someday return to a normal schedule.

Friday, March 11, 2011

"This is the Perfect Time to Panic"

This morning I received the following text message:

FWD: FWD: Go get gas because of the earthquake gas prices are supposed to go up 2 dollars in the next 48 hours.

These kinds of messages do nothing but cause panic and fear which is exactly opposite of what is needed at this moment. I'm sure we are going to see some after effects of the earthquake/tsumami that has just hit Japan. In fact there may be more earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, prices of food and gas may go up a little bit. However, everyone freaking out, running to the store to stock up on whatever you can out of fear is not going to solve anything. It may indeed do the opposite and make things worse.

With that being said, my mom always taught us, "If you are prepared you need not fear."

Life is going to happen. Chances are that at some point or another we will all be effected by natural disasters, losing jobs, pipes bursting leaving flooding damage, a food/water shortage, etc. These are things we can't control and shouldn't spend our lives worrying about all the bad things that could happen. However, it's not a bad idea to make preparations so that we aren't in panic mode when such events do happen.

For example, the Prince and I have a year's supply of basic food needs. It wouldn't be a year of luxury by any means but it's better than nothing. Included are things like wheat, rice, beans, seeds, salt, sugar, powder milk, etc.

We also try to always fill our cars up when the tank reaches 1/2 empty so that if we ever needed to leave in a hurry we will always have "some" gas.

Even more I feel that my peace comes from knowing that this earth is still full of good people.

Last fall our house was hit by a tornado. It was awful and scary but right after it passed neighbors were out and about making sure everyone else was ok. There were one or two families that jumped in their cars and took off while the rest stayed to care for one another as more tornadoes were on their way. Men from the community gathered up wood and drove out to our neighborhood just outside of town and started boarding up windows regardless of the pouring rain and hail, knowing another tornado could have hit soon. Within a couple of hours many people have offered up houses and meals to those of us who were displaced. The community came together to help with the clean-up. There was no way we were going to have to get through this disaster alone.

We all have been given talents of various natures and while some may use those talents for evil or selfish reason most people are not this way.

Life could get hard real quickly. Gas prices could jump by $2 in the next 48 hours. However, I no longer fear these situations. It doesn't mean life will be a piece of cake by any means but somehow everything is going to be ok.