Friday, June 20, 2008

On The Road Again...

Except, it's not work this time: we are leaving today for our Hilton Head vacation with Steve's family. Yeah!! I've been doing okay these days, but have been very, very busy!

For one thing, I've been busy booking flights, hotel, and car rentals for our trip to CCRM. We're leaving out on July 2nd (appt. on July 3rd). So, this has been a "good" busy!

I've also been working out every morning at 5am. Fun. And, I wish I could say I have something to show for it, but I've only got a mere 4 lbs off this body. That's it. How can one be counting every calorie and working out daily and only lose 4 lbs in 3 weeks? It's called being a 33-year old woman with a screwed up metabolism. Lucky me. Steve has been only dieting and has lost 24 lbs. No fair!! I've just gotta keep doing it until we start another IVF cycle. I can't gain another "IVF 10" and expect to fit into any of my clothes at all! So, I'll have to stay the course, although the course hasn't been treating me so nicely. Figures. I never get a freakin' break.

On the flip side (except for the above bitter comments), I'm still mentally better. Thank goodness for drugs. :-) I don't know how I could be doing anything right now without the Wellbutrin. But, I thought Wellbutrin was supposed to help you lose weight (okay, bitterness creeping back in...).

Work has been good, but crazy as usual. So, I really can't think of a better time to take a vacation. I hope all of you are doing okay. I think about you girls all of the time! Thanks for all the kind and uplifting comments on my blog. You all are the best! :-)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Phone Consult with CCRM

I had my phone consult yesterday with CCRM. I think it went pretty well for the most part. I already really like Dr. Schoolcraft as he is all business, very direct, extremely knowledgeable and able to educate others well, no fluff, no personality (which is fine by me), and hopefully the man I will one day credit for my future spawn! He didn't give me false hope as Dr. Awadalla always did. I'm so glad we switched REs! Here is a brief run down of some of the things that Dr. Sch and I discussed.

First of all, he thinks we could be dealing with an egg problem. Interesting since Dr. A always lead us to believe it was slight MFI, if not his favorite, "unexplained diagnosis". But, according to Dr. Sch, even though I make lots of eggs, we don't have embies that are growing to 5 days in a lab. He thinks this is more than likely due to poor lab conditions that exist in many RE clinics that are not conducive to growing embies out to blast. He uses a vitrification technique that enables more embies to continue to thrive beyond 3 days. If an embie doesn't make it to blast, it's an egg problem (probably a genetic defect). Worst case scenario (and btw my greatest fear): none of our embies make it to 5 day. But, if they won't grow in his lab, they won't grow anywhere, so we'll have to think about other routes to a baby at that point. But I will have an answer, which is what I wanted and why we're going all the way to Denver.

He also wants to do the Beta-3 integrin endometrial biopsy. He feels that this should help us understand if I'm missing these "uterine sticky glue" receptors and maybe that's why the embies aren't implanting. He does not feel a laparoscopy is necessary for me (which is again a difference b/t him and Dr. A). He said a lap would show one of three things: 1) normal, 2) scar tissue, and 3) endometriosis. #1 and #2 he doesn't care about and #3 doesn't matter since we're doing IVF provided I have the above receptors from the biopsy. If I am missing those receptors, then I'll get treated with depot Lupron following our ER for a few months. If we were not doing IVF, then a lap could be considered, but we are no longer in that boat at this time.

Our one-day work-up appt. has been scheduled for July 3rd. This is great because both Steve and I are off work for the July 4th holiday for both 7-3 and 7-4 (yay for not having to burn vacation time!). We are doing tons of testing at this appt. I'll be getting a hysteroscopy as part of the standard work-up and Dr. Sch does suspect PCOS (since I had 33 eggs retrieved which is too many). If so, he'll add Metformin to my drug cocktail. Also, he orders tons of chromosomal testing to begin to rule out genetic issues from both of us. And, we will also be getting the anti-sperm antibody test (also part of the work-up). We'll know more about what protocol we'll be doing after the testing and bloodwork are complete. He did say that he doesn't use pure FSH alone and would use a FSH + LH combo with me and decrease the stims as we get further into the cycle to prevent OHSS and 33 eggs being retrieved...

Finally, we're doing CGH testing on all blasts (provided we have them at Day 5). This takes about 8 weeks to complete but is better than PGD because you are testing the placental cells in CGH (of at least 100 cell blast) vs. PGD which only tests from the embie, which has only a few cells at Day 2 or 3 and you do have the potential to harm the embryo. CGH tests all 23 chromosomes and PGD only tests 9/23 chromosomes. I think only a few centers in the country do CGH testing. We will do a FET after the results are back.

Denver here we come!!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

"The Last Lecture"

I wanted to dedicate a post in my blog about Randy Pausch who is dying from pancreatic cancer. He is a husband, father of 3 young children, and a professor at Carnegie Mellon University. He gave his last lecture at the university on Sept. 18, 2007. I saw the abbreviated version (11:32 sec) on a YouTube video from an Oprah show several months ago. If you haven't seen it, try googling "the last lecture" and it pulls up this short version. If you've got some time on your hands, visit http://www.thelastlecture.com/ and you can see the entire lecture given to an audience of about 400 people. But after all was said and done, he didn't just give the talk to those in the room that day; he gave it as a lasting legacy for his children.

My friend Christi alerted me that his book also entitled "The Last Lecture" was published in April and I recently finished reading it. I'm thankful she recommended it as I found it to be truly inspiring and I agree with his overall philosophy on life. The book and the lecture aren't about dying; they're about living and how to live your life. So, I'm gonna list my 10 favorite quotes from the book below that really hit home for me.

1) "We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand."
2) "The brick walls are there for a reason. They're not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something."
3) "Through the whole ordeal, I don't think we ever said to each other: "This isn't fair." We just kept going. We recognized that there were things we could do that might help the outcome in positive ways...and we did them. Without saying it in words, our attitude was, "Let's saddle up and ride."
4) "Give yourself permission to dream."
5) "Complaining does not work as a strategy. We all have finite time and energy. Any time we spend whining is unlikely to help us achieve our goals. And it won't make us happier."
6) "If nobody ever worried about what was in other people's heads, we'd all be 33 percent more effective in our lives and on our jobs."
7) "Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted. And experience is often the most valuable thing you have to offer."
8) "Showing gratitude is one of the simplest yet most powerful things humans can do for each other. Go out and do for others what somebody did for you."
9) "Each of us must decide: Am I a fun-loving Tigger or am I a sad-sack Eeyore?"
10) "It's not about how to achieve your dreams. It's about how to lead your life. If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself. The dreams will come to you."

So clearly, the book touched me tremendously. I will continue to work towards leading my life in a good and meaningful way. I continue to learn more about myself through this whole journey to baby. I've learned that I am stronger than I thought I was. I am more tenacious than I had thought. My brick walls have surely proven to me just how badly I want a baby. I will never give up and I will get over those walls. I am not a quitter. I never have been.

What has the book shown me that I need to continue to improve upon:
1) Try to complain less about how all of this isn't fair and instead adopt a more positive, can-do attitude.
2) Worry less about what other people think.
3) At every disappointment (notice I don't say 'failure'), I need to continue to remember that something new is learned every time to hopefully help me arrive at that elusive successful outcome.
4) Show gratitude more often with old-fashioned thank you notes, cards, letters, etc. It's just the nice thing to do and you never how special it can make that other person feel.
5) Finally, I feel that on the lows of my past 2 IVFs, I have been that sad-sack Eeyore. I am in a much better frame of mind right now than I was back then. I have been the energetic, optimistic, enthusiastic, and fun-loving Tigger in the past. I'm going to strive to be more like Tigger each and every day, because there really isn't an upside to being an Eeyore.