Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Music Monday (OK, Tuesday) #13 - Makeshift Angry Salad

My freshman year of college, I was introduced to a band called Angry Salad by the guy I was dating at the time.  And I do mean introduced...he was friends with the band, so when we went to see them at the 9:30 Club, Bob, Alex, Hale, and Brian Holland (the second bass player Brian), as well as their manager, Jim.  Over the next couple of years (and through a band name change due to record label issues), I would email back and forth mostly with Bob, but also some with Hale and Jim, about everything from them opening for Vertical Horizon to date movies to karaoke and Girl Scouts!  Eventually they moved on in life and the band broke up, but two of their CDs (their self-titled debut and the one they released as *64, called You May Be Beautiful) are among the CDs I play the most.

I was originally going to post a video of their song "Coming to Grips" because of how I've been coming to grips with having to wait for my cycle.  Unfortunately, though, since they were from the days before YouTube, there are very few videos of them online and none of that song.  I will post the lyrics, though, because they're really good!  When he wrote the song, Bob's last two girlfriends had both broken up with him by saying that they were lesbian, and the song is about his reaction to that.  I'm also including the video for one of my other favorite songs of theirs, "The Milkshake Song."

Well, Cindy Oleo - the margarine girl
She says to me, "I don't like boys"
I tell her I don't like them either, she tells me I don't understand
So I stand there and I stand there, yeah, but I guess I didn't know

I didn't know any better, I didn't know she might prefer
I need an answer to my letter, is she really going out with her?

Speaking of, I've got a couple words for the author of the book of love
Never wrote a chapter about this
Now maybe there were pages I missed (I'm not that bright)
I know it was a long time ago
As I stare up at her broken window, I turn my back and I walk home
I didn't know any better, I didn't know she might prefer
I need an answer to my letter, is she really going out with her?

It would be so hard, it would take, take some time, but I've got time

In my mind I go there sometimes, in my mind I go there

All this time alone and I feel fine, I feel fine
All this time alone and I feel fine, I feel fine
In my mind, in my mind, in my mind, oh in my mind, my mind, my mind, my mind, my mind, my mind
Guess I didn't know

I didn't know any better, I didn't know she might prefer
I need an answer to my letter, is she really, really going out with her?
Going out with her?

Monday, March 26, 2012

"You've Got Plenty of Time"

I used to hear this sentence a lot back when I was frustrated because we weren't getting anywhere trying to conceive, and again when I was frustrated because we were on a break and waiting for insurance that would cover infertility testing and treatment.  I've been hearing it lately in response to IVF #1 getting pushed back again and again and again.  And for a while, I really wasn't sure how I felt about it.

I mean, it is true, on the face of it.  I just turned 30 in November, so there's still a good 5+ years before I'd be even starting to worry about egg quality since my hormone levels have been fine.  As long as I have the same general insurance plan, a cycle (that doesn't involve embryo freezing or thawing) only costs us out of pocket at most $1500, and we have three of those before benefits would run out.  There's certainly time to do those three cycles and to save up the money for them before getting to that 5+ year mark.  There's even time to work on saving up for adoption if IVF doesn't work before getting old enough to worry about whether agencies or birth parents would consider us.

But.  But but but but but.  Knowing that doesn't address the emotional impact of infertility.  Especially when we weren't trying and when I was waiting for insurance coverage, I would think (and occasionally say), "Sure, I've got 'plenty of time' now, but that doesn't mean that I can afford to just wait around for a few years and then get started, because then I don't necessarily have "plenty of time' anymore."  Besides, why would I want to lose those years with my potential child(ren)?

I do appreciate the concern and attempt to make me feel better that seems to be the impetus behind the comment.  When I've been hearing it lately, it hasn't been a variation on, "oh, you should just relax, you'll be fine," it's been coming from people that I know care about me and want to try to lift my spirits.  That's why, even when it has been hard to hear, I haven't snapped at anyone or even looked for a good sharp response.  And it's why I'm not ranting in frustration here, only sharing what I was finally able to make coalesce in my mind.

It's just not really a comfort at this point to think that I could go through this for another five, ten years, possibly even more.  To me it feels like telling someone that hates their dead-end job and hasn't had any luck getting a new one, "Oh, you've still got plenty of time to find a new job before you'd retire." Or telling someone who has been unlucky in love for a long time, "Oh, you still have plenty of time to find someone, you have the rest of your life."  While both statements are true, they don't address the loneliness, frustration, and other emotions that are a result of the current situation that has no real end in sight.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Decisions, Decisions

I got a call from my nurse earlier today, and the cycle is officially dead before it began.  Again.  After having said that the pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) probe needed to be done before I started shots, my doctor switched up on me (again) and said that he won't let me start pills until it's done.  This is at least the second time he's switched things up on me, after originally saying that he would prefer a day 5 biopsy instead of a day 3 one and then changing "would prefer" to "will only do."

My nurse is also pissed at this point.  She's pissed at the gene lab for putting her in the middle and telling her to call me and tell me they needed parent samples rather than calling me themselves.  She's also pissed at the gene lab only saying at first that they wanted samples from my parents and then later saying they actually wanted samples from both sets of parents.  She's also pissed that I did what I was supposed to and that other people not doing their jobs is what is preventing me from cycling.  So at least I'm not the only one that's pissed.  She and I were kinda yelling to (and specifically not *at*) each other on the phone today since we were both upset.

So where does that leave me now?  Well, for one thing, swinging back and forth between numbness, tears, and anger.  Especially with getting the final word from my nurse, it's a good thing I had called in sick today (I'm basically ok, but running a bit of a temp and just feeling crappy), because I would have had a hell of a time holding it together for clients. 

It also leaves me with a major decision to make, about whether to cycle in one month or three, and I'm interested in opinions.  DH told me it was my decision and that he was ok either way.  Two months just isn't an option because of an event at the end of June that DH and I are running. 

If we cycle in one month, we have to have the probe done (which takes 3 weeks after they receive the samples from all 4 parents) by April 21.  Overnight FedExing of the sample kits each way, but I'm not going to have the last address until tomorrow at best.  I'm scared of the probe not being done in time and having to go through this emotionally again.  Cycling in one month would also mean missing something at the end of May that is fulfilling to me.  I've been told my friends will make it be ok if I choose to miss it, but it's something I get a lot out of and a chance to see friends I rarely see.  Cycling in one month would also make it possible to get a second cycle in before my plan year ends on 9/30 (DH's plan year is 1/1 to 12/31).  I have an out-of-pocket max of $3000 and an employer-paid deductible of $1500.  This year, we put the other $1500 on DH's flex spending account both so that we didn't have to pay taxes on it and so we had it all at once instead of having to save it up.  For a cycle after 9/30, we would need to either pay the $1500 between deductible and out-of-pocket max by gathering it together between 9/30 and the end of the year or by waiting for that next cycle until January 2013 so that we could have a new year's flex spending account.

If we cycle in three months, I don't have to miss my May event (although I would miss it next year if the cycle worked, but then I'd miss it less because I'd have a baby), and I don't have to be scared of the probe not being completed in time.  I would start shots while DH is at or just coming back from a curling trip (yes, in the summer), but I would be about at or already at the beach with my family, and several of my cousins are/were nurses (one's a doctor, but I dunno if he'll be there).  *Insert Smithers-like tapping of fingertips together*  I would have to wait longer to cycle, though, and I don't think there would be any way to get another cycle in before my insurance plan year ends.  So IVF #2 would entail either waiting until January or coming up with $1500.  Which I know isn't an astronomical about, but still.

I don't need to make a decision right away, but I do need to make it soonish since I need to buy plane tickets if I'm going to the thing in May.  I'm working on getting the sample kits out to the parents right away either way, to leave myself that flexibility, although if it takes long to get those back, that'll make the decision for me.  It feels like the two main things driving me right now are fear of the probe not being done in time for waiting just one month and not wanting to miss the May event.  What do y'all think?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I Feel Stupid

I've been working really hard to not think this cycle would actually happen.  Yeah, turns out that was epic fail.  So now I feel stupid for not having been better at protecting and hardening my heart.

Remember me saying on Thursday that the pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) lab would now have 3 weeks and 4 days to do what should take 3 weeks?  Well, apparently the lab didn't feel it necessary to tell me that they would *definitely* want samples from all 4 of our parents.  Before it had been that they "might" want the parent samples.  So we have to have the lab FedEx collection kits to the 3 non-local parents (hey, Moms, you two have packages coming!), have them swab the insides of their cheeks, and take the packages to FedEx (or get them picked up) to be shipped back.

Even with overnight shipping each way and samples being taken immediately, that's Friday (if parents get an early enough delivery on Thursday) or Saturday.  And the lab sounded like they wouldn't deal with weekend deliveries until Monday.  And we won't have one of the addresses we need until tomorrow night at best, so that one can't go out until Thursday's mail.  And the probe takes 3 weeks to make.  And to be able to do this cycle, it would need to be done by no later than Saturday April 14.  And my fertility doc actually would want it to be fully made before I start pills.  Which I was going to do this Sunday, since I had been told that I could start the pills before the probe was done, as long as the probe would be done by the 14th.

I could just scream.  I already have fallen apart crying multiple times.  What upsets me the most is that I started trying to get things going with the lab on February 10.  That's when I gave them my insurance info.  I found out on about February 20 that the lab doesn't request authorizations and I would need to do it myself.  After a lot of being passed around, I reached the person I needed with insurance on February 24, and she called my clinic's business office that day to get what she needed.  She finally figured (after multiple calls) that she wasn't going to get a call back and worked around the business office to get the authorization fixed on March 14.  If the woman from the business office could have been bothered to do her job and call the insurance company back right away, I WOULD NOT BE MISSING MY CYCLE!!! There would have been time to get the samples.  Hell, I might could have taken a sample kit to Costa Rica with me and saved the lab some FedEx fees!

Instead I'm in the position of trying to decide whether I want to wait 3 months to cycle or miss one thing or another that's very important to me.

Music Monday #12 - Why We Tell the Story and March Photo Challenge Day 19 - Numbers

I spend way too much of my radio time on the Broadway channel on my XM, so my picture for the theme of "numbers" is the thumbnail of my Music Monday video, one of the numbers from a favorite musical.

With all the posts people have had about why they blog, as well as the questions raised in the Healing Salons, this song really struck me when I heard it this morning, as another way to show why I blog.

Life is why we tell the story
Pain is why we tell the story
Love is why we tell the story
Grief is why we tell the story
Hope is why we tell the story
Faith is why we tell the story
You are why we tell the story

 So I hope that you will tell this tale tomorrow
It will help your heart remember and relive
It will help you feel the anger and the sorrow
And forgive

For all the ones we leave
And we believe
Our lives become
The stories that we weave

Sunday, March 18, 2012

March Photo Challenge - Day 18

Hey, I actually managed to post just one day at a time!  And it was before March 31!

Day 18: Stretch.  This is the cat that was at our table where we had lunch on our second full day in Costa Rica.  One thing I noticed is that cats in Costa Rica have much coarser fur than most cats here at home.  I was thinking maybe it was a function of them being less well-nourished, especially since all the animals there, whether cats, horses, cows, or dogs, are SKINNY.  Someone else pointed out, though, that the coarser fur probably dries sooner and is thus better for the rainy season.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

March Photo Challenge - Days 13-17

Maybe at some point I'll get to posting pictures every day! 

Day 13: Glow.  Sunset our first night in Costa Rica.

Day 14: Design.  I like playing with line and design in photographs.  I took this one lying on a bench under the Gateway Arch in St. Louis.

Day 15: Build.  I built this set of steps for a theater class in college.  We built the steps in pairs, actually, but the other person I worked with didn't want them so I got to take them home.  Throughout the rest of my time in the dorms, I used them to get up into my bed since I had it raised some.  After that, I kept them even though DH thought I was weird for it (as opposed to the other reasons he knows I'm weird), initially as a conversation piece/extra seating.  When we moved to this house, the steps went outside on the patio where the cats like to sit on them.  Kechara especially liked the steps...I would go outside and see him sitting or lying on them.

Day 16: Morning.  This was the view from our breakfast table in the hotel we were at for our honeymoon in Poipu, Kauai.

Day 17: Green.  This was my garden last summer.  I had some MASSIVE zucchini and yellow squash!!  It seems like every year I have one crop that goes gangbusters.  The first year it was cukes, the second year it was jalapenos, and last year was the zucchini.  Anyone got guesses on what this year will be?  If you suggest something I haven't grown, I might add it in...

Thursday, March 15, 2012


I heard back from my nurse today.  She got ahold of the PGD lab, and she now has orders for the sample processing.  Because of stuff not being fully open over the weekend, we'll be going in to give samples on Monday, and the lab will get the samples from my clinic on Monday.  That means they will have 3 weeks and 4 days to create a probe that takes 3 weeks to complete.  If nothing goes wrong.  Still nervous, but not quite as scared.

Keep Calm and Carry On

I've been not-quite-almost-trying-desperately-to-keep-from-panicking for much of the past week. 

Before I left for Costa Rica, I was calling the PGD lab and the fertility clinic and then calling around to insurance trying to get the auth changed from the California PGD lab to the Maryland one.  The Maryland lab was telling me the fertility clinic was supposed to submit the changed auth because they don't get auths from insurance even though they do take insurance payments.  The fertility clinic was telling me they had done their part and that the PGD lab was supposed to get the auth and that if they didn't than I was supposed to.  The insurance company was saying that the fertility clinic was supposed to do it.  And so on. 

I wanted to get it done before I left so that DH and I could get the samples submitted and the probe could be made, since it takes 3 weeks if nothing goes screwy, and I started CD 1 for the cycle before our treatment cycle the Saturday before we left.  Finally, the Friday before we left, I reached G in the local office of the care management division of the insurance company.  She said she would get it taken care of by the Monday before we left.  I didn't hear back from her that day, but I had so much to do getting ready that I had to just go on faith and hope it was getting done.  Yeah, right.

Fast-forward to getting home, and a day or two after getting back last week, I reached G again.  She hadn't been able to get a call back from the person at my clinic that she needed to talk to.  She wasn't going to be in the office Friday and would get back to me on Monday.  Yes, Monday that's a week and a half before CD 1 of our treatment cycle.  On Monday I couldn't get ahold of her, and yesterday she said she still hadn't heard back after bugging the woman at the fertility clinic again.  I explained the time crunch, and she said she was going to talk to her boss to see if she could make it happen without the fertility clinic calling back.  Later that day I was told that she could, and this morning she called me with an auth number.  Whew.

So now I can call my clinic and be able to go in tomorrow with DH to give our samples, right?  Wrong.  There are no orders on file for what to test for, since the Maryland lab didn't contact my nurse to give her that info.  My nurse called me again today (we also spoke yesterday after I called her in my not-quite-almost-trying-not-to-panic) to say that she's going to make a pest of herself with the lab until they tell her what they need from the samples.  Every day that ticks away has me more freaked out, though, even while I celebrate having the auth switched. 

If I can't cycle this month and I know that within the next week, I can't cycle one month from now unless the nurse agrees to use extra pills to move the cycle by a couple weeks, which she wasn't keen on.  I can't cycle 2 months from now unless she agrees to use extra pills to move the cycle by about one week.  So missing this opportunity could mean waiting 3 more months.  In both cases, this is because of things I already committed to.  I'm trying not to commit to much right now because of the possibility of treatment cycles, but how do I find that line between being available no matter what changes and putting my life completely on hold?  If I can't cycle this month and I find that out sometime after I start the pills, all bets are off as to timing because I'll have to completely figure out again when my CD1's will be for the upcoming months.

But of course I keep calm.  Right.  Or at least I carry on.  That's all I can do.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Music Monday #11 - Girl Scouts

As an update from last week, I wasn't exactly a cowboy in the jungle, but I did ride a horse through a tropical dry forest, so I think I still made a good prophetic selection!

Today's theme is Girl Scouts.  One hundred years ago today, Juliette Gordon Low held the first Girl Scout meeting with 18 girls in Savannah, Georgia.  The first video below, "Make New Friends," is so common it might as well be the official Girl Scout song.  The middle video, "White Coral Bells," was my favorite Girl Scout song as a little girl. (Although I did have a soft spot in my heart for one that went, "Black socks, they never get dirty.  The longer you wear them, the blacker they get. Someday maybe I'll launder them; something keeps telling me 'Don't do it yet.'")  I didn't come across the bottom song, "On My Honor," until Cadettes, but I thought it was lovely, and it's been a favorite ever since.

Validation of Purpose

One of the questions that has been ranging around the ALI blogging community over the past week or so has been the question of why we blog, why we comment, and what our purpose is in each.  At this point, I'm more focused on why I blog (and why I post sometimes about infertility on Facebook, since the reasons are the same), since that's more important to me than why I comment. 

I blog (and post about IF on Facebook) to do my part to stop the silence.  A couple months before starting the blog, I had read an article in Self Magazine about infertility and the silence that surrounds it, and I decided that I wanted to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem.  I had no idea how many blogs there were out there about IF, but I wanted to be a resource for others.  Even when I found out how many there are and that I'm just a small drop in the bucket, I continued to want to be a small part of the solution.  Eventually I found connections to other bloggers that I value greatly, and I value the support I give and receive in our interactions, but other bloggers weren't my original audience.

For that reason, I also post on Facebook about infertility at times, most prominently during National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW).  The first time I posted about NIAW, someone I had known from middle school messaged me to say that she was infertile too.  We hadn't been particularly close in school, and we had drifted apart since and just kept in touch on Facebook, but since then she has become my closest IF friend.  Even if there had been no other benefits (though there were), speaking out was worth it just for that. 

I got a further validation of why I do what I do last night.  An acquaintance from college messaged me for advice and information as he and his wife look at where is best for them to continue treatment.  We ended up talking for a while, and I'm probably going to end up getting together with him and his wife at some point to talk more.  It struck me at the time, this is why I am out there.  Someone that I don't know well at all, who I had last had contact with over a year ago, came to me because he knew about my infertility, because I hadn't been silent.  I had been part of the solution.

Monday, March 12, 2012

March Photo Challenge - Days 9-12

I was really busy this weekend, so y'all get another chunk of photos.

Day 9: Soft.  Since my mom and I like to joke that we're both part feline, my DH called this photo Four Sleepy Kitties.  This couch is soft and comfy enough that when one friend stays with us, she's at least as likely to sleep on this couch as on her bed!

Day 10: Love.  Two of the things I love most, Christmas and one of my cats.  Yes, I could have used a pic of DH for this, but he's more private than I am, so I consciously leave him out of this blog.

Day 11: Living.  These snails are on the rocks at the beach we were at in Costa Rica.  They have waves crashing down on them, people walking around on their rocks and on them, sun or rain depending on the season, and still they keep surviving and hanging on.

Day 12: Eat.  I LOVE baking!!  That set of cookies is from when we had a blizzard in December of 2009.  By the time we dug out enough to get to the store, I had gone through all my flour and on the last batch used my cake flour and whole wheat flour to make up the difference.  And that was with having bought extra baking supplies before the snow!

Friday, March 09, 2012

Random Question for the Blogoverse

If we're born with all the eggs we'll ever have (absent the ovarrian stem cell advances), since Clomid cycles and especially IVF produce a lot of eggs, does that mean we run out sooner since we're (in some cases at least) still putting out an egg in non-treatment cycles?  Do we get menopause sooner?

March Photo Challenge - Days 1-8

Since I was away for the first week of March but was drawn to the posts people have made with this set of prompts, I'm going to catch up now.  In the process, you guys get a little bit of the Tour de Tamarindo!

Day 1: Self-portrait.  I tend to be at least somewhat of an adventurous person, so when they let one person do the last zipline upside down, I said I wanted to do the same.  It was a blast, and it was the only one of the ziplines that I screamed on!

Day 2: Feet.  This pic didn't turn out as well as I had hoped, but it's what I could get holding a drink in one hand and the camera in the other.  That's a little pool in the rocks in front of my foot.  I wanted to get my foot/feet close to water.  Despite being a fire sign, I'm innately drawn to water, since I grew up right on the edge of the Chesapeake Bay.

Day 3: Domestic.  This is the typical breakfast in Costa Rica, rice and black beans with a fried egg (or two in this case) on top.

Day 4: Illuminate.  I really love how the rays of light work in this photo from our last night there.

Day 5: Commute.  This was our commute out to our dive site on Friday.  No, that's not DH in the pic, just another guy on the dive with us.

Day 6: Challenge.  The biggest challenge of the trip (aside from not getting more sunburnt than I did and actually getting on the plane to go home) was getting set up for the upside down zipline because I was supposed to hold onto a strap with my legs while hanging upside down.

Day 7: Purple.  The sky behind a papaya tree just outside the complex.  Now I know what papaya trees look like!

Day 8: Heal.  This is a 106 degree hot spring that I'm in.  Man, that helped to heal sore muscles!!

Monday, March 05, 2012

Music Monday #10 - Cowboy in the Jungle

No, people, don't worry, I'm not spending a bunch of time on Blogger when I should be relaxing on the beach, I wrote this before I left!  At the time I'm writing this, I'm still not sure how much jungle there is in Costa Rica or how close the jungle comes to Tamarindo.  Still, I thought it would fit.  I just hope that at the time this posts my skin still is as white as paste and isn't bright red!!  It's actually a good thing I wrote this post, because writing that last sentence reminded me that we hadn't packed sunscreen yet!