Tick Tock

So, some of you noticed the new ticker. Yes, it’s just down there, on the right. Yes, I have totally put my current BMI on it. Oh, come on, you all knew I was fat. I’ve been whining about being fat since I started the blog. And all I’ve managed to do about it is scramble from Really Fat down to Quite Fat, with the odd back-track and sit-down-for-a-rest.

Admittedly, Satsuma appreciated the lifting of just that tad of lard from her work-space, and has set-to with a will now she has the elbow-room.

But, yes. I want to be Not Fat At All. BMI Absolutely Normal So Shut Up Doctor.

And why? Well, because my ovary and fallopian tube are not blocked, or otherwise embuggerated, and because Cute Ute, despite being a monstrous bloated excrescence, has a nice interior (just like the Royal Festival Hall in London (which also contains the Saison Poetry Library, which is one of my favourite places on Earth)). Therefore the causes of the infertility/miscarriages are either a) the PCOS, b) the endometriosis, c) my age, or d) unholy trifecta. (Not forgetting the bonus-ball clotting disorder).

Let me elaborate. You like it, really:

PCOS – as we know, causes hormonal and blood-sugar imbalances, which makes ovulating that much harder, and implantation that much trickier, and the delayed ovulation means higher levels of FSH and oestrogen, which can damage the DNA of the maturing egg, which also leads to fertilization problems, implantation problems, and miscarriages. However, as I now tend to ovulate less than a week later than ‘normal’ (ie day 14), the lateness of the ovulation is probably not a huge factor any more. And my hormones can’t be that deeply enfucked, if we’re all getting together to do the egg-tossing-dance on time on first try every month. A tad enfucked, as evinced by my shortish luteal phase (which is allegedly ‘not short enough to be an issue’ but I don’t trust it), yet not utterly enfucked. At this point in time, all I can do about the PCOS and any remaining hormone/blood-sugar problems, is go back on the low-carb diet that works for me (well, it works for me because it lets me eat cheese, and because I lose weight on it when I don’t cheat, and also it facilitates going gluten free (but see below)), and get my weight down to Normal, Thank You. Hence, ticker.

Endometriosis and probably adenomyosis as well because OK, adeno may be the red-headed step-child as far as research and support goes, but it’s basically endometrium in the wrong sodding place too – Well, the first thing I did on getting my attention-span together was google treatments for endometriosis that didn’t involve Mirena coils, lupron, hysterectomy, going on the Pill, etc. I.e., treatments that would keep me fertile (hahahahahah fertile, oh, May, you card). Oh, yes, I could get pregnant. Apparently pregnancy and breastfeeding are in no way a cure, but they do give you a year off, as it were, which is nice, and some women have fewer symptoms afterwards. Some women. Only some. Anyway.

The other thing that kept bobbing to the top of the Ocean of Woo was gluten avoidance. Coeliac sufferers are well known to be more prone to miscarriages, a tendency that ameliorates considerably when they avoid gluten. More recent research shows that full-blown Coeliac Disease is not the only form of gluten intolerance, and there seems to be a connection between gluten intolerance and endometriosis. They are, after all, both variations on the theme of inflammatory auto-immune disease, it does not startle me that there is a link. And my entire family are cursed with auto-immune disorders (Crohns disease, asthma, eczema, arthritis, ankylosing spondilitis, cancer, type 1 diabetes, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, psoriasis, sarcoidosis, Sjögren’s syndrome, ulcerative colitis, and, oooh, oooh, I know this one! Endometriosis!), so the fact I too have (another, I have eczema (also more common in women with endo (did you know men can get endo? Usually after hormone treatments. So bollocks (haha) to the ‘retrograde menstruation’ theory))) auto-immune disease makes me go ‘Huh. Figures’.

As to the effect endometriosis is or is not having on my fertility, all the reading I did came up with two main schools of thought. School A thinks that endometriosis is only an issue if it’s actually covering the ovary and tube, directly interfering with ovulation and blocking fertilization and making ectopic pregnancies more likely. After all, women with endo get pregnant all the time. In which case, my Voyage to Woo is about my (increasingly parlous) quality of life. School B, however, thinks that endometriosis, being an inflamed and inflamatory condition, creates a sort of puddle of toxins around the reproductive organs even when it’s nowhere near the ovaries and as the poor egg floats from ovary to fallopian tube it effectively gets poisoned, leading to an increase in failed conceptions and miscarriages.

Oh fuck.

So I am giving up gluten. It might help. If it doesn’t help, I will be Very Cross.

Oh, and some people with gluten intolerance find it makes it very hard to lose weight, and suddenly lose pounds and pounds when they go gluten free (though, honestly, this may be due to the non-consumption of Cake and Biscuits and Pasta and Bread rather than the metabolic regulation of avoiding a toxin). Hence ticker.

Because endometriosis makes, might make, getting pregnant so much harder, and staying pregnant so much harder, IVF is back on the table.

After all those doctors telling me, visit after visit, month after month, that IVF was pointless in my case and would be of no use to me.

Yes, I know. It’s a fucker, especially after all the times I went to bat for my doctors and claimed that they must know what they are doing, when they say IVF is pointless for the likes of me, in the face of many commenters here who kept telling me it was The Only Way, but there it is. We didn’t have all the facts. Now we do. IVF is back on the table. First person to say ‘I told you so’ will make me cry, second person to say it will make me hurl furniture about.

So, I need to lose weight to do IVF, should it come to that. Hence ticker.

Also, I am 36, and though I technically was granted an NHS-funded IVF cycle a couple of years ago, back-burnered for when I lost the weight etc., the NHS, like all publicly run institutions in Britain at the moment, is being bent over a barrel and done viciously in the rear by the current government, who seem to think that if you can’t afford to pay for it you’re sub-human anyway. My funding may well have evaporated, and now I am 36, and over the ‘official’ age the NHS funds IVF up until. The least I can do is not be overweight as well as fucking geriatric.

You peeps do know I was 29 when I started trying to get pregnant, don’t you? 29. That’s not old for a first baby. That’s sensible. Damn it all to hell.

Anyway. There’s the ticker. Just in case knowing the internet is watching helps with the ol’ willpower. Especially as it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

(I hate Christmas. I’ve managed two miscarriages around Christmas in the past couple of years and this year we’re Doing Family).

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30 responses to “Tick Tock

  • a

    OK, really – don’t put Doing Family anywhere in conjunction with getting pregnant, because then I have to start snorting over what kind of incestuous orgy you’re planning for your Christmas celebrations. Can’t be helped.

    Much luck in moving that ticker, and I hope the gluten-free plan works for you. Seems like a bad time of year for that sort of thing…then again, when is a GOOD time of year for that sort of thing? I love bread. Sigh.

    • May

      Bwahahahahahahahaha!

      As well you know, Doing Family usually means you certainly aren’t Doing The Other, with ANYONE, what with hideous very squeaky camp-beds in the living-room and the fact you can hear your MIL snoring…

  • Kylie

    Good luck- with both the gluten free and the family thing. Make sure you have some gluten free alcohol at the ready ( which they should be! ). Either that or wear a shirt that says “don’t ask me about babies, I will (threat)”

    I am trying exercise as the weight reducer- but it doesn’t work when I spend two weeks freaking out about whether it will be miscarriage inducing.

    • May

      My family, in-law and blood-related, are all far too scared to ask me about babies now. Hah!

      Gentle walks. That’s the ticket. Keeps blood-sugar level. My doctors assure me of this. Of course, I vary between interpreting this as EIght Hour Walk Up Mountain and Gentle Stroll Over To Refrigerator and Back.

  • katie

    Best of luck – had to do this myself for a stomach issue – found I could pack away a lot of chocolate though!

  • thalia

    well you are a brave chicken, but we knew that already.

    as someone with endo who did get pregnant, once without intervention (in that cycle) and once with, I dunno about all these theories. I tried gluten free for a while and it was over the period between a lap and my first IVF, during which the endo was found to be worse than before the lap. So for me I’d say no effect, but given it’s auto-immune, my guess is there is no one recipe that will work for everyone, so I’d say, go for what works.

    Do you have the gluten-free girl cookbook? It has lots of yummy stuff in it. And you can go read her blog and see the recipes in situ. But be aware, she got pregnant pretty much on her first try. At 41. Baby is now 2ish I think. So be careful browsing the archives, might come across a drive-by.

    • May

      Awww, thank you.

      I am not sanguine it’ll work either, eh. But I can’t NOT do anything. Apparantly, not doing anything is my doctors’ job and I wouldn’t want to enroach on their territory… (Bitter? Moi?)

      Will check out the blog – thanks for the warning. Am braced.

  • BigP's Heather

    You can totally lose that weight!! I lost 40 lbs this year (mind you I started at a MUCH higher BMI than you are) and you are so much more awesome than I am, so I have no doubt you can do this! Anything I can do to help, just let me know.

  • rciuro@optusnet.com.au

    Have investigated. Passionfruit Intense Dark Chocolate with Almond is gluten free. Should I now review plan for Festive Gift Giving chez May? It’s practically a tradition now.

    And as for the gluten free living. If I am totally honest, it is nowhere near as bad in reality as it is when it is hanging over your head as something you should/could do to feel better. And, on matters weight related, I lie to myself constantly. But to you…never!

    Good luck…on all fronts.

    • May

      Eeeep. *trembles in anticipation*

      Honestly? My main AIGH is giving up pasta and pizza. But I was going to do that anyway, what with the low-carb thing. And I’ve done that before without tearing all my clothes off and running screaming to the nearest Italian Restaurant. Admittedly not for life, but I’ve done it…

      Trick now is to stop saying things like ‘I shan’t be having any mince pies this year!’ as I only make myself tetchy by doing it. It’s not as if mince pies are that fabulous anyway. Hmmph.

      And you I hug. Hugs.

  • twangy

    Ah, May. There should really be an alternative to Christmas. Or Christmad, as I always mistype it. We should all ship off to a non-Christian country, in a convoy.

    The gluten thing. I haz the eczema and the endo, and when wheat is wrenched out of my hands, I do indeed deflate rapidly. So, yes. Just comparing notes here, in amateurish fashion, but going on that, you might see results pretty quickly in the brave new post-gluten era, if that is the/an issue at hand.

    More power to you, in any case. Cheering you onward.

    • May

      Christmad! Hahaha! Love it.

      Have tried for years to convince my family to do Chrismahanukwanzaa instead, which as far as I’m concerned involves Food and the Doctor Who special and More Food and, err, that’s it. Alas, I am so on my own on that one. The atheistical types want to play charades and the religious types want me to go to Mass with them and the wishy-washy types want me to peel sprouts and wash up.

      More power to the Gluten-Banishment faction! *fist-bump*

  • manapan

    30? My fat ass chuckles at 30. My lowest-ever adult BMI was 30! And I was smokin’ hot at the time. This totally changes my mental image of what you look like.

    You are going to lose that weight for the same reason you are going to get through the holidays: You are strong and tenacious. And you really don’t have all that far to go, though it will still suck mightily. Hope does a lot of GF cooking posts, and the food looks so good I want to get the cookbooks she’s using! http://invisiblemother.blogspot.com/search/label/Hope%27s%20Kitchen

    • May

      You are a doll. Thank you. I don’t feel very strong, but when you guys tell me I am, it gives me strength.

      I’m sure you’re still pretty hot. Hot is hot is hot, and not so much about circumference.

      And thanks for the blog GF recipe link. Will check it out!

  • MFA Mama

    Eh. We’re in this together! I’ve even got my ticker up in solidarity as promised (it took me a bit to figure out how to put it up and not show my current weight, because NO THANK YOU), and just realized that I might as well have gone bloody gluten-free if you look at my recent dietary intake (not a lot of room for bready things if I want to stay within my caloric goal). Speaking of caloric goals, I’ve been enjoying the hell out of the Livestrong.com calorie tracker app; it’s very useful and you can use it online if you haven’t got an i-something that you carry with you. Also? My former SIL (not the XY’s wretched sister, but rather the nice lady who very sensibly left my current BIL) found out she was gluten-intolerant, and dropped about a HUNDRED pounds in fairly short order, without actually dieting (or so she claims, but she hasn’t the money for bypass surgery so I’m inclined to believe it). So there’s that!

    • May

      Yay! Solidarity!

      Also, 100 lbs? BLOODY hell. I only want to lose 30. I’m, well, impressed.

      Must go poke apps. I don’t have an iGidget, though H is always on at me to Join The Dark Side, but apps? More accountability. Which helps.

  • Meg

    Get a bodybugg!!! Seriously, I don’t work for the company but it WILL change your life. Worth every single penny. I’ve had mine for 5 years and use it whenever I need to lose weight.
    It’s an armband that you wear that has fancy sensors that track how many calories you burn so you know how much you can eat to achieve a calorie deficit.
    One (american) pound = 3500 calories. So to lose 1 pound a week you need to have a calorie deficit of 500 per day (7×500 = 3500). ie: consume 500 calories fewer than you’re burning. Knowing how many calories you’re burning with a bodybugg is much much more accurate than trying to guess or use online calculators. GET ONE!
    *PS: I’ve been reading your blog for many many years and am rooting you on!

  • Hairy Farmer Family

    The ocean of Woo! Marvellous!

    Adeno: check.
    Endo: check.
    Eczema: *scratches* check. Angry eczema, currently, aktually.
    Auto-immune ShitHappening: check, probably.
    The problem is that if anyone takes my bread away, I will cry like a little girl…

    I (personally, your mileage, etc) think that IVF is, at our age, The Way. If I could afford another round of it currently, I’d be doing it. I tend to view the whole wearying shooting match as statistics now: when one needs X number of pregnancies in order to achieve Single Child, and pregnancy is not happening on a regular enough basis to quiet infertile misgivings: the big IVF guns seem to be the obvious answer. WIth the very obvious price tag, because of all dem zeros.

    Puddle of toxins idea is making me glum, too. Oh fuck, indeed. Sounds awful probable, doesn’t it? Bastard bloody reproductive systems.

    • May

      Yep. I’m officially and in my own head too old to keep rolling dice here. Me and my puddle of toxins. ARRRRRGH.

      I keep telling myself, bread is really not that nice really. No. It’s not. It’s not that yummy scrummy at all. It isn’t. It’s boring. We don’t like bread. We don’t. We DON’T May put that baguette down AT ONCE.

      I’ve just found out my favourite coffee-substitute is practically MADE of gluten.

      I’ve saved for years to be able to do IVF if necessary. Or make a deposit on a house. GOD DAMN IT ALL TO HELL who needs a house anyway. I shall live in a box. It’ll be grand.

  • The Sheila

    When I went gluten free, my eczema really eased off. I also went gluten free around the time of my IVFs – round 3 eventually worked for me.

    With the auto immune issues in your family, have you thought about having immune testing done before starting down the IVF road? It may give the IVF a better chance of success? I know the good professor doesn’t hold any store by the immune theories though….. I did it and found I had a high immune system, so took steroids and intralipid drips during the last (successful) cycle.

    Best of luck.

    • May

      It’d be nice if my eczema eased off. It hates cold weather, alas, and Blighty has just remembered it’s December now…

      Can one do autoimmune testing generally? I thought the reliable tests, the ones with the science bit, were testing for particular conditions, like Coeliac or arthritis or lupus, and it wasn’t possible to just ‘test for immune issues’. Am I completely wrong? I may well be. I am now rabidly curious. More stuff to look up. Thanks for the tip.

      • The Sheila

        FF normally drives me batty (baby dust and all that rubbish), but here’s a link to an FAQ written by a lady who seems to know everything there is know about immunes. I saw Dr Gorgy, who is one of the doctors on her list.
        http://www.fertilityfriends.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=242395.0
        If you look up the NK Assay, it will give you the other non standard immune stuff that can be tested (excl thrombophilias, thyroid etc etc). There’s loads of info on here – it took me a few days of reading it to absorb it all properly. It’s worth printing out and reading it in dribs and drabs.

        There’s also a book with the incredibly trite title of “Is your body baby friendly” by Dr Beer but it’s actually very scientific. He actually mentions the good professor in the book as being someone who is strongly against his theories.

        By the way, for gluten free stuff, I found Dove Farm stuff to be the best – pasta made from rice etc.

        Finally, I’ve started looking into something caused autoimmune progesterone dermatitis – it seems that people with this disorder are often misdiagnosed as having eczema. However, it’s basically eczema that gets particuarly bad 7 days pre period and for a few days after. Not sure if this would apply to you or not, but something to look into (there’s also one called autoimmune oestrogen dermatitis).

  • bionicbrooklynite

    Your family sounds like mine, and it is true that my endo-riddled, lupus-having, asthmatic, arthritic mother has been much happier without wheat. (she’s found that non-wheat gluten is okay for her.). So I will hpe the same for you, though I still live in denial that it could improve my life.

    You do know that I’m one of those endo ivf folks who technically has open tubes and all that, I’m sure. I also had no track record of getting pregnant at all (so cysts and scars may indeed be fouling the works) and no free source of (desirable) sperm, so not saying my boat is your boat, unless thinking of it that way is hopeful for you.

    Xo

  • g

    Ahhhh lovely May,

    I’ve been one of the annoying IVF whingers for a long time, but I have always backed it up with derision that the NHS were effectively systematically piddling away reproductive years stuffing about with Reasons that IVF wasn’t needed. Never did agree, bits of endo aside, with their rationale, purely on Time grounds plus a bunch of other boring acadaemia. Actually, I think the NHS is downright criminal when it comes to this sort of malarkey. Cross doesn’t cover it.

    g

  • Laurel

    I’m wishing you the very best success in all of this, is all I can say, and am here in your corner cheering you on in the gluten-giving up and the weight-loss. Food deprivation bites (I guess actually it’s a depressing lack of biting what you’d like to) but you do have the motivation, and I know you can do it, and to the extent that it helps to have internets people with you in spirit while you do it, I’m there!

    I was present the other day while two folks who both needed physical therapy for different reasons were discussing it, and one said to the other, I do it because it’s what I can do. It’s all the control I have. And in this realm of physical ailments and mysteries, when we lose so much control, we have to take what we get. That will probably help you stick with this, too.

    I’m very curious to know how, if at all, things might change for you over the next month as you give up gluten. It sounds like, for some people, it’s a very noticeable difference, but I can’t imagine one’s endo immediately melting away, exactly.

    Can’t they do some testing for gluten intolerance, or does that only work for celiac disease itself?

    Anyway. THe short and sweet version is: wishing you all the best. As usual!

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