Monthly Archives: August 2012

We are but poor, lost circus performers.

Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

First there was the immense Awkward of trying to explain to several different people (boss, HR representative, one-man time-table organizational mishap who is nevertheless in charge of the time-table) that as much as I appreciated the appointment with the Occupational Health consultancy, I may not be able to attend, and could not tell them yay or nay on that for another couple of days, and I am aware this sounds bat-shit but it would sound less bat-shit if I were allowed to say ‘ovulation’ and ‘fairly predictable luteal phase’ and ‘basal body temperature idiosyncrases’ – and I promise I draw the line at saying ‘EWCM’ – without everyone wandering what in the name of wonder I am talking about.

I am talking about Shark Week, goddamnit.

The Awkward did not in any way get resolved. I am just hoping I am correct in assuming that the appointment will fall on 12dpo and Satsuma won’t decide to jettison the corpus luteum early as a surprise treat and that therefore I will not be prevented from using public transport by a total inability to stand for more than a minute or so without vomiting or bleeding all over my trousers or getting cramp in the thigh so vicious I fold in the middle like a deck-chair and clatter gracelessly to the ground.

To those of you, bless you, who suggested I go to the appointment anyway, even if it is on Day Two/Three: The Sharks Are Eating Each Other, I can only shrug helplessly. I can’t. That’s the point. I can’t journey for an hour, either by taxi or public transport, while puking, fainting, stoned out of my gourd on diclofenac and tramadol, and literally hamstrung and crippled by cramp, and then actually hold anything approximating a conversation, and then journey back home for another hour. That’s the POINT. I CAN’T DO IT. That’s why I don’t go to work on those days. Not because it hurts and I don’t like it, but because I BLOODY CAN’T. If I stayed home every day it hurt and I didn’t like it, I’d only leave the house ten days a month.

On which snivelling note of self-pity, I will only add that if Shark Week commences on the date more convenient for the Occupational Health thingy, it will be full-on Everything In Reach Is Chum mode on the very days H and I got Paralympics tickets for. Which is… annoying.

I fucking hate living my life in four-to-five-week increments, with no forward planning possible. I really, really fucking hate it.

Anyway! Onwards! We have the whole ‘Better Living By Expensive Chemistry’ to discuss!

Augmentin – The high vaginal swab perpetrated on me by Dr Expensive at the beginning of July showed that I am one of the 20% to 40% of women who carry Group B Streptococcus in their, well, bits. And to most adults, it’s harmless. It just… sits there. About a third of men have it too. I had no symptoms, and indeed most women don’t. However, it can – rarely but who fucks with statistics when they’re already on the wrong side of them? – infect babies during birth and make them very bloody ill indeed, and there’s a risk of it being forced into my uterus (which is otherwise infection-free, according to the menstrual sample) during my upcoming endometrial biopsy. So I am taking Augmentin for ten days each, and so is H, because if he is a) having quite a lot of unprotected sex with me (and, well, of course he is) and b) a carrier himself, we could just pass it back and forth between ourselves in a years-long game of Creepy Bacterial Tennis.

(Side note – on discovering I was a GBS carrier, that evening I turned to H and said ‘You know my boss is a bit of a germophobe? Well now I have the perfect excuse for skiving off! I shall just call her up and tell her I have Strep cunt!’ And then I laughed immoderately for quite some minutes. Reviewing the incident now, I realise I am becoming Frankie Boyle of infertility. Send help).

Metformin – Dr Expensive, H and I had an Awkward of our own, in which he suggested if I was worried about timed sex, I could take Clomid, and I pointed out I’d done six rounds of Clomid and it made me anovulatory the last three, and he said if I was anovulatory I could take Clomid, and I said, no, the Clomid made me anovulatory, and he said Clomid would help, and I said no it wouldn’t, I’d taken Clomid, and it made me stop ovulating and he said, oh, why did I take Clomid, and I said because of the PCOS and he said what PCOS and I said what do you mean, what PCOS and he leafed frantically back through his notes from July and this is the sort of shit that happens if everything is wrong with you. Anyway, he thinks I should be on Metformin. Many years ago, when I was first Being Infertile, my GP suggested Metformin, but my infertility consultant vetoed it, on the grounds that I should control my weight by diet and exercise and if I took Metformin I’d never be able to stop (apparently this is bollocks). So I did it her way and lost 20 lbs or so and regained a regular cycle (when we stopped pissing Satsuma off with Clomid) and then had a squadrillion miscarriages and Miss Consultant has been as much help as a soap herring with the treatment suggestions since, so fuck it. I’ll try the Metformin.

The thing is, Dr Expensive has not ONCE suggested I lose weight. Not even so much as HINTED it. He just wants my blood-sugar and insulin as level and healthily low as possible.

I went to my own GP, anyway, and got him to prescribe the Metformin for me on the NHS, which he was totally happy and fine with. So there’s one expense spared. He also prescribed me an anti-spasmodic for the bowel, to help deal with the what we’re all reconning is Distressed-Uterus-induced diarrhoea and gut-cramp.

My own GP also agreed with me that it was a good idea to redo my thyroid panel, as the last one I had done turns out to have been in 2007. Which, incidentally, was normal. TSH<2, so REALLY normal, not just NHS-can’t-be-arsed-to-treat normal. On the other hand, 2007. Next trick, finding another free morning to present self to phlebotomist. GAH.

Intralipids, before ovulation, after ovulation, on becoming pregnant, and again before the end of week twelve. Hands up who saw that one coming. (Me! Me! I did! Me me me me me!).

Progesterone support – One of the test results indicated a type of autoimmune problem that leads to one’s progesterone production being screwed with. I have a shortish luteal phase, anything from 11 to 13 days, but usually 11 or 12. Yeah, I’m really not that good at making progesterone. Bring it on.

Clexane, also known as heparin. Fuck that aspirin nonsense! Stab yourself daily for, if you’re really lucky, 36 weeks! Yay! Also, heparin is anti-inflammatory. If it’s anti-inflammatory, May is going to be taking it.

Hence Prednisolone from before ovulation too. I am so not going to be competing in track and field any time soon.

Timed intercourse – just not this cycle, as I’m having a biopsy on Thursday (have I mentioned that?), and possibly not next cycle either as we’d booked a holiday in a fit of spontaneos optimisim.

LIT – Jesus. We’re basically throwing everything at this. EVERYTHING. With the option of IUI, IVF, seriously batshit experimental protocols involving drugs like Neupogen next. I said ‘NO FUCKING THANK YOU’ to the Neupogen, by the way. I like my spleen unexploded. But then I said NO FUCKING THANK YOU to LIT and got talked down in seventeen minutes by an H who wanted to give it a go and a Dr Expensive who just assumed we would do LIT, or why else had we come to him? Why indeed. At least LIT doesn’t have horrible side-effects beyond, hopefully, itchy welts. It’s supposed to leave itchy welts. It’s not working if it doesn’t.

This is all like standing on a very high diving-platform, waiting for the whistle (also the nerve) to jump. It makes me feel sick. If I don’t talk/think/write about it, perhaps I won’t have to deal with it. Or at least, I won’t have to notice the fact I’m dealing with it.

And that was the summed-up version.


Things I am completely unable to deal with

Item – I finally spoke to my mother and Trouble is OK. She’ll be out in a week. It was absolutely Trouble’s choice to go to this clinic and I am so proud of her for admitting she needed help and going and accepting that help I could burst.

Item – My mother on the other hand is being a tad crazy-making (hah!) with the ‘think positive’ attitude. I don’t want to think bloody positive. I’m 37, I’m in pain three weeks out of five, I’ve been trying to get pregnant for seven years, I’ve had seven miscarriages that I know of, I’ve had surgery twice, and endless ultrasounds and HSGs and blood-tests and positive is just not in my repertoire. The best I can do you is bloody-minded. Because, to quote Macbeth, I am in blood Stepp’d in so far, that, should I wade no more, Returning were as tedious as go o’er.

Item – HR at work are sending me to interview with an Occupational Health Agency, whatever the fuck that is, because I have exceeded my ‘allowable’ allowance of sick leave this year, thanks to Cute Ute the Despoiler and her Monthly Rampage. As far as I can tell, I now have to convince a random stranger who may or may not have a medical qualification that I can be a productive member of the work-force, that I am not skiving, that a wrist support for my computer and a fancy work-light aren’t going to cut it, and that they really can’t recommend I be fired, please. Fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck.

Item – The interview of fuckfuckfuckfuck is on a day I am fairly sure I will be entrenched in the glory days of Shark Week. I am trying to see if I can get it moved, or rerouted, or even cancelled altogether and never referred to again. My boss (who knows about Shark Week), said, unhelpfully, ‘but you’re not usually off on a Monday, are you?’ I have no idea what to say to that.

Item – The list of things to talk to my GP about tomorrow morning therefore grows exponentially. Occu-health third degree forms, prescriptions for private treatment (tricky!), the weeks of pain thing, metformin (again), possibly a waily fit about not being able to cope, my emmin-effin thyroid, what else? What else? Anyone? Beuller?

Item – And I’m not quite sure if I have ovulated yet (it may have been Saturday. It may have been the third blue moon in November), and I’m supposed to be calling the Expensive Clinic when I’m sure so they can fit me in for a quick uterine lining biopsy during my luteal phase, to see if it’s swarming with psychotic Natural Killer Cells, or if it’s more like London during the Olympics, a haven of functional public transport and very happy people ever so pleased to be there.

Item – Long straightened version of Dr Expensive’s Better Living By Chemistry Plan still in the works, I haven’t forgotten. I’m just being outnumbered by AAAAAAAAUGH at the moment.

Item – Apropos of which, H is more pro LIT than I am, especially as Dr Expensive said he was a good donor candidate. Given that he’s the one who’s donating the pints of blood and all I’m doing is the itchy bit, I’m inclined to let him have this one even though I read the science behind LIT and think ‘Where the feckin’ Lady Elspeth is the double-blind randomized control trial? Eh? EH?’

Sudden excess of headache

Having spent yesterday getting joyously blotto in a friend’s back garden, on the hottest day of summer so far, surrounded by people who were also getting quite irresponsible on Pimms (google is dangerous when strong drink has been taken, as are multiple smartphones, natural curiosity, and an unfortunate turn of conversation regarding the mating habits of pandas. I also learnt what a unicorn chaser is, and quite how much I would need one. All we had was Pimms. Which is exactly why I have a headache today), I did not spend this morning composing the long straightened explanation of Dr Expensive’s Better Living By Chemistry experiment.

This evening, I am not composing it either because I have just found out that Trouble has become so unhappy and unable to cope she voluntarily admitted herself to a clinic. This is on an ‘unexpected’ par with Ben Goldacre announcing he has become Brian Cox’s personal homeopath. Trouble has always regarded Psychology as a heap of nonsense, and has always been bright enough to run rings round any counsellor she ever was nagged into seeing, which never exactly enhanced her respect for the profession. So, err, well. Golly.

(I knew Trouble was, well, troubled. It didn’t seem my story to tell, so I didn’t tell it. It’s one thing bitching sisterly-fashion about our differences (and she has eight-bazillion perfectly justified anecdotes of her own about The Many Ways In Which May Is Tiresome), and quite another to discuss her demons for her).

I don’t know what to think about anything at the moment, so I shan’t think anything about anything except my plan to get my GP re-prescribe me at least some of the medication at NHS prices.

P.S. – Minx is being doted on by relations for a while. So I needn’t panic about that.

I KNEW I had a blog somewhere round here…

I think I was using the Olympics as an opiate. H and I watched as much of it as our respective work-schedules allowed, on television, on the BBC’s iPlayer when the particular events we liked were not being shown or had happened during the working day or the other of us didn’t care for it (archery, synchronised swimming (don’t laugh!), horse dancing (I like horses (H doesn’t)), diving heats (I like strapping young men in tight speedos (H doesn’t (but he did care who won the finals)), beach volleyball (don’t ask)). We leapt to our feet and screamed right there in our living room when Mo Farah won the 10’000 and the 5’000. We would’ve leapt to our feet and screamed when Bolt Did His Thing, but we didn’t have time to. We cheered Wiggins and Ennis and Grainger and Watkins and Pendleton and the Brownlees. We cheered Felix and Rudisha and Lysenko and Gelana. I wept with every athlete who wept on the podium. I bawled over the triumph-over-tragedy stories of Daley and Gibbons. And when someone fell, or false-started, or pulled a muscle and couldn’t run/jump/swim/dive, or got up anyway and tried to carry on, or just had the crappest luck, I also cried. I cried over Asafa Powell, FFS. When H and I went to see the marathon live on Sunday (which was just! So! Exciting! that I literally (as in really, yes I did, and I’m not exaggerating) skipped most of the way home)), I welled up at the sight of the last runner in the field limping bloody-mindedly along just in front of the sweeper van. And then when we watched it again on telly, I welled up for Stephen Kiprotich and his unique Ugandan gold medal.

And then it was all over, and we all feel completely deflated, also all alone with our anxieties and problems and their horrible little teeth. Oh dear.

H, for example, has been having kittens about our baby-making options. All these tests we’ve had – whatever the verdict is, it seems so very, well, huge, and possibly final, and descending with a clang, like a portcullis, also expensive and complicated (expensive portcullis!). And he wants a child. Which would all be quite enough to be getting on with thank you, but his job is not being any more easy to deal with, and nor is his wife. He comes home every night and tears his hair out, and then I complain that I have a pain in my sawdust, that’s what’s the matter with me, and he tears his hair out, and we talk about money and how many cycles we’re prepared to do with what medications and he tears his hair out, and then he goes back to work and finds Another Fine Mess to sweep up and tears his hair out and when he is finally spear-bald, to whom do we present the bill, oh Universe?

In which fine state of mind H – oh, and I – went back to Dr Expensive on Thursday to Hear The Verdict. And The Verdict made our heads ache. The short-and-curly version (I promise you a long-and-straightened version in the near future. You may nag me about it. You’re welcome) is, Dr Expensive wants me on Metformin, steroids, progesterone support, Clexane and intralipids; he wants H on multi-vitamins and anti-oxidants; he wants both of us on a ten-day course of Augmentin; he wants to do a uterine biopsy, this cycle if possible (EEK! And again I say, EEK!) ; and he wants us to do LIT. On the other hand, he doesn’t see why we need IVF. At all. Timed bonking will be fine.

Do pass that dustpan, there’s a lamb. Just writing it down made my head explode again.

But fear not! We have tickets for the Paralympics! In less than two weeks, it all starts up again, with even more added and extra poignancy and heroism, and I fully expect to jump up and down and skip and weep and scream encouragement and just generally let myself be completely blown away by it all all over again while pretending that my uterus doesn’t even exist for as long as she’ll let me get away with it. We don’t do Olympian cynicism chez May. Which is unexpected, but welcome.

Final hurdle before the next set of hurdles

Item – Day 3 of shark-week. I only threw up once! *Flings arms in the air, does victory lap of kitchen*

Item – On the other hand, fourth day off work. I am tapering down from diclofenac to mefenamic acid, and while the cramps are, well, OK, they are fucking horrible, but aren’t making me puke, so yay, I feel like the ligaments and scar tissue where my left ovary used to be are a nuclear fireball. But I cannot bear more than nine doses of diclofenac-up-the-jacksie. It’s sore, OK? And I am also sick of taking tramadol, which deprives me of about 50 IQ points and makes me doze off in inelegant drooling postures. Tramadol before bed may still be necessary. Argh.

Item – My lap-top is broken. The hinge went *crunch* the other day, which alarmed me, and I showed it to H (Computer Man chez nous), who declared it cracked, and then nobly ‘fessed up that he might have been the chap to crack it, that time he got onto the bed with me to stroke my hair. So he took it to Lap-Top Hospital (and I spent the day watching Olympics on his iPad, so that was Fine By Me). Hence radio silence. Lap-top is home again, but needs a spare part, so I can’t close it in case the next crunch wrecks the screen. If I disappear again, it’s because I forgot, and killed the poor noble beast.

Item – So it was very lovely, on getting poor lap-top back, to find all the comments on my last post. New people! Lurkers! Stalwarts! I salute you all! Group hug!

Item – I have sent a sample of my menstrual blood, via Fed-Ex, to Greece, of all places, to get it analyzed for Evil Diseases. It all went very smoothly. H called the delivery people, they gave us a collection time, H jury-rigged an ice-pack, I read the instructions about collecting a couple of millilitres of blood, drop by drop, in several sessions if need be, by holding the top of the (open) vial to one’s vaginal opening (no, really?) and snorted, because the main problem we were going to be having with that was accidentally fedexing them half-a-pint. And then I cleverly wrapped the collection vial in clingfilm and tissues to protect the label, and collected about 10ml in one quick oops (told you), and carefully removed the sodden tissues and cling-film (oh, so clever, yes I am) and put the vial in the fridge next to the eggs until the fedexman came, exactly when they said he would, and took the parcel away. I’m sure I signed something, but, did I mention tramadol? I’m still incredibly impressed that I thought of the cling-film-and-tissues trick. I rock. And then I lay down.

Item – And now we wait. Also, confusion reigns as to whether I actually did have a thyroid panel or not. Bugger.