"I've Got Bad Plumbing" has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 6 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Surrogacy Blogs:
Part of a Miracle
Bump Fairy
Our Surrogacy Adventure

Working on it:
Mad Hatter
Chick N Chicken
Ambivalent Womb
Stirrup Queen's List of Blogs
Delinquent Eggs
Life and Love in the Petrie Dish
Life in the Infertile Lane
Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Barren
Everyone Else But Me
It Takes a Village
Stella Part 2
Music Maker Momma

On other paths:
Fertile Soul
MLO Knitting
Out, damned egg! Out I say!
Holding Pattern
Hummingbird Chronicles
Velvet Cage

Adventures in Baby Making
Barren Albion
Barren Mare
Dead Bug
Due Dates
Fertility Shmertility
Fumbling Towards Eggstacy
Great Good Fortune
Healing Arts
Hopeful Mother
I Can't Whistle
IF & the City
It Only Takes One Egg
Waiting for Baby Orange
Jenny From the Infertility Block
She's Back!: Manana Banana
Smarshy Boy
Stella and/or Ben
Tinkering with the Works
Twisted Ovaries
Wishing For One

Other Good Reads:
Dr. Licciardi's Infertility Blog

Mc Gill Reproductive Centre - Montreal
Georgia Reproductive Specialists
Jinemed Hospital - Turkey

Cooper Center - NJ
Conceptions - Colorado
Red Rock Fertility - Dr. Eva Littman
Pacific Fertility Center
Zouves Fertility Center"
Nova IVF

IVF Meds - UK
Free Garage Sale
Flying Pharmacy (IVIg)

Blastocyst Grading Criteria
How much hCG is Left After Trigger?
POAS Ratings
More POAS Ratings
The Beta Base

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Coming to a theatre near you: Cloning


It would seem that Dr. Zavos in Cypress is on the verge of human cloning.

And not that I think my genes are anything great...I emailed him and said I want in on this one.

I think there might be less immune issues with a cloned child because, hell, my body's seen that tissue before.

It's ME.

CD22: LaLaLand Bound Once Again

In light of the upcoming FET, I am throwing in the towel on trying to sell my mom's house in LaLaLand. Everytime I pick up a newspaper or watch the news, there's yet one more article or newsflash about how fucked up the real estate market is becoming. It's in a downward spiral in case you haven't noticed. We all knew this was coming. I am pissed, resentful even, that my mom didn't heed my warnings, the news' warnings, and sat on her hands until it was really too late. Now we're in "fire sale" mode, ready to look at any and all offers. In December we might have got $500,000 for her flat roofed 1950's era home. Now we'd be lucky to get $460,000. Does she realize that is an 8% drop just since December? The year's not even out, and here we are at the end of August: traditionally the end of the summer real estate activity. It's going to get worse from here on out. Really it is. And it scares me to death.

So Monday we're taking a rental car to LaLaLand and Monday and Tuesday I'll interview a handful of agents and find someone to take my place so that I can focus on worrying about my FET, or not worrying, whatever may be the case. But I find that I cannot effectively sell this house for my mom in this screwed up market when I am 400-some miles away from the said property. I can't hold open houses. I can't refill flyer boxes. I can't do last minute showings. I am simply unable to help her. So I am calling in reinforcements.

I pray, in my own atheistic/agnostic way, that I find someone that I can really trust and that I won't have to keep looking over their shoulder multiple times a week. I'm nervous enough about the upcoming FET but to have to worry about whether the agent is doing their job is just one more worry that I cannot have right now. I need an agent that will "kick ass and take names". No meek, quiet, reserved agents need apply.

I hope this person exists.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

CD19: Test Results Back

Test results are in! My NK's are lower than they've ever been (8.7), my cytokines are low, too, and my LADs came back PERFECT:

T Cells at 99.7
B Cells at 99.3

As DB's nurse said, "They can't get any better than this!" So we've got the green light to proceed with next month's FET!

We are so excited as we were fearful we might have to make a third trip to Nogales for LIT treatment. We did have one thing that did come back bad: my endometrial biopsy. They found 9 cells of NKUs in my "screen" and anything at or above 4 is considered "abnormal". My friend LL, also a DB patient, had 20, or was it 30, in her endo biopsy and she was on humira for 3 months before she was given the green light to proceed. I've been on Humira for 1 month, and will have been on it for 2 months when we do our FET. So hopefully I'll have enough of it in my system when the FET occurs. If I get a BFP I'll be on it for another month or two and I'll also make another trip to Nogales at this point for a booster shot.

But it does look, so far, like I'll be able to get by with out the $2015-per-dose IVIg infusion. Of course, Dr. S might change his mind and tell me to do one anyways, but we probably won't know for sure until we're closer to that date. But gosh it's coming up FAST. Today's CD19 and AF is due in a little more than a week. Once AF comes, I'll be starting on my dexamethasone (CD6), continuing on with prenatals, folguard, lovenox, lexapro, and synthroid. I have a little sushi dish next to the refrigerator where I put the day's supplements, vitamins, and medication. It's quite a fright to see so many pills in there each and every day. But it's all for the good of the embies.

Now I just stress that we get at least one good embie when they've thawed. After all the immune work we just did, I think that if this doesn't work the only thing we can do is to go RIGHT into a IVF cycle after this. The LIT will only work for 6 to 12 months, and the effects of the humira only last 2 weeks. I hate to waste all this good work we've done, and being that I turn 42 this year, I really feel that I have to press on and try again. Sigh.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

CD12: Testing & Reflecting

J and I headed to Dr. B's office bright and early for bloodwork. NK assay, cytokines, and to retest my LADs after out two trips to Mexico to see if the treatment has done its job. The NKs and cytokines were tested to see if I am experiencing a flare of either of said things after taking the two humira shots. The NK and LAD results should be in on Friday, but the jury will be out on the cytokines until at least Wednesday. Also coming in on Friday should be the results on my endometrial biopsy. So we're at the end of our testing phase for the time being and hopefully we'll get some good news that we're good to go for a FET next month.

I met a sweet woman at Dr. B's. She was there with her little girl "E" who was conceived when she was 42. Yes, 42. And she, also, is a patient of Dr. Z's. Her first cycle she had 7 follicles, they all fertilized, and all went in. She got pregnant and miscarried. The D&C showed trisomy 21. She was devastated but they moved right on into IVF #2. Three follicles, all fertilized again. They put them all in and lo and behold they got "E". What luck. So today she was in Dr. B's office doing her bloodwork for Dr. Z (she's not a Dr. B patient, per se) and she overheard me saying to the office gals that I had some leftover heparin and didn't know what to do with it. She piped in and said, "I could use it". Perfect. Wonderful. I was hoping to gift it to someone who could use it and I found someone. I gave her directions to my house and told her to swing by when she could.

Twenty minutes later she was at my door. We chatted quickly as "E" was fast asleep in the car. I gave her my heparin and she gave me her contact info. "Let's stay in touch!" she said as she ran off to work.

She called not half an hour later to continue our conversation. It took me by surprise, nonetheless, but she explained that she had wanted to tell me about using acupuncture. Had I tried it? Yes, yes, yes... We talked for what must have been 30 or 40 minutes. She told me all about her cycle. Her acupuncturist, whom she swears by. By the end of our conversation I felt hope descend upon me like I haven't felt in such a long time. You see it's been quite a while since I've heard of anyone getting pregnant with Dr. Z save for "G". I'm not cloistered, mind you, as I do participate in a number of online fertility boards. But it just seemed that lately I wasn't hearing of anyone getting knocked up by him. So even though her pregnancy happened two years ago, perhaps because she was my age when it happened for her, it gave me some hope that it might also happen for me.

Last night I wasn't so hopeful. I've been waking up lately stupified by the speed at which the past few years have flown by me. I've been here, in the Bay Area, for six years. My life changed quite a bit when I came here. I went from being a research associate in an Immunology R&D lab, to being a dotcommer, to being unemployed...wondering what to do to make ends meet. Like many, I wound up selling homes and it kind of stuck. Or did it?

I've been waking up in a bit of a panic as of late, wondering, "What the hell have I done? Where the hell am I at? Where did my career go?" It feels a bit like a midlife crisis, or maybe it's the lexapro that Dr. B has me on, but I also realize quite clearly that I am on the verge of a major change in my life. We can't go on trying IVF forever, it's simply cost prohibitive, so I'm coming up on the edge of either being a mother, or living a childless life. And if it's the latter, what the hell am I going to do with the rest of my life? Travel? Go back to school? God, I really don't know what I am going to do but I do realize what I haven't done and that is to focus on the "what if" of childlessness.

Last night I sat in Borders perusing a PCAT test book, rifling through the questions, thinking, "My god, I could still pass this 8 years after organic chemistry. This is pretty damned easy compared to the MCAT. Hmm...I love, love, love science, but, Jesus Christ, do I really want to be a pharmacist? Why didn't I take the PCAT after I took the MCAT? Man, what a waste that was. But I can't imagine a more boring job than sitting in a pharmacy dispensing drugs all day long. Torture. But hell it beats this shit and, besides, it's a cushy science job...why not?" But then the reality of the boredom sets back in and I push the idea away, but not too far away. I had quite a long conversation with myself, sitting there in Borders.

I realize I have some regrets about the lack of career direction my life has taken, I've been blown here and there by the wind as opposed to directing what will happen next. I've never really wanted to be anything "really bad" in my life. I was never a child that said, "When I grow up I want to be a doctor" and never wavered from that position. I knew children like this, growing up, who basically became what they set out to be. That scared me. How on earth could someone under 18 have any clue at all what they want to be? And to stick with it implied, to me, a lack of exploration. Or fearfulness of trying something different. I knew this girl in high school named "LS". She knew from an early time that she wanted to be an accountant and she had the studiousness, and kind of dry personality, of someone that would probably make an accountant. A good one, at that. I used to see her board the bus everyday laden with huge bags of books. She studied her ass off throughout high school, she didn't date or go out, and today she is an accountant. That freaks me out. Didn't she ever want to go and be wild? Dig in the dirt and be an archaeologist? Or maybe travel to an exotic country and be an ethnologist? A biologist? How on earth a high school girl figures out where the rest of her life is going is totally beyond me. I don't know if it's "commitment" that she has over me, or if she was just fearful of doing something "less responsible". I will never understand it in a way.

I feel lucky that I have so much freedom day in and day out. I don't make a killing at what I do, not even close, but I don't have to punch a clock. I don't have to be nearly anywhere on time. I ramp up my work when I need money, and when I feel somewhat comfortable, I ease off a bit and enjoy time with J. I've had a very interesting and varied work history. I can't call it a career path because I've been on so many paths. I'm not sure I'd trade it for someone's life like "LS's" though, even though she's probably been at the same job for 20 years and will likely have a really great retirement package waiting for her down the road. In retrospect I would trade my varied work history in for the ability to be a doctor, but as I said, that is in "retrospect". When I was working as an archaeologist if you would have asked me if I wanted to go to medical school I would have said, "No way!" and then picked up my shovel and kept digging.

Monday, August 14, 2006

CD10: Humira Shot #2

Today was humira shot #2. I used one from TE in Indiana that was due to expire in December 2006. I've got one more from her that expires in December, so I'll use that one next and save the one from MG for last. If I don't use the 4th shot I'll donate it to a friend in need, as was done for me.

Got my copy of "Immunological Obstetrics" by Dr. Carolyn Coulam a few days ago. It has a write up in it for how to do the paternal leukocyte immunization procedure. It looks easy enough but as I haven't done a cell separation before, I'm not sure of the speed I'd need to centrifuge once I had the blood floating over the Ficoll, or for how long. I also don't understand the procedure for washing the leukocytes, but I reckon I can figure this out. I've posted to Google Answers and hope someone can help me out with this procedure.

Where is everyone? It seems hardly anyone is blogging these past few days. Maybe it is because it is August and everyone is off on holiday or something. I know that is what Thalia is doing, but what about the rest of you?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

CD6, Lovenox Begins

Six days since AF arrived so it was time to break out the alcohol swabs, needle box, and the lovenox. The needle, my old friend, is back. The instructions said to do the injection lying down. What? Is it going to run to my legs if I'm standing up? That seemed odd, but lay down I did. I felt a bit silly. It's also the day to begin the dexamethazone, but honestly I'm not thrilled with the idea of steroids and weight gain. I was kind of hoping to ride the synthroid metabolism boost for a few more weeks and lose a few pounds before starting the dex. But today's the official day to commence with this stuff. I may hold off until I do the LAD (leukocyte antibody detection) test next week (Tuesday?) as I don't think that the dexamethazone functions in the formation of the uterine lining. Hell, I don't know WHAT it does but I guess I should figure it out today, just in case.

Still feeling like shit from the lexapro. The neighbor's gardeners starting their noisy routine at 7:00AM didn't help matters when my alarm was set to go off at 8:15AM. I took out my retainer and telephoned the Los Gatos PD:

Me: "What does the noise ordinance say about when gardeners can get started in the morning?"

Dispatch: "Are you in Los Gatos or Monte Sereno?"

Me: "Los Gatos".

Dispatch: "Let me see. Hmm. 8:00AM. Is someone making noise?"

Me: "Yes indeed." I gave her my address.

Dispatch: "We'll send someone right away."

But by 8:05AM the noise had gone on without cease and I could only assume that the LGPD had flaked on me. I realize that the rest of the world is probably already up and awake by this time, but our household isn't. Not even my 89 year old mother is awake at 7:30AM. Being woken up early really pisses me off so it only added to my morning headache, compliments of lexapro. I know that sleep til 8:15AM will be a fond memory once we are parents, but for now, just gimme my sleep and no one gets hurt.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

CD5, maybe

Today's CD5 of what may or may not wind up being a cycle that we do our FET in. There's a lot going on so it's doubtful, but just in case I am starting my lovenox and dexamethazone in the morning.

I'm already on quite a cocktail of drugs: synthroid (for my quasi low thyroid, low for fertility, normal for everyone else), lexapro (for my low serotonin, 73 on a scale of 100 to 225), folgard 2.2 (for my MTHFR mutation) and I am just tonight finishing up a batch of doxycycline after my endometrial biopsy, which was done last Friday. The doxy is self medicated, but I wasn't about to take any chances with a uterine infection at this point.

The biopsy was ordered by Dr. S to look for NKU cells in my uterus. They may or may not be there, but there's an increased chance that they will be found simply due to the fact that I did have endometriosis. If they are there, the course of treatment is injectible humira. If they're not there, the course of treatment is, again, humira because I did indeed have endometriosis. Kind of a catch-22 with the humira stuff, but the stats do show an increased rate of pregnancy and birth with humira. So humira it is. Humira is friggin' expensive. Something like $700 a shot. Thru friends here and there I was able to get ahold of 4 shots (2 month's worth). Let me tell you what a relief that was. This IF business is breaking us financially and to get little breaks here and there...well, it makes it a bit easier. Thank you ladies.

The downside to this humira crap is that it will cause me to have a cytokine flare. Maybe an NK flare, too. The only course of treatment for the cytokine flare is IVIg. At $2015 a pop. And I'll need two doses of it. The course of treatment for the potential NKs is IVIg, lovenox, and dexamethazone. So now you see why I am starting the lovenox and dex tomorrow. My thinking is that if I start it now I may be able to stave off some of the NKs that will form with each successive humira shot.

So between Monday and Wednesday, J and I will test our LADs and I will check my NKs and cytokines to see what sort of flare I am experiencing. Monday is also humira shot #2 night. We dropped off the biopsy last Monday so hopefully we'll have the test results by next Friday. If everything looks good on Friday, there is a chance, a small chance that we'll have the green light to FET this month. If not, it'll be next month. My gut tells me that it'll be next month because we've still not coordinated my IVIg treatments...and I think if I were to be FET'ing this month, IVIg #1 would be, like, tomorrow, and the second one would be 2 days before transfer. Or the 23rd or so.

I'm having a hard time keeping my cycle straight, but writing it down here kind of helps me to see the path ahead. I am feeling exhausted from the lexapro, and somewhat headachey, but I hope that this will pass in a few days. Otherwise I think I will start to cut the tablets in half to see if the symptoms pass.

I've decided that if this FET doesn't work that the only recourse for J and I is to go to Reykjavik and drink like fish at the Iceland Indie Music Festival.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Endometrial Biopsy Day
Lexapro Day #2

Today's day 2 of my lexapro. I'm on 10mg/day, so a single tablet in the AM. Yesterday I had a bit of nausea on my first day. That took me totally by surprise. Today I haven't had any nausea, but I am wiped out. Exhausted. I think I slept okay, but it IS Friday, trash day, and the noise starts rather early in the AM. So to say that the exhaustion is from the lexapro is a bit premature.

I'm not keen on this whole idea of taking SSRIs in order to boost my uterine lining, but my serotonin levels are low (73 on a scale of 100-225) so it might be good for me to be taking it "just because". However, I do not feel depressed, down, sad. Just the usual frustration of my profession and of being infertile. I tend to be a bit on the manic side, whizzing through projects, being impatient, over analytical, microassessing, etcetera. I think that part of my mania is likely fueled by the low serotonin levels, and I'm a bit worried that I'll lose a big part of my edge in business by taking this stuff. I love to negotiate, argue a point, and if one of the symptoms is "I just just don't give a damn", how am I going to be effective?

Other big thing going on is that at 3:30PM today I am having my endometrial biopsy done at Dr. G's. Today is CD26 for me and apparantly it's the #1 day for me to have my uterine lining snipped out and analyzed for NKU's (uterine natural killer cells). The reasoning behind this test is that I've had endo. Therefore I likely still have some NKU activity going on in the uterus. Treatment for NKU's is Humira or Enbrel. But even if they don't find them, the NKUs that is, they still want me on the Humira or Enbrel because of my past history with endo.

But the problem with the Humira is that it might cause a NK and cytokine flare. My NKs and cytokines are nice and low right now, so if they flare, the things that bring them down are: Humira, and LIT. So more of the same. It kind of begs the questions as to why the heck am I doing the Humira in the first place.

But such is the treatment cycle, and I've got to trust that DB knew what he was doing.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Welcome Gensen Sho!

Gensen's first day

G and M, two good friends, just annouced the birth of their son Gensen Sho. He was born nearly a week ago, uneventful birth, and everyone is fine and well.

G and M are a lucky couple. They beat all the odds for a women of M's age (38?). They were married last August and immediately got pregnant. Gensen was actually born before their first wedding anniversary.

It's refreshing to see a couple as wonderful as G and M be blessed with such awe-inspiring fertility. I know they'll be awesome parents, too.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

First Humira Shot

On Monday I took my first Humira shot. These things are quite expensive and so far my insurance has denied me coverage. I think that each shot is about $600. Two angels have helped me out with my first two shots and I'm hoping I won't need more than 3 or 4 in total. I've heard that many women have strange side effects from this drug, but so far, I only have a funny taste in my mouth after the injection and a funny headachy feeling that went away really fast. Rather uneventful otherwise.

NK Assay results after LIT#2 are back today. My NKs dropped into the normal range with the exception of my CD3 cells...which is, my understanding, kind of the "overall" picture of one's immune system. Mine is always on heightened alert. That didn't change. At least we now know that LIT does work to lower my NKs. Well worth the payment of the test.

Friday I am meeting up with one of my Humira angels for tea and am getting to see her 5 week old son. :-) He is a Beer baby and so it's all rather exciting to welcome him into the world. Afterwards I've got a endometrial biopsy scheduled, same day, to see if the endometriosis that I had removed 8 or 9 weeks ago left me with any NKUs (uterine natural killer cells). If yes, then the Humira will counteract them. If not, then I can likely stop the Humira after 3 or 4 shots. It seems that taking Humira is good for women who have endo. I'm not sure if any studies have been done on women who have had their endo removed though.

There's a chance I'll have an NK flare from the Humira. Standard treatment for this is more LIT (in Mexico) or IVIg (at $2015 a pop!). I've heard that there's a write up for how to do the LIT procedure in an Obstetrics book that I found online on Amazon.com. I bought a copy last night and, I swear, if this is easy to do, I'll buy myself a centrifuge on ebay and I'll start doing my own LITs. Okay, that sounds a little scary to do, but so long as one uses sterile techniques, and follows protocol, and has an ER nearby in case of a bad reaction, it should be something one, such as myself, could do rather easily. Chemistry is like cooking. Really. It is.

It'll take two weeks to get the biopsy results from Dr. W, and then we'll know for sure about the NKUs. In the meanwhile, my AF is due sometime this weekend, and on CD6 I am going to start taking heparin or lovenox just in case we get clearance to go ahead with the FET.

I kind of doubt we'll get the green light due to my having endometriosis. They do like for a woman to have a full 30 days of Humira in the system when proceding, but it'll be like 25 days...so it'll be really close. I just wonder if that's cutting it short or not?

There's so much to juggle and I'm trying to keep things straight, get bills paid on time (failing miserably), and keep treading water with work. One of my deals fell through, an offer that was expected on another house never came in (and I'm pissed that the other real estate agent even BOTHERED to tell me she was sending me one), and so I'm back to square 1.

Such is life.

My Diagnosis

My Infertility History

My Usual Protocol for Diet, Herbs, & Supplements

Powered by Blogger