Tuesday, December 31, 2013

First Results

We went to our first ultrasound and blood tests today. They unfortunately called with my results as I was driving, so I didn't get to ask questions, and am having a hard time looking up what is 'normal' 5 days into treatment. I "think" the results are normal, they're certainly not too fast which is the main concern right now and being on a high dose of Gonal-F. Here they are -

Left Ovary - Multiple Follicles (5-10)
Right Ovary - Few Follicles (2-4)
Estradiol - 101.1 pg/ml
LH - 3.16 mlU/ml
Progesterone - 0.535 ng/ml

I hope they're normal. So far we've had a good experience with Boston IVF, though the holidays have really messed around with when I feel I can call them and ask questions. We have another appointment on Saturday for another set of bloodwork and ultrasounds. The one disappointment today (other than hoping i'd progressed much more than that so I could come down in dosage) is that we didn't get to see our normal nurse Amy to talk about our treatment. I should probably call her, I just don't want to bug......sigh. Maybe i'll call her Thursday, after the holidays are passed.

IVF in the Dark Ages

How did they do IVF in the dark ages you ask? By oil lamp and candles of course! We've had a spate of amazing weather - ice storms, snow dumps, wind - that has led to multiple power outs. Usually I enjoy these times - peace, quiet, games, candles, fireplace. But when you have $4500 of drugs in the fridge and $500 of drugs that need to be kept at above 68F, it's not hard to start to get anxious. Luckily we've got through by keeping the propane fireplace going and sleeping with the Crinone under our blankets, and running the generator to the fridge every 4 hours to keep things cold. So far, all is well.

Yesterday morning we had power out again (thankfully back by lunchtime), so had to do my morning lupron shot by oil lamp. Couldn't resist shooting a picture of that one, even though I don't usually look while B is preparing the syringe (no, my fear of needles has not passed). 

In other news, the Gonal-F shot has actually been fine. The needle though longer is finer, so i barely feel it go in, and B has just been doing two clicks at a time for me - 9 clicks in total. So far, so good. Side effects wise though things have not been great - the day after we started Lupron I woke up in amazing pain in my left leg. Thinking i'd strained it we just massaged and Tiger Balmed it. It still hasn't gone away though, and waxes and wains in pain levels. We talked to the pharmacist and one of the side effects of Lupron is bone and muscle pain, particularly in the pelvic area. Oi. I hope it starts to die down soon.....

Friday, December 27, 2013

Get set....and go!

...and we're off. Christmas day at 7am B did my first shot of Lupron....joy! It actually went okay, sometimes I get light headed with injections, this was one of those times, but in reality it didn't really hurt going in. Now we're on day 3, I can say that B is a pro at giving injections, and that lupron really stings about a minute after it goes in.

Today we start the Gonal-F - the big guns - and i'm really not looking forward to that one. For a start, that's the really expensive one, so no messing that one up. The second reason is it's just such a large volume. The lupron is 10 units, the Gonal-F is 450 units. The nice lady who did our injection training let me inject it out on the table to see the volume...and it was HUGE. Sigh. I guess at 35 I couldn't expect to suddenly just be okay with needles, even with daily ones.

In other news so far here in Maine we've had an ice storm and a snow storm clogging up traffic. We lost power for nearly two days (we did get spurts of power in that time) and luckily it came back on Christmas Eve, which meant hot showers - yay! It's definitely got us thinking about travel to Portland, and how we'll have to watch the weather and just be ready to stay down there if we need to....

Friday, December 20, 2013

Mr. Cellophane

Well, I keep saying I'm going to write a blog post or two and never seem to make the time, so today's going to be my intro post.

I picked the title because I was inspired by the musical 'Chicago' - one of the characters sings a song titled 'Mr. Cellophane', because no one really notices he's there. That's pretty much how this whole process has been for me so far, and it's been admittedly a bit disconcerting. When we go to appointments together, and we're waiting in the waiting room, the nurse always calls out for R, never for both of us. When the doctors and nurses talk, it's to R. If I say something, they always seem to have a surprised look (having, presumably, forgotten that I was there), and then answer... usually to R.

Although a bit odd, it makes complete sense - the focus of this effort is on R, not me, even though the actual fertility problem is with me, not her. Unfortunately there's not much I can do except operate as support staff, nurse, and shoulder to lean on. Oh yeah, and cheerleader. She's doing great so far; next week the hard stuff starts with the injections, but given this pic:

... I don't see how she can claim to have a problem with needles. ;-)

It just got real.....

Yesterday we went down to Portland to pick up our medication. We'd found an awesome local pharmacy that was the same price as those online - Apothecary By Design - and they do free teaching sessions for how to do all the injections (gulp). As a total needle-phobe, we decided it would be a good idea. So we headed down, parked in a snowbank and headed in to be greeted by a lovely lady who looked somewhat like a Christmas elf (complete with green jeans and red shoes). She took us into a conference room and went to get our nurse and our medications.

A few minutes later our nurse (pregnant....which is an interested choice for a nurse counseling an infertile couple) appeared with two giant boxes - luckily the larger was just the teaching materials! An hour and a half of practicing jabbing needles into a fake tummy, $5K and a chocolate bar later, and we headed out to do some final Christmas shopping then head to our acupuncture appointments (which has been going really well, I can even say I actually relaxed in the one yesterday!).

Everything got really real for me yesterday. I am not good with injections at all, so the two weeks of needles is going to be an interesting one. We are on so many different medications too, at different times and different doses, just keeping everything straight is going to be a challenge. We're on Lupron (10 units) twice a day for 3 days, then add in Gonal-F 450 units just in the evening (as well as the lupron). Everything starts on monday, I finish up the birth control pill, then start injecting on Wednesday (Christmas day). We're thinking a series of phone alarms and reminders will keep us straight.....