Tuesday, November 28, 2006


I just learned that one of my friends has a malignant, aggressive brain tumor. Last week, he had several seizures and was taken to the ER. He was then transferred to a brain-tumor specialty center (one of the best, luckily) and had surgery yesterday. The biopsy confirmed the tumor's malignancy and aggressiveness (3 on a scale of 1 to 4), and they couldn't get everything out, so he'll likely do chemo and radiation - a long, tough road, obviously.

My mother's father died of a brain tumor when he was 48 - this was long ago, of course, and treatments were no good. But brain cancer is still so scary. I don't have any happy stories to tell - everyone I know who's had it has died from it. If you know of any good stories, please tell them to me.

So please think positive thoughts for my friend, even though the thoughts will be vague and disembodied. He is married to one of the most wonderful people I know, so he has a good support network, but what a frightening turn of events.

Friday, November 24, 2006


I have been traveling much of the past week and have a few minor things to report.

1. I am feeling a bit better. I've gone down from 24 mg of Z0fran a day to 20 mg. That might not sound like much, but it's progress. I still feel nauseated much of the time, but not as severely, and I occasionally have stretches of one to three hours when I feel totally normal, which is awesome. I've been eating more and have even - gasp - managed to drink plain water on occasion. I'm sure I'm gaining weight. Yay!

2. I just scored a shitload of maternity clothes from one of my high-school friends. She has some nice stuff, too - good work clothes, especially.

3. I found a fantastic black winter coat (Ag.nes B) from a secondhand store for $45. It's a size up from my normal size and looks like it'll accommodate at least a few months of a pregnant belly.

4. The weather here (in my hometown) is great. Since I've been feeling a bit better, I've been walking every day with my husband and my brother. I can now do 45 minutes. That may not sound like much, but spending so much time on the couch over the past 10 weeks has really sapped the cardiovascular fitness.

5. One of my younger cousins (she's 20 or 21) is engaged and is planning to have five children ASAP. That is a still a bit astonishing to me. I'm sure she's extremely fertile and I'm also sure that she and her siblings think I am definitely way too old to be procreating.

6. I didn't bring the fetal heart monitor I rented, so now I am panicking a bit that something has gone wrong with the baby. We return home tomorrow, and I'll check it then. And run right to the ER if I can't find the heartbeat.

7. When I was in Chicago, I went to Bl00mingdale's to get fitted correctly for bras. Normally, I wear a 34B in the first part of my cycle, then switch to a 34C in the PMS period. Well, I am now apparently a 32D. But I made the woman sell me a 34D since I kind of felt like I couldn't breathe in the 32. It may be psychological, but whatever. My ribs will expand anyway. My friend who loaned me the maternity clothes said she's currently a 34F (she's nursing). That is sort of horrifying to contemplate, no?

8. I continue to have vivid, weird-ass dreams. I already generally have disturbing dreams, so I could live without this particular side effect of hormones.

I hope all of you are doing well!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Five things

I've been tagged by Spark to tell you five things you don't know about me. I've wasted some of my standard answers to these in my illness/disease/hypochondria post below, so I will have to try harder.

1. I can write backwards in cursive. You know, so that when you hold the writing up to a mirror, it shows up as normal. I have always been able to do this - it was never something I had to learn.

2. I went to a Baptist grade school and, as a result, can still name all of the books of the Bible in order (and spelled correctly - and backwards and in cursive, if you'd like).

3. I can swallow air and thus belch the alphabet (or say whatever you request). Great party trick in college, less so at age 34.

4. I share a birthday with Henry Kissinger, Andre 3000, and Shiloh Jolie-Pitt.

5. I have a cowlick, and when I was born, hair grew in a full circle on my forehead. Luckily, it went away, as I was born in the days before laser hair removal.

And with that, I tag the following illustrious individuals:

Beth at Prop Your Hips Up Afterwards
Jane at Jane's Calamity
Bihari at Iowadrift
Emmie at Fertility Lost
Hope at Not Like I Thought It Would Be

No need to play if it doesn't seem fun.

Now, this will be a test.

I will be in Chicago on Friday, and I arranged to meet up with two friends for lunch. I have found that I can go into restaurants and do okay as long as I don't have to stay too long. So when my friend asked where I thought I could go (she knows about the HG), I said that anywhere casual should be fine - I just can't deal with a long, formal lunch. She said okay. And then she emailed back with the name of the place she'd picked. Let's just say the word "fishmarket" is involved. I looked online at their menu, and it really is 99% seafood-based. I mean, really - a fish restaurant? Sheesh. Maybe they'll give me a PB&J if I pretend to be under 12.

But I do thank my lucky stars that I can go into restaurants and grocery stores without too violent a reaction. Some women with HG can't even walk into a grocery store without hurling - and forget about restaurants. My issue is more that the thought of certain foods (and the type of food is rotating, with something being palatable one day and gross the next) can send my body into an imagination-fueled wave of nausea. There are only a few foods that are always revolting to me - mostly bland things that I ate early on when I was puking 20+ times a day. Saltines, mashed potatoes, sour candies, ginger ale (which I used to LOVE), ginger snaps, pita, and Coke are all non-starters for me. Eww.

My nausea doesn't really seem to be improving, but my pants have suddenly become tight, so I think the right things are growing. My boobs have finally started to hurt a bit as well and I am getting regular headaches. I am on the delayed pregnancy-symptom plan, it seems.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Assorted topics

Yesterday, I ventured to an outlet mall about 25 miles away. My brother had requested some ties for Christmas, and there's a Br00ks Br0s. outlet there, along with an 0ld Navy outlet that allows me to encourage good hygiene in my husband through my purchase of dozens of pairs of inexpensive boxers. (Truth be told, he still wears the same pair for days on end.) As further background, we live in an area in which you can go low-end (0ld Navy, Tar.get, etc.) or high-end (expensive boutiques where you can get your Paper Den1m jeans or T0ry Burch ensembles), but we lack the stylish middle ground (JCr.ew, etc.). So imagine my great glee when I drove into the outlet mall and saw that there is now a Ban.ana Republic outlet there! Awesome. I'd rather have a BR outlet than a real BR anyway. I got my father, brother, and husband many gifts, and I got myself a swingy baby-doll-style velvet dress for $11.99. I've decried the fashion trends in recent years - you know, the trapeze dresses and the non-fitted tanks that make you look pregnant unless you're the age and shape of Misch.a Barton. Now I am taking advantage of it. I also got two empire-waisted non-fitted stretchy tops. Good times.

Now, on the topic of disclosure. I disclosed my condition(s) to friends and family recently. My mother was delighted, but my decision not to tell my parents any earlier was vindicated when, not 24 hours later, I was bcc'ed on an email that my father had apparently sent out to everyone he knows, updating them on my mother's cancer treatments and their impending grandparenthood. In short, the word is out.

But I have not disclosed at work yet, and I am hoping to keep it mum for a while longer, at least until after my amnio (Dec. 6, with results two weeks later). I think I am a bit more cowed at work because most people here are my acquaintances, not close friends, and the idea of having to say, "Well, actually, it all went to hell," is not that appealing. There is a woman who works here who was visibly pregnant a year or so ago when she found out that her fetus had anencephaly, and everyone knew that she terminated. I don't really want to be in that situation, even though I think most people are understanding about such things (but I would be in danger of punching anyone who wasn't). I am taking three weeks off at the holidays and then have to travel for work for a week, so I'll be out of the office for a solid month. The question is, can I stay undercover for another month or so? It may be unlikely. But I have my new BR duds to see me through.

Later this week, I must take my first plane flights since I have been ill. The first one, on Thursday, is short (35 minutes). The second one, on Saturday, is a bit longer (2 1/2 hours). I shall carry dog-waste bags with me in case I need to hurl at 35,000 feet. I had a nightmare that I forgot to pack the Z0fran. God forbid.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The universe again proves it is adept at sucking

I had been having a great day today - it's an unseasonably warm 75 degrees here; I wasn't feeling barfy (after two very barfy days); I took a REAL SHIT yesterday (thanks, 3 Co.lace + Milk of Magnes1a); I was wearing one of the cute new long tees I got from 0ld Navy Semi-Disposable Clothing for $12.50 last weekend; and let's just say I am pleased by recent current events. Oh - I also have a facial scheduled for tonight (from a gift certificate a friend gave me after failed IVF #2). Point being, things were good.

But then one of my good friends emailed me to say that her fetus had no heartbeat at 10 weeks. She is a PCOSer who was en route to IVF when she got pregnant with the help of acupuncture, and, obviously, she was just a few weeks behind me. She wasn't "out" yet, but I had told her immediately when I got my BFP, and she had done the same - I think I was one of her only friends to know. She and her husband had just come back from a great vacation, and she'd just had a good ultrasound two weeks ago, right before they left. I can only imagine how heartbroken they are right now. D&C is in a few days.

As MWDB once put it: universe, you suck big, dirty donkey balls. And how.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

And by my diseases and injuries, you shall know me

Infertility blogs obviously grow out of the physical and psychological stresses that come out of a diagnosis (whether it's specified - like PCOS - or the always-frustrating "unexplained" infertility). You get to know a great deal about the blogger's mechanics and treatments and the emotional effects of both, and, even when an IF blogger gets pregnant, this tendency is so ingrained that it is likely to continue - ESPECIALLY when said blogger is neurotic and hypochondriacal. And, really, what longtime IFer isn't?

During an episode of insomnia last night, this got me thinking about the real and imagined ailments I have experienced over the course of my lifetime. I suspect this is the equivalent of telling someone else about your dream (ie, interesting to you, not to them), but because I don't mind hearing about others' dreams or ailments, I'm going to list my ailments here, in rough chronological order.

* broken arm (on mother's 30th birthday)
* chicken pox
* repeated ear infections, 5-15 a year, from early childhood through mid-20s
* broken toe (on parents' anniversary)
* scarlet fever (started an outbreak at school)
* pronounced myopia (literal, but perhaps also figurative)
* strep throat (repeatedly)
* dislocated patella (4-5 instances)
* mononucleosis
* ocular migraine (4 times total)
* fractured tibia
* pityriasis rosea (aka the "Christmas tree" virus; twice, very rare)
* amoebic dysentery (from shrimp from a street stall in Bangkok - dumb, dumb, dumb)
* sprained rhomboid muscle
* sesamoiditis (inflammation of little bones in foot; result of high arches and high heels)
* stress fracture in foot
* food poisoning (two very bad instances - one in Peru, one on honeymoon at five-star resort in Hawaii)
* endometriosis
* polymorphic light eruptions
* hyperemesis gravidarum

(in no particular order)
* lymphoma (both Hodgkins and non-)
* poisoning via inadvertent contact with yard plant my mother told me was poisonous (I was 4 at the time and lay solemnly down upon the sofa to die; nothing happened.)
* melanoma (repeatedly)
* Lyme disease
* brain tumor (okay, I still often think this)
* pneumonia
* Alzheimer's, early-onset (there is some evidence to support this, I suppose)
* torn rotator cuff (turns out I had the wrong region in mind)

Now, you, dear readers - what have you had, and what have you persuaded yourself that you've had?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

A creature who lives with us

I can't quite remember how this started, but my husband and I occasionally ponder how odd it is that people have dogs. I mean, there is this furry creature who lives with us. He rides in the car with us and hangs his head out the window and cries when he sees a squirrel or a cat that he wants to throttle. He eats the same thing for dinner every night (which isn't so different from my husband) and he occasionally goes into a sort of trance in which he cannot stop digging a hole in the yard or at the dog park. We look at him and say, "You are a little creature who lives with us," and he looks back at us as if to say, "Yes, now let me go outside."

Anyway, that's sort of what I feel like after having seen a little creature in my pelvis on ultrasound today. He or she was facing upward at the transponder and looks very much like a little alien. I also heard the heartbeat - a solid 160 beats per minute. The companion to this little creature stopped developing fairly recently, so there is another sac still in there. I am very pleased with the one, though, and look forward to my next appointment, which isn't for five weeks. Five weeks! I may have to rent one of those doppler things. It took the OB a while today to find the heartbeat, so I should be prepared to panic a bit, I suppose, when I'm the one trying to find it. I was greatly relieved when she did hear it, even though I had recently seen it on the ultrasound. (But you never know what can happen in an hour!)

In other news, my diet of whole chocolate milk has gotten me back up close to my normal pre-pregnancy weight (although not my post-IVF weight, but that's okay). I asked the OB about my constipation, and she suggested more water. As usual, I dissolved into demented laughter over the concept of drinking water. In my past life, I drank SO MUCH WATER that I would pee three times on a two-hour flight, and now the stuff completely repels me. Water. Ha!