Tuesday, January 25, 2011

So Much for "The Fertility Diet" for PCOS

My food allergen IgG testing came back. I have moderately severe reactions to...

drumroll please...

Milk and Casein!!

I knew it wasn't in my head when I stopped dairy for a couple months and was MORE REGULAR THAN I'VE EVER BEEN IN MY LIFE!

Everything else, and I mean everything else, was completely fine. Wheat, gluten, all other grains, all meats, all fruits and veggies. I can have sushi again!! (The Leap testing found high sensitivity to RICE, among other things, and LOW sensitivity to DAIRY. WTH?? And I paid $600 for that test??)

I did try the PCOS "Fertility Diet" when the book first came out, with high-fat milk products as a big part of the diet. Guess I know now why I wasn't super-fertile on that diet.

I'll be contacting the nutritionist soon to work out a plan. Oh how lovely to not have to avoid gluten anymore! (Though I am supposed to take it easy on carbs and sugars...)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Infertility as God's Tool

It's been very apparent to me from the get-go that God was using my infertility for His greater good. Right away I became a FertilityCare Practitioner, so that I could bring this amazing technology to even more people. Next came Ultrasonography. Obviously this blog is a big one. There are SO MANY things I know I never would have done, people I never would have met, and outcomes that possibly never would have come to be, if it hadn't been for my infertility specifically.

Never once have I said that I did X, Y, or Z in spite of my infertility. I have always said because of my infertility.

I thank God for that. I praise Him for it.

But I do often wonder... how much longer does He want to use my infertility? And... couldn't He start using my MOTHERHOOD for good?

Yesterday I did an Intro Session for the Creighton Model with my 2nd cousin's wife, long-distance via Skype. She contacted me because she heard from her sister-in-law (also my 2nd cousin) that I do this kind of work and I may be able to help her. They have been trying to have a baby since July, with no luck. I am SO EXCITED to have the opportunity to help them, and to maybe even be responsible (in a small way) for a future new member of our family's existence!!
As I drove home after the Intro Session, I was thinking about how I would tell my mother someday soon that "there is a new member of our family, because of me!" (After, of course, my 2nd cousins felt it appropriate to break the news.) Then it hit me. I would HAVE to preface that statement with, "Don't get your hopes up, Mom, I'm not pregnant, but..."

Suddenly, a really exciting day turned into a realization that I may never actually get to make a phone call to my mother in which I tell her there's a new member of MY family. I may never get to joke around with my parents at the dinner table, declining a glass of wine, and say, "No, thank you, the Surgeon General frowns upon my drinking alcohol." I may never get to ask my sisters to go out to Friendly's "while we still can," because after the baby's born, we won't all fit in a booth again. (Long story, but when my Mom told my 3 sisters she was pregnant with me, my oldest sister started crying and said, "But we'll never go to Friendly's again! We won't fit in a booth!" And they all constantly remind me that we have, in fact, NOT been to Friendly's as a family since I was born.) I may never get to ask my niece which room she thinks her cousin should sleep in. The "I may nevers" go on and on and on...

I understand, and I'm THANKFUL, that God has been teaching me humility and has been using my infertility in ways I could never have imagined. But does He need to use it forever? Can't He use someone else's now? I mean, really, what more does He want me to do with it??

If my infertility has been God's tool these past 4.5 years, I'm pretty sure it's been whittled down to a toothpick... it's time for Him to get a new one ;)

Friday, January 21, 2011

I Have A Dream

Not to be too sappy during the week in which we remember MLK Jr ;)

But I honestly do have a dream. A dream for myself, my husband, and our fertility. And I've been thinking about it all day.

(Imagine that, a FERTILITY-ONLY blog post from TCIE. Hasn't happened in months!)

My dream is that once I "heal" my gut (in the words of my California NaPro Dr), and get on a healthy diet which will in turn calm down the auto-immune reactions from my intestines and calm inflammation... I will be super-fertile.

I'm talking, my husband LOOKS at me and I'm pregnant. That kind of super-fertile.

It may be a ridiculous dream, coming from a woman with my laundry-list of issues ranging from severe PCOS, endometriosis, adhesions, uterine infection, clotting disorders, adrenal fatigue, etc. etc. etc... but I dare to dream that this may be the LAST STEP to healing my body physically.

And once healed? Why shouldn't I be popping out the kiddos?

And I will leave you with my new favorite exclamation, which my husband and I thoroughly enjoy yelling out loud in a German accent whenever the mood should strike (which is pretty much all the time): "Wo-ben-zym!"

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Update and Thank You

Wow, has it really been 2 weeks since my last post? Where does the time go? Oh yes, it goes to making money. I keep forgetting I'm a career woman now.

First, I have to say a huge THANK YOU to all of you. On Saturday, while my parents, sister, and her boyfriend were over helping us do "stuff" around the house, I received this and I kid you not, almost fell over:

Not sure if you can read it, but that is a Visa Gift Card from my "Bloggy Sisters" in congratulations for the new house! Holy crap!! I didn't even have a baby, or do anything remotely worthy of such a tremendously generous gift! I still don't know what to say :) You guys are the best.

In fertility updates (and yes, I have some), I am on my first full cycle of the additional supplements (is that redundant?) recommended to me by the California NaPro Dr. I'm taking something called G.I. Benefits, which my husband tells me sounds like I'm getting some kind of veteran's government aid (I wish), VSL#3 the powerful probiotic, Wobenzym, and I just started Trental (used off-label for endometriosis/inflammation). I also bit the bullet and bought more of the Nordic Naturals Omega 3s. They're so darn expensive.

Taking a quick transabdominal peak at my ovaries today, I was also quite surprised to see a follicle on the right ovary. Last time righty came out of retirement, she got a little over-enthused and puffed up a big ol' simple cyst, so I'm hoping this time she can go slow and not act like a 17 year old boy on prom night.

Last cycle my period was also delayed a bit from the progesterone, but I had started the progesterone a little late and was spotting already by P+4, so I knew the cycle was a bust. Most amusing concerning the progesterone is the instructions on the label, which read: "Insert one capsule per vagina at bedtime." Ummm... just how many vaginas do they think I have?

Here's another quick funny:
I was scanning an infertile girl at the NaPro office the other day, and she had a ton of really great, well-informed questions for the Dr (who was standing over my shoulder at the time I was scanning). After asking all of her questions, she apologized for being anxious, explaining: "I've been reading a lot of NaPro blogs online..." I think I let out an involuntary "Pffffttth!!" at that.

And if you're reading this, J... Hi!

Finally, I will be starting with the new NaPro Dr, working 7-11am Mon-Friday (shoot me now, I have to wake up at 5:30??????!!!!!) in March. I fear I'll have even less time to blog, then :(

I work hard for my money. So you'd better treat me right.

Friday, January 7, 2011

OK, OK, house photos just for Misfit

Here's a link to the house photos my sister (professional photographer) took last weekend:


And if you like her style, you can visit her website (where you'll get to see more of me!) at: www.jfarielphoto.com

Hire her to do your maternity shots and/or newborn shots! (Or if you're still infertile, like me, buy a new house so she can take pictures of it!)

My favorite part of these pictures is how my dog, Cooper, is giving the tour! He's hysterical!

And I'll leave you with this lovely image of what an almost-5 year infertile woman has to resort to:

Email from Dr

Here is the email I just got my the Dr yesterday, with more information for anyone interested (the research she provided on Trental (not Prental, as I thought she said) is fascinating!!)

Also of interest, I looked into that Clear Passage program YEARS ago! A colleague of mine told me she heard about it on the radio or something, and at first she told me it was just to clear out blocked fallopian tubes. Well, I had just had my first surgery and knew my tubes weren't blocked anymore, so I didn't pursue it at the time. Apparently they do much more than clear tubes.

Dear TCIE, (and yes, my Dr calls me "This Cross I Embrace," as does my husband and my mother)

Here is information about the following therapies we discussed;

1. Pentoxyfilline/Trental 300 mg. tid for endometriosis. I would start this soon.

2. Special physical therapy for pelvic adhesions - the Wurm technique

3. Probiotics
Use VSL#3 for one month (225 billion)
Then you can go to a less potent antibiotic such as Klaire labs Therbiotics Detox (50 billion) http://www.protherainc.com/prod/proddetail.asp?id=V770-06
You can order this through Protherainc.com.

4. Medical food for decreasing GI inflammation

5. Digestive enzymes
(I found this for much cheaper, with a $15 coupon and free shipping for 800 tabs at:
NexStep Nutrition.com, for anyone interested.)

5. We have ordered an IgG food allergy panel from Metametrix.

6. LabCorp may not offer direct measurements of cytokines, or at least TNF alpha. I am looking into this.

Best wishes,
Dr M. D. (NaPro California)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Starting Fresh

Well, life so far has been blissfully busy in the new/old Victorian house :) We just adore it, and have been having so much fun picking out colors for the three main rooms downstairs (pictures to follow, I promise, Misfit!) - but at the same time I am definitely feeling the stress of having to pay the mortgage and all the bills on my own for the time being, until DH's job picks up.

On the the financial front, the new NaPro Dr who started working in our State a couple months ago still really wants me to join his team as the staff Sonographer... so he has proposed a 20-hour .5 time with benefits position. (At first, the hour commute to work and no health benefits had forced me to decline the position. So, he must really want me on board!)

Tonight we'll do some calculating and see if the pros outweigh the cons (cutting back hours at my imaging center that I LOVE, paying-in to benefits when right now they are covered 100%, 1-hour commute, etc).

And on the infertility front, I just had my follow-up phone appointment with Dr D in California, the NaPro Dr who has been helping me sort out the immune-related issues and nutritional side of my health. It was a VERY informative appointment, and as it turns out, the results of my stool sample (sorry) showed that I DIDN'T have yeast or dysbiosis! Go figure! We were almost certain, after the deluge of antibiotics that have been in my system, that there would be yeast. Even better? There are NO indications that there are any active infections in my body!! Take that, CT!

However, there were two abnormal findings. The first, one of the IgG (or was it IgA?) tests was extremely elevated. The abnormal would have been over 180 and my number was 233. She said it wasn't horribly elevated, but definately significant. And it shows that my body is having some kind of inflammatory reaction to SOMETHING - and this reaction is an AUTO-IMMUNE RESPONSE. Amazing. I have been tested for so many auto-immune disorders, only to discover that everything turned out normal. But my GUT is showing otherwise. Dr D. didn't seem surprised, and what she recommends is a good gut healing. What, pray tell, would that consist of, you may ask? Well, I'll tell you:

First, we need to discover WHAT EXACTLY is the culprit that I am ingesting which is causing this response in my body, and then ELIMINATE IT. To that end, I will be doing yet another food sensitivity testing, this time one by MetaMetrix (I think?) which she specifically recommended. My stool was tested for the four main allergens and, SURPRISE, was negative for gluten, dairy, soy, and egg. She said the stool tests for allergens are not the most conclusive, though, AND it may be some other type of food like nuts, citrus, night shade vegetables (I would DIE, I LOVE EGGPLANT!!), or something else. Then once I find what it is and eliminate it from my diet, I will speak with the nutritionist she recommended and come up with a great meal-plan with is also low in carbs and sugars for PCOS.

Second, I may then consider seeking out treatment for my pelvic organs with a place that specializes in Abdominal Physical Therapy. When the Dr described this place (she forgot the name but will email it to me, and then I'll let you all know), she said she was blown away by their detailed reports. Their physical therapy is mostly geared towards people who are experiencing lower abdominal and pelvic pain, but their therapy helps to restore anatomy and function of the organs, so it therefore also helps to treat infertility. She warned me that it was a little "out there," to which I replied, "Oh, I don't care, I will give anything a try!" Then she added, "Well, I believe they also do internal massages..." Hmmm. Sounds pleasant.

Third, I may ALSO consider using a very mild drug (she went out of her way to tell me how mild it is, and how minimal to nothing the side effects are- I think I love California Doctors!) which is used primarily for senior citizens to help them with memory loss. The mechanism of action, though, is to lower the TNF-Alpha, which is a cytokine. (I don't completely understand how cytokines work, but I do know they are a big part of the immune side of things, and this is something Dr Kwak-Kim tests for regularly in her patients.) I am going to get my cytokine levels checked again soon to see if I could benefit from this drug, which is called "Trental."

The second thing that was found to be abnormal in my stool was something that tests for enzyme-action. (Don't ask me to explain this.) My level was 3, abnormally low for someone my age, she said. It shows that I am not fully digesting all of my food, or something to that effect, and the way to correct this is by adding an enzyme (supplement) when I eat meals. She recommended Wobenzyme, which is so funny, because I have seen this same supplement talked about frequently on the immune-related infertility community y.ahoo group. (I just never knew I needed it until now!)

A few of the questions I had for her were:

Should I increase my compounded progesterone to 600mgs (as she originally suggested) or is 400mgs doing the trick? She thinks 400mgs is definately sufficient based on my 18-day post-Peak phase last cycle. She even wondered aloud if I were pregnant last month and lost it early... (omgosh, my Dr must be delusional, too!) ;) ;)

Should I get my thyroid re-tested and then go back on T3 if my numbers aren't in the upper 1/3? She thinks my adrenals are still healing, and once they do, my thyroid will settle into perfect range. Back in November when they were tested, even though they were slightly below the upper 1/3 (Free T3), she was very very pleased with those numbers already, as they are. I told her I wasn't opposed to going back on T3 but if I didn't need to... and she cut me off to agree wholeheartedly and say she didn't think I needed it after all :) I really do love her!

Finally, I said that I did not take her suggestion for increased Vitamin C, because I was worried it would make my mucus even worse (and I've even gone back to taking Amoxicillin to improve it), and she said at this point since my energy has improved and my adrenals are well on their way to healing, I don't need the Vitamin C and she's glad I didn't go on it. Phew!

I do need to get more Omega 3s because I ran out a while ago and haven't been able to afford another bottle (they're so expensive!!) - but she said it really is a good idea to take them consistently, to calm inflammation. I also need to invest in a top-of-the-line probiotic. She recommended VSL #3, which I think someone mentioned as being the one they take (was it you, Wheelbarrow?)

And that's that! It was a quick but very worthwhile appointment. I can't wait to get this food stuff figured out once and for all, I'm SO TIRED of cutting random stuff out of my diet which is obviously not even helping!!

I think 2011 has potential.