Back to those studies

I did another quick google search to see if anything new has popped up on dealing with thin uterine lining especially after chemo and total body radiation.

Nothing new. But I did revisit this article published by Biomed Research International in 2014.

The paper mentions one study that had success with a mix of pentoxifylline (PTX) and tocopherol (Vitamin E) in increasing blood flow to the uterus that had been damaged due to radiation.

One study only looked at 6 women who took hormone replacement but also supplemented with 400mg PTX and 500IU of Vitamin E twice a day for 9 months. “Improvements in endometrial thickness, ( 6.2 v 3.2 mm), myometrial dimensions (44 [±5] x30 [±3] x20 [±2] versus 30 [±7]x  22 [±3] x16 [±2] mm), and diastolic uterine artery flow were observed”.

In another case 18 patients who had endometrial thickness of < 6mm took the same combo of PTX and Vitamin E for 6 months. Of these women five became pregnant during the study, two of those women had previously experience total body irradiation. For all of them, endometrial thickness increased from 4.9 to 6.2 on average.

Even though these sample sizes are really small, I feel that given the evidence it can’t hurt for me to try taking the combo of PTX and Vitamin E now to start boosting blood flow. I have emailed the clinic coordinator to see if she can get in touch with Dr. Go to see if he will agree to write me a Rx for PTX.

The paper also confirmed that I am at higher risk for pregnancy complications.  “Analysis of singleton pregnancies has shown that these women (who previously had total body irradiation) had significantly higher rates of caesarean section (42% versus 16%), preterm delivery (20% versus 6%), and low birth weight singleton offspring (23% versus 6%) compared to the general population”. Hence the recommendation that I be monitored as a high risk pregnancy when the time comes. In that case, at least we will know what to look for and can hopefully address it before it becomes an issue.

In my highly unscientific and totally non-expert opinion, most of these complications can be linked to the damage to the normal blood flow to the uterus.

Without adequate blood flow, the uterine lining will not thicken, any growing baby will not get sufficient nutrients through the blood to be able to grow sufficiently and to term. So it all boils down to boosting blood flow to boost lining and create a more hospitable environment for the embryo.

In previous cycles I have tried increasing my estrace dosage (using both pills and patches) alone but this was minimally helpful. The last round of mock cycles I also added in acupuncture, 400IU Vitamin E, as well as used Sildenafil, and my lining improved. So maybe adding the PTX and upping my Vitamin E dosage will be the last little boost I need to get up to 7mm.

I have already started supplementing with Vitamin E 400IU a day in anticipation. I am now considering increasing my dosage to 1000IU a day and starting PTX. So long as I am given the go ahead by Dr. Go.

Conducting my own little study of 1.









#MicroblogMonday: Pre-(IVF)game rituals

Microblog_MondaysApart from the obvious incessant googling of every single thing that can go wrong, I am thinking I need to have some sort of ritual that is just for me and to help me prepare for the challenging summer I am about to have.

Of course with the expense of this cycle I need to come up with ideas that are budget friendly. I would have loved to have had one more getaway before we are in the thick of it. But we just had a pretty luxurious vacation in Hawaii in January so we are all tapped out for vacation funds for a while. Plus I need things that can occupy me until April.

So what can I do to help mentally and physically prepare myself for my first real IVF cycle? Ideas welcome.

For starters since I will likely go through a lot of physical changes (hopefully the good pregnancy kind, but definitely the yucky hormonal weight gain that comes with the excessive quantities of estrogen), I have decided to start wearing all my tight sexy outfits for the next few weeks while I still can. I have been taking good care of myself and feel healthy and look good. So why not flaunt what I got while I still have it? I am sure I will have opportunities to get my sexy on afterwards too, but I know that during the process the thought of putting on that pencil skirt, tight dress or even tucking in a shirt for work will just not be as appealing so I will take advantage now while I still feel good about my body.

And then there is the usual being healthy stuff.

I work out regularly. Lifting weights to build strong muscles, and will start training for another 10k run that both DH and I will (hopefully) do in May. That will also help with the above looking sexy bit, for a little while at least. And I just feel so much happier when I am working out regularly. It is a great way to clear my mind and just focus on the moment. I also find I eat healthier if I have been working out. So continuing more of the same until I have to stop for medical reasons.

I want to start getting into a regular yoga routine at home. I am a certified yoga teacher, but I stopped teaching last year due to scheduling issues and a heavier workload at work. I would at the very least like to start getting back into the routine of my own practice. I probably wont look for another teaching gig for a little while, but I do want to start researching some fertility yoga poses and perhaps build my practice around that over the next few months. This one is a bit more challenging as when I get home I am just so exhausted that all I want to do is veg in front of the TV. But I will try to push myself to at least start stretching in front of the TV a few times a week.

Speaking of, I love my weekly TV escapes. Monday night Bachelor is a must see for me. I just love watching the crazy every week. I even have DH hooked (even though he claims it is so stupid, and it is). Perhaps I can make it a Monday night Bachelor and yoga practice? Walking Dead is also back now, and Game of Thrones is right around the corner. Lots to look forward to. It is nice to be able to escape from thinking about IF 24/7.

I think this will all help me to stay sane before we are full speed ahead. Any other ideas?

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Is it pretty embarrassing that only until recently (like a few months ago) did I find out that when people say ‘AF’ on social media they actually mean ‘as f@&k’ not ‘aunt flow’?

  • “Feel hot AF”
  • “That shit is painful AF”
  • “He’s fine AF”

Yup. I’m an idiot.

In other news…

My sister just found out she is pregnant with number two. Happy news for sure. But my own feelings are pretty complicated at this point.

Of course everything about her finding out out stinks of fertility. So brace yourselves. She is about 8 weeks and had no idea she was pregnant until now. She is due in September some time. Which is crazy to IF me. How can you not know?! But leaving that aside for now. I knew it was coming. They are in ‘growing family’ phase of life so it was likely that she would be pregnant before this year was up. But now she will not only be pregnant but will have two kids under the age of 2 before we get to the Fall!

I don’t know how to describe this feeling. Bitter sweet comes close, but I don’t like ‘bitter’ because I don’t feel upset by the pregnancy announcement. It will be amazing to have another niece of nephew to dote on (Im voting nephew this time because I think two boys so close in age will be so much fun). And the two will be so close in age, ‘irish twins’ basically. It will be a blast to watch them grow up together. My sister will definitely have her hands full for the next few years! And hopefully this means more baby sitting time for me, which I always enjoy. She will definitely need more help, and I am totally there for her.

At the same time I will hopefully be going through my first IVF cycle in April. So I will not only have to deal with my own complicated feelings and crazy hormones, but I will have to watch her belly grow and likely have her baby before I am even done all my IVF cycles (assuming we get more than one kick at this).

I’ve always fantasized about experiencing a pregnancy at the same time as my sister so we can share our experiences together, and so that the cousins can then grow up together as well. That is what we had growing up with our cousins and we are all still such great friends. It is the one thing I really am starting to feel like I am missing out on when all the cousins kids get together and they are all such great friends.

And then the whole ‘I didn’t even know I was pregnant’ line feels like such a slap in the face.  I wish I could do that. I wish I could just be pregnant and not know it. I wish I could text my sister a picture of my positive pee stick to tell her I am pregnant too. Ugh. That’s the ‘bitter’ part I guess. More of a punch in the gut. My journey is so different and I don’t get to do any of those ‘normal’ things. And those that can be ‘normal’ don’t even realize how great they have it.

It isn’t jealously but I guess it comes close. I don’t for a second wish anything but the best for her and her kids. But it is getting harder and harder to separate my own feelings with those that come from comparing yourself to others. If that makes any sense. I am sad for me. That I don’t get to be ‘normal’. But I am not sad or upset or even jealous of those that can. They are lucky and they should take full advantage of it. That is just not my story. And I need to be able to deal.

I guess my feelings are more like FOMO- Fear of Missing Out. That’s how I feel. I feel FOMO. But it isn’t a fear. It is real. I am missing out: MO. 





#MicroblogMonday: Random shit I think about


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How may embryos will we get?

The ED (I feel like I should name her, is that weird?) has an egg lot of 7 mature eggs.

DH’s swimmers have literally never fertilized an egg before. Of course, all his stats are great and there is no reason to believe they are not  up to the task. But do they need like a practice egg or two to get it right?

Obviously not all eggs fertilize. And not all that fertilize grow to viable embryos for implantation. But I wish there was a statistic that could tell me how many we can expect to see. The clinic will use ICSI to encourage fertilization. I think the standard stat is that this results in a fertilized egg 75% of the time. DEB USA guarantees that we will have at least one viable embryo to transfer. The coordinator at the clinic said that she has never seen less than two embryos result from a DE lot that came from DEB USA.

I am hoping for at least four, but will be content with three. In my head the magic number of IVF cycles before I will give up trying is three. I figure after 3 tries with good embryos and (hopefully) a decent lining if it isn’t working then it wont work at all and we need to move on. So I would like to have at least three good embryos to give this our best shot.

Here’s hoping.


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Real Estate and Eggs Estate

In the last 24 hours, my sister and her husband just bought a house!

They have been on the search for over a year now. With their growing family, they have wanted to move out of their 2 bedroom condo for a while. But both are notoriously slow decision makers and my sister is very hard to please. She is a total perfectionist so it is just difficult to satisfy all her requirements. Especially when it comes to a forever home!

I don’t blame them for taking their time. This is a huge decision and needs to last them a long time. Plus housing prices in our city have been growing exponentially, so the same home they were looking at two years ago is almost $100,000 more expensive now, and that is for a fixer upper! Plus sellers are getting tens of thousands of dollars above their asking price and most have a bidding war to sell the place. They lost out on two houses because their offer was just not high enough. The market has been crazy here and there are no signs of a slow down.

So this is a big deal. They saw, liked, offered, inspected and signed off on the final purchase agreement all within a 24 hour time frame. The house closes in June so they have a few months to sell their current place and then move. When I spoke with my sister on the phone after the dust settled she said it did not feel real yet. It just happened so fast!

I am so excited for them! The place looks great from the pictures I’ve seen. Very little in the way of renovations needed. And it is close to their current area so they won’t be moving far.

With all of their excitement I thought I would hold off on telling them about our big purchase. It seemed a bit awkward. Sis: Hey looks like we are buying a house today! Me: Hey isn’t that funny, we just bought eggs!

I think we will tell the family this weekend when the timing is a bit better.

I have often thought about making the switch from condo to house. But the truth is I am a total condo girl. DH would be totally happy with a house. He is real home owner. Takes pride in all things home related. He enjoys a Saturday spent browsing home decor and home renovation stores, even if it is just window shopping. It is one of the things I love about him. In comparison, I am so lazy and unmotivated. Don’t get me wrong, I loved decorating and designing our place. But once that was done I didn’t want to worry about upkeep. I just don’t want to have to worry about shoveling snow or mowing lawns or taking out the trash on garbage day. I am perfectly happy paying someone else to do all of that for me. I know we can do that in a house too, but with just two of us it just did not make sense to have so much space.

If we are lucky enough to add to our family, I don’t think I will change my mind. I think I will always want to live in a condo. And we will probably stick to a two bedroom and just make it work.

In an alternate reality, where I am not infertile, we have a huge house. At least five bedrooms. With a kid to fill each one. At times the house gets so noisy with kids that you can’t hear yourself think. And of course we would have a housekeeper/nanny to take care of the house and kids.

But unfortunately that is not this reality. For now we take care of ourselves (with the help of some home automation Alexa is awesome!) and spend our money on nice vacations. And this year a batch of eggs that will hopefully lead to one kid that can fill the second bedroom in our two bedroom condo. Not a bad reality. Just a different one that the one 14-year old me imagined.