Thursday, July 31, 2008

A BIG Thanks, Some Answers and Some Comments

WOW! I had 18 comments left on my blog about my weight loss. Thank you so much! It is truly inspiring to have so much encouragement.

I had a few questions left so I thought I would go ahead and answer them.

Q. Do you want to pass on your secret?

A. Of course! If I can help anyone, I want to whether it be about weight loss and what worked for me or anything else.

*Disclaimer* These are the changes and habits that worked for ME and may or may not work for you and your situation.
  • My first secret is determination. This is a difficult thing for someone like me who doesn't have determination in high doses. The only things I am really determined in are my Christianity, my marriage, infertility treatments and weight loss. But determination has got me this far and I am determined to never go back to what I was.
  • My second secret is exercise. Without my daily walks, I would have been so successful. Plus, not only has it helped my weight, it has also helped my blood pressure, overall physical health and my mental health. I wouldn't be able to deal with many of the things in my life nearly as well without my thought-provoking walks. Some people think in the shower, I think on my walks.
  • Third: I have been on Slim Fast since October of 2007. I know that many of you are thinking that I am crazy now. I actually crave my Slim Fast, though. I have one for breakfast and one for lunch. If I get hungry in between, I have a snack. I eat what I want in the evening (within reason, I don't pig out). Also, I only drink the regular (not the Optima), chocolate flavored Slim Fast. I can't stand the other flavors. Yes, it tastes like a liquid vitamin, but I've grown accustomed to it and I love it now.
  • Fourth: I have cut out many drinks and foods that can be unhealthy. I don't drink any kind of soda EVER. Actually, to be more precise, I don't drink anything besides water and Slim Fast. I don't eat or drink anything with phenylalanines (basically fake sugar) in it. I don't eat red meat (more for my blood pressure than my weight).
  • Fifth: I get rid of clothing that is too big for me. I donate all my discarded clothing items to charity. Not only are you helping yourself by taking away excuses you may want to fall back on, but you are also helping others that may need the clothing.
  • Last but definitely not least: I eat sweets. I don't deprive myself of foods. I eat them in moderation and I usually like to take an extra 10 or 15 minutes more to walk on a particularly sweet day. I love skittles and have them at least once a week. And if I want a brownie, I have a brownie. I had one this evening and it was delectable.

Q. How tall are you?

A. I'm 5'9 and holding. This is the other half of what my BMI is measure from: weight and height.

The last part of this blog is my comments back to you about your posts.

First, thank you all so much for posting a comment on my blog. I feel blessed to have so many readers and supporters!

Nikki, thanks for the comment about "doing it the healthy way." You're spot on about that! My goal was to lose slowly and in a completely healthy way. I didn't want to start infertility treatments having lost 70 pounds in 2 months and have my doctor tell me that was why.

Russ, "how you doin'?" (back at him in Joey's voice)

Mercedes: about the dress (I'm particularly proud of myself about this dress): originally $90.00, bought it for $18.00 because it was missing a button and the original belt. The spare button was easily sewn on and I thought the red belt was way more fun than the black one it was supposed to come with anyway!

Chelley, you will never be the fat sister. That idea is completely laughable.

The Angry IF, I couldn't get on your blog because of your user preferences. E-mail me an invite and I would love to read it. If anyone else wants to e-mail me instead of leaving a comment, that would be just fine.

Love you all and have a great day blogger buddies!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Healthy Choices = Healthy Life

This is the blog you have all been waiting anxiously for. Oh yeah, I'm posting before and after pictures. I finally reached my goal weight and am beyond excited about it. I found out when I weighed at the doctor's office last Thursday. I had lost seven pounds in a week and a half...oops. I know that isn't exactly healthy and it wasn't intended, but it sent me over the edge! I am also going to post my weights and BMI's. That's a little scary, but I feel like you all deserve it. You've been good friends to me here in Bloggerland and since I am completely honest about the most intimate part of my life, I might as well be in this area, also.

March 2007:

Starting Weight: 230 (This is an estimate. I didn't start weighing until I had been becoming healthy for a few months. I had lost 3 sizes by that time and weighed 200. I am going by the fact that each size is around 10-15 pounds. So, this number could be a give or take.)

Starting BMI: 33.9 (This is based on the estimated weight so it is also estimated.)

July 2008:

Current Weight: 158 (I am going to go ahead and lose 8 more pounds to make it an even 150. I can stand to lose some more since I'm definitely not looking emaciated)

Current BMI: 23.3

March 2007, Before Picture:
July 2008, After Picture:

Do you see the awful tan lines on my legs? It looks like I'm wearing socks or that I have tan leggings on (and that's a style I never got into and wish would just go back to the eighties). It's really just a product of my daily walks.

Stay cool and be healthy Blogger Buddies!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Good Things Are Happening!

WOW! I haven't posted in two whole days! Can you believe it? This is a rhetorical question. I don't really want the rude comments some of you are definitely thinking.

This next section may be too much information for you, Jeremy and Dad and other males that may be reading my blog.

I went to see WandBoy and Obi-Wan Kenobi on Tuesday which happened to be cycle day 12 for me. I had four measurable follicles. Three were on the right (WOO HOO! This is the side that we KNOW is open) and one on the left. The one on the left was the runt of the bunch...came in around 11 (?), I didn't quite get the number. The other three were 18, 16, and 12. Good sizes. This excited me because it usually takes until cycle day 16 for my follicles to mature...which isn't a big deal, it's just that I would have had my IUI on a Sunday and then I'd be rushed to either get to church or to leave church. Anyway, so I had blood drawn
to check my LH level. The nurse called me later that day to say that I needed to shoot myself up with the ovidrel around 8:15 p.m. and have Russ's speciman to the clinic at 7:45 a.m. on Thursday. YAY! So exciting.

Funny story about WandBoy
: I was telling him about my hubby's new job in a bank vault. So he starts telling me about this show he saw on Discovery about the U.S. Mint. Now, he is a typical guy and can't multi-task. I had the magic love wand up my coochie and his hand down there and he's not even scanning anything! He's talking about these 6 dimes that were stamped incorrectly, but went into rotation anyway. BTW, they found three of them. Anyway, I just thought that was super comical!

So, I did the trigger shot and went in on Thursday morning to get my IUI. The NP
did the procedure. She's the provider I started with (for my annual) and I love seeing her. I'm a bit more comfortable with her than I am with Obi-Wan Kenobi (of course, I've given him a nickname from Star Wars so I must be pretty comfortable with him, too). I think it's just that she's a woman and he's a fifty year old dude. Anyway, so I walked into the clinic at 7:45 on the dot and plunked the paper sack with the "cup" on the counter and said "I have a speciman!" The receptionist and nurse just looked at me like I was insane. Whatever. I was excited! My hubby gave 110 million swimmers, 40% being motile. YAY for Russ!!! When he did his semen analysis there were only 30 million so I was super excited about the little swimmer counts! BTW, normal is between 20 million and 250 million.

Reasons why this IUI could work:

1. My follicles were mature on cycle day 12 (I don't think this really makes that much of a difference, but it's different than normal for me)
2. I had three follicles on the right side which is the side that definitely has the open tube.
3.Russy had some great counts (I've read on numerous sites that anything over 40 million won't increase your chances so he did good)
4. On the way to the clinic, a momma deer and her twin babies crossed the road in front of my car (not directly in front, I didn't have to slow down or anything). I'm taking this as a good sign...ok, I'm not superstitious, but it was fun to see them.
5. There was a complete rainbow (not one of those half-rainbows) on Wednesday morning when I was going to work. Again, I'm not superstitious, it just reminded me that God is with me even if this doesn't work.

On the work front: I don't think I mentioned this, but the second week of June my co-"worker" decided to go to rehab so I've been holding down the fort by myself. My boss does send one girl down to help out for a couple hours in the morning and evening, but that's really not enough time to get a lot done. Well, I've had a crazy time with the machines being down. I mentioned in a previous
post about one of the mail opening machines catching on fire. We haven't used this machine since. Unfortunately, on Tuesday our other machine broke. The creepy repair guy came and said he had to order a part but that he would overnight it so it would be here on Wednesday morning. That didn't happen. We finally got the machine running on Thursday. The guy who came that day looked at our other machine and got it running, too. Yay for the regional manager repair guy. Well, today the remmittance machine went down. Whatever. When it rains it pours, right!

On the internet front: As you know, I am an internet junkie! My eyes are practically square from staring at a computer screen all day (I realize I am a complete hypocrite about the TV ban thing!). So I found this amazing
site the other day. I'm going to put it on my link list for future reference. I love that it has lots of pictures and great information about infertility.

Ok, this turned out to be a pretty long post, but that's it for now!

See you later Blogger Buddies!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Blush and Bashful, Pink is my Signature Color

I don't know what it is about my doctor, but the second he steps into the exam room, I start blushing. I can feel the heat radiate in my face and it doesn't recede until well after the appointment. Now, you would think, after several different appointments with him, I would get over being bashful. But, no. If he even looks at me during consult, my face turns an embarrassingly brighter shade of red. And if he asks me about home intercourse, it's all over! I'm thrilled that I still have some sort of decency about me, but come on! I don't have ANY secrets left. So why does my face still get that awkward flush to it?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Clomid, WebMD, and the American Epidemic

Warning: This post contains ranting, raving, venting, major opinions, and whining. You may not agree with the thoughts written by me on my blog.

First: clomid. Clomid is kicking my rear this time around. This is my fifth cycle on it and I have been having the worst hot flashes ever. I'll be cold one second and burning up the next. I can't stand it anymore!!! Also, I've been having terrible mood swings. These are worse than my normal moodiness. I can't control these. I feel insane fits of rage and then in less than a second, I'll be laughing. I don't know how much more clomid I can stand. "More better," huh. I don't think so.

WebMD. I love WebMD. I am obsessed with the message boards and posting on them. I never take anything anyone says there as absolute truth, though. I save my trust for my doctor. That's why I'm paying him and not paying the girls on WebMD. Though, they are very knowledgeable and very sweet, I still only take what Obi-Wan says as fact. So, it irritates me to no end that women get on there and ask these questions and say that they are too embarrassed to ask their doctors. THAT IS WHAT THEY ARE THERE FOR!!! They won't laugh at you and if they do (Doogie Howser, Russ's doctor laughed at him), you need to find a new doctor ASAP. I love the information I gain from the web, but I also realize that it can be wrong. As a side note, I also realize that Obi-Wan is human and may make a mistake and that the way he does things isn't necessarily the way other doctors do things so I try to keep well informed. Part 2 of my WebMD rant: my posts. Lately, I've been called out on some of my posts. I answer people's questions with answers that I don't pull out of the sky. I actually do research and I don't say things that I don't know about. So, I wish some people would just stop saying that other people's..ok, MY answers are wrong. They always seem to back up the critique with the way their body responded to certain meds. Well, I have news for you: the way your body responds isn't necessarily the way everyone else's body will respond. The boards are not meant to take the place of a doctors advice so answer the posts like YOU want and leave me alone! Plus, the times this has happened I said basically the same thing as posts above mine. So why am I the one being called out? Part three: if you are going to call me out on my posts, then READ THEM CORRECTLY! It irritates me beyond belief when someone says something back to me and they didn't really comprehend what I had said. Part four: I hate it when people get on there and say things like "My insurance won't pay for anything but I don't want to wait to get pregnant any longer. We don't have the money for treatments. I could switch plans, but that would take up to a year and I don't want to go in debt." Well, aren't we at an impasse? Unless you find a money growing tree or have a rich uncle that dies and leaves you his fortune, you're going to have to decide what is more important to you. Not going into debt or having a family? Grrrr...I guess I should go ahead and actually work at work instead of getting on the message boards....just kidding Penny!

The American Epidemic: And no, I'm not talking about the bird flu. I'm talking about obesity. I understand all too well what makes one obese. I was overweight for way too long. I finally decided to do something about it and I've lost the equivalent of a small child in terms of weight. I've also gained a lot of convictions on this subject. I had to decide what I wanted more: skittles and donuts or my health? I chose my health and I wish the rest of America would fall into step behind those of us that have lost the weight. I hate reading about the rise in childhood obesity and diabetes. Where do you think the habits that these children are forming are coming from? It's us! It's the adults and the parents that are their role models. If we, as parents and adults, show no kind of self-control, do you really think the next generation is going to have any self-control either? All we seem to eat is fried foods, starches, and carbs. It's the American way. You definitely wouldn't want to get some green beans or other healthy food in there. I'm afraid that if all of America jumped once at the exact same time, we would knock the earth off it's axis. This is an epidemic and we need to just stop it! I know it's hard. I know it can be painful, but we have to stand up and shout "I'M NOT GOING TO BE FAT ANYMORE!" And by the way, I really dislike doctors who don't say something when someone is overweight. Doctors are supposed to have your health in mind and those that don't say anything about you slowly killing yourself by suffocating your heart with a ton of fat need to rethink their jobs. I had to have a physical before I started my current job and that doctor didn't say anything about my weight. I was so big and he just ignored it. It was a physical! They are supposed to tell you what you need to work on at a physical! If I ever have the chance to, I wouldn't go back to that doctor.

Woo, thanks for letting me get that off my chest. And good job if you made it this far!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Quotes that Speak to my Heart

I love quotes. I saw these two today and wanted to share them.

"We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us." -Joseph Campbell

"The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials." -Anonymous

Ever Danced with the Devil in the Pale Moonlight?

Do you know what that quote is from? One of the Batman movies with Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson. Last night Russ and I went to the midnight premiere of Batman: The Dark Knight. I have to say that I wasn't excited to go, but we were invited by friends so I thought it could be fun. We went for ice cream around 10:00 p.m. and then went over to the theater to stand in line. The movie was playing on four screens and every one was sold out. There were people in costume and everyone was super hyped up.

This next part could contain spoilers.

I wasn't a big fan of Christian Bale as Batman when he first did the role. My favorite was Michael Keaton. I thought Val Kilmer was a poor excuse for Batman and I didn't care for George Clooney either (though 2 hours of him and Chris O'Donnell wasn't what I would call a wasted evening). After last night, I am definitely a Christian Bale as Batman convert. In my opinion he did an amazing job.

As for Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes in the last movie, I was not a big fan. She has got to be one of the worst actresses on the planet! She hardly puts any emotion into the roles she plays and she just stinks. Maggie Gyllenhaal, on the other hand, I loved! She did a great job with the part.

I would venture to say that Aaron Eckhart did a fabulous job as Harvey Two-Face, maybe better than Tommy Lee Jones. I'm not sure I like Aaron Eckhart in a villian role, but he is easy on the least the left side of him.

Moving on...Heath Ledger. I've never been a huge Heath Ledger fan. But, this movie wouldn't have been near as good if he weren't in it. He did an excellent job as Joker. I am confident that he did a better job than Jack Nicholson as Joker and I think Jack Nicholson did a good job with the role. This was an excellent last movie role for him. He definitely went out with a bang.

I wouldn't do the cast justice if I didn't mention some others that I really enjoyed: Gary Oldman (excellent as Lt. Gordon), Michael Caine (amazing job as Alfred), and Morgan Freeman (as Lucius Fox). Bravo boys!

The plot was interesting and kept you wondering what was going to happen. It did become very involved and you had to keep your full attention on the movie to understand everything happening. The special affects were well done and I didn't feel a lull in the movie at all.

I almost forgot to mention the new Batsuit and the new Batmobile. Loved both!

On a side note, I'm getting too old to be going to midnight showings and then having to be at work at 8:00 a.m. When I was in college, I could do that two or three times a week, but it wears me out anymore. And I'm only 25!!! Oh well, we don't do it often, mainly for Harry Potter.

Watch The Dark Knight Blogger Buddies!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

My Hubby is the Coolest!

Russ finally found a job that he wanted! Yay for Russy. He had been hired as a cook on Monday. On Tuesday, he recieved a call from a bank about having an interview. So, he went to that on Wednesday and got the job! Well, at least he got it if his drug test comes back negative. So, yes, that means he got the job! He really wanted to get out of the cooking career. There's not much room to climb the ladder as a cook. I guess he could have bought his own restaurant eventually, but he doesn't want to be a cook anymore. He really wanted an office job. Somewhere that he wouldn't have to take a shower the second he got home. His new job is as a vault teller. He will get to check in armored trucks full of money and then sort the money. Personally, I think it sounds really cool and I'm super excited for him! He is still going to be preaching on Sundays so he will still be using his bible degree. Yay for him! Good job, Russy! I love you lots!

Child Labor Laws

*In the Chinese restaurant we went to eat at on Wednesday evening:*

Russ and I: *Walk in the door of the restaurant and up to the counter*

Super cute little Chinese girl (probably about 7 or 8), her head barely comes above the counter: "Hi!"

Me: "Well, hello there!"

Super cute little Chinese girl: "May I help you?"

Me: "Do you know there are child labor laws in this country?"

Super cute little Chinese girl: *blank look*

People behind us in line: *laughter*

At least I made the people behind us laugh!

Let's Talk About Laparoscopy

I don't know if any of you are as curious as I am about medical procedures. If you are and you don't know what a laparoscopy is, keep reading. If you aren't interested, then you can just stop here.

I love watching surgery and medical procedures on TV. I don't have a weak stomach so it doesn't bother me at all to see blood and people innards. Well, that's not entirely true. I hate it when they use the tiny circular saw to cut through bone and I can't stand watching rhinoplasty. It makes me shudder just thinking about it. So, I searched laparoscopy on youtube and came up with a ton of videos. Some of them were just people talking about it, but there were a few of them that were the actual procedure on video. Talk about super cool! I couldn't tell what everything was, but I was able to recognize the ovaries. The other stuff, not so much.

So, what is a laparoscopy, you ask? What I might have done is a diagnostic laparoscopy. This is an outpatient procedure. Obi-Wan is going to make one incision in my belly button and one incision just above my pubic bone. They can use general anesthetic or local, but from what I've read, general anesthetic is used more often. Obi-Wan will then fill my belly with carbon dioxide to make it easier to see my organs and innards. He will then insert a laparoscope (a lighted camera instrument) and proceed to see what he finds.

Here are some open questions we have about my situation:

1. What is really up with my uterus? Is it unicornuate? We don't think so, but it will be nice to say for sure.
2. What is up with my left tube? Is it blocked? Did it just spasm during the HSG? Is it there at all?
3. Do I have endometriosis?
4. Do I have any cysts, polyps, or fibroids that didn't show up on the HSG or during ultrasounds?

If I have this surgery, Obi-Wan will hopefully not find endometriosis or any masses. If he does find some, doctors usually will clean it up during the procedure. If there's something else that requires a bigger surgery, that will have to wait.

I hope I don't have to get this far. Who knows what will happen, though?

Stay Cool Blogger Buddies!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

My Doctor is a Nerd!

At my doctor appointment after the nurse gives me my new and improved clomid:

Me: "This looks different."

Obi-Wan: "It's more better."

Me: *incredulous look* "More better?"

Nurse Practitioner: "Don't you feel like you are in good hands, Lisa?"

Me: *thinking* No wonder he's a gynecologist and not an English professor....

Seriously Obi-Wan?

Another Day, Another Doctor Appointment

I again found myself in the waiting room at the clinic this morning. This is beginning to seem like a never-ending cycle.

Russ had his follow up appointment with Doogie Howser on Monday. He wrote him a script for testosterone patches, which I had told Russ to not get because they could zero out his sperm count. Russ asked Doogie about this and Doogie laughed at him and said he had never heard anything like that. I told Russ not to fill the script until I talked to Obi-Wan about it. So, I told Obi-Wan and he was really irritated that Doogie laughed at Russ and that he tried to treat infertility even though he's a family doctor. Then Obi-Wan suggested that Doogie was an idiot and that we shouldn't go back to him anymore (not in those words, but I got the hint)!

My baseline ultrasound was really cool today. As humans, we have an artery and valve in our pelvis and mine showed up on ultrasound today! WandBoy pointed it out and then pointed out the artery and blood vessel. I could actually see the blood flowing through on the screen. He then turned on the sound and I got to hear the blood flowing. He told me to hold my breath and then let it out. The valve closed when I held my breath and returned to normal when I let it out. WandBoy also pushed on certain points on my leg to show me how he can cut the blood flow off to check for clots. He also let me listen to my heart beat from my pelvis. It was completely fascinating!

My suspicions about treatment were confirmed. Obi-Wan Kenobi came in the exam room for our consultation and he said I have two choices. The first being a laparoscopy to see what is really going on in there. We have many unanswered questions that could be answered with a laparoscopy. He did tell me that my insurance should pay for it because they won't put it under "infertility." He said they can tell them that I have painful periods. Sure, I'll go with that. Minor cramps is a great reason to go under the knife. My other option is go ahead with IUI's. Basically, I can be Obi-Wan's human steak and do the slice and dice or I can be inseminated like a cow. Great really, I'm thrilled. I wanted to think about it for a cycle, but he wanted to put me on birth control pills during that time and for some reason I completely balk at the idea of being on birth control when we are trying so hard to get pregnant. I decided to do the IUI this cycle and if it doesn't work, to go ahead with the laparoscopy. If insurance doesn't pay for it (and I suspect it won't, they know I'm getting infertility treatment, I can't see them saying, "Oh, she has painful periods? That's all great, go ahead with surgery and we'll cover it") we'll just have to make it work. I'm glad we made the decision and we are moving ahead with a good plan. I just hope it works the way I want it to.

See Ya Blogger Buddies.

Monday, July 14, 2008

A Different Kind of Journey

As far back as I can remember, my family has been the traveling sort. We love going on vacations to Colorado, Wyoming, Arizona, North Dakota, etc. I also remember that when I was small my Dad would make mission trips overseas. He started out in Riga, Latvia and soon moved to Kiev, Ukraine.

When I was in seventh grade, I was lucky enough to be able to join my Dad, my Mom, and my sister on a trip there. We went in November of that year and stayed for a month. It was cold and snowy the whole time we were there and I remember trudging through the snow to get to church services on Sundays.

That trip became the first of many I was able to make with my family. I went for a month from my seventh grade year to my senior year. My senior year trip is a special memory because my Dad and I went by ourselves. After I graduated from High School, my Mom and Dad moved me to college and they moved overseas for a year. I was able to go again with my sis, sis-in-law, and nephew during Christmas time of my freshman year of college. The last time I was able to go was during the summer between my freshman and sophomore years. I was able to stay for two months at that time.

I remember our flat like it was yesterday. The first few trips we stayed in one on the fourth floor, but I remember the second flat better. It was on the sixth floor of an apartment building a few doors down from the first one we stayed at and the hallways always seemed to smell of borscht. We could look out our balcony window across the street Rusonifskiya to the Dnieper River. On her opposite bank we could see the Silver Lady, a silver statue of a woman with a sword raised in one hand and a shield in the other.

I also can almost smell the bread. The Ukrainians sure knew their way around flour and yeast. That bread had to be some of the best bread I have ever eaten. There was a little window in a building down the street that we could buy bread out of. If we got there at just the right time, it was still warm. Mom would send my sis and I to go buy bread and we would always buy an extra loaf to eat on the way home. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. The people who would sell the bread would hand it to us uncovered. We had to bring our own bags. If we bought the bread in the bazaar, it would just be sitting out on the table, completely exposed to the elements and the flies. We never did get sick and we eventually got used to the way things were done.

I loved our family trips overseas and I cherish the memories we made. I have been itching to go somewhere for a while. I've never been an amusement park type of person, but I would love to go to Sea World. I figure I'll start my dream small and maybe we can work our way up to our real dream of going to Venice, Italy.

Until Next Time Blogger Buddies.

At Another Crossroads

I'm super nervous about my appointment with Obi-Wan this week. We are supposed to be re-evaluating and moving on to different treatment. I'm hoping that just means we will be doing IUI's now, but it also could mean more tests, more procedures. Unfortunately, we have made a huge dent in our savings account and may not be able to afford much more of this. I have been seriously considering taking a few months off to try to build our savings back up, but I also don't want to waste any more time. I'm afraid if I don't do this now, the more I age, the more difficult conceiving will become for us. So, again, we are at a crossroads. We have to make a decision and Russ likes to tell me "whatever you think, honey." So, I guess I have to make the decision. Depending on where Obi-Wan wants to go, we may be forced to take a break and that makes me sad. I know in my heart that I don't want to take a break and that I will continue so this fight I'm having with myself in my head is pointless. I will call the nurse and make a date with the coochie cam today. Wish me luck. I'm super nervous.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Un-Medicated Me

Except for ovulation induction, I don't take meds for anything. This hasn't always been the case. I used to pop three ibuprofen tablets for a headache and never thought anything of it. But, I'm realizing more and more that I want to be pregnant, not toxic. I believe in letting your immune system do its job and, unless absolutely necessary, letting your body fight infections by itself. Now, as a disclaimer, I don't think it's wrong to take medicine for headaches and colds. It is my personal choice not to take them. Anyway, I see so many people at work that get a little sniffle and go running to the doctor to get antibiotics and it irritates me. Pumping your bodies full of antibiotics and over-the-counter drugs isn't going to help you in the long run. Our poor children get sick and what do parents do? Immediately take them to the doctor. Their immune systems never build to where they can fight off anything by themselves. They are going to be reliant on these meds for the rest of their lives and parents are doing that to them! I worked in daycare for two years and I've seen what this does to children. The ones that went to the doctor all the time could never fight off colds like the ones who weren't drugged up 24/7. When we were little, my parents didn't take us to the doctor very often at all. The only time I know of that I went to the doctor was when I had chipmunk cheek (they think I bit the inside of my cheek and it swelled up like a chipmunk). I don't remember this, I was too young. Incidentally I don't go to the doctor hardly at all now for things besides infertility treatment. I did have mono when I worked in daycare and went to the doctor for that (I couldn't breathe, it was absolutely necessary), but other than that, I don't get sick. I attribute my healthy immune system to my parents letting my body fight for itself and not drugging me up as a child. I'm not dependent on drugs to keep me well and I'm grateful for that. As a result, I stopped taking all meds (except for infertility treatments) in February. I also cut out all aspartame and phenylalanine's from my diet. I feel healthier. I don't get stomach aches or head aches nearly as often as before. It really is amazing what the human body is capable of if we just let it do what it was designed to do by God.

Stay Healthy Blogger Buddies!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Paying it Forward

During the last few years of owning my Ford Escort (she was a red 98 zx2 model), there were many times that I had to call someone to come give me a jump. Every other month or so, I had to clean the battery cables because they would get corroded and eventually make the car die. Even though I cleaned the cables religiously, my poor car would still die on me. I had to carry a tool box and a set of jumper cables at all times. In November of last year, my car finally decided to call it quits. Her 2nd gear went out and it would have cost us over $2,000 to replace it with a used transmission that already had 83,000 miles on it. Now, I blame my poor car giving up on the fact that we had put over 60,000 miles on it in the last two years and she was just tired. So we ended up trading her in for a 2007 Saturn Ion, whom we name Shark Bait Ooo Ha Ha. I still carry around jumper cables just in case we meet someone who needs some help. Having been in those shoes numerous times changes the way you trust your cars. My car is new so hopefully I won't have a problem with needing to jump it, but you never know. Plus, we've already had some problems with key got stuck in the ignition, but that's another blog for another time. This afternoon, I got the chance to help someone who was having car trouble. I've helped a few others before, but it's not often that I am able to offer my car and my jumper cables. I am always happy to help having been there way too many times before. So, Russ, Dad, Mom, Chris, Clint, and Graham, I really do appreciate the times you helped me with my old car and just know that I am happily paying it forward.

What's in a Name?

I am OCD. In this society, that is sometimes viewed as a bad thing, but I don't subscribe to that notion. I think being OCD is a good thing in a lot of cases. Such as my desk at work is always neat and tidy. I think it makes me look much more professional. Also, I have a notebook that is full of everything that has to do with my infertility treatments. I have a running tab that I am going to charge my future kids for bringing them into this world. Ok, maybe I won't do that, but they better not even think about not being smart. They are going to need scholarships for college! Anyway, back to my OCDness. I name everything! I named our new car Shark Bait Ooo Ha Ha. Yes, that is from Finding Nemo. Our car is dark blue and I wanted something that reminded me of the ocean. Russ bought me a stuffed puppy our first Christmas together in 2002. I named her India and I still snuggle with her when I go to bed. Russ always stays up way later than I. All of my Cabbage Patch Dolls have their original names. My sis and I are the only children I have ever heard of that chose one name for our CPK's and Barbies and they are still named those names. We also had our own play names that never changed and we each had a play-husband whose names never changed. Russ recieved a bobble headed old Norse doll for graduation that I named Sven. He lives by my computer now. So, my Dad arrived home from Africa yesterday morning bearing gifts for my mother, Russ, and I. I would like to introduce you all to:
Zambezee. Is that not the coolest name ever for the coolest giraffe ever?

This is Tonga. Dad brought this back for Russ and I. He's carved out of green stone. And he's a set of book ends.

This is the Rhino Dad brought back for my brother, Jeremy and his wife, Shawna. He's also carved out of green stone. He's also a set of book ends. I'd name him, but he's not mine so I won't.

This is a bowl that is made out of ebony wood. My mom is obsessed with bowls and dishes. I, for one, can't wait until the day she fills that with skittles!

Stay Cultured Blogger Buddies!

Friday, July 11, 2008

#'s 1, 5, 6, 7 and 9 - Check

Here is my update on how my Ban is going:

1. I printed out a new list and have started my daily bible reading again.

5. I've been walking a lot more. I usually will take an evening or two off each week. Not anymore.

6. I'm totally back on track. I haven't had skittles in at least a week!

7. I've started a new book that isn't about infertility or adoption. It's called "Twilight" by Stephanie Meyer. I actually first read about it on my sis's blog
and decided to buy it.

9. I signed up to teach the 4's, 5's, and K's for VBS this year. Now I've just got to get the material.

Stay Busy Blogger Buddies!

Cholesterol Results

I just looked up my cholesterol results from when I donated blood last month. It was 140! Yay!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

My Thoughts Scare Me Sometimes

As you know, in the evenings I normally go for a walk around the golf course we live on. My route is 3.3 miles and takes me about an hour to walk. This leaves me ample time to collect my thoughts and obsess, mainly about infertility. Tonight was no different. I started my walk and soon my thoughts meandered over to our fertility treatments. Okay, okay, my thoughts never really leave that topic and there was no meandering involved. I just like using that word. Anyway, so I started thinking about what we have done:

*thinking* Four clomid cycles with timed intercourse. These weren't successful (at least I don't think this last cycle was successful. We will see this weekend). What next? IUI's. IUI's with what? We've done four cycles with clomid and this drug tends to kill your lining after a while so we probably won't do that again. Ok, femara. Three IUI's with femara. What if these aren't successful? What next? Maybe a laparoscopy? Or and endometrial biopsy? And after that? IUI's with injectables? Maybe I'm not a good candidate for injectables. I made three or four follicles with each clomid cycle. What would injectables do? I would probably make eight. And they would all probably fertilize and implant. I would be pregnant with octuplets. YIKES! Maybe we could get a free suburban? I would definitely have to get WIC so we could feed all of them. How big would I get? I probably wouldn't be able to carry them past 30 weeks or so. Then they would have to live in the NICU for a couple months. But, I could buy eight of those super cute onesies from They could leave the hospital in them. What would we name eight babies? We would definitely have four boys and four girls. Andy, Logan, Kyle, Colby, Maya, Chloe, Emilee, Leanne....Then we would have to think of middle names....and I would have to find a different font for some of the names to fit on the Christmas stockings. Christmas with eight babies would be fun....*end thoughts*

And on my thoughts went. It seems even worse when typing it and reading back over it. I think I'm certifiably crazy.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

This Week Just Keeps Getting Better

If you know me in real life, you probably picked up on the fact that the title to this blog should be read with a lot of sarcasm. Last week, Russ had an appointment with a doctor for a physical. Turn your head and know what I mean. Russ told Doogie Howser (this is what we will call him, though, he's 52 according to WebMD) that we are trying to concieve and told him about my infertility treatment. So, Doogie had Russ get a blood draw. He got the results in the mail today. They are as follows:

Blood Sugar - normal, 92; normal is below 100
Total Cholesterol - normal, 186; normal is below 200
LDL (bad cholesterol) - normal, 128; goal is below 160
HDL (good cholesterol) - slightly low, 32; goal is above 45
Triglycerides - normal, 131; goal is below 150
Electrolytes - normal
Kidney Function Tests - normal
Total Testosterone - 265; should be around 600 to 700

What this tells us is that his testosterone is super low. He had a semen analysis in February and it came back fine. He has a follow-up on Monday with Doogie and if things happen as they should, I will have an appointment with the coochie cam and Obi-Wan on Monday. I will be taking his results to talk about them with Obi-Wan. After all, it really is his opinion that matters, not Doogie's.

Also, just to keep this fair, here is a list of some of my blood work results.

Follicle Stimulating Hormone - 5.54, normal
Prolactin - 22.9, normal
Thyroid Stimulating Hormone - 1.19, normal
Total Cholesterol - 133, optimal
LDL - 70, optimal
HDL - 50, optimal
Triglycerides - 66, normal
Glucose - 90, normal

I guess I should also say that I'm glad we found this. At least we are working our way toward an explanation of our infertility and now we can hopefully treat it better.

Stay Healthy Blogger Buddies!

Locked in our Bedroom

Russ and I were chatting yesterday and he asked me if I remember the time we were locked in our bedroom. I, of course, said yes and then said that I should totally blog about it because it is so funny! So, here goes:

When Russ and I got married, we moved into this ghetto townhouse down by the railroad tracks. It was on the right side of the tracks, but was still ghetto. We were always have problems with the place. Our upstairs bathroom leaked through the ceiling and our water heater grew mushrooms while we lived there. We also had some scary neighbors who I'm pretty sure were drug dealers. This was not a good situation at all!

Well, one of the problems we kept having is that we had a couple of doors that had door knobs that would stick. Our bedroom door was one of them. For some reason, we always shut our bedroom door at night. We really had no reason to do that. I guess it was just habit. So, we go to bed one evening and wake up the next morning and I get up to go to the restroom and I can't get the door open. What in the world?!?!? I pull and I tug and I get sweaty and by this time I have to go so bad that I'm starting to do the potty dance. So Russ tries and fails to get the door open. Now, we are about late to work so I have to call my boss and leave a message saying I was stuck in my bedroom! I was so afraid that he wouldn't believe me!

Well, I had called about this problem a few times and the landlord never did anything about it so I called him. He didn't answer (of course! This landlord was the worst landlord ever....he was also a cop but got fired from the force for being "unprofessional" to some college students). I called my Mom next. BTW, our bedroom was on the second floor so we couldn't just crawl out the window (though, that wouldn't have gotten us anywhere, either). She doesn't know what to do, either. She suggested calling 911, which we decided to use as a last resort. Neither of us had house keys in our bedroom so we couldn't throw them out the window so she could get in.

By this time, I'm fed up. So, I called Shayne (the landlord) and I left him a voicemail yelling at him that if he's not going to fix the problems at our place then he needs to at least answer his stupid phone and that we are locked in our bedroom and we can't get out!!!

Finally, after trying to kick the door down and trying to take the hinges off, we had to get creative. We didn't have any tools in our bedroom and the door jam was on the opposite side of the door so kicking it wouldn't have worked anyway. So, I grabbed a belt and started prying the door moulding off with the tongs of the belt. When I got the moulding off about a centimeter, I then took a candle snuffer (the only other thing in our bedroom made out of hard metal and pried it off the rest of the way. We saw that what had happened was the tongue came out of the door knob contraption and got jammed in the wood plank that it was supposed to click into. (I'm sorry that I don't know the technical terms for all of this, but if you've ever seen how a door works without the moulding on the wall, you should know what I'm talking about.) So Russ jammed his fingers into the crack between the door and the wood plank and pulled the wood plank back from the door while I shoved my fingers into the crack to try to pull the tongue out of the wall. This process took us at least thirty minutes before we were successful.

So, we made it out of our bedroom after an hour and a half of being trapped. I went into work an hour late and took the pieces of our door as evidence. My boss said to me, "Lisa, no one could make up a story that stupid so I know it has to be true." Thanks Boss.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Maybe This is the Problem???

Let's talk about hormones for a moment. Mainly, progesterone. My progesterone. If you direct your attention to my sidebar, the last four entries under "The Years in Review" tell you what my progesterone (P4) level has been at seven days past ovulation during four cycles. The number tells me whether or not I ovulated. Anything higher than a 5 means that I did, but Obi-Wan wants to see that number higher than 10 and some doctors want to see that number higher than 15 with a medicated cycle. So, basically, my P4 was good the first cycle, great the second cycle, okay the third, and not okay this cycle. Which, unfortunately, also means that this cycle most likely didn't work...we'll find out for sure later this week.

So, what is progesterone, you may ask. P4 is a steroid hormone, is synthesized from pregnenolone, a derivative of cholesterol. It is produced in the adrenal glands, the gonads (more specifically after ovulation in the corpus luteum), the brain, and if you are lucky enough to be pregnant, the placenta. The levels of P4 should be low before ovulation. Then they will rise after. Like I said before, if it is higher than 5, that indicates ovulation, but doctors like to see it higher than 10. If you are pregnant, those levels should continue to rise. If you aren't pregnant, your P4 will drop and trigger the release of your lining, your period. Obviously this information is in regards to females during childbearing years. P4 levels are low in children and post-menopausal women. Men also have P4 levels that are comparative to adult females during the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle.

I copied this graph from Wikipedia. That's also the resource I used to explain P4.

All that said, my P4 is not nearly high enough to maintain a pregnancy. Which will probably lead to progesterone suppositories. I can't wait to start those bad boys!

Monday, July 7, 2008

A Little Blue and a Little Bitter

It is extremely difficult to keep the blues and bitterness at bay during infertility treatment. When you yearn for something so much and it seems to always be just out of reach, it wears on your soul. I have to constantly tell myself that God is in control and I need to trust Him and His will. But, I can't help but think: What if God is giving us the answer and we're not listening? How does one make that judgement? Does He want us to move on to adoption or does He want us to be patient for a biological baby a while longer or does He want us to live child-free? Each one is a possibility and I don't know how to discern the correct answer. I guess the only thing I can do is pray about it and study His word and try to live my life the way He tells me too. Will I ever know the correct answer to these life altering decisions? Probably not during my lifetime, but it is great consolation that He is watching over me and that my trust and faith lies in Him. So, I must strive to keep those blues and that bitterness away, no matter how difficult. I have to keep my thoughts centered on Him and He will help me through these tough times.

Look to Him Blogger Buddies.

New Features and WOW!

I would like to direct your attention to my sidebar and a couple new features I added on Thursday evening. My counter is one and the feature that has where the hits are coming from is the other. Since Thursday evening, I have had 153 hits on my site. WOW!!! I know that a few of those are mine from posting and seeing who had updated, but that can only be about 10 of them. That leaves 143 hits to my site in roughly 72 hours. Thanks Blogger Buddies! I hope you enjoy this blog about my life and please keep reading!

Keep Reading Blogger Buddies!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Why Do I Do This To Myself?

I am a person with very strong convictions on some things. I believe in the value system and that many Americans have forgotten what that even is. I also strongly believe in the morals brought to us by the Bible. God has the answers. We should listen to Him and what He wants us to do. It's not that hard. He gave us a handbook. But, for some reason I insist upon reading blogs by very opinionated people that I don't agree with. I don't know why I keep reading them. They just get me riled up and I feel compelled to comment and then inevitably I don't fully explain myself in the comment and they come back with a rude retort. After reading back over what I had said, their retort makes sense for what I said and I am left defeated. It's a stupid cycle and I don't know why I continue it. And why do I need to add more things to my life that will just raise my blood pressure? Why am I getting upset about something someone that I've never met in person wrote on their blog? So, I'm going to fix this and I'm not going to read these blogs anymore.

Re-Instating the Ban

I wrote about banning the television for three weeks a while back. After the initial ban , which we were able to do just fine, I did really good, but lately I've been watching more and more television again. The problem lies in the arena of Russ being on the job hunt. It's been a month now, and nothing. So when I get home from work every day, the TV is on. I assume it is on most of the day. I guess when you don't have a job, TV is a staple. I don't think that Russ doesn't look for jobs. It's just that most job applications are going online now so there isn't any reason for Russ to go into the stores and fill the application out. Plus, Russ' handwriting is atrocious and they wouldn't hire him if they saw it anyway. So, I am re-instating the TV ban, this time for longer. We are going to go four weeks and I hope this makes a difference in our lives. Our marriage has been a little strained for a while because of the whole trying to have a baby thing and I have high hopes that this will help us reconnect.

Things I can do during the TV ban:

1. Daily Bible Reading. I participated in the "read through the bible in a year" last year and started this year, but lost my chart a few months into it and haven't picked back up since. I know I can catch up so I'm going to start again.

2. Spend more quality time with Russ. We have disconnected lately and we really need to spend more time together talking and be a little more loving towards each other.

3. Scrapbooking. I'm so far behind, it's not even funny and there is no end in sight because I can't stand not taking pictures of everything!

4. Finish other craft projects. I have a cross-stitch that I started in college (6 years ago) that I haven't finished and I have letters that I need to paint for my nephew.

5. Walk more. I walk a ton, but I can always do more.

6. Work more on eating healthy and living healthy. I have slacked off a little due to the fact that I am less than ten pounds away from my goal, so I need to get back on the train. I also need to get more active than I am.

7. Read a book. Reading is fundamental and I would like to read books besides ones about infertility and adoption. I need to freshen up my brain.

8. Clean my house more. I am horrible at keeping my house dusted and uncluttered. I was good about it when we first were married, but I've never been the type to keep it spick-n-span. I need to, though.

9. Teach VBS. I was actually thinking about sitting this year out due to the stressors in my life right now, but I think it would help if I had an important project to dwell on instead of having babies.

10. Clean the car. We just bought our car in December and we haven't cleaned the inside once. We keep the trash and stuff out of it, but as for getting the hand vac and going to town, we haven't.

So, there's my list. I know I can do all these things so I'm going to.

Stay busy Blogger Buddies!

Friday, July 4, 2008

I Love It

When my nephew and niece come to my parents house. This is what I find:

Anything that can be filled with candy, has been. And it's always the best candy: skittles and starbursts!

Stay Sweet Blogger Buddies!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Right or Wrong?

Russ and I had an interesting conversation after bible class last night. We were talking about my blog and in the middle of a statement, the guy we were talking to said something to the effect of "we need to be open, like how you are on your blog, right or wrong..." What? Right or wrong? I didn't say anything then, but last night and today, I keep going over that in my mind. I never even thought that blogging could be considered "wrong." Is it the way I am comfortable telling the internet my most personal life details, but that I don't feel comfortable telling them to people face to face, especially people from the church? That is the only thing I can think of that would make this wrong. Well, I obviously don't subscribe to the feelings that blogging is wrong since I'm blogging about it. But, I just wanted to make some things clear. I blog because I am not an open person in real life. This is a stress release for me. It's therapuetic to be able to write down your feelings and events that take place in your life and to be able to get comments back from people that may be going through the same things as you. I am a person that will bottle up emotions and let them stew until I blow up like a bomb. This isn't true with everything, just the harder things in life. I am honest and open about the small stuff. So I've been really working at helping myself to manage my emotions better and blogging is one way I do that. It really does help and that's what makes it "right" for me.

BTW, if you think my blog is open and depressing, you should see my journal!

How to Deal

Isn't that the name of a movie that came out a few years back? If I remember correctly, that girl didn't deal well with anything, but it was a chick flick and it ended happily ever after. Oh, if that were the way it always happened. But, no, sometimes it ends like A Perfect Storm....where we don't make it. Wow, that was depressing (the movie and the statement). I just mean that it doesn't end up the way we want it to. I promise I'm not planning to die anytime soon, but infertility is really kicking my rear end. I am at a crossroads of whether I want to tell people about our issues or not. On one hand, I do, just to get it out in the open. But, on the other hand, I don't. People that haven't been through it don't understand and, inevitably, they won't say the right things. So, I've been struggling with this for a while now and as much as I want to just yell "I'm infertile!" from the mountain tops, I'm being held back. By something. What is it? Maybe it's the fact that people will tell me things like "relax" or "just stop trying." Or the fact that they will still insist upon showing me pictures of their bundles of joy while my arms are still empty. And while I am happy for people who are living out their dreams, I am also insanely jealous. I want what they have and I don't want to wait any more. Though, I have resigned myself to the fact that waiting is a part of this emotional game and I will just have to deal. Somehow.

That's Right....

It's raining....again.

Just to put this into perspective:

The annual average rainfall: 44.97 inches.

The rainfall for this year to date: As of June 30, over 30 inches.

Here's a picture of the golf course that we are so lucky to live on.

It's a lot prettier without the river flowing through the middle of it!

Here's my uniform for the year...galoshes!

Aren't they adorable?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

My Second Obsession

As you know, I am obsessed with fertility treatments. But, let me introduce you to my second obsession: crafts. I can't get enough and do all kinds of different things. Here are a few of my projects.

I made this the day I bought my Cricut machine. BTW, I love Cricut!

I made this one for my Marmie for Mother's Day. Each tag says something I love about her.

I decorated this cake for my neice, Kaylee's, sixth birthday.

I love to make cards!

Get a Hobby Blogger Buddies!