Saturday, July 29, 2006

Two Shots A Day? Check

I envy the people who blog more than once a week. My slacker self can only get it together to post weekly.

Thanks, Nicole, for asking if I'm OK. I'm OK. The IVF shots have increased to two times a day, and now I'm going for blood and ultrasounds every few days to measure how well I'm responding to them.

After about a week of Lupron shots, I added Gonal F to the mix, which is the stimulation drug. Not sure if I mentioned this before, but the needles on the Gonal F shots are so much sharper than the Lupron needles. They just sink right into my skin without a push, while the Lupron shots, well, need a little more force: "Get in there, you surly Lupron shot. Don't make me get up and smack you. Why can't you be more like your sister Gonal F?"

Side effects have been minimal, although they included a day of abdominal cramps like a period. It was reassuring to think the drugs were actually working. I also noticed a weird numbness on the back of my left calf. This immediately made me think "neuropathy has finally reared its ugly head," and sent me straight to Google to determine why a diabetic complication would choose this week to show up. Dr. Google noted that numbness is a Gonal F side effect, so I called the fertility doc's office to report this. The nurse said to watch it and to call if things got worse. The next day, it was gone and thankfully it hasn't appeared since.

(Who are these women that are like, "I didn't know I was pregnant until the baby popped out of me nine months later"? I can document every bodily twitch and ache down to the hour.)

After five days of shooting Gonal F and Lupron, I went to my fertility doc's office (at 8:30 am, considered a late appointment) for ultrasounds and blood work. Mr. Lyrehca called me at work later that morning to ask how the ultrasound went, "and did it make those wwuah-wwuah sounds like it does when they ultrasound a pregnant woman on TV," he asked.

"Um, the ultrasound wasn't quite like that," I said. "It was internal."


"Oh, eeyah!" he groaned.

Yep, checking the follicles of your ovaries requires a vaginal ultrasound. This is akin to having a giant tampon pushed up downstairs. For me, this is actually less of an issue than having a duck-bill speculum inside one's orifice, but the first time is pretty, hmmm, I'd say unpleasant, but there have been more traumatic experiences in that area than this. Suffice it to say the first ultrasound had me staring at the plaster in the ceiling. You'd think they'd put something colorful to look at up there. A mobile, maybe.

The first ultrasound tech was sort of close-lipped, but did say I was responding to the stimulation drugs and that I should wait for an afternoon call from my nurse to get the specific results.

IVF basically stimulates your ovary follicles to grow big so that eggs can be manually extracted. As of a few days ago, I had one follicle that was big enough to be seen (greater than 12 millimeters), and several that were just under 12 that were likely to get bigger. This was happening on day 5 of my cycle, which is early in the game.

Yesterday, at the sunshine-happy time of 7:30 am (oy!), I had another blood and ultrasound experience. (The blood is measuring estradiol results, which are supposed to increase in tandem with the follicle growth). Yesterday I had three follicles on each side (left and right ovaries) that were measuring up well, and my Gonal F was actually reduced last night so that things don't grow too fast. And today, in an hour and a half, I am returning to the clinic on a Saturday to get another ultrasound. If things are growing accordingly, the nurse told me yesterday, the retrieval could happen early next week.

The retrival is outpatient surgery, so I definitely have to take the day off from work. I'm thinking that'll be more of a break in my routine than the multiple daily injections ("Heck, I'm diabetic. Taking shots is so old school.") or even the early morning fertility doc's appointments ("Multiple doctor's appointments? I'm diabetic. Been there, done that."

And yeah, in diabeticland, my blood sugars have been pretty good these days. I haven't noticed any specific changes based on the new drugs swimming through my body, but I have made a few food changes that seem to be making a difference.

One, I stopped buying peanut butter a few weeks ago. While I actually prefer eating natural peanut butter that has had most of the peanut oil poured out once I open the jar, the high fat content of peanut butter typically does a job on my overnight blood sugars, particularly when I spoon it straight from the jar at bedtime. My overnight blood sugars have evened out nicely.

Two, I've defected from my lunchtime sandwich of choice. Now, instead of a grilled chicken and Swiss with onions and cucumbers on seven grain bread with a dab of herb mayo, I'm now going to Whole Paycheck Whole Foods at lunch and creating my own veggie wrap. It's cucumbers, carrots, lettuce, onions and avocado with either Muenster or Monterey Jack cheese rolled into a whole wheat wrap. I'm still working out the carb count, as I've been going low in the afternoons, but it's fewer carbs than my chicken creation AND I feel good about eating a so many veggies at one meal.

And three, I made a slight adjustment to my 3am and 6am basal rate a week ago when a perfectly healthy grilled-chicken and salad dinner kept my blood sugars stable all night until 4am, when I woke up at 180, and things jumped to 228 three hours later. I upped both basal rates by a tenth. And since then, my waking blood sugars have all been within range. I'm pleased about that, since I have woken up with 200 blood sugars for years now. Overnights have always been my downfall.

Oh, this week a writer friend had lunch with her agent and told her about my diabetes and pregnancy book, which is still percolating along even when I don't blog about it. The agent told her that while a book like this is probably needed, she wouldn't represent it because the market is too small, and she thinks there are a glut of diabetes books on the market that aren't selling. There ARE a bunch of books on the market (and that's a future post I keep meaning to write), but I know I'm reading most of them. And honestly, there's a need for a patient-written type 1 pregnancy-only book. I just need to connect with the publisher or agent who agrees with me.


If not a mother... said...

Glad to see an update!

Yep, those internal ultrasound wands may LOOK like a vibrator, but they definitely feel like a tampon once they're inserted. (I had a possible ovarian cyst checked out a few years ago and since I supposedly didn't drink enough water to have a full bladder for an abdominal ultrasound, I was lucky enough to be treated to a vaginal ultrasound.)

Major Bedhead said...

Heh. Dildo-cam. I've had those, too. Not comfortable at all.

I'm glad things seem to be perking along. And I think you could find a publisher for that book. Granted, you probably won't make millions, but it's definitely needed.


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