Posts Tagged ‘Medical Professionals’

Recovery

I’m recovering.

I had surgery 4 days ago and it is coming along nicely. Well, what I think is nicely anyways. I decided that I would blog during my recovery because I have a ton of free time, and well now I actually have something to share. On the regular, I’m not just going to be typing away, boring you guys to tears with my regular…life. Nothing major goes on here, I’m just a regular infertile girl.  I am still at the same fertility clinic along with the same fertility doctor. But really, no major news. However, I did want to share with you guys about what I call my “maintenance drugs”, Metformin and Synthroid.

I call them maintenance drugs because they maintain my systems. I guess in a way they do make me more fertile, because they increase the functionality of my systems, but they don’t necessarily work on my reproductive system.  As I’ve been studying them, I have to say that I find it neat how blood sugar affects reproduction.

I haven’t had much to say lately, because I figured I would spare ya’ll most of  the boring details on the side effects and such.  Now that I have been taking these meds for a couple months, I think I have finally gotten used to them. In fact, I almost enjoy them. In my non-medical opinion I think increased functionality is great. The Synthroid is for a low thyroid which I never noticed that I had.  Below is a description from the US National Libary of Medicine:

Why is this medication prescribed?

Levothyroxine, a thyroid hormone, is used to treat hypothyroidism, a condition where the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone. Without this hormone, the body cannot function properly, resulting in: poor growth; slow speech; lack of energy; weight gain; hair loss; dry, thick skin; and increased sensitivity to cold. When taken correctly, levothyroxine reverses these symptoms. Levothyroxine is also used to treat congenital hypothyroidism (cretinism) and goiter (enlarged thyroid gland).

If you had asked me three months ago had I have ever experienced any of these symptoms, I would have told you no… never noticed them. I thought those feelings were normal, and simply part of life in 2010. This is not the case. I definatly had those symptoms and more. I could have bitten your head off, but I’d been making attempts to exercise extreme control.  I chalked it up to genetics mostly, and anything else was just the throws of life.

I used to experience a world-wind of emotions daily, during which I would again, excerise extreme control. I guess you could say,I’m something of a ‘zen master’, (just kiddin LOL).  Being in the cypher with these drugs now, makes me a little sad that people go through feelings like this and never know that they don’t have to.  Never thinking to blame their thyroid.  Truly, knowledge is power.

A short time after I started on the Synthroid I started to feel more clear and even tempered and began to lose weight right away. Not only was I losing weight, but I was feeling less like I needed to depend on food period. I felt less hungry overall and amazingly like I could enjoy food more. (Ever had that “I’m tired of eating” feeling?)  Which kinda troubles me even more, now as I wonder if we shove food in our mouths to deal with poor bodily functions subconciously? Are people suffering an overweight existence, filled with inactivity due to an over/underactive thyroid?   Have I been inactive for most of my life because of said low thyroid? Obviously the weight loss is a plus, but overall my mood was in fact lifted, I even begin to thrive in my karate class.  Think about it, surely if you could enhance your ablilty to look over the “rim” of whatever “you ‘think’ may be holding you back”, and be physically  lighter while doing so… well, wouldn’t you then just go on ahead and climb over the top, of  ‘that thing’  holding you back? Possibly, defeating said ‘depressing feelings’ you never knew you had, never needing the help of anti-depressants, illegal drugs, and other mood stimulations and alterers?  Deep, but that is exactly how taking Synthroid (levothyroxine) makes me feel.

My previous experiences of speaking up to my health care providers about my infertility had landed me in the ring with Estrogen and anti-depressants. Which to me, is a bit much, not to mention the fact that in my case, the drugs won. I couldn’t tell whether I was coming or going and I didn’t really feel like I was getting better. I just felt medicated and trapped. I was curious to know if I would be on these mood simulators for the rest of my life, attempting to get pregnant for what I hoped would only be a short time.  Personally, I don’t think anti-depressants are appropriate for me.  I don’t consider myself a depressed person.  Don’t get me wrong, I do believe in some cases that they are necessary, but I also believe they are over-prescribed.  So present day,  I reluctantly began the fertility process again, because  I just couldn’t wrap my mind around needing Zoloft because of an hormone deficency.  For that to make sense, at least the way this doctor was making me feel, it would mean that even if I possessed all the estrogen of a normal woman my age… I would be ‘depressed’ and in need of anti-depressants.  To me, that didn’t make much sense.

The difference between then and now is not only does this Synthroid sound like it makes sense , but it feels like it too. I feel like I have had a little boost.  Like I imagine it feels like this to drink supplements everyday. The Metformin is completely different. Let’s be honest, the restroom related side-effects totally suck. But, again…it’s all about the functionality. My initial readings about PCOS appear, in this case, to be correct. I was insulin resistant. So, before I even started at this fertility clinic I altered my diet to mostly vegetraian.  Bottom line from what I can tell, the veggies are much easier for your body to digest and handle. The veggies don’t produce as much glucose and in turn are much easier on the kidney’s.  As I have said before, I am not a doctor. I most likely cannot explain what I read, they way my brain broke it down to help all my readers understand. First of all I gained all my knowledge on the subject from two books: Skinny Bitch by Rory Fieldman and Kim Barnouin and also” The Complete Idiots Guide to Glycemic Index Weight Loss“.  From what I can tell tell, glucose +insulin resistance =fat. Later we will research and explore more options and perhaps collect a bit more information about the subject. But when my doctor prescribed me Metformin, it began to regulate said glucose and I immediately noticed the changes. Besides the obvious weight loss, I also feel less sluggish and bloated.

Because I don’t know all the ins and outs of these drugs, I figured I would leave that talk to the experts, give ya’ll a break from my mouth, and catch ya’ll up while I lay here and recover. This is not my first battle with the knife. I have had two bikini-cut cystectomies and a laproscopic apendextomy. Now there’s something that will depress you; The thought that the only bikini you’ll wear through your 20’s is the cut from surgery. Your young body ruined, in this culture?!? Let me be the first one to tell you how well that goes along with these shallow people this day in age. Fortunately, I have a firm foundation in Jesus Christ and a healthy body image as well.  In addition to that, I have had relationships with nurturing indivsuals who understood the huge seperation in my abdomen and the flap of skin that goes with it, but had I had low self esteem or aspirations of modeling I would need that Zoloft.  My point is that I am glad to be on these ‘maintenance drugs’ that have made me feel better than Lexapro ever could.

But back to present day, I had the surgery, and to be honest with you, I have no idea what he even did. I know he removed a polyp but he said if there was any other issues to address he would handle them while he was in there. Of course my momma told me what he said but I was super druggy so… I have no idea what he said. I know there was some ‘clean-up’ involved and some removing of scar tissue  from previous surgeries but I guess that could be classified as ‘clean-up’. It may be too early to tell but, I think this surgery went pretty good. This isn’t the worst pain I’ve ever felt. At least I didn’t get cut in half  again, right?

Books and Articles Referenced in this post:

Beale, Lucy, and Joan Clark-Warner. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Glycemic Index Weight Loss. New York, NY: Alpha, 2010. Print.

Freedman, Rory, and Kim Barnouin. Skinny Bitch: a No-nonsense, Tough-love Guide for Savvy Girls Who Want to Stop Eating Crap and Start Looking Fabulous! Philadelphia: Running, 2005. Print.

“PubMed Health – Levothyroxine.” Web. 16 Oct. 2010. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0000684&gt;.

Do Not Lose Weight to Get Pregnant

Warning: I’m going to use the word HATE, a lot in this post.  I HATE being told what to do.   I hate seeing weight in the top list of things that cause infertility.  I hate that it is something I cannot seem to get a handle on.

I mean, the most aggravating part is the feeling that I JUST got comfortable with me.  I just got to the point, a few years ago, where I don’t cringe at mirrors or slink embarrassingly into Ashley Stewart at the mall.   I have to say I’ve been completely annoyed when doctors have given me the obligatory “you should lose weight if you want to get pregnant“, speech when I usually walk out of their office and find three or four fellow big-girls who just happen to be in their second trimester sitting in the waiting room. That feeling is one I can’t really describe.  It’s like not being picked for the basketball team because you’re too short, and then seeing Mugsy Bogues on the cover of Sports Illustrated.  To put it into words it is “Are you effin kidding me“, personified.

Exhibit A: Hater Baby

While we’re on that subject, I also have to admit a sheer hatred for the fact that a baby which doesn’t exist yet, has the power to control what I eat, drink and do.  Heffa’s that turn up pregnant on “oop’s” mode don’t worry about how many glasses of wine they have, or how certain foods affect their cervical mucous.  In fact, they are probably eating and drinking the very things I’m warned about, when they turn up unexpectedly expecting.  Yet here I am, being frowned at by some invisible Ally McBeal-esque kid who is completely against my affinity towards tasty wine.

Weight loss and I just don’t get along.  We’ve dated a few times, but I found that we were incompatible.  Primarily because PCOS kept messing up our good thing. I would gorge on water and fruit, only to find that my fitness buddies were dropping pounds drastically, while I would shed only one or two.  I would walk faithfully after school or work, only to discover that aside from a few muscle spasms, I was going to be the same chick two months later.  I scarfed down Xenadrine horse pills but all I’d get were jittery nerves. Every three months, without fail, well…actually due to fail, I would give up.  I would throw in my towel symbolically with a trip to the nearest fish-house and celebrate my freedom with catfish nuggets.

At the time, I was unsure what PCOS was, or how it could affect weight.  I had, however,  been warned about my thyroid and how it murdered my BMI. I put myself in thyroid boot camp for a while, and I have to admit, I kicked it into high gear when infertility became an issue.  I figured that logically, if the hypothyroid was the “problem”, then obviously once I started taking the thyroid medication, and doing what I’d always done, the weight would dissipate.  Right. I’m sure you know how that turned out.

The next thought was that if it wasn’t thyroid, it had to be something else.  There had to be a “reason”.  Especially since I don’t eat much, and I was walking and exercising again, right?  So I moved from Xenadrine to Xenical(prescription-strength Alli).  I lost ONE dress size.  ONE.  Do you know how that feels?  I’ll tell you. It doesn’t feel good.

In fact, it feels downright flip a table-worthy.Photobucket

So now, here I am…the largest I’ve ever been, give or take a couple dress sizes.  And while I’m mostly comfortable with me,…I’m sad.  Sad because I don’t have the willpower or to be more honest, the willingness, to put myself through the weight-loss ringer anymore.  Should I lose weight?  Yes?  Do I feel like it? No.  I feel as though I could walk from here to Nebraska and get there ten pounds heavier than I left.  I feel as though the next “reason” for my size will only depress me more than the glass of Kool-Aid I just had, ever could.  And at the end of it all, I have to whine by admitting I still get annoyed at the 400lb chick somewhere pregnant with twins.  And I don’t care who tries to convince me that she is probably having a more difficult pregnancy because of it.  I’m stubborn and shallow like that.

I don’t want to lose weight just to have a baby.  I think that would suck.  And you know what?  I’m right.

Your fertility, while very important, should not be the driving factor for your fitness.  YOU, should be.  Yeah, I slipped that twist in on you, I’m sorry about that. You see, my having children is important to me, but so is NOT developing diabetes, breast cancer or high blood pressure.  I’m not going to make any promises to you, or proclaim that this is my “Resolution moment”, I’ve just realized a few things that I’m going to share.  Get a pen. (Or copy/paste, whatever you wanna do)

Mrs.Tiye’s Things Realized about Healthy living:

  1. Soda/Pop whatever you call it in your neck of the woods…ain’t nothing but water and sugar when your break it down.  Don’t believe me?  Sit your RC cola out for a couple hours and let it get flat.  Take a nice swig.  There, you see?  Now, if you really want to have a hissy fit about water and sugar our problem is bigger than we thought.
  2. Baked food is just as good as fried food, and if you need that crunch, bake it in breadcrumbs.
  3. Just because you hated your grandmother’s steamed okra, doesn’t mean you HAVE to eat it fried now.  Find a way to cook your veggies that YOU like, without killing all their nutrients in Crisco.  Even french fries can be baked you know.
  4. Water actually tastes good.  If you need “flavor”, as my friends and I like to whine about, throw in a slice of fruit or use frozen grapes instead of ice.  It is a thirst-quencher like none-other and citrus is good for you.
  5. If it’s in “walking distance”,…walk to it.  I have driven to the 7Eleven on my corner more times than I care to mention.  Its just embarrassingly lazy when you think about it.
  6. If my body was an apartment building, and I was a baby looking for a place to move into…I would fire my Realtor for showing it to me.
  7. What is the sense in bringing a child into this world who has boundless energy, if you won’t be able to keep up with them?  And when they move out and go to college, you want to be fit enough to keep your party going long after.

Lose weight to get healthy, not pregnant.  You will thank YOU for it later, and so will your future grandchildren.

Excited Yet!? The Gala’s almost here!

The last time I had a countdown staring me in the face this hard, was in 2005 as my wedding drew near.  Now, five years and two months later, I’m just as excited and anxious.  The gala, as of today, is TWENTY-ONE days away!  Excuse me while I clown:

Get Happy!

Ahem

*adjusts clothing*

Sorry about that, had to get it out.

This event has been a metaphor for infertility in many ways for me.  Where I haven’t been able to plan my family, the gala has been pulled together by me at every turn.  Where things aren’t always as simple as they “should” be with having a child, things are often just as frustratingly uneventful with ticket sales and support.  In all, as I’ve said before, I’ve felt as though I got a bit of my power back by hosting this advocacy event.  And just as with infertility, I’ve gained supporters and friends, the same can be said about the gala.

If you haven’t gotten your ticket, or donated yet, and if getting all dressed up and snazzy isn’t reason enough, please give me a few seconds to make it plain why you should get on board immediately!

5. Amazing gifts and auction items in store.  Such as:

Artwork by Floyd Atkins

A Sensual Dance Package provided by Curvy Diva Fitness

A Private Wine Tasting provided by Wines for Humanity

and more….

4. Great food in a great venue.  Food for this event will be provided by Corky’s Catering, a mainstay in the Chicago Catering community and some of the best food and service you’ve ever experienced.  I mean, just at the meeting to go over the menu I was floored, so I know you will be too.  We will be dining underneath a 65ft. skylight in the urban chic Loft on Lake.

3. Fantastic entertainment!  I mean, seriously, this is going to be one for the record books where entertainment goes:  There will be dancing after dinner with music provided by Sekou Productions and the vastly talented DJ Ope-Ski, formerly of the “Know Your Heritage” game show.  However, before all of that, we will be treated to a performance by the Chicago Contemporary Dance Theater.

2. Great guests and informative supporters.  To name just a few of our invited and confirmed guests and sponsors:

and others!

1. And finally, the most important reason…The proceeds from this event will be donated to the Tinina Q. Cade Foundation and their Family Building grants.  THIS is the part that moves my heart.  To really get it, one has to realize that the money these families get through the grants, will help bring a family together.  That is amazing when you really think about it.  Your ticket or donation could literally build a family.  WOW.  If that’s not a kick in the teeth of infertility, I don’t know what is.

I know you’re just as excited as I am.  If you haven’t gotten your ticket already, I do hope that you will consider not only the great time we’ll have, but also the importance of the cause and do so today!  If you can’t make it to Chicago, but would still like to donate, that is welcome as well.  We will use your ticket for someone who wishes to attend and support but simply can’t afford it.

Thanks for always being such amazing supporters.  I value each and every one of you.  Hope to hug you personally in 21 days!

The EggShelf: “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot

This book emotionally drained me.

Yet, I couldn’t bear to put it down.

Yes, those are note tabs.  I’m a nerd.

I first heard about this book from my ChocolateBrides family.  So many of the ladies were adding it to their reading lists, that I had to investigate. Once I saw the subject matter, how one black woman’s cells became the nucleus of modern medicine without her knowledge, I couldn’t contain my excitement.  I went quickly to reserve it at my local library.

Ms. Skloot did an excellent job of nailing the black-speak given by Henrietta’s family.  I was equally gratified with her ability to provide just enough back-story to engage us in not only what her cells became, but who Henrietta was.  There were times very early in the book that I found myself weeping for this woman, whose story, though I’d never heard it before, was somehow familiar to me.  I was infatuated with the world surrounding HeLa, the name given to Henrietta’s cells.  Cells that eventually were used to develop vaccines and medicines for cervical cancer and HPV, flown into space, and blown up in atom bombs. I would encourage anyone with a passion for good story, medicine, and a trip down a rabbit hole, to visit the library and check this book out. I was severely impressed.

Aside from the book itself, and the significance of Henrietta Lacks as a person, this story provided a great springboard into my philosophies on African Americans and medical professionals.  While the issue of infertility was only discussed briefly in this book, reproductive health was a huge factor as Henrietta’s initial condition was cervical cancer, most likely caused by HPV.  The fear and confusion created by a lack of medical literacy is profound in this tale, and is something I am frequently ranting about.

In 1951, when Mrs. Henrietta Lacks was diagnosed with cervical cancer, she began treatments at Johns Hopkins.  I was taken aback to read that doctors had not informed her of the infertility those treatments would leave her with.  Quite similar to the ignorance exhibited by some today in regards to cancer treatments and fertility, Henrietta had no idea the two were related.  Ms. Skloot quoted this note by Dr. Richard TeLinde, however, the very doctor who did not inform Henrietta:

“The psychic affect of hysterectomy, especially on the young, is considerable,[…] it is well to present these facts to such an individual and give her ample time to digest them”

This gave me pause, because I’m often confused at how some people are understanding to the emotional feeling women experience when faced with hysterectomy, yet somehow unsympathetic to those dealing with infertility.  Aren’t the feelings of inadequacy and “less than a woman”-ness, equal in the two?

Another statement that Rebecca made, which floored me because it was so closely related to what I’ve been telling people myself, was that eventhough Henrietta disagreed with her doctor’s prognosis about her recovery, it is quite probable that she did not question him.  Patients believed what doctors said…”Especially black patients in public wards”, she writes.  And the fear was passed down, as Henrietta’s husband and sons were wary to visit doctors in their own later years, in spite of gangrene and necessary angioplasty.  The fear that doctors will do what they wish, without asking, or that they won’t understand what is being said to them, is a fear that I’m sure the Lacks share with thousands of other African American families.  Some, right in Baltimore where the Lacks reside.

HeLa Cells

In an eye-opening few paragraphs, Ms. Skloot explains the origins of these fears as she recounts the tales slaves were once told of “night doctors”.  To thwart possible runaways, slaves were told stories of night doctors in sheets who would snatch black people to infect them with disease or experiment on them.  These stories provided the preamble to the Ku Klux Klan’s use of similar costumes.  While these were “ghost stories”, some were actually true, and therefore solidified the fears that many blacks, especially those who lived near hospitals, had about medicine and doctors.

As the idea of cells and cloning becomes the focus of the book, it brought to my attention the necessity of medical literacy once again in the infertility community.  To try and understand cloning, Henrietta’s daughter Deborah watched a movie called The Clone about an infertility doctor who misuses harvested embryos.  So many of these movies and stories of science-fiction cast a negative light on reproductive technology.  If we better understood what the terminology meant, and how the different procedures worked, we could lessen the ignorance and bias.

Perhaps the most heartbreaking issue of this book, was the way this family, for what they’ve given to medicine, had very little medical care of their own.  For all of the money made by doctors and pharmaceutical manufacturers, it would have been nice for these people to at least be given free medical care…without fear of being further tested on as the family of HeLa.  I felt connected to them and angry for them, as the book ended.

In all, reading this story relit my passion about making people aware of the effects medical literacy have on care and treatment.  Knowing what is happening to or for you, as well as knowing the protocol for objection or second-opinion, is something we can not take for granted.  Along with that, our reproductive health awareness MUST increase.  For Henrietta Lacks to be given sexually transmitted diseases in 1950 that led to her cancer and eventual death, makes it all the more ridiculous for someone in 2010 to endure the same fate.  We should know what our reproductive health means, and how to maintain it. If not for our fertility, then for our very lives.

I rate The Immortal Life:

Gourmet Omelet Worthy 5/5 +1: Informative, Well-Written, Engaging, Well-Researched, Health-Conscious, and Passionate

I Hate the Stirrups

I hate the stirrups. I never want to fully cooperate. It’s so violating to me, I’m sure I’m not alone. I don’t know why, but I hate the stirrups! They have never meant good news for me.  Just really glad I’m not shy, and even gladder (if that is a word) I have God. Anyway,back to the polyp that I came here for. When I was here last week they told me something about a polyp. I have no idea what that even is? Let’s find out:

According to the Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago:

“A polyp is an overgrowth of tissue in the lining (endometrium) of the uterus. The concept is similar to that of a skin tag – basically normal tissue, but growing in an abnormal formation.  Many polyps are very small (a few millimeters in diameter) and do not represent a compromise to reproductive capabilities. However, large polyps – or multiple polyps – can interfere with reproduction by causing infertility, or by increasing risks for miscarriage.”

All I want to know, is why am I just now hearing about it. Surely they saw this when they looked 2 months ago? Well we are here now. This is the present and evidently, this polyp is in the present.

Presently, I really want to use these opportunities to tell the story of the quest for the daughter who’s name keeps changing. But, there are new dynamics every week. Where this week I began really focused on where the “brown belles” are. Because obviously, the stereotype is that black women are super fertile, however somewhere there has to be one that visits this clinic, right? Maybe if I found her, that could take the edge off coming here.
And if no ‘new’ news popped up, that is what I hoped to uncover. But, as God would have it, all focus has shifted to the polyp.

So, I’m waiting for my doctor wondering what a “hydro-lighter” ultrasound is, I think that’s what the lady on the phone said when I called this morning , to say I was gonna be late. So, my next mission is to find out what that is. I hope this is not one of those times I was supposed to drink a ton of water first. I don’t remember. It’s all I can do to find out when and how to take this Metformin I got prescribed last week. Doctor is here now. Maybe if  I focus on writing this I won’t be thinking about what is going on, at the end of this table, just a thought.

As I was saying, I’m not a writer. I have written, but blogged never. Unless you count the blogging Patrik and I used to do on MySpace, but that was dumb. This is different. As I’m writing this, I’m thinking I’m really behind. I spent far too long not being in the knowledge of the truth about my reproductive health.  A woman experiencing a situation and sharing, hoping to find answers and friends. Those are the bottom lines. I am not a nurse, I am not a doctor & I hate blood! (LOL) So, I’m feeling behind because I always take notes at my appointments, especially for the words I’m not familar with like “uterine polyp”. What I am familar with is the way that they say it, like you know what the heck they are talking about, with no medical training. But, that is ok with me. I get real slick on them. I love the face a Reproductive Specalist makes when you whip out your $1 note pad and start hitting them with the questions.

My medical training is a search engine and the notes. I just want to be able to share & learn my way thru this experiance,  to end at  the wonderful result of  a beautiful daughter.  Ann Elise Lexington, that’s her name this week. And, even though my husband will hate it, it has a nice ring to it. I’m day dreaming. The usual.

Low Thyroid?!? Low thyroid. Thyroid hormone. What???  Why did he just say I need a thyroid hormone, in the middle of my daydream? Ruined my whole train of thought. I can’t even tie that into my storyline, because he didn’t tie it in to anything, he just hit me over the head with it…did he just slide that in there on me? Does this mean more pills? I haven’t even Googled the heck out of the last meds, or found any results for “hydro-lighter” ultrasound.

In breaking polyp news: wait a dang minute…surgery? Did he just say surgery? Why does it take 10 mins to examine you and 5 to turn your life upside down with these terms and words you don’t even understand? It appears as though I will be even farther behind in my “medical researh” of Metformin, what Metformin does, Low Thyroid, Thyroid hormones, and my favorite…side effects of said Thyroid Hormone, sure to include your friend and mine – HOT FLASH! But, that reaserch with that will have to yield while I continue the new and fresh obessesion with  searching the internet for “polyp” till he dies.

Till next Time,

“Uterine Polyps Can Cause Infertility or Miscarriage” Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago,  1996–2010 Web. August 8,2010

Take a Girlfriend to the Gyne Day

So, I’ve been thinking about this movement for a few weeks now, but was even MORE impassioned about it yesterday when visiting the doctor’s office with a friend.  I planned to write out my response and feelings, but I knew it would be a rather lengthy post.  So I videotaped it instead, and unfortunately, it STILL ended up pretty lengthy, but at least you can listen and not read. (See, I’m always thinking bout’chaSmiley )   I can’t wait to hear your responses.
Take a Girlfriend to the Gyne Day. from Mrs.Tiye on Vimeo.

Here are some pictures I snagged while at the hospital, to prove what I say in the video.

Photobucket

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