Saturday, August 30, 2014


29 days until Dr. KK Part II. 

Lots of my blood tests have already come in, and the results are posted on my patient portal. At first, it might as well have been in Greek or Chinese; I didn't understand a thing! But thanks to Twinkie and Dr. Google, I was able to get a basic understanding of the results. 

Lots of the tests came back normal, but when you're running 40 tests you're bound to find something abnormal in the mix. 

My Vitamin D is low. Hmm. Ok. A bit surprising in the summer and as an outdoor runner who is currently training for a marathon. But no big deal, I'd imagine that I'll just have to increase my dose through supplements. 

My CD3 results have one abnormalty. My IgG is slightly high. Dr. Google says this could be anemia... Alrighty then. 

I have a Protein S deficiency. This sounds like a blood clotting issue which could possibly explain the poor blood flow to my uterus. 

My ANA panel came back with a strong positive and a 'speckled pattern.' This is where Dr. Google could really cause you to lose your mind. I could be among the 15% who gets a positive and is perfectly healthy. It could be a false positive. Or I could be walking around with an undiagnosed autoimmune disease. I am choosing to put it out of my mind until I talk to a doctor. 

Finally, one of the results on my NK panel came back a little high. Again, no need to panic. Just gonna wait to hear what the doctor says. 

One thing is for sure: I'm really glad that I didn't cancel this appointment. I wanted to pull the plug and chicken out several times along the four month wait. I'm glad I didn't!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

0/40: Dr. KK Part I

0 days until Dr. KK Part I.

40 days until Dr. KK Part II.

Yup, you read that right! Today was my long awaited appointment with Dr. Kwak-Kim!!! It was quite the adventure which included two plane rides, a rental car, a hotel stay in a far-from-home city all by myself just to get my hiney to the office.

All the travel plans went smoothly, and I arrived at the doctor's office first thing this morning with a full bladder and an empty stomach in order to satisfy the requirements for the necessary fasting blood work and ultrasound.

The ultrasounds were first, beginning with the abdominal. After the nurse (technician?) got the images she needed, she mercifully allowed me to empty my bladder before beginning the transvaginal ultrasound.... which took 40 minutes!! It was really very cool to watch the screen as she did her work. She explained that she was measuring the blood flow to my uterus and ovaries during the exam, and wouldn't you know it, there was a quavering line on the screen pulsing along to my heart beat. It was pretty neat to see my blood flow measurements right there in front of my face!

Next, I went for my blood draw and was pleasantly surprised to learn that they 'only' needed 18 vials, not 22 as I originally thought. I offered up my good vein right away, and I'll be damned, righty was not interested in playing along today. At all! The nurse eeked a vial and a half out before my blood simply stopped flowing. Awesome. Thankfully, she was able to find another good vein right next door (who knew that was even there?!) and we successfully got the 18 vials.

I sat down with the physician's assistant next to go over my medical and family history and to get a basic physical exam on record.

Finally I was ushered into the room to see the wizard herself ::cue music from Wizard of Oz:: Dr. KK and another doctor (perhaps a resident?) went over my results from the ultrasounds along with my treatment history. She was soft spoken, yet demonstrated her expertise in an approachable manner. I liked her! I didn't really like everything she had to say about my case, but that has absolutely nothing to do with her (and 100% to do with my busted reproductive system).

THE RESULTS: the ultrasound showed that I have blood flow issues to my uterus. Ironically, the blood flow to my ovaries is fine. Dr. KK was very interested and concerned about my endometrium lining history (max documented thickness was a one-time 8.2, though my lining usually peaks around a 6 or a 7 during medicated cycles. She was particularly concerned about the two cycles where I had fluid in my lining). She said my blood work results may explain our poor embryo quality but said it is likely that there won't be answers there. The blood work should also provide a better picture about my uterus and lining, so now we wait for our follow-up on Sept 29th. We discussed the possibility of doing a natural FET with any potential IVF cycles in order to minimize any negative reactions my lining may have with the estrogen.

HOW DO I FEEL ABOUT THIS?? My head was spinning out of control for about two hours after leaving the office!!!!! Thankfully, my fellow Dreamer & technically now IRL friend, JayTee, was there to help me regain my balance and talk me off the ledge. My immediate reaction was 'what if I wasted Ninja' but JayTee was able to help me stop that destructive thinking.

Then I started to realize that I am more broken than I thought. I have just barely begun to accept that my ovaries are intent on sabotaging our efforts to build a family. Now my uterus is a problem too?? Ugh....

But I am stopping the one way train to crazy town right there. We won't really know what we're dealing with until our follow-up on September 29th, so what's the point of playing the what if game?

I have accepted the fact that my desire to control the timeline doesn't mean a damn thing in this process, and can see that this will surely take longer than I had ever imagined. Fine. So be it. I will wait. And in the meantime, I'm going to go out for lots and lots of runs and live my life as fully as I possibly can!!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Butterfly Garden

For Petey and Rowan
Today, August 15, 2014, is Petey Nugget's EDD
For Ninja

Saturday, August 9, 2014


10 days until Dr. KK Part I.

50 days until Dr. KK Part II.

Most of the arrangements are made for the first trip. I haven't made any arrangements for the second trip though. Maybe I'll just stick with the phone consult after all.

In other news, marathon training is going well! 28 days till the race :D Rachel & I ran 20 miles yesterday. It was the first time since April 13, 2013 that I have run that far.

I remember that day well. Just earlier that week, we had our initial consultation with the RE. I told myself that I knew my period was coming, but deep down I was in denial about the whole thing. I woke up on the 13th to CD1 and horrible cramps. John had something going on, so it was just me and Mocha curled up on the couch all day. Then around 4:00 in the afternoon, my cramps eased enough for my denial and sadness to melt away. Anger and rage took their place. I grabbed my iPod, laced up, and went out the door for a long run.

I didn't have a plan. No course mapped out, no distance in my mind. I just wanted to run until my legs and uterus felt numb. I ran up the steep and long hills in my neighborhood and just ran and ran. 20 miles later, I was back at my house feeling triumphant. I didn't have a race I was training for, but I suppose that run was training for the IF marathon that would follow.

Yesterday's 20 miler felt good but for different reasons. This time, IF is still there, but I have pushed it to the side where it belongs. The marathon is my goal, not beating the monster that is infertility. Though I'd love to do that (and kick its ugly ass!!) I am beyond obsessing over it every waking second. Clearly, that didn't work the past year and a half.

The first ten miles were so easy that Rachel & I hardly noticed them tick by. I didn't start to pay attention to our distance until we hit 15 miles. We stopped twice to refill our water bottles, but other than that we kept moving. By mile 17, I had to start the internal monologue to keep pushing myself forward. It was hot, and my stomach is sensitive. I was trying to keep myself balanced yet I didn't want to latch onto any 'excuses' in my head. You see, when you reach this point of the run, your legs will be tired. But they can keep going. It's the mind that nags at you to stop. So the sooner you shut your brain off and accept that it's going to hurt, the better.

At our last water stop I filled my bottle with ice & water. Every half mile, I rewarded myself with a little squirt on the top of my head. It.was.heaven.  The last mile was so tough. All I wanted to do was to stop running. But I bargained with myself that I would be allowed to walk the second I hit 20 miles, and I could drink the rest of the ice water.

When my watch finally hit 20.00 miles, I felt so relieved and proud. I walked to the nearest shady place, and parked my butt on the grass. Ohhhh, sitting felt so good! It wasn't long before I was laying down, sprawled out all over the grass. I looked up, and there were train tracks above me. Rachel turned back to check on me, and she sat down in the grass (and took pictures of the moment. Holy crap, I cannot emphasize how happy I was to not be running anymore!!). A minute later, a freight train zoomed over me. Car after car went on for several minutes. I just looked up in awe. I was laying directly beneath the track, but I was too tired to move. It was fascinating, and I found so much beauty in this moment. After the train passed, I rolled over and exclaimed, "That was SO COOL!!" Finally, Rachel & I got up and walked back to her house.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A Valuable Resource about Embryo Development

Thank you to one of my fellow Dreamers for finding this blog post. The writer explains the development of an embryo from fertilization to blastocyst. It is fascinating to me and bravo to the writer! She does a great job of explaining a complex subject in a simple manner.

After reading this, I feel like I have a much better understanding of what is going wrong with our embryos. I think this is what the doctors meant to say or should have said rather than simply saying that our embryos have 'metabolic issues.' There is no explanation for why this happens. Or how it can be fixed. But at least it makes our issue a little less mysterious.