TTC #5 | CD 3 & We’re Gonna Make This Work

… even if it kills us.

(Not really. That would defeat the point.)

Lady broke the bad news yesterday that our donor would be out of town smack dab in the middle of August, aka exactly when he needs to be in town. At first I despaired – we only have August and (maybe) September before we’ll be taking a break for four months. Then I bargained. Couldn’t our donor postpone his trip? I mean, my life revolves around this so his should too, right?

Ahh, but no, that’s unreasonable. And slightly ridiculous. It’s not the end of the world if we miss this cycle, I’m just being crazy. But it feels like the end of the world. Damn, this process really brings out the teenager in me.

Lady brought up the possibility of using a bank this cycle, probably more to calm me down than anything. But I grabbed hold and ran with it. Unfortunately, though, a bank is out of the question on such short notice. They all want a doctor’s authorization, which might be possible, but considering it usually takes two weeks just to get an appt these days – pretty much nope.

So obviously the next logical choice (in my head, at least) was to starve myself and pound the pavement for the next two weeks, hopefully pushing back ovulation to a more convenient time. Seeing as how this plan is both imprecise and crazy, I dropped it almost right away. But it’d work! Maybe! Or just screw me up for months to come.

Our actual plan kind of ties in with something we were going to make him do come September, anyway. There is a cyro lab in town that doesn’t provide donors, but will do analyses and freezing on what you bring in. So my clever plan is to get an analysis on his sperm while also getting a few vials frozen for while he’s gone. This would be highly convenient for us, since we wouldn’t have to coordinate with him like we usually do and could just call and pick up the sperm as needed.

I’m going to contact the lab today and try and get all our questions answered. BUT I feel like I’m missing something obvious and huge that is going to derail this new plan. So that’s where you guys with actual experience come in. Am I missing something? Or do you think freezing the stuff ahead of time to use while he’s gone actually makes sense? I have no idea! And Google isn’t exactly the most helpful these days.

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Filed under gaybies, TTC

Patience is a Virtue: the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol

After I finished the 30-day super strict autoimmune protocol back in January, I wrote a somewhat lackluster recap & review of my experience. I noted at the time that some of my lack of results might be turned around over the coming months as I continued to (mostly) adhere to the diet and take extra special care of myself.

Now that it’s been over six months, I feel like I should amend my review.

The paleo autoimmune protocol is fucking amazing and magical.

I didn’t have the results I wanted after 30 days because it took a helluva lot more than 30 days to get the issues I have in the first place. Now that it’s been a wee bit longer, all of my skin issues are so much better. I could sing!

The tomatoes were a very strong reminder of just how far I’ve come. I mentioned they gave me a boil. One boil. A single one. Uno. Eins. Unum. Raz. And it was tiny, so tiny.

This is a big deal because before the AIP, I would have constantly two to three, and was dealing with up to five of these godawful things at a time. This recent one was a wee bit painful when I biked, but those old fuckers made it impossible to sit and I often had to plaster them with bandaids because they oozed. They got so bad that it was painful just to walk. When I first started getting them, I went to the doctor – as you do, right? But instead of getting any idea of wtf they were or how to deal with them, she chastised me for not being hygienic. That stuck with me for so long that when I went to the dermatologist for my inexplicable skin rash, I went out of my way to avoid mentioning the boils.

Not that the derm helped with the rash, anyway.

So these last six months, aside from one or three flairs, I’ve been boil free and it’s been wonderful. So good that I forgot how uncomfortable those little fuckers could be, in fact. If it means I can’t ever have salsa or hot sauce again, it’s a difficult deal, but I’ll take it.

But it’s the inexplicable skin rash that started me down this journey and the inexplicable skin rash that bummed me out the most at the end of January. I’ve updated on that rash since then, that it looked like it was improving, albeit slowly, but now I can confidently say that it is almost gone. The bit on my wrist that was flared for so long is now nothing but a small set of bumps I can only tell are there when I run my finger over them. The larger patch on my waist is now mostly just the biopsy scar and a small bump or two.

It looks so much better, guys. Even the dime-sized circle on my leg that I got with my last round of egg-trying has reduced itself to a teensy pinkish spot instead of the flaking red nastiness it had been. Another large, egg-sized spot on my leg that had been nasty and raised and ugly is completely vanished. I’m left with a few small rashes speckling my torso, but even those are slowly fading. I bet they’re all gone by November.

This weekend I even had a nasty flare across my stomach that had me in tears (one of many things…), but it’s all but gone already. Apparently, the faster I get back on track when they show up, the faster they go away. That helps explain why the original few have stuck around for so very long – I didn’t even see a doctor about them for over a year. But they’re healing. Slowly, oh so slowly, but they’re healing.

A few things I’ve noticed that seem to help them heal faster: being militant about drinking broth with gelatin. Not only do any cat scratches I might have received disappear quicker, but the rashes smooth out in leaps and bounds instead of plodding along, barely changing for weeks. The key thing seems to be gelatin; I’ve been drinking broth religiously since January, but it’s often chicken broth and it usually doesn’t gel on its own. But if I add a teaspoon of gelatin, suddenly I see those improvements in my skin almost right away. I wouldn’t have to add gelatin if I made proper bone broth all the time, but I’ve learned I don’t like the taste of bone broth and will avoid drinking it. So what’s the point of making it when I won’t drink it?

The other thing: extra coconut oil, often in the form of coconut fudge. I started making and eating these to help alleviate some of my intense hunger in the mornings – which has been working amazing btw – and as a bonus, I noticed my skin clearing up faster at the same time. I have no idea why, but I’ll take any excuse to keep eating these. They’re just that good.

This is all to say that if you’re in the middle of doing the Autoimmune Protocol and you haven’t seen the results you wanted yet, don’t lose hope. This shit takes time. Unfortunately, sometimes it takes a lot of time. But if you’ve stuck with it this far, it’s really fucking worth it to keep going. Even for people like me who don’t have a really bad condition, or one that’s been around for years and years, it can still take a while. It sucks, but it is definitely worth the relief and knowledge in the end.

I will still stick to my guns about only starting the AIP if you are really and completely convinced it could help, though. It is not a fun endeavor, and once you start you can’t really stop. Well, you can, but it’s a waste of your time. You have to keep going, you have to keep plugging on, and if you do – it is really fucking worth it.

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Filed under AIP, diet, paleo

TTC #5 | CD 1 & Here We Go Again

This song just keeps going through my head when I think about the next cycle, so here you go.

And here we are. I’m doing better today than I was the last few days. I don’t think it was the negative that brought on the depression, but I don’t think it helped. Just a confluence of too many things – friend leaving, cycle failing, inexplicable rash flaring inexplicably – and possibly hormones and possibly too much chocolate. I don’t know. That’s the fun part of depression – it could be everything, it could be nothing. It doesn’t need a reason.

But I’m in a better place now and the thought of doing this again isn’t nearly as unbearable. Thankfully I’ve got another two weeks to really take care of my mental health before we actually dive back into the madness again. In the meantime, I have a story to finish writing. 55k words and counting!

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Maybe Baby #4 | DPO 14 & Nope

Negative test this morning. Temp went down, too, a day earlier than usual but whatever.

Right now the last thing I want to do is go through all this – the emotions, the POASing, the waiting, the worrying, the hoping – again, but I know in a few days I’ll feel differently. Better, hopefully. I’d take some time off, but we only have two cycles left before we’d be taking a prolonged break anyway, so I’ll continue. If nothing else, I’m stubborn as fuck.

I’ll cry and get the disappointment out of my system. I had just been so convinced about this cycle. We did everything right. We timed everything right. Four is my favorite number. But isn’t that how it goes?

I’m trying to think about all the positive things – I can finally take some aleve for this damn headache! oh hey, a cup of coffee! no peeing on sticks for a full two weeks!! – but it’s difficult. I don’t want sympathy or pity, I’m just trying to be as honest about this process as possible. And the truth is, no matter what path you take during TTC, it’s almost always a difficult one. Waiting, temping, hoping, praying, crying, despairing – we put ourselves through an emotional rollercoaster every month with no guarantee of results then or ever. What other process in our lives is remotely like that?

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Filed under BFN, gaybies, TTC, two week wait

Maybe Baby #4 | DPO 12 & I Want to Believe

I tested again this morning. No dice. I’ll test one more time on Saturday, and after that only if I don’t start my next cycle by Tuesday.

Last cycle I was so bereft by this point and after 10DPO had lost all hope. This cycle – I don’t know how I’m still clinging on, but I am. Despite the negatives, despite the lack of symptoms, I’m still half convinced it worked. I don’t know if this is intuition or just a strong will. To be honest, I really really want an April baby, and I really really want to never pee in a cup again (at least at work). The mere thought of having to start this process all over again in another two weeks is making me weep tears of frustration.

I know how very weak and selfish that sounds. It’s not even that hard! We haven’t even tried that many times! We have tons of time! We’re still young!

Then there are the fears that pray on my mind at night (and during the day [and any idle time my mind has, really])… but those are for another post.

Yet I haven’t give up. I’m still playing symptom bingo – and losing terribly. Any tiny little thing is giving me hope, even though I know taken all together they don’t amount to much. But the temp rise this morning has to mean something!! Right!! Even though it was after a bad night of sleep… And what about the sadness and the strong urge to cry? Because that can’t have anything to do with PMS… Oh and I have this weird metallic taste/sensation in my mouth and nose! But that has nothing to do with the a/c being out at work…

 

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Filed under BFN, gaybies, TTC, two week wait

Paleo Autoimmune Protocol Reintroduction | Tomatoes

july-78

I’ve finally started the process of sussing out exactly which, if any, nightshades I might tolerate. Since we have a super abundant tomato plant in our garden, it seemed most reasonable to start with tomatoes. Not only could I add a few fresh tomatoes to my salads, but I could smother a gf pizza with homemade tomato sauce and enjoy.

First, these are fresh, local, organic, etc etc tomatoes, so if I’m going to have an issue with them, I’m going to have an issue with all tomatoes. That’s always a good place to start.

Second, I have steered clear of all nightshades the last few weeks and the boils I get had completely cleared up. For this experiment, I continued to steer clear of all other nightshades, including that sneaky, pesky paprika. I could go on at length about how much I have come to loathe paprika, or at least the way it pops up in the most random of places, but I’ll leave that for another day.

So, the test. The Sunday before last I made a pizza at home using all our own ingredients to limit a potential sneak attack by paprika (*shakes fist*). On Monday and Tuesday I included at least one whole, sliced tomato in my lunch salad. Then I sat back and waited.

In the past with nightshades, I’ve noticed a reaction about a week later, usually in the form of painful boils in uncomfortable places. So I thought I would have a whole week to wait before anything showed up.

Not so. By Thursday of that same week – four days from the first tomato – I already had a nasty little boil. Thankfully, just the one, but it has made biking to work uncomfortable, even almost a full week later. I think it decided to erupt on top of a nerve, which certainly hasn’t helped.

So, that’s fairly definitive. I haven’t had any boils for going on almost two months (that was the last time I had all the nightshades), but within a week of eating tomatoes I get one. I think I might still duplicate this experiment with tomatoes, just to be abso-fucking-lutely certain - but I’m already fairly convinced that in addition to having a sensitivity to eggs, I am also sensitive to tomatoes.

But! On the positive side, three servings of tomatoes only resulted in one kinda painful boil, instead of, say, the full on eruption and agony I have had in the past. So although I will mostly steer clear of tomatoes, at least I know what to expect if I slip up or indulge. It still sucks because I fucking love salsa and pizza and tacos, but I can survive.

Next on my list – probably this weekend, if this boil is completely gone by then – will be paprika, because seriously. You can’t even find hot dogs that don’t have paprika. Mustard! Has! Paprika! And don’t get me started on the number of pre-made foods that simply list “spices.” If I ever find them, I will punch – in the face – whoever allowed producers to get away without listing all those damn spices on the ingredients.

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Filed under AIP, diet, paleo, reintroduction

Maybe Baby #4 | DPO 10 & I Cheated

I tested.

Sorry. (Not sorry.)

But you would have, too, if you’d just had a restless night full of dreams about positive pregnancy tests. I even dreamed that I had visited my ob-gyn to confirm and start doing whatever tests it is one does at first. Then I chickened out because doctors make me super uncomfortable and I rationalized that I had already tested positive, I didn’t need to be there. Oh dreams. That’s totally not what I would do in real life (yes it is).

It was negative. I was both surprised and unsurprised. Oddly, I wasn’t as disappointed as I was last time I tested at 10DPO. I think all those dreams just left me with a very strong conviction that is difficult to shake.

I’ll try not to test again before Saturday, but if I have another night of dreams like that I can’t make any promises.

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Filed under gaybies, TTC, two week wait