30 March 2010

Enforced Mini-Vacation

Near the end of last week, Jakobe told me that I needed a break.  I wasn't sleeping, I felt tired all the time, and I was too stressed out.  But, saying that he told me I needed a break is an understatement.  He told me I was going to take two days off of work, and if I didn't he was going to steal my car keys, and call in sick for me.

It was exactly what I needed.  I took Friday and Monday off, and spent the weekend, not working, not reading message boards, or email, and not blogging.  It was very good for me.

Not to say that there weren't dark moments, Like having lunch with Jakobe at his office on Friday, and the woman in the next cubicle trying to pick out baby names loud enough for us to hear. Oops.  Or Friday afternoon when I went off on a cleaning binge, and realized that my entire refrigerator  was covered with pictures of other people's babies.

But, the dark times were Friday, and by the time the actual weekend came I was able to let go.  We went for a 8 mile bike ride on Saturday, the shakedown ride for Jakobe's new bike.  It was great, and I'm glad that we didn't put it off, because the weather was no good for it on Sunday.  I actually got to read a novel this weekend as well.  I goofed off, watched TV, read, played video games, and generally just let myself relax.  I can't say that I have a whole new outlook on the world, but I feel a lot better.

24 March 2010

End to Endo Study

I just saw this over at Baby, Interrupted and thought that re-posting was a good idea.  I read through the info, and signed up this morning.  You can head directly over to www.EndtoEndo.com if you would also like to participate.  It's easy - just spit in a cup, answer some questions, and share your endometriosis related medical history and records.  It won't change anything for me, but better understanding of the disease my help out others someday.

22 March 2010

Chicken Chili Blanco

Every other monday night we have a bunch of friends over to play Shadowrun, an old-school pencil, paper, and dice role-playing game.  So every other week, I make a really big dinner for about 8 adults.  Some of the players bring their kids, but the kids only eat sometimes, and even if they do, it's never enough to make me have to make more food than I would for their parents.  This means that almost every other sunday night I'm either planning or prepping Monday's dinner so that it's not the only thing I do Monday afternoon.

Also, since we're trying to cut back on spending so that we can save up for whatever we need to afford our infertility treatments, I've been trying to find inexpensive things to make, hopefully with leftovers.

Behold - Make-Ahead Chicken Chili Blanco (12 big servings)

You will Need:
A Large Pot
A Largish Slow Cooker
8-10 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs (I used frozen)
2 Lbs Dry Great Northern Beans
1 Large Onion
1 T Ground Garlic
1 T Ground Cumin
1/2 T Ground Coriander
1 T Cracked Black Pepper
1 T Dried Parsley
1-2 T Dried Oregano
1/2-3/4 t Cayenne Pepper
2 t Sea Salt
6-7 cups Chicken Broth ( or substitute with boullion, cubes, whatever)

Toppings (all optional):
Shredded Cheese
Sour Cream
Crumbled Bacon

Rinse the beans and put them in the large pot, covered with water, to soak overnight.

Put all of the dry ingredients into the slow cooker.  Finely chop and add the onion.  Mix it all together.  Cut the chicken in to 1/2 inch cubes.  I use frozen chicken.  It cuts fairly easily with a butcher knife, and I don't have to wait for it to thaw before I start, either take it out before you start doing anything else, and watch a TV show or something, or, zap it in the microwave for a minute or two.  You don't want it defrosted, just a little bit softer than fully frozen.  Add the chicken and mix again.  If you're using a bullion paste or cubes, now's the time to add them.  Put the whole thing in the fridge, and wait until morning.

In the morning, Drain the beans and add them to the chicken mixture, as well as the broth (or water if you added boullion the night before.) Turn the slow cooker on to low, and go to work.

When you get home, Check the Chili to see if it's the consistancy you want.  If it's too thin, don't worry about it, as you stir it some of the beans will break up and thicken it up. If it's too thick, add some broth to bring it to the consistancy you want.  Serve hot, with any of the possible toppings listed above.

The chili without toppings comes in at about 300 calories, 27g Carbs, 26g Protein and 3.5g Fat per serving, just be careful if you're watching your salt intake, it's pretty high, sometimes I substitute lite salt.

Nope - No Kids Yet

Don’t you just love it when CD1 is the day when someone decides to ask if you think you might want to “do the family thing?”  It’s such a loaded question.  My vagueish answer of “When we can” was met by the advice to not wait until we can afford it, because that day never comes.  All I could really think at that moment, was that we have to wait until we can afford it, because it’s not the having of children we have to save up for, it the out of pocket expenses involved in along the way while we’re trying to start a family.

Urologists aren’t cheap.  Neither are Reproductive Endocrinologists, Semen Analyses, Hormone tests, Hysterosalpingograms, Vitamin supplements, and any number of other things that we’re probably going to have to pay for, or re-do at our own expense.  All of that is before we get to the costs of In Vitro, which is where we think we’re headed. 

We’re not rich.  We have extra money in the budget, but as soon as I finish school we’re looking at $600 a month or so to repay our combined student loans, and that’s a good chunk of our extra income.  So, we’d better figure out how to get all of this at least started before we go there.  Saving up for IVF and paying for the related and other expenses along the way is going to take us at least a year – Maybe 18 months.  It’s almost more than I can think about.

Especially on CD1, when I’m drugged out of my mind on narcotic painkillers and ibuprofen and it’s only working partway.  The day that I don’t even get to hope anymore: maybe I’ll get pregnant this month.  Did I mention that I hate my “girl parts” right about now?  They hurt, A LOT, and I just generally feel sick.  Tomorrow should be better, but I seem to have developed a new pattern: 

·         Two days before my period :
o   Moderate cramping, that makes me think - yuk, but I can make it through this,
o   Some spotting 
o   Take some Tylenol with Codeine, and a bunch of Advil.
·         The day before my period:
o   All symptoms are very muted – maybe it won’t be so bad.
o   More spotting
o   Take a bunch of Advil. 
·         The day my period starts: 
o   The Colombia River begins to flow.
o   Pain, Nausea, Fatigue, and more pain.
o   Take a bunch of Tylenol with Codeine and a bunch of Advil
o   Give up on the small guns and break out the Vicodin. Continue to take lots of Advil.
o   Go home and curl into a ball.
That’s  the day I get asked if I’m going to have kids, without fail, every month.  Let me tell you - If I didn’t want to have kids, and wasn’t trying my damndest – I might sign up for a hysterectomy, just so that I didn’t have to feel like this ever again.  It’s even enough to make me consider going on Lupron again – and that was probably the most miserable six months of my life.

21 March 2010


I was feeling like it was time for a bit of change around here.  That and a bit of personality that was actually mine, so I decided to overhaul the site and give myself a facelift.  The new look is proably not as prefessional as the one I had been using, but at least it's mine, and not something done by someone else that I just found on the internet when I was getting started.  I might get rid of the animated header, or figure out how to do it wihtout using a GIF, because Blogger/Picasa doesn't like them and turns them into plain old PNG files, and knowing me, I'll forget to log in to PhotoBucket, and then we'll get the "This user hasn't logged in more than 80 days" instead of my graphic....  If that happens, Kick me!

19 March 2010

Nookie Free Zone

Not quite the same as "Nookie Prison"  but damn close.  Tomorrow is the likely beginning of the:

  • Nookie Free Zone
  • Maintenance (The pool is closed for maintenance, no swimming.)
    • We came up with this euphemism a couple of years ago when: the hotel had no vacancies but the pool was open for swimming  (I was on the pill), or the hotel had no vacancies, and the pool was closed for maintenance(I was having my period).  The vacancy sign has been up for a while now, but no one's checked in.
  • Aunt Flo
  • the hag
  • my period.
It wouldn't be so bad, but we're probably looking at almost 2 weeks without because of circumstance, and other things.  To make it worse, Jakobe was actually in the mood last night, at least to begin with, but he caught me on my way into the shower.  It was right after I got home from a "Strategic Planning Meeting" after work - and I still needed to unwind. I should have just pretended like I was having more fun that I was, but it's hard to hide it when I'm just not feeling it.  We were supposed to see if we felt more like it later, but he fell asleep, and I wasn't going to wake him up for a "maybe."

Tonight is Date Night, which is both good and bad.  The exercise of going on a date twice a month is very very good for our marriage, but Date Night almost never ends with nookie.  Plus - if there's any chance it'll get messy, it's a bad idea.  We had that happen once, and I never want to see the look of shock and dismay that crossed his face again. If I can help it.

I'm not a happy person when I don't get laid.  There, I admit it.  Plus - when not getting laid and PMS go together, watch out for megabitch.

On a related note, I have mixed feelings about maintenance this month. It's nice in a way to not feel disappointed about it.  We're not trying right now, and with the way things look we're not "not preventing" either, so it's just expected.  I'm sad that I feel like we don't have a chance without major interventions, and I'm sad because of all of the dreams that we're putting on hold for the meanwhile. At the same time, I'm not sad that I don't have to have my hopes dashed ever month in the meanwhile - it's definitely easier to know that you're not pregnant when maintenance comes.

17 March 2010

Writing on the chalkboard

One of the most unfortunate things that go along with stress and depression is sleep disturbances.  I don’t want to get out of bed, and I can’t fall asleep or stay asleep.  I toss and turn from about 4 am on, and when I make it to bed at midnight, and take an hour or more to fall asleep, it doesn’t make for a restful experience.

This week has been full of both positives and negatives.  We did get a referral from Jakobe’s endocrinologist to see a urologist, and they called us to make an appointment.  But – the appointment isn’t until April 30th.  His endocrinologist also said that given the fact that his SA was so terrible, and that his hormone levels are normal, he thinks we’ll need to go the IVF route.

I emailed my primary care doctor to let her know where things are right now, and she’ll be happy to help me find a specialist when it’s time to treat my endometriosis again.  Part of me is not happy about putting off my treatment, because it means that I get to live with the effects of endo in the meanwhile. 

Anyway, the thoughts and feelings that have been swirling through my head haven’t been helping my sleep problem.  Neither has the fact that it’s finals week, and I procrastinated writing a paper that is due today.  I crawled into bed last night after taking 2 Advil PM, and 2 melatonin.  Laying in bed and waiting to fall asleep, I started to use one of my usual make-me-fall-asleep techniques: count backwards from 1000.   Instead of just counting I pictured myself writing each number on a chalkboard followed by the phrase:  Everything will turn out as it should.  You know  - just like “I will not kick boys at recess.”  Following the same line of thought, that we can change thoughts and behavior by repeating a phrase to remind us, I’m using my mental chalkboard.  Maybe, just maybe it will cause me to feel more optimistic.  Now all I have to do is remember to do the same thing tonight.

14 March 2010

Pharmaceutical Dreams

While I was puttering around the house this morning, I found myself wishing that the drug companies would make a new drug. They could call it Advitrace, or something like that. It would magically allow people to handle adversity with grace, instead of what we usually end up with: depression, anger, ill humor, irritability, lack of focus... Oh, and a headache. I could go on.

I think that I want to be able to find acceptance of what we currently believe our situation to be. I want to be able to just let go, and trust that it will all work out. I want to be able to stop thinking about it. I want to stop crying. I want to not be jealous of my friends with kids. I want to stop feeling the ugly green eyed monster when I see pregnant women.  I know, I want a lot, and so far I'm not getting it.
Friday, when we went on date 5 of our 10 Great Dates program, we managed to skip the part we were supposed to be working on, but we were there long enough to see the video that went with the seminar. The guy in the video was extremely funny, but what he was talking about is that men have a "nothing box" where they can go and there's nothing there, no thoughts, no worries, just nothing, whereas women are always thinking about or planning for something. It might be a generalization, but I completely fit.

I want a nothing box.

12 March 2010

BoC update

I actually received my woot! Bag of Crap on Tuesday - as did my co-worker who also actually managed to order one.  This time I made out like a bandit (my coworker not so much), and got one heck of a deal for only 8 dollars.

  • 1 Omnitech In-car GPS system
  • 1 Bushnell Hiking GPS system
  • 1 Flush light - Yep that's right, a new handle to install on your toilet that shines a light on the bowl so that it can be seen in the dark without turning the bathroom light on.  A great advancement in bathroom science, that will, in my case - shine a light on the bathtub.
  • 1 folding picnic basket (that is so utterly cheesy, I don't know what else to say about it.  You unfold it to be the tablecloth when you get where you're going.)

10 March 2010

Not Your Everyday Chicken

I absolutely love to cook, and this chicken salad recipe has become one of my go-to recipes for when we have people over - or we need to bring something appetizer like to a party.  I've made some adjustments to the recipe as printed in the Williams and Sonoma Fix it Fast Small Plates cookbook to make it a little bit easier, healthier(maybe) and less expensive to do at home, as well as taking into account our preferences.

Chicken Salad Recipe:

3-4 Boneless skinless Chicken Thighs
1/2 a fennel Bulb
1 1/2 t Lemon Juice
1/2 t Lemon Pepper
2-3 green onions
1/3 cup reduced fat Mayonnaise
1/2 t tarragon
1 Baguette
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350.  Slice the bread, put it on a cookie sheet, brush one side with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake for 10 minutes.

Heat a pan on the stove to medium high, sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper and put it in the pan.  I usually end up flipping it several times, but I often start with frozen chicken, so it takes a bit longer.   (I don't put any oil in the pan, because the chicken thighs provide enough of their own.

While the chicken is cooking, chop the fennel finely, as well as the white and pale green parts of the green onions.  Combine these ingredients with the lemon juice, lemon pepper, mayonnaise and tarragon and 3/4 teaspoon of salt.  Let it sit while the chicken cools off some.  As soon as the chicken is cool enough to handle, chop it into small pieces and add it to the fennel mixture. 

Finally - drop spoonfuls of the chicken salad onto the toast pieces.  You're done.

05 March 2010

Endometriosis Awareness

I have an email in my inbox reminding me that it's Endometriosis Awareness Month, and when I stopped to think about it, I realized that I've been living with Endo for 10 years now.

When I was first diagnosed, I honestly thought that it was a terrible blow.   I had a chronic disease (that hurt like hell) and it was never going to go away.  I felt sorry for myself, but at the same time I did everything I could to make my life better.  In 5 years, I had 3 laparoscopies, Started and ran a mostly unsuccessful support group, did more research than you can shake a stick at, and the end result was that I spent a lot of time taking pain medication, and I still hurt.

Then - I gave up.

Or more honestly, I stopped thinking that anything would change, and I accepted the way things were.  I continued to take pain medication as needed, but I mostly ignored the whole problem.  I went through several birth control options, as well as no hormonal control at all, and finally found something that worked for pain when I went back onto birth control when I met my husband.  It made me extremely PMSy, but I suddenly I was living in a world of light, short periods.  A world where I could get through with only Advil.  A world where I didn't have to dread the coming of my period because it was miserable, but instead only because I had to abstain for a few days.  Wow.

Then - we decided to try and have a baby.

It's amazing how quickly we forget unpleasant things - like how bad having a period was before we found a birth control pill that worked.  I slowly fell back into the monthly cycle of dread, except that it was mollified by hopeful anticipation that maybe I would be pregnant, combined with the new dread that I wouldn't be, and an increasing feeling that our inability to conceive was due to my endo.  When we first started trying I was able to get my hormones checked, and I had a HSG to make sure that I still had good tubes (and one of them was, the other one was inconclusive).  Until only a month ago, I was still looking at how to time another Lap to increase our chances (and not incidentally - grant me some pain relief for a while).  I felt responsible, every month when Jakobe apologized for not getting me pregnant, for wanting a baby and my body failing.  Endo sucks - it makes you doubt your ability to do one of the more basic things in life, and it makes you feel physically poor at the same time.

In the larger picture - Endo certainly wasn't the end of the world.  I learned to cope and I am a generally happy  person despite it.  But - it's something it would be nice to be able to put behind me.  A cure - or at least an effective, long term, conservative treatment that doesn't further interfere with fertility (or even, just maybe restores some of it) is a dream I can get behind.

04 March 2010


So, after my last post, things got a lot better.  How?

When I got home from school, I was in one heck of the mood - I was actually crying when I left class on Tuesday night.  (not really like me, but hey - I'm on thin emotional ice right now).  I tried to call Jakobe - and he was too busy playing video games to answer/hear the phone.  I was upset, and pissed, and unreasonable.  Like major PMS, but without the hormones.

What did I do about it?  The stupid thing.  I slammed around, and made myself a large martini which I drank in two swallows, and then I let him hug me, and started crying again.  Smooth, huh?

We had words - and I admitted that I'm holding myself together by the skin of my teeth, and that I didn't think I could keep it up. He held me, and we talked of a minute or two.  I felt a bit better, but was mostly just to tired to deal with it anymore.

He went off to the back of the house.  I took my vitamins, medications, and supplements (quite a handful - mostly supplements), had a nice shot of applejack, and decided to go to bed.

I've typed all this and realized that it doesn't really look like things got any better.

At this point, I was just a touch drunk, and perfectly okay with it.

This is the point where Jakobe decides to surprise me with an unexpected bout of make-up sex.  It sounds terrible, but it was exactly what I needed.  Afterward, I felt much more connected and loved, and more like we were on the same page.  It helped me to feel like we weren't giving up, and like this whole thing wasn't going to get the best of us.

Sometimes I wonder if we could solve all the worlds problems with the afterglow of really great sex...  And - if everyone else were just like us, there would be no nasty population explosion to deal with as a consequence.

02 March 2010

Floating (or is that Sinking)

I'm just kind of stuck.  I can't seem to find my footing.  I think that a large part of it is that I tend to cope with things by either viewing them as in the past (so there's nothing I can do about it) or planning and taking action.  The fact that I have to wait until Jakobe feels ready to make his appointment (he said he was going to do it this week, but has not actually taken any steps in that direction, or shown any real desire to) means that I can't do anything.  I have absolutely no control of the situation, and I feel frozen.  I just don't know how to cope, or how to support him.

I also don't know whether or not to push him to make his appointment, or to leave it alone.

Added to this is the resurgence of a problem we had mostly pushed into a small dark corner to eventually wither and die: Sex.  Namely, that I almost always want sex more than he does.  He gets the same feeling of closeness and connection from just cuddling.  Between TTC and diagnosing and treating his diabetes, we had almost reached equilibrium, and it wasn't really a problem.  Since the SA - back to being a problem.  He doesn't feel like it - and I just start feeling more and more distant and disconnected.  When we did have sex, I think he was satisfied because he's not expressing any further interest, and I'm just not drifting any further away.  I really don't want this whole thing to mess up my marriage - I love my husband more than I can say.  Right now though, I feel very alone.

Even my body seems stuck in stasis - I haven't had any trouble ovulating until now but it's CD25, and no sign of O yet.  Not that I need to - I can continue to ovulate like clockwork - and we'll never get pregnant without something else helping us out.

Wasting Time and Money

Yep - back to my database class.  The grad student who is teachign it can't teach his way out of a paper sace, and has no flexibility.  Also, he can't answer a question with a straight answer.

He tells us exactly what we can put on the homework, and if you copy him, you get full points, but if you think on your own, and make slightly different assumptions, you're wrong.  Database design, assumptions, table normalization, etc. is not done exactly the same way by different people.  This is BULLSHIT.
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