Friday, December 16, 2005

Looking forward to sunshine

We're going away to the tropics for a couple weeks in the sun. I'm so looking forward to it and the break from work and everything, though I will miss my pets while I'm away.

My period showed up today, right when Ovusoft said it would; a little crampy in the morning but not too bad so far. A nice, average 29-day cycle.

It's hard for me to lurk on my TTC buddies, so many of them have gotten pregnant this year, even ones that had infertility problems. A fair number are still waiting in the wings as well so I don't feel a total freak but it's still pretty ouchy knowing that for some of us this is not something that happens anything close to easy.

Still, this year had things arranged in a way so that it was for the best. We had some staff turnover and our business really needed our attention. It wouldn't be an easy thing to be expecting a baby right now. And you know I wouldn't be going to the tropics right now if I was pregnant. Even AF is cooperating with the plans and should be cleared out before we leave town.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Hysterosalpingogram (HSG)

An HSG is a hysterosalpingogram, an x-ray of the interior space of the uterus and fallopian tubes using a contrast dye. It can be used to look for uterine abnormalities and adhesions, determine how much infringement fibroids are making into the interior of the uterus (to some degree), and identify if your tubes are open (referred to by docs as "patent"). Some docs do it standard a few months after a myomectomy, mine did not. The dye does have what my RE referred to as a "voodoo effect", where there is some slight increase in pregnancies after the procedure, speculated to be caused by the dye perhaps causing the little hairs (cilia) in the tubes to function better.

It can be done by your doctor in a radiology facility or by a radiologist -- mine was done by my RE and she was a lot more comfortable with the procedure than the radiologist I could tell.

They insert a catheter to insert the contrast dye through your cervix; a good cough evidently will open up the cervix so it is less painful. The dye feels like pressure going in, and it can cause a drop in blood pressure. It's generally uncomfortable and causes some cramping. My RE tried to manipulate my uterus for the xray shots using the special speculum and I found that to be very uncomfortable with my 6-7cm (at the time) fibroid.

Here is an link detailing Guidelines for the Performance of HSG - it advises taking 1000 mg of NSAIDs prior to the procedure.

Rarely it can cause infection, and some people are allergic to the contrast medium. Some docs give antibiotics preventatively ahead of time, they also might have you take a heavy dose of Tylenol an hour beforehand.

Here are some links to sites showing images from HSGs:

HSG Link 1

HSG Link 2

HSG Link 3

I should go pick up my x-ray film from the University of Washington Radiology Department, where I brought it when I consulted about UAE a couple years ago. I'd like to scan it and and post it here so you can see what my distorted uterus looked like.

Monday, December 12, 2005

DIM Plus for PMS? (and more about estrogen excretion)

On one of the discussion groups about healing fibroids naturally I learned about this dietary supplement called DIM Plus which was supposed to help your body rid itself of excess estrogen. Evidently some of the cancer circles were talking about it. I bought some a while back and tried it for a week or so, no side effects that I could see but since I was doing chinese herbs and trying to get pregnant and you aren't meant to take it if you are pregnant I didn't continue using it.

Well, with my breasts sore as ever for the second luteal phase in a row, I decided finally yesterday to take one capsule to see if it would help. Forget just about the fertility stuff for a minute and know that for me, feeling bad PMS symptoms mean that my body is still lined up for more fibroids -- something I really don't want. The recommended dose is 2 capsules but I took just the one, and then coincidence or not my breast pain receded. They are still sensitive and full and fibrocystic but not just aching me outright now. Was it possibly the DIM Plus?

Here's the link to the product page on the manufacturer's site:

DIM Plus by Nature's Way

Estrogen Metabolism and the Diet-Cancer Connection: Rationale for Assessing the Ratio of Urinary Hydroxylated Estrogen Metabolites (PDF)

Hormone Balance - Hormonal Health (about DIM)

Physiological Functions of Phytonutrients (PDF - info about DIM starts on p.9)

Foods for Cancer Prevention

Estrogen Dominance Syndrome

Nutritional Factors in Menstrual Pain and Premenstrual Syndrome

Liver Detoxification Pathways

Estrogen's Two-Way Street

Premenstrual Syndrome Types -- I mighta have posted this link elsewhere in this blog, but it might be helpful to you in this context so here it is.

It makes me think, why is it that many doctors don't consider things a problem until they might kill you? Why do I have to live with hormonal imbalance and cyclic breast pain for years. Pooh on them. And honestly I've tried the no caffeine, no dairy, no meat, no alcohol approaches and they didn't help me. No chocolate, well that's not really an option and my acu told me that with Spleen Qi deficiency it was a common craving. Like pica (craving and eating clay and ice and stuff) I guess but better.

About Prolactin and Abnormal Breast Discharge

A hodge-podge of links related to prolactin for your light reading.


Elevated Prolactin (PDF)

High Prolactin Levels

Hyperprolactinemia (High Prolactin)

Prolactin-Lowering Medicines: Your Questions Answered

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT PARLODEL® (bromocriptine) from Novartis

Bromocriptine Addendum

Nipple discharge - abnormal

Nipple Discharge

Lack of expression of endometrial prolactin in early implantation failure: a pilot study

The Environmental Estrogen Bisphenol A Stimulates Prolactin Release in Vitro and in Vivo*

A murine model of adenomyosis: the effects of hyperprolactinemia induced by fluoxetine hydrochloride, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, on adenomyosis induction in Wistar albino rats.

Sunday, December 11, 2005


I've been sick all weekend with an awful cold virus. Using up boxes of tissues and my joints are aching so much. Not much fun. I didn't go out shopping so instead I've been doing what I call "cooking something from nothing"; we're having long grain and brown rice with roasted brussel sprouts, carrots and turnips. It tastes okay but this is not one for the recipe book.

I've been thinking about the holidays this year. I'm making some effort but it feels hollow and I wasn't sure why until I started thinking about it. I used to go back East to see my family; they would drive me crazy but they were my family. Now my mother isn't talking to her family, my grandmother and I aren't speaking since she was so awful in relation to my first pregnancy (a disgrace to the family she said), my sister is in Seattle but I hardly ever see her (though we were best friends when we were growing up) and I find it hard to talk to my brother, he's not grounded in reality unfortunately. Add to that how little support my family gave to me during my miscarriages and after my surgery last year and it feels like my family has fully disintegrated -- and much of it feels to me to be related to my fertility issues.

So my family isn't really there anymore, and the family we were going to have hasn't materialized. Add to that the feeling of general alienation the past few years have engendered in me and socially I've been feeling isolated as well -- probably more through my own doing than not. It's no wonder really that I hit the wall with the TTC business.

Years ago, a friend of mine told me when life felt out of control to me that I needed to create touch stones for myself in my life. I did take that to heart and it was within months of hearing that message that I met my partner and met a few of my good friends. Over the past years though people have changed jobs, pursued different interests, moved away and so there are fewer touchstones that there once were. There haven't been many people IRL to talk to about what we have been going through, it's hard to talk to friends who know they don't want to have kids about infertility and pregnancy loss. Then the ones that have had kids, well their kids are getting older and so they have parties with a bunch of four year olds, etc. and since we don't have kids we don't get invited (though really I wouldn't want to go anyway).

So I feel like I'm standing at the edge of a bridge, trying to leave one side, two failed attempts to cross that bridge that hurt me, and a bunch of nasty momminess, child care, teething, diapers, terrible twos etc on the other side (is that supposed to seem appealing?) And more and more I feel like I won't be able to cross the bridge without medical intervention, which I don't want to do. It just feels wrong to me.

I think that my current RE is part of the problem. Over and over in my head do I hear those words from a couple weeks ago "that's (low progesterone) not what's wrong with you" which makes me want to scream back THEN WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH ME?!

If I feel the time comes for another consult I might just consider going with a different RE. Maybe we should even consider going for a consult outside of Seattle, there's too much crap going on with the fertility clinics here. It makes me the patient feel like a pawn or an asset instead of like a person.

By the way, Virginia Mason Hospital decided to close the fertility center outright. Dr McClure, the urologist who did my partner's vasosostomy (vasectomy reversal) was the only one left after Dr Marshall, my RE left to open Pacific NW Fertility. My partner had some crappy frozen sperm there, from before we knew what we weren't going to do and since it was only about 1% kruger we're going to dump it.

That's enough of a book for one night. Thanks for your replies and talk to you soon.