Friday, 30 September 2016

Heal thyself.

Part of being a good, productive adult, I feel, is having a good, honest appreciation of one's own strengths and weaknesses. In addition, it is important, as we get older, that we do not take our health for granted.

One thing I do very well is exercise. My eating habits fluctuate, but I think my partner and I eat out too much. Anyone who reads this blog knows that I am partial to a glass or three of vino. Over the years, drinking wine has gone from something only at special occasions to something that is more of a routine thing. I rarely get drunk, nor do I drink wine every night. I do drink most nights of the week, and often to take the edge off a stressful day. I have often thought that I need to cut back, and I will give it a go, but it just goes back up to previous habits.

Hence, I have decided to give the vino a break for 4 weeks in October, in an initiative called Ocsober. You can sponsor me here. It will be tough but the more encouragement I get, the easier it will be. The money goes to a good cause - the Life Education Centre. Anyone remember Harold the Giraffe giving out life lessons in primary school?

I could have the excuse that there is a lot on my plate at the moment, and to do this is a bit too much, but hell, in for a penny, in for a pound. Also I need my brain and body to be in tip top shape.

In November, I have some leave coming up. I had thought about going to Costa Rica (no good - Zika and too far away), and also to the Cook Islands on a Crossfit retreat (no good - will clash with a conference I have on). I thought it might be a good time to do a health and fitness detoxy type retreat.

I've narrowed it down to 2 places:

1. Golden Door in the Hunter Valley - pros: less expensive, less far away cons: less exciting
2. Kamalaya in Koh Samui - Pros: more holiday-like, pampering, more exciting cons: more expensive

I am probably leaning more towards Kamalaya.

I went to Gwinganna a few years back. It was great but a bit hippy.

Anyone else been to a lifestyle retreat?

Any recs?

(I looked into Chiva Som but it is really spenny. Like, twice the amount of Kamalaya.)

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Take-home messages

Whenever I go to a lecture or conference or anything where I have to learn, I very rarely write down anything.

Instead, I take one or two "take-home" points. Things that were salient and that I will remember. Otherwise it's bits of paper which I will never look at again.

I went to see the IVF doctor again, the review visit.

My IVF doctor is a specialist handpicked by me. He is one of Australia's most experienced IVF specialists and is well into his 70s. He is Scottish and he has a dry, irreverent sense of humour and kindly grandfatherly type nature. He also took the government to court so that single women or women in same sex relationships could access IVF. He won.

I had all the tests. They were fine. My pelvis is in good configuration. My partner and I are pumping out gametes like champions. I could literally have had tens of biochemical pregnancies, plus one I actually knew about.

However, my kindly Scottish specialist told me something very sobering today, nothing that is particularly emphasised in any of the lay literature, and nothing that rings a bell from what I was taught back at uni.

He said that, at my age, on average, about 90% of my ova are aneuploid, compared with maybe 40 or 50% (or maybe 30? I can't remember what he said) at age 25. That means that, as a result of my age, I am pumping out faulty eggs with abnormal chromosomes. They are not worth the paper they are written on. I don't mean that in a perjorative way, it's just the way it is. They are doomed to fail and not result in a take home bundle of joy. There are plenty of women over 35 who have babies, but there is a mix of luck and maybe having a few more "good eggs".

I wondered, with all my bits and his bits being good, what IVF would actually circumvent, and make a baby more likely? After all, IVF is invasive, expensive and potentially risky.

Essentially, what they would do in the process would be to check the embryos, and implant only the good ones that had the best shot of sticking and resulting in a pink squalling bundle after 38 weeks. It's a bit more complex than that, and I've done more than a cursory search of google scholar and medline to gain some idea of the ins and outs, but that's basically it.

This discussion put everything into clear relief. All other things being equal (ie no major medical illness or diseases of the reproductive tract), egg quality is the determining factor. The determining factor of this is maternal age. People say that all the time, but it really hit home today.

Would it have been better if I had the baby with my Ex at 31, when my eggs would have been happier? No. It's not helpful to think of the "what ifs". A good relationship needs to come before the baby, I have always firmly believed that.

Applying the retrospectoscope, if I had the clearheadedness in the setting of the dissolution of a marriage, I would have had my eggs frozen. There is a bit of a push for this by the IVF people, but I feel probably not enough. But for me, it's a moot point.

What would I say to a professional female in their late 20s or early 30s who is single but might like to have children sometime in the future? Freeze yo' eggs. It's expensive but probably less expensive than repeated cycles of IVF with aged eggs, and the resulting mindfuck that can ensue.

So I have a plan. It's onward with the IVF. We have to go through the counselling, police checks, parting with cash, et cetera. It's just a case of when. Soon.

I am really keen to see a friend in Costa Rica and doing some ziplining and some surfing and looking into the crater of a volcano. Also some Crossfit WODs (she is my Crossfit friend who was doing a PhD in Melbourne and went to my Xfit box). The desire to go to CR is mostly reflecting a desire to escape some stressors.

Costa Rica is not really a place I want to go while undergoing IVF. My last hurrah pre IVF perhaps? The other take-home I got from the consult today was that, if IVF will be successful, it is most likely to occur within the first three goes. So hopefully the rigours of IVF will be short before the rigours of pregnancy supervene. I had my head around laying the groundwork later this year, and  getting the hormone shots rolling in the new year.

In other news:
  • am meant to be doing a healthy eating clean living challenge with my gym. It's really hard. A bit of comfort eating may have done the trick when I was climbing the walls last night. Not all comfort eating is bad.
  • I have a better idea of what I want to do when I grow up (ie career goals). 
  • I think, more than ever before, I am appreciating having siblings. They warm my heart, increasingly.
 Sooo....IVF.....Costa Rica..... comfort eating..... a true miscellany.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Hangin' tough.

For your delectation, a 1990s earworm. Any lapsed NKOTB fans out there?

It's been a tough day.

Very challenging work morning.

A lunch break at the local shopping centre. It was pregnant woman and little baby hour at the food court. They were errrrrywhere. I ate my lunch staring at a shop sign.

I went to my PM session. The dramas of the morning wiggled their way via phone and email into my afternoon work.

The infertility (I use that word legitimately now, it's been over 12 months) is taking its toll. Work has unique challenges. Many many sighs are sighed. Tears prick my eyes but are often bit back.

My saviours are my partner, my dog and crossfit. And my crossfit ladies. And youse. And Offspring. And Offspring debriefs with my cuzzy on facebook. And the Bachelor and debriefs in real time on facebook with the funny ladies who follow blogger Far Kew.

Actually that's quite a lot of things to smile about.

Yes, I am watching the Bachelor. I know. I blame my fragile state and soft brain.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

A summary

For those of you who don't get my stream of consciousness on facebook (or inside my brain), here is a summary about what is going on in life recently.

  • I went to Bali. Bali was fricking awesome. I don't know why I've never been to Bali, perhaps I was a slave to my hipster pretension. The Bogans are mainly on the plane and go to Legian or Kuta. That is not Bali. Great weather, great range of accommodation, beauty spas galore, shopping, nice beaches, great weather, mind-blowing food and the Balinese - it's all going on. It was so good we are going for Christmas. Because all of those who've been reading the blog for a while know of my deep seated ambivalence towards Christmas. 
  • My paper with proceeds from my PhD was rejected by a big journal but is under review by another big one. It takes aaaages and kind of does my head in. I find myself thinking "hurry up and reject it if you are going to reject it". But that won't help.
  • The extra sessions I got are not what I expected. I have been tossing up whether to resign, having never resigned a job in my life. What I have decided upon after much consideration is to find out what I am meant to be doing (tick...kind of), do my best at it, get some publications, make the best of it, and apply elsewhere in the interim. The money is good....
  • we are now looking at IVF. The week before I was due for my IVF appointment I was 6 days late. 6 DAYS LATE. Lady rage ensued. I grit my teeth and proceed. There is a lot in the papers about IVF, whether it should be medicare funded for women past a certain age. Essentially it is a new, higher level of buy-in for my partner and I, with much more hope and resources attached to the outcome. The efficacy (in terms of take-home bundle) seems a bit worrying. Still, we proceed. Can't throw the baby out with the bath water HAAAAAAA
  • Crossfit is my mental saviour. I still don't have a full 20 inch box jump or a pull up, but I am getting more confident with jumping on things. I am getting stronger. We have a new coach who gets us (me) to reach deeper into ourselves to do our best, and I respond well to it.
I am plodding along OK. I find my patience challenged but I can wake up the next day and feel better. I have a lot to be grateful for.