“This is Us” and infertility.

Dear newly starting out infertility couple.

If you don’t watch the show “This is us” then you missed out on Season three where the main character Kate goes to a fertility doctor with her husband to discuss IVF. She is told that due to her weight she has a 90% chance of having complications and IVF not working. IVF also know has Invitro Fertilization is where the egg and sperm are fertilized outside of the body in a petri dish. 

When you enter that clinic you enter because you are either at the end of your rope because nothing is working or are just trying to figure things out. We all enter that clinic looking for answers and hope. That first meeting may give you a lot of hope after you’ve discussed with your doctor your history. One of the oddest questions they will ask your male partner (assuming you are heterosexual) is if he had children with anyone else. Now, I hope, for your sake, you know that answer to this.

Most clinics will then do a battery of tests on you and blood tests and you’ll come back to see what is going on. You, my female friend will go through your first cycle monitoring and be shocked by the amount of poking and prodding you will experience, but there will be hope. You’ll be riding on hope.

Most clinics will want to dive straight into IVF because they have the most medical control in that situation.

The chances of IVF working in a woman who has PCOS (like me) and IVF working at all is about 48%. What most people don’t know is that there are five parts to IVF not one.

PART 1: The ACTUAL growing of more than an abnormal amount of eggs in your ovaries to be retrieved. This doesn’t mean its over, it means that for five days after that you need to wait and see if any of the egg and sperm fertilize. What Kate was told about the  90% chance of success rate is the probably of an actual live birth and baby not the IVF operation part succeeding. The part after the fertilization.

PART 2. Retrieval of the eggs. You go under and they put a needle the size of your arm, thats from your elbow down in to your beautiful punanie.

PART 3. Growing of the fertilized eggs in a lab.

PART 4. Going back a few weeks later to re-insert the fertilized egg(s) into the woman body

PART 5: THE WORST PART which is the two week wait which if equvilant to self torture. 

PART 6: The phone call. This phone call is from the nurse who says, congrats you are pregnant and won the lottery or nope, try again. Do no pass GO do not collect $200.

Dear Kate, I constructed this outline to you because I do want to lay out some facts, figures and a reality check. I know you don’t want it right now as you are in the hands of doctors who have given you hope and I just want to let you know a few things I had known.

Lets talk about Sex.

You need to have non baby making sex. There I said it. It will happen. You’ll end up having just fertility sex. Timed sex. The goodness of sex will just get zapped out of it. I know you’ve heard this, but it will and is going to happen.

Acupuncture.

You need acupuncture. You need to do it before you start any kind of fertility procedures. It balances out your body and your mind. Find a really good one that studied in China.

Triggers

You will get triggered. As soon you start infertility anything you will have trauma. You’ll walk out with trauma. It doesn’t even matter how much you mediate but you’ll be traumatized by the experience. You’ll post a picture that you got a new puppy and realize that this may be the closest you’ll ever get to showing the world that your family is expanding. You’ll be at a wedding and their show baby photos of the bride and groom. You’ll watch a comedy where there is a family and realize you don’t have a family. Triggers will be everywhere.

Stupid talk.

People will give you really stupid advice because they are trying to be sincere. It will happen. They will tell you to adopt. The will tell you to relax. They will tell you believe in the truth of the Lord. They will tell you it happen if its supposed to happen and other such conversations. Then you’ll meet other women who had infertility and how have kids and they will tell you how they cured themselves of infertility. Which doctor you should go to. What medication to take and so on. You will get upset. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Infertility shouldn’t stop your life

I had a psychologist ask me, “what is it that you do for fun” and when I was really deep in the infertility world I honestly couldn’t answer the question. I couldn’t remember. Thats when I started to play with make up. It gave me an outlet and something else to think about. Balance is so important. Go back doing to what you love. You’ll need it and include cat videos in that equation.

Support group is important

It is so important to find a support group that is FAMILY centred. What I mean by this is that the men are involved group as well. As much as they think this doesn’t affect them it does. Infertility is constantly on the surface of something and you do need to hear other perspectives.

Triggers.

I think I’ve written about this before but you will be triggered. Even if you decide to stop infertility it will still be there. It is for us. It never goes away.

👨‍💻Watching “#ThisisUS” and the story of Kate and Toby doing IVF gave me a whiplash back to my own infertility. Hubby and I actually paused at this point in the show and reflected on our days at the clinic (which are not over). 

I remembered the đŸ’‰shots, the day of the retrieval and the golf ball size ovaries that I could feel through my stomach, waking up and feeling like was run over by a truck . In the show they talked about #IVF as an operation, because it is. Your hand is size of the needle they use to get the eggs out. 

🔕This topic never goes away. One thing they never tell you when you get on the train đŸš†of trying “fix” your fertility is that its not a train you can get off of. The show did such a good job talking about comments I received like “it will happen for you” or “just adopt”. No, these are not appropriate❌. They talked about the cost (💲20,000) and PCOS, which is so common amongst women. 

It is no longer the first thing I think đŸ’Ź about when I wake up. I do not talk about or write as much about it, but infertility is everywhere for me. Its a subtext to so many decisions that we have made over the last 7️⃣ years. From the kind of car I bought, to the type of work I chose, the kind of pictures we have in the house, the kind of dog we have. Small decisions along the way but they are everywhere. 

If you like gambling🃏 then you’ll like IVF. Its the same thing and your chances of winning are the same. 50/50

Two women I know just got their miracle children after many years of morning appointments, needles, acupuncture and one needed to remove an ovary. 

For those folks out there who just decided to have a family and just did, you are the lucky ones. âžż

I am the 1 in 3. 

You can read more about this here: www.soulandfertility.com

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Ground breaking research: Can PCOS be an autoimmune disease?

This could be a game changer.

I described in my post, “My diagnosis of PCOS is bullshit” how I thought how my PCOS was just a convenient diagnosis. “Currently, the diagnosis of PCOS is typically made using the Rotterdam criteria, which require two of the following three to be present: oligo- or anovulation; clinical and/or biological signs of hyperandrogenism; and detection of polycystic ovaries by ultrasound”.

I was discovered to have: hardly any ovulation, a slightly fluctuating thyroid, and some cysts on my ovaries. I know, how could I deny that I have PCOS, well initially I was a denier and totally thought it was all crap but……

I did a glucose test where they tested how well I tolerate sugar intake, and within the first hour my glucose readings spiked and I remember I was really dizzy. With PCOS there is an increased risk of diabetes.

According to Fiona McCulloch ND, one of the causes of PCOS is because of inflammation and food sensitivity. No one at the fertility clinic EVER asked me about my diet and how much sugar I’m eating or if my diet is balanced.

But what if just simply checking off symptoms there could actually be a test for PCOS?

Groundbreaking Research Representing a Paradigm Shift

“If we had a test, like the one we have for thyroid disease, not only endocrinologists would find that useful but ob-gyns and even primary-care physicians could use it to diagnose the condition earlier and then refer to endocrinologists to let us manage it. It would speed things up,” Dr Dodell told Medscape Medical News”. Moreover, he said that the demonstration of an autoimmune etiology for PCOS is intriguing and a departure from the medical community’s understanding of the condition: “This is the first time I’ve heard this.…It’s paradigm-shifting.”

See study here: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/879642 

Ok, what does this ACTUALLY mean?

  1. They could make a simple blood test that could test for PCSO instead of wasting tons of time trying to figure out what is going on.
  2. It means they can find treatment and maybe even a medical cure.
  3. The medical community may actually become more open to @soulandfertility Eastern influences to treating PCOS.

What needs to happen to make it standard practice?
More research!!!!

Remember, that the first IVF took place just 30 years ago, this is a really new science and we’ve moved so far. There are many unanswered questions, maybe this will answer one?


Resources:

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/879642

https://plantingtheseedsbook.wordpress.com/

My diagnosis of PCOS is bullshit

pcosWhat is PCOS?

PCOS is Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome.

Its one of the most common hormonal endocrine disorders in women. PCOS has been recognized and diagnosed for seventy-five years. There are many signs and symptoms that a woman may experience. Since PCOS cannot be diagnosed with one test alone and symptoms vary from woman to woman. Most women with PCOS grow many small cysts on their ovaries. The body may have a problem using insulin, called insulin resistance. When the body doesn’t use insulin well, blood sugar levels go up. Over time, this increases your chance of getting diabetes

Here is a video: What is PCOS Video – the PCOS foundation

I’m a super responder.

I was told by the clinic I have “PCOS”, Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome. The only thing about this syndrome is that it’s a spectrum.

In early 2000’s, the medical community got together and put together three criteria and in order to be diagnosed with PCOS you needed two out of three criteria to qualify.

roterdam-diagnosis

My symptoms:

  1. My cycles are anywhere from 30-50 days and totally random. I can kind of predict but not really. So the idea of aim and fire doesn’t apply to me, as I don’t know when to “aim and fire”.
  2. Cystic Acne (but who doesn’t have acne?!)
  3. Difficulty getting pregnant (because of irregular ovulation or failure to ovulate) We actually have not been able to fully determine if a ovulate all the time on my own.
  4. When I’m given hormones for fertility I respond by making LOTS of eggs. I’m called a “super responder” to the medications because I produce a mass amount of follicles. This is typical in cystic ovaries.

I’ve been called PCOS, the skinny type.  Often women are overweight and have weight around their belly. I don’t have this.

pcosgraphic

How is PCOS treated?

In reality, it’s not really “treated” by the medical community, it needs help from other forms of alternative holistic medicine. For me, the clinic has never treated the diagnosis. Meaning, the underlying factors have not looked into. The diagnosis has been taken into account for the fertility medical/medication protocol. It’s not that they clinic doesn’t or can’t treat it, but they have one job, that is to get you pregnant, that is what the health care system pays for. Our health-care is about treating the ‘disease’ and not about prevention. This is obvious for anyone dealing with the Ontario/Canada system. As my doctor put it, she is a complete believer of FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE but within the clinic right now the facilities are not there to treat PCOS and infertility from this angle. This is why it’s important to be your own patient advocate.

What is supposed to help is:

“Regular exercise, healthy foods (low sugar, gluten & dairy) and weight control are said to be the key treatments for PCOS. Treatment can reduce unpleasant symptoms and help prevent long-term health problems” along with alternative therapy treatments, such as naturopath and acupuncture.

My own self-diagnosis?

While its nice that I was officially given a diagnosis of PCOS, but my unofficial self-diagnosis is that my body just forgot how fertility works and is now having trouble remembering. I also believe there are more underlying issues that have never been looked into. According to the symptoms, I have PCOS, but my question has always been, what are the REASONS for these symptoms? This is something that the medical community has not been able to answer which is another reason why I don’t believe in the diagnosis. From what I have found, PCOS is an umbrella diagnosis. Often used as a blanket diagnosis for a lot of women and over diagnosed.

Since this a syndrome, the actual symptoms are wide-ranging, but typically fall into four different types.

Four types of PCOS 

  1. Insulin Resistant PCOS
  2. Pill-Induced PCOS or Post-Pill PCOS
  3. Inflammatory PCOS
  4. Hidden-Cause PCOS

For me, I fall into category number four. The most annoying one, because it’s not really evident as to why I have the syndrome. As Doctor Fiona outlines in her book, “8 steps to reverse your PCOS”, sometimes there may be a genetic cause that mimics PCOS symptoms that are the actual underlying issue of infertility.

It would require the professional to dig deeper and take more time at treating those actual symptoms. The medical clinic doesn’t have time to dig deeper. With the constant stream of new patients, their goal is to get you pregnant and move on. It’s neither right nor, wrong, it’s just the way their protocol is handled. The Clinic is really good at integrating other practitioners into their clinic. They actually refer and support a patient who wants to work with a naturopath or other practitioners.

Mind -body connection

The fertility journey has been a total mind-soul connection.

I was talking to the hypnotherapist and she was telling me about a couple where the husband was adopted. He never really dealt this hurt he felt as a child. Through hypnosis, he realized he has made a deal with himself that he would never father children because he didn’t want any child to go through what he went through. Before therapy he had a terrible sperm count, after the healing process his sperm count went up. I know this may sound over simplistic, but I truly believe that our minds are that powerful. We do make deals with ourselves like that.

We all have limiting beliefs that go back to childhood imprints, I have them, you have them, we all have them. We move through life matching our childhood beliefs with our self-worth. Such as, “I don’t deserve attention”, “It’s not safe to be here”, “I don’t deserve to be loved”. They all come from what I understood and translated as a child from the situations and experiences that I faced.

Some of the things I’m working through the past four years along this journey of fertility are working through my limiting beliefs.

“It may be important to do some inner investigation into the invisible answers you may be carrying to basic questions about how fertility, pregnancy, birth and children were perceived in your family of origin, so that you can journey ahead into those realms fully free, right down to your biochemistry, and make the healthiest choices. (As a bonus, engaging in the creative process of mastering your own inner life is the best preparation not just for conceiving a baby, but for parenting in general!)
Marcy Axness, PhD

Once we realize how we carry on a continual dialogue with our biology—consciously and unconsciously—we can aspire to cultivate an inner ecology that is truly fit for life.

This is why I still am comfortable to state, that while on the physical plane I have been diagnosed as having PCOS, on the spiritual and EGO side, there is another whole world there that I’m still working through.

I call bullshit on the diagnosis of PCOS.

Acupuncture

According to the Journal of the International Society of Gynecological Endocrinology, “acupuncture therapy may have a role in PCOS by increasing blood flow to the ovaries, reducing of ovarian volume and the number of ovarian cysts, controlling hyperglycemia through increasing insulin sensitivity and decreasing blood glucose and insulin levels.” 

I am going to acupuncture once to twice a week. Once to Irene and another time to Tanya at Alive Holistic Health. I decided to go to both because each has their own way of approaching acupuncture. Irene approaches acupuncture the true Chinese way, on the physical level. She sees your body but doesn’t touch the spirit part. Tanya on the other hand approaches acupuncture from of the spirit side. A beautiful and gentle soul. Each treatment is different. When I go to Alive Holistic clinic to Tanya, my body and soul just sinks into the table. Our soul needs the love and care just as much as our physical body does.

It interests me that both of them approach PCOS from a completely different angle. They don’t even focus on it, rather they focus on what is going on with your body that day. Irene can tell me exactly what is going on with my body by how my tongue looks. Tanya also looks at my tongue, and bases the treatment and how many needles she puts in by checking my pulse. There are 29 different pulses according to Chinese medicine.

I respond so well to the needles. They were both shocked at how fast my body changed.

I’m a super responder

Anova Fertility

While Dr. Dickson was the one that diagnosed me with PCOS when I first started seeing her, nothing more was done with the diagnosis.

  • No one at the clinic asked about my nutrition patterns.
  • No one at the clinic looked into inflammation or my insulin intake.
  • It wasn’t looked into or asked why have my cycles become shorter since the time I was a teenager.
  • I wasn’t asked or looked into if I have any allergies that I I am not aware of, such as gluten sensitive or dairy sensitive.

There was not functional medicine, just straight to the point – fix the physical.

This is neither right nor wrong, it’s just the way western medicine is structured: Fix the physical body, the rest doesn’t matter.

I’m calling the “diagnosis” of PCOS as bullshit.

Instead of just calling it PCOS, why don’t we peel away the layers of the onion and see what else is there. The diagnosis of PCOS is just a big blanket statement that so many women have been diagnosed with. Instead of throwing medication at it, lets dig deeper.

Unfortunately, as a society are not willing to do that because we just want the fertility clinic to “fix the problem” and don’t have time to dig deeper.

I also have the challenge, that my time on my medical leave is up in April. I hear the clock ticking all the time.

Naturopath: White Lotus integrative Health (with Dr. Erica)

When I finally went to see this clinic, I realized how much I had ignored and not done my homework about my diagnosis. I realize now it’s because I didn’t want to be another one of “those”people. One of “those” women who search the internet for hours on end, reading all the forums possible and spinning in all the information about PCOS and infertility.

I didn’t want to be more stressed or have more anxiety about this situation. I just wanted to be calm, cool and collected. Most of all, I didn’t want to have someone to again tell me to change my diet: drop gluten, drop dairy and sugar. I didn’t want to be responsible for this, I just wanted the drugs.

What I learned from this two-hour initial appointment is how much I have just wanted to go with it and how much I didn’t want to get to the bottom of PCOS. I also realized how much I ignored my diagnosis because it wasn’t something that was even discussed with the clinic at any point during treatment.

I’m pretty aware of the mind-spiritual connection but I have ignored my physical body and just gave it drugs. It’s ironic, I didn’t want to deal with taking charge of my diet and digging deeper.

From the appointment at the clinic which happened on Feb. 1, 2017 – I learned that I potentially could have an insulin issue. When the Dr. Erica tested my insulin five hours after I had eaten a really good breakfast and was feeling hungry, it was unusually high.

After four years of starting this, I started to accept that I actually may have a diagnosis and there is something I can do about it.

Now it’s getting through the muck and deciding how much this I want to do right now and if this is now the long-term plan after Anova Clinic or if I want to implement the program now.

I came to Lotus clinic because there was a thyroid scare and Anova just wanted to give me medication. I don’t want to mess with my thyroid with medication. I don’t want to make it worse in the long-term. I don’t want to just give my body drugs, again.

I call bullshit on my diagnosis. 

But I’m calling bullshit on myself.

I just didn’t want to take responsibility and do anything more about my diagnosis. I didn’t take my own health into my own hands. It was good enough that I just showed up and went to the clinic. I offered my body into the science experiment and went off on my own hippie ultra-spiritual meditative lotus leaf pretending that nothing else mattered. I didn’t connect with my body and honour it. If something was to go wrong, it would be so easy to blame the clinic. Blame someone else. Blame the drugs. Blame, blame, blame…..

 

Even in this journey, the Universe has shown me, that I need SPEAK UP and whether I like it or not, authentically take responsibility for E V E R Y T H I N G.

Kicking and screaming, another slap in the face about taking responsibility for my thoughts, actions and words.


Reference PDF: genetics of PCOS