Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I went for my very first mammogram the other week. You know, now that I have hit the big four-oh and my boobs are starting their journey south towards my knees, it was time. And it really wasn't that bad. I mean, sure it was a bit uncomfortable in parts, but compared to an HSG? Nothing beats being spread-eagled under an X-ray contraption with a doctor between your legs clinging on for grim death to a tenaculum that is clamped around your cervix while he shoots a radio-opaque dye up your innards and then asks you to roll to your side to try to force the dye past the polyp that is partially blocking your tube. Umm. Yeah. Since then, I would rate a mammogram as cake, piece of. Any day.

So, the lady was very nice and no-nonsense. Grabbing the boobs to position them, pushing the fat gut out of the way and telling me to hold my breath while the squeezer did its thing. No, none of that was a problem at all. But then she would bring the image up on a screen to check it was OK before moving on to the next one. And most of them looked like the regular mammogram images that I've seen before. One of them, though, made me catch my breath. Oh, not because there was a big nasty in the middle of the screen making me think "uh-oh, cancer" but instead because it was a side view and just caught all the milk ducts right so it looked like one of those images that show where your milk will flow when you are breastfeeding. It was like a textbook drawing. Except of course it reminded me that there has been no breastfeeding. And that there probably never will be.

And all over again, it reminds me that I am barren. Broken. Defunct. Decrepit. No use. Not fertile. It's funny how one simple little thing brings it back. Again and again. And it just makes me feel so...inadequate. So stupid for wasting my life. WHY wasn't I having babies in my 20's or early 30's. Why? So stupid. I let the time slip away from me.

You don't have to answer. There's no need to tell me that I don't know if it was a time issue or if I would always have been barren. It doesn't reassure me. It doesn't make me feel any better for letting opportunities slip through my fingers. But, this too will pass. I'll mull for a little while, then I'll be so damn busy that I'll get on with thinking about other things. I suppose that's the way it'll be from now on. Something will bring the thoughts bubbling up to the surface, and something else will take their place eventually.

But the good news? I've already got the results back, and my boobs are A-OK.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Guess what I managed to do?

I managed to stay up later than 8pm yesterday. Awesomeness. I think I am getting in the groove with the new schedule. Actually, when I went to CC last semester it took 3 weeks for me not to be totally exhausted all the time, so it's right on the money again.

So, normally I'd predict that I'll be back to being better about posting and keeping in touch and that I'd start telling you guys some stuff about Chinese medicine that might actually be useful. However, the craziness at work? Mondo crazy. I actually think I'm going to have to do things like start getting up at 5am for a few weeks just so I can get everything done. And part of the reason I was up late? I was on the phone with my boss from 10pm to 11.30pm. Yup, on Saturday night. It's not his fault though, it's all to do with "the craziness." In the long run, I think things at work will be a lot better, but we are going through some big upheavals and it's going to be tough for a while. It doesn't help that I've got some acu school tests coming up - 3 of my intro. classes were only 4 weeks long so I have some "finals" this week and next week that I need to study for somehow. They can't be too hard as they are intro. classes after all, so I'm not stressed about the actual tests, but of course I want to acquit myself well.

Sorry I can't promise any new posting frenzies, or more information, but I'll still be here, posting when I can.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The workers and the others

So, the funny (one of the many funny) things about going back to school is getting used to other peoples way of thinking. Case in point: study groups. Now, personally, I can't stand study groups. This is a very selfish thing of mine, but I've never got much out of them, seem to spend more time helping other people and just...bleh. But there are some students in my class who are very VERY keen about setting up a study group. And cool, if people really want to do it, I'll do it. Except they're trying to find a time that works for everyone, and I just don't get why they don't get that we'll never do that. We range from people who completely gave up working to come study to those that are working full time, and everyone in between. We all have different schedules. We all learn in different ways. We all have different study needs. So to my thinking, 3 or 4 different study groups are going to be necessary to fit everyone in, and hey, if you're not working and want to go to them all, have at it. Besides, I am already carpooling on Saturdays for an hour each way, and we have so far used the morning drive to review stuff, so those of us that live a long way north of the school already have a kind of study group going.

But I'm so not wanting to give up more of my free time. I mean, sure, I'm "off" on Thursday mornings. But that's time in which I have to run every possible errand that can't be run on Sunday, like going to the doctor's, getting the car oil changed, going to the pool store for chlorine, going to the dentist, taking the cat to the vet, getting an acupuncture session. You name it, I have to squeeze it in on Thursday morning. Oh, hey, AND study too - and what I need to study may not be what my classmates need to study. And, you know, maybe I need to do some laundry and keep the house from falling into complete squalor at some point. And did I mention the hour-long drive to get to the school?

WHY don't they get that I have an effing JOB, people? That, coincidentally, is going all kinds of bat shit CRAZY right now (a long post for another day when everything has blown over). That I can't just waltz along to the school early so I can sit in the library with them for TWO HOURS that they want to devote to a study group? Oy. And vey.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

South Floridians in the cold

We, the people of South Florida, are a truly pathetic bunch in the cold, I have to say. Here's a little background:

About, ooh, 10-12 times a year, a "cold" front comes through. However, by the time it reaches us, it has usually lost most of its bite and is actually a "cool" front. The temperatures might dip to the middle fifties at night, rising to the high sixties or low seventies during the day. Your average tourist or snowbird might cope with this by wearing a long-sleeved t-shirt with his shorts and flip-flops. Or might wear some long pants with his short-sleeved polo shirt. But your average local? Fully decked out in jeans, Ugg boots and a sweater. And perhaps a scarf. Shivering and generally muttering about it being freezing, but often somewhat glad at the same time at getting to air out the sweater collection.

So, once or twice a year, it actually does get cold. Like today. I had to put my heating on for the first time this year. The heating - can you imagine?! The temperatures dipped below 40 degrees. Shock! Horror! And sadly, this is where we are most pathetic. See, only people who travel north regularly have any coats or sweaters that are in any way up to date. Everyone else is using the same old sweater that they've been dragging out of the closet once a year since 1984. Nobody has any coats that are usable, so we layer. Yes, we layer our 80's patterened sweaters with every single long sleeved item we have, and go about looking like great flappy Michelin men who have yet to get with the current decade. But the sad thing is that none of our stuff is made to keep us warm, so even with all the layers, everybody is still hunched over and shivering all day.

And the tourists? Yeah, they're all looking chic in their up-to-the-minute lightweight jackets and whatnot, and looking supremely comfortable and wondering what the fuss is about when it's barely even chilly.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Wild living

Guess what I did for the second Saturday night in a row?

Went to bed at 8pm.

I am ALL about the partay, people. Or not. Sadly, it's the only time I have to catch up on some zzzz's, but I hope that I will adjust to the new schedule soon.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Driving (myself up the wall, to school, you to boredom...)

I had an acu session yesterday. School has been kicking my butt, and I felt that as part of my new "get super healthy" plan, I may as well get continuing treatment of the thing that I am studying. Ahhh. It was fabulous. I felt like I hadn't relaxed in months like I did on that table. And it fixed the low back pain that has been a constant feature lately. Except that I then drove 40+ miles to school, spent an entire day sitting at desks, and then drove 40+ miles back, so my back pain has now returned with a vengeance. But maybe with repeated treatments, and some herbal medicine, and some weight loss and exercise, maybe it'll go. Cutie acu told me I'll feel better once I finish school. Hmm, yeah, thanks dude.

Anyhoo, cutie acu is going to the school one day a week to take a continuing ed course, and he'll also be teaching there next semester (not my class, unfortunately - we're still way too basic to have him), so he suggested that we carpool. Which is, like, totally awesome, as I can pick his brains while we're driving, and revel in his cuteness and niceness at the same time. And save some gas money.

The new loudmouth girl has disappeared. I guess the one class that she did scared her off. Oh well, easy come, easy go.

In non-school news, I have been brooding again over past fertility-related mistakes. Even stuff such as "WHY didn't I try harder with match.com?" and "WHY didn't I start TTC earlier?" - I'm driving myself slightly cuckoo. I guess it's all coming back up because of starting my new life, and going back to acu, as the last treatment I had was during the last IVF. It is strange how the smallest of things can bring up the old feelings all over again. Although this time I am not brooding on things I did while trying to conceive, it's all stuff before that - why did I waste my whole twenties and 6 years of my thirties? Why, why, why? Why the eff am I still pathetically single? Ugh. I am trying to see this as part of healing - that I'm no longer brooding over TTC, but pre-TTC stuff, so eventually I'll get back to a point in time where I didn't make mistakes and will have nothing left to brood over. Hah, it's probably wishful thinking, I know.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Class +1

We had another person join the acu class yesterday. She seems like a loudmouth, so I'm not sure how good this will be. But, she's another nurse, and it was the VERY basic hygiene and clean needle technique class, which I think *I* could pretty much teach at this point (Wash your hands! Disposable needles only! Put used needles straight in the Sharps container! Don't get Hep B!). So perhaps she couldn't help herself with the making of the comments.

I have decided that one of the guys in the class is quite pleasing on the eye. But have yet to find out if he's married or how old he is or what. So it may not be worth twinkling at him, and besides, I'm still feeling self conscious about the size of my ass, but I'm setting myself a mission of finding more stuff out this week.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

I yoga'd

In spite of my feeling of crushing exhaustion, I got up and went to a yoga class this morning. Why? Well, first, it was one of my New Year's Resolutions, so, you know, I had to. Second, those acu professors are scary. One yesterday was saying how he can tell everything about a person's health in five minutes. Like that (snaps fingers). And he said he could already tell a lot about our health just from the way we were sitting in class, our body shapes, our complexions, how we talk, etc.

And then, I carpooled yesterday with two of my classmates. Both of whom were complaining about their XS scrubs being too big. So we got onto the subject of exercise, and one of them does like 2 hours a day at the gym - 1 hour of spinning class and 1 hour of mixed cardio and weights. Ummm. Yeah. That is SO not going to happen even if I wanted to do that much, which I don't. My puny little 40 minute walk everyday that up to then had seemed so meritorious seemed to pale into insignificance.

But, I don't want to be the pudgy girl with all the health problems. I want to be the shining, glowing person that everyone looks at with awe. I don't want to be a poor excuse for a health care provider. So I know I need to do more exercise. I had already planned to do more exercise, specifically yoga, and it was just a matter of following through.

So I did it. I got my butt out of bed and into a yoga class. And it kicked my poor sorry ass around, that's for sure. But I am feeling proud of myself.

I am also planning on going back to acu. I haven't been since I stopped the IVF's, because what was the point? But there are many things that could be fixed to bring me into better health, so maybe I will go once every two weeks or so. I'm all about the health...

(and I've lost 5.5 lbs since Christmas.)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Wiped out

One week done, and I am exhausted. Good lord, and to think I was all keen on adopting a month ago. I couldn't look after a child AND myself at this point. However, I am reminding myself that once the time comes to adopt, I will have adapted to my schedule, and I (hopefully) won't find it as exhausting.

So, what have I learned that can be shared?

Well, don't drink too much green tea if you have Spleen Qi deficiency (ginger is better). Green tea and Ginseng are pointless together, as the green tea completely nullifies the action of the ginseng. By the time you have symptoms, you can't be cured other than temporarily. The disease will come back at some point, but you can delay when the disease comes back. So prevention is much better than treatment.

That last one is a bit depressing. And I'm not sure I believe the guy that you can't cure anything. What are we all doing this for, then? Just to alleviate? Not that alleviating symptoms isn't a good idea, and all, but it would be nice to think that we can cure too.

That's all I can think of right now. There's been a lot of yin/yang theory and all that sort of stuff, which is interesting, but not necessarily good blog material right now when my brain is too tired to think.

Friday, January 09, 2009

The scrubs I am a-hating

The school uniform scrubs arrived yesterday. I have been doing really well with the weight loss and so when I tried them on when I got home I was reassured that there will be no risk of seam splittage across my chunky thighs. Although I will say that I am glad that the Tai Ji/Qi Gong class (sorry, can't write Tai Chi any more now I've had my first Chinese language class and know how you pronounce the words - Chi is pronounced chrrr so we have to be correct) doesn't start for 5 weeks and instead we have to sit at desks learning history until then, as it gives me chance to lose a bit more to allow for more leg movement without risk of seam splittage.

However. They are SO freakin' depressing. I do NOT look like Meredith Grey, let's just get that out of the way. They are unisex scrubs, and I'm pear shaped. So to order a set that is big enough to get over my butt and my stomach, it is totally and utterly swamping the top half of my body. I mean, seriously, I could fit two of me in there - well, if they were cut off tops that ended at my ribcage, that is. And the pants are too long, and have this horrible loose bagginess around the crotch. I hope they will look better after washing, but ugh.

I will get some of that iron-on sticky tape so I can hem them easily tonight. I have NO idea what to do about the top though. Maybe I just have to lose tons of weight so I can order (and fit into) some small size ones, and then I won't look so much like a boxy green whale. I think even the mediums would be bad. If only we could order them ourselves, instead of having to stick with the standard school ones, because then I could order the ones that are tailored more for women.

I tell ya, this is all Stacey and Clinton's fault. If I hadn't got myself all into wearing tops that flatter my shape a bit more, I wouldn't have known there was anything other than boxy and huge and unflattering.

ETA: It's not that I should have a smaller sized scrub top, it's that the size that fits my stomach is totally the wrong shape for my chest/shoulders. And there doesn't seem to be a way to order a different style, as everybody has the same. I think perhaps a tailor and some inconspicuous darts might be the way to go. After I've lost a bit more weight, that is. Perhaps that'll be a job for the break after the first semester.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

1 done, 539 to go

Pre-acupuncture class, the school was a bit annoying, I've got to say. I turned up early to get my books and parking pass, and the admissions lady wasn't around. The finance lady seemed annoyed to have to tell me that the admissions lady was in the clinic. Umm, but where was the clinic? So I ambled around aimlessly, and actually found the admissions lady in the library when I walked in to ask someone where the clinic was. So I got my parking pass, and she said she'd meet me in the clinic after I moved my car. And her response to my question of where the clinic was was a vague wave and an "it's just through there" statement. But "there" seemed to involve a classroom where students were sitting. Anyhoo, I moved the car, came back around to the front door, and noticed next to the front door a brightly colored, well lit clinic, with its own separate entrance. How could I have missed it the first time? But it does appear that the door from the clinic to the rest of the school goes through a classroom, which seems a tad inconvenient. I bought the rest of the books I needed, and then went and schmoozed with the finance lady while handing over a sum of cash (OK, I actually handed over my credit card, but whatever).

On to my class - 12 people turned up. I'd been told it was a class of 15, and one of my classmates who I spoke to during the break had been told it was a class of 8. So I guess 12 must be right! Everybody seems pretty friendly, and it's a super interesting mix of people. There are 3 honest-to-goodness, actually born here, Americans, 3 Colombians, 1 Ecuadorian, 1 Argentinian, 1 Haitian, 1 Bulgarian, 1 Burmese and 1 Brit (moi). And I have to say it, it tickled me that the only white American is a chick with dreadlocks - sometimes I hate South Florida, and sometimes I just love the fascinating mix of people you get down here - last night was definitely a "love" night. Two were physicians in their home country, and still work in some type of healthcare job. 1 is a trainer/yoga teacher and is too stick thin if you ask me. Most of us haven't done anything in the healthcare field. 3 are young (in their 20's), 2 or 3 are in their 30's, I'd guess, and everyone else is probably in their 40's. 1 is a fashion-plate model type. There are 8 women and 4 men. Some have never had an acupuncture treatment, but most have had it done and thought "wow." Some want to help others, some are looking for that next business opportunity.

All in all, I'm pretty excited about what's to come!

Monday, January 05, 2009

Ready or not, here I come

The house is mostly tidy (there's a little bit left to do tonight), the kitchen and bathroom are clean (I even took apart the stove top and scrubbed), the bedroom is de-dust-bunnied, the laundry is done, and all in all, I would not be embarrassed if any of you walked in unannounced. Assuming, that is, that the Queen does not read this blog, which I'm pretty sure she doesn't, but if SHE walked in the house unannounced I would have a fit. Normal people, though? It's clean enough for you.

The pens are bought, the notebooks are ready. All the textbooks I can find for cheap on the internet have either arrived or should arrive today. I will get the rest of the books at the school bookshop. My school bag is packed.

I have a plan to get the car checked out before the first big school drive, and everything is set. School starts tomorrow, people!

Oh, well, perhaps I should mention that everything is ready to go APART from the raging butterflies in my stomach. I am scared that I have picked the wrong second career. I hope that this is ME, but I don't know it for certain yet. I am scared of just the sheer number of hours a week I will have to devote to studying and working - what if I crack under the pressure? I am scared of the time I will spend driving to and fro each day - basically it involves 8 hours a week on an interstate which is a scary scary road at times. Not to mention that 3 days a week I will be finishing school at 10pm - will the road be full of drunks? Will I fall asleep at the wheel? Will my car last or fall apart? I am scared that my fat ass will burst through my scrub pants because I was too vain to try on the XL size. I am nervous about meeting new people, hoping that my classmates are nice - I am with the same class all through the 3 years of school, so if one of them is annoying, it's going to be a loooong 3 years.

But I am excited as well. I am happy nervous as well as scared nervous. I have no worries about the science side of it (after all, I have textbooks such as "the microbiology coloring book" so it can't be too hard). I am nervous about the sheer volume of stuff that will have to be memorized, (I mean, have you seen how many acupuncture points there are?), but I am sure that I can do that if I work hard enough, and I guess other people manage to find three different pulses in your wrist, so I figure I should be able to do it too after I am taught. I think I'll make some good friends, and I think it'll be a lot of fun. And I hope there'll be a cute single guy at the school who is looking for a gal just like me. But if not, maybe someone at the school will know a cute single guy.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Baby fat

When I started trying to conceive, I was a normal weight. Sure, I was about 20 lbs above where I wanted to be if I was going to go parading in a bikini, but still, my BMI was nicely in the normal territory. And I hadn't always been a normal weight - I'd recently lost about 12 pounds "getting ready for baby." But, the important factor is that at that very first RE appointment, I was not overweight. And then I held pretty steady during the IUI's...at first. After a while, the grinding doom with each failure started mounting up. And I took solace in red wine or ice cream or pizza, or whatever the flavor of the moment was (not all at once, you understand, because I went months there giving up alcohol in case that made a difference, or caffeine, or wheat, or dairy). Or I stood on my head every day. You know, whatever might give me that extra bit of help.

By the time I started my 1st IVF cycle, I was up 7 lbs. By the time I finished it, I was up another 5 lbs. By the time I got over the depression, I don't even know. I stopped monitoring. After the 2nd IVF, I started gaining more rapidly. Another 12 went on by the time of my 3rd or 4th egg retrieval. By the last one, I'd gained 37 lbs. 37! I was technically obese at that point, which I'd never been before.

I hated myself for it. And yet, getting through the day without killing myself or anyone else became oh so much more important than my weight. And if a bottle of wine helped me get through, then that's what I had. And then of course there's the infertility diet where we're supposed to have full fat dairy - I threw myself into that one with gusto.

But you know one thing I hated myself for the most? It was that I didn't have a public "excuse" for it. Our society accepts that women will gain weight when they give birth. Although not everyone does. But everyone talks about the baby weight, and losing it (or not). All of that "eating for two" is condoned. But me? I just felt like I had no right to have ballooned. Especially when I was talking to people who didn't know what I was going through - I would just mumble and say something feeble about just getting fat and old. But I would cringe inside.

So I have decided that I'm going to "own" my baby weight. THIS is my baby weight. It's the weight I wouldn't have gained had it not been for infertility. I do have an "excuse" for it - a damn good one. Yes, other women get fat having babies. I got fat trying to have a baby. So what if my coping mechanisms didn't involve an hour at the gym like perhaps would have been healthier. It was damn hard - the hardest thing I've ever been through, and actually, I'm proud to have got through it at all instead of curling into a ball and giving up on life like I wanted to so many times.

That's not to say that I'm not trying to lose the weight. Oh no. 2009 is my year of getting thin again - I have made a promise to myself. I'm not going to beat myself up any more for having gained it, but I'm also not going to cling on to this baby weight either. Part of transitioning to my new life is to shed it and not look back. Goodbye chub!

Thursday, January 01, 2009


No, I didn't get drunk. I had one glass of sparkling wine at dinner. Then I was in bed at 9.30. You'd think I'd bounce out of bed feeling spry this morning and ready to take on the Universe.

But no. First of all, I started itching. Was it something I ate? Perfume? A different soap? Some vitamin or supplement? I was wracking my brains and still haven't figured it out. And now my armpits are bright red and sore, so it's obviously something I'm sweating out. Not to mention the other bits of me that are also red, itchy and sore. Second, there were the fireworks. I figured like previous years I'd be woken up briefly at midnight, but no such luck. They went on continuously from 7pm to about 12.35am. And at midnight not only did my neighbors across the way have fireworks but the people staying in the house next door were lighting Roman Candles in the street. Right by my effing car! In the street! Have I ever mentioned that home fireworks just make me SO freaking anxious? I am always convinced that someone or something is going to be set on fire. And then when I finally did drop off, I was having school and messy house related anxiety dreams.