Friday, January 30, 2009

More meds

Boy, this sure has deviated from my original intent, but it's actually going to be pretty interesting to look back on this and remember what detours I had along the way.

I'm on 2 additional medications to help me deal with the side effects from the prednisone - a prescription strength laxative (no explanation necessary) and a diuretic, because of all of the bloat.  The laxative hasn't kicked in yet, but the diuretic sure has, and I really do feel better.  My head is holding at 3 days + without a cluster headache and I'm really feeling pretty good considering.

Tomorrow J has to work a 1/2 day so I plan on  putting my head down to clean up/meal plan/make chili so that we can enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Taking Advantage

Last night sucked, but I'm trying not to dwell on it.  Worst cluster headache ever.  Enough said. Gabapentin is making me a little loopy right now.

Today I am working from home, since it's very icy and somewhat snowy out there.  No one in my department went in today, so it's great.  I've got some work stuff to finish up, but without interruption, it shouldn't take me long.  I want to take advantage of being home to scan photos and upload them to  I am crazy about exploring my genealogy and have found out some really neat stuff on - I highly recommend it.  My dad helped me identify some people in some old pictures he had (ones that had been my grandmother's) and it's great running into people out there on the web who I'm finding that I am related to!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Will It End?

Here I am just entering week 2 of this cluster headache cycle, and I'm about to fold completely.  I am not sure how I am going to be able to continue.  Today I had one break through 35 mg of prednisone and it was THE WORST pain I have ever felt.  I had tears running out of my right eye, droopy right eyelid - the works.  I wasn't sure I would be able to make it home, and is came on in the car.

By the time I got home it had been a 10 for the end of the ride and I stumbled into the bathroom (after popping another 5 mg prednisone) to take a hot shower, just howling - I wasn't crying - I was howling.  It was the worst.  I am so glad my husband wasn't home to see and hear me.  By 7:15 I decided to take another 5 mg prednisone as I still had a 4/5 headache.  

So, now I'm up to 45 mg prednisone (I can't go above 60 mg without having to be admitted to the hospital).  I'm going to go back to taking all 200mg of gabapentin in the morning instead of splitting them up - which I had done to try to alleviate the side-effects: anxiety and stressful feeling.

Well - hopefully the 45 mg prednisone will hold it all off for now.  I guess we'll see.  Keep your fingers crossed!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Prednisone Plus Me Equals. . .

Bloat. Constipation. Not fun.  I've taken 3 Correctol's since last night and nothing has happened.  I also drank 8oz. H2O with 1 tsp. psyllium powder (gross) in hopes of getting things moving and nothing yet.  I guess I'll have another one after my dinner.  Thankfully - not one cluster headache since my prednisone dosage was increased, so I will take the bloat any day!

Speaking of dinner, I will be making Salmon with Lentils and a Mustard Herbed Butter - yum!  

Addition: The salmon was delicious!  Highly recommended - head over to and make this recipe!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Mind Racing

Great day today - I went to the Dr. this morning and she upped my meds, which (for now) is doing the trick on keeping these cluster headaches at bay.  I'm feeling really energetic, which is amazing considering that I can't remember the last time I got a solid night of sleep.  

J is at class tonight, so as soon as I get this posted I am going to start ripping on my cross stitch project.  I'm hoping this weekend to finalize some decorating decisions for my house, and I'm even considering asking the folks over at This Young House to put together a mood board for my living room, since I'm not sure if I trust myself with doing it right.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

So Disappointed

Last night, my cluster headaches busted through the medication that had been holding them off, which sucks big time.  I had another one in the middle of the night that pulled me straight out of a deep sleep and about knocked my socks off.  I called my Dr. this morning but I can't be seen until tomorrow, and in the meantime I was told to take an extra 5mg of prednisone.  All morning I proceeded to have a low grade cluster headache and I was drained from the previous 2, so I left work to come home and spend the rest of the day sacked out.

In addition to the physical pain, I am emotionally not in a good place right now.  I just keep wanting to cry, I am so disappointed.  Disappointed that after 8 months of TTC we are still not pregnant.  Disappointed that just as I felt I was really doing something to balance my body and my mind to make myself more favorable for conception that I was struck with this debilitating pain - pain that is sucking my will to live and forcing me to focus on it, which I do not want to be doing - I want to be focused on TTC!  

I am continuing to take BBT everyday and monitor other fertility signs, but it seems pointless this month - and probably even next month too.  I need to find some positive spin to this whole thing - any suggestions?

Monday, January 19, 2009

A New Dawn. . .and Breakfast for Dinner

J and I are so thrilled for Obama's inaguration - I am going to watch as much of the ceremonies as I can while I'm at work tomorrow. Hopefully this optimism can stretch into the future.

In the meantime, it's breakfast for dinner tonight.  French toast and sausage - yum.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Just Your Average Sunday on Drugs

Today was a quiet day as I wanted to lie low while my body gets used to the new drugs.  I felt pretty good all day, so I'll consider it a good decision.  I was up at 8, J didn't get up until much later - but surprise surprise - he shaved off his beard - yea!!!!  Last night when we were getting kind of frisky (for the first time in weeks, thanks to my complete distaste for the beard that he grew post-Christmas) I had to finally tell him - 'hon, that beard is a complete turn-off for me. I can't stand the way it feels.'  I think he was pretty hurt by the way he rolled over in a huff and things ended then and there.  I didn't feel bad about it though - I've brought it up before and figured that it was his decision whether to keep it or not - at least he knew what my position was.

However, he did tell me that he will grow it back in time to have a full beard for a ski trip in February.  Whatever.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Medicine - Do Your Job

Excellent day today - I awoke pain free!  The meds I took late yesterday afternoon must be doing their jobs.  I am on prednisone (excellent for pain relieving skills, not so good after a few days in terms on bloat and constipation) and gabapentin, which is actually an anti-seizure medication, and this is the first time I've ever taken it.  I'm not sure what exactly anti-seizure medication does to keep my head pain away, but as long as it's working, I don't care!

I went in for an acupuncture visit to try and hit these cluster headaches from all sides.  J took me in since I wasn't sure how I'd be reacting to my new meds. The visit went well, but it's very different when you go in for pain management versus fertility stuff.  S probed around my feet looking for tender spots at the ends of energy channels and she found them - on my left feet, which makes sense, since it's the right side of my head where the pain is.  Before I left, she attached these little band aids with teeny-tiny ball bearings on them on my ears, on specific pressure points - where I can squeeze them if I start to have head pain.  Hopefully the meds will work so I won't have to do that, but it's really nice knowing that I have an alternative back-up plan.  S told me not to bother with taking the herbs I was supposed to start on on CD5 - we'll save them for after I'm done dealing with these cluster headaches.

After the treatment was over, J and I went to Culver's for lunch - yum!  We swung by Circuit City to see what the good deals might be but there really weren't any yet.  After getting home I started on a new cross stitch project for my new neice/nephew who will be arriving in April.  The pattern is Cedar Hill Shaker Animal Rhymes - when it's done I'll be sure to post a picture.  For my neice, A, who is 2, I made "The Promise" by Shepherd's Bush and it turned out awesome.  I should have taken a picture of it before I gave it to her!

J has been great to me since his generally insensitive comments yesterday morning - he told me that he's disapointed that we're going to have to put off TTC for a month or two but he doesn't blame me - he doesn't like to see me in pain and it frustrates him that there isn't anything he can do to change it.  He is the best.  Just knowing that's how he feels makes me feel better - we will get through this.

Friday, January 16, 2009

First Acupuncture Visit

Since I'm trying to play a little bit of catch up, I wanted to describe my first acupuncture visit.  First of all, it was scheduled for 2 hours to accommodate a complete review of my answers to the intake questionnaire and the treatment itself.  I was like, 'holy cow!  My primary care Dr has probably hasn't seen me for a total of 2 hours in all my visits over a 2 year period."  

After I arrived, it took me about 15 minutes to fill out a multi-page intake form, asking everything from typical family history stuff to your sleep habits, exercise habits, what your menstrual cycle is like, nutrition, and choices of a ton a specific symptoms for you to circle if you are experiencing them.  Then there was space for you to list out the 3 main reasons that brought you to the practice, describe how long you've had the issue, what you've done so far, what's been successful or not, etc.  After filling this all out, I sat down with the TCM Practitioner, S, and spent 45 - 60 minutes discussing everything I had filled out, with her asking following up questions.  S then took my pulse in a unique way to TCM and inspected my tongue.  This was all mixed together with the education and knowledge in her brain to come up with my diagnosis: dampness.  I was told to cut out my morning latte, as much dairy and caffeine as I could, and no raw uncooked fruits or vegetables.  Gulp.  I could do it - I want this baby!  She said she would mix up some special herbs for me at my next visit - for now - on to the acupuncture itself.

I laid on the table, face up, fully clothed except for shoes and socks.  S advised me to breathe in, breathe out - and when I exhaled she placed the first needle in my ear - I felt it, but it didn't hurt.  She had me do the special breathing as she finished placing the needles in my ears, and told me I didn't have to worry about breathing on command while she placed the needles in the rest of my body.  The needles were placed in my hands, lower arm, feet, and just below my knees.  I was left for about 20-30 minutes to relax.  I had a hard time relaxing completely - my mind was racing - thinking about how I should be feeling - am I tired?  Am I invigorated? Do I feel energy flowing?  In the end, I think I was able to relax, just a little.

While I was 'relaxing' S examined some supplements and tea I had brought along to make sure they were ok for me to keep taking while I was in treatment.  Ultimately, she told me the FertiliTea was fine, as was the general prenatal vitamin supplement, but she didn't see much value in the FertileCM supplement.  I guess I'll just keep taking them until I run out, but won't bother to re-order.

S came in and removed the needles, we spoke about the nutrition and that again, and I scheduled another appointment for the following week.  Afterwards - I was exhausted.  All afternoon while I was at work I just wanted to crawl up in a ball and take a nap.  I would suggest anyone else make their initial visit at a time when they can just go home and relax afterwards, because you have no idea how you might feel!

Cluster Headaches

Cluster Headaches are the 2 most dreaded words to me right now.  For those of you have never heard of them before, the Mayo Clinic site has some great information about them here.

Anyways - I've been 2 years without an episode of these wretched things, which in all fairness, should not even be called headaches.  It would be more appropriate to call them "Raging Searing Hot Pain Behind my Eye that I Would do Anything to Eliminate"-aches.  But of course, now 9 cycles into TTC, just as I'm gearing up with a new focus on TCM, they have struck.  I had 4, each lasting 45 minutes or so, within 12 hours.  The MD drugged me up good so I'm ok now, but it means putting TTC on hold for 2 months while I treat the crap out of these things with fun things like anti-seizure medications and prednisone.

Needless to say, I'm very disappointed and mad at my own body right now.  My husband is trying to be reassuring but just comes off sounding like an ass.  

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Getting Started

I tried starting a blog when J and I started TTC, but there really wasn't too much that was too interesting in those first months. Now it's become a different story.  After my Christmas wish wasn't granted, I went full force into exploring other options - charting started in earnest (it had been half-assed before), special supplements were purchased, and an appointment with a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM from here on out) practitioner was made.  

I am now on CD1 of TTC cycle #9, my first full cycle with acupuncture and specially formulated Chinese herbs.  I am really hoping that following this regime will result in a pregnancy before I hit the one year mark!  If it doesn't, I am going to be happy (hopefully) with the knowledge that I will moving into the testing and what might follow with my body and mind in the best place possible.

I hope that sharing my experiences with TCM will be helpful to those of you who are interesting in learning more.  So - this is my disclaimer: I am not terribly well educated in TCM, and will be learning as I go along.  I do not claim in any way shape or form to be an expert.  I will share too much information.  I want questions, comments, and input from those who are genuinely interested.  And I can't wait to get started!