Things I do on a Friday night. Take me to your dealer......
I have been hopeless at being good. I had the best intentions to make my body my temple this cycle. Only eat organic, not drink/smoke/eat chocolate/sugar etc. But I just can't do it. My body is less of a temple and more of a fast food diner with a smoking section.
I can proudly say I have not bought a box of cigarettes since last Friday. However I have bummed smokes off every one around me. Between the puffs of my husband's smokes and 'let me light that for', I probably smoked 2 cigarettes yesterday. Which isn't bad but I am supposed to be NOT smoking. Or drinking. However I have cut down to half a glass a day (a biggish glass). Which is not too bad. I have read that wine is moderation is good for you so I guess its ok'ish. Although have best friend's wedding tomorrow and am doing speach therefore will have to drink to pluck up courage. Damn.
I have no self discipline, what so ever.
I loved Danea's post about her missing 20 pounds. I swear those sneaky bastards hide in showers because I found my missing 10 pounds in the shower this morning as well. I tried to pretend it was from my swollen ovaries but after only two days of stims I doubt my ovaries are doing much except moaning like sonofabitches about being woken up from their yearly slumber.
And lastly, I want to confirm, that it really is a (male) dog's life....
(note male dog gets to lie on comfy lounger, female dog has to lie on ground- typical)
It's quite flattering and somewhat comforting to know how many people out there care about how I feel about the length and width of my penis.
I get at least 20-30 emails a day from caring people expressing concern about whether I am happy with the size of my penis, also affectionately known as my Johnson.
What is especially touching is that they don't pass judgement on its size - they are concerned about how I feel about it. Which is all very new age and stuff. They don't come out and say "hey you with the small dick". No, they ask about feelings. "Are you happy with the size of your Pen1s", even sensitively making subtle changes to the spelling so not as to offend me.
The product contains natural ingredients like deer antler (????), sounds very safe to use.
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Their marketing segmentation and targeting might be slightly off, but their message is filled with care and sensitivity.
Several decades ago, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross described the five stages people often experience when coming to terms with a terminal illness: denial, anger and/or guilt, depression, bargaining, and acceptance. More recently this has been updated to shock, denial, anger and/or guilt, depression and acceptance. Or variations thereof.
I have read some of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s books on grief after losing Ben. I read a lot then, it really helped.
Anyhow, I have come to realize that going through infertility is a very similar process to going through a grieving process. In fact, I think the reason why I coped so well with Ben’s death, or rather should I say the reason why I managed to move through the cycle fairly quickly is that his death was part of a longer grieving process, the one I have been going through for four years, infertility.
All the experts will tell you – there is no way around the grieving process, you can only go through it. It has been generally accepted that the five stages of grief pretty much cover the grieving process and most people will go through each of these stages, some longer, some shorter. Plus it need not follow in that order and you can go back and forth between stages.
If I look at the various (infertile) people I interact with, I can see clearly that different people are in different stages in the process. I was speaking to a friend last night who has done 15 or so IVF’s, number 6 gave her son. She is in the same headspace as I am – acceptance. We are both very calm about this, but we have both been through the stages. Interacting with the various people on the bulletin boards illustrates this quite well.
I certainly did not spend too much time in this stage. I took myself self off immediately to a fertility specialist, after 3 months of trying. What can I say – I am an instant gratification type of girl. But for many, there is an initial period where they either are too scared to go see a doctor for fear he will diagnose infertility, or there are others who simply can’t believe that there might be something wrong with them. They just carry on, month after month, with the horrible suspicion that there might just be something wrong deep in the back of their minds, yet too scared to face up to it.
Anger / guilt
I spent a lot of time in this stage and it was ugly, very very ugly. I found the anger the hardest thing to deal with and this is what eventually sent me to therapy and on AD’s. I was so f’ing angry about infertility and the failures. I was angry at God, angry at fertile people, angry at the world. I could hardly talk to my friends or family. The deep, dark anger inside would threaten to choke me. I remember talking to my (very fertile) sister on the phone and nearly choking on my anger, for no reason other than she was fertile. It was a dark time.
This is the time when bitterness and frustration set in. You see this in many people on the boards. They are angry, mad at the world, and who can blame them. This is the stage where you don’t want to, in fact you simply can’t, be around ‘normal’ people. Or heaven forbid around babies. You are super sensitive to every thing any one says and you take every thing very personally. Anger is a terrible emotion, it is soul destroying.
And then there are some who spend time in the guilty phase. ‘I am suffering from infertility because of something I did in my past – that abortion I had, or the fact that I slept around, or because xyz’. Logic has no place here – these are the crazy conversations in your head.
Depression / despair
Then you see the girls that are stuck in the depression / despair phase. It’s fairly obvious what this stage feels like. You feel completely down, that things will never work out. You feel lonely and alone. You withdraw from you normal life. You creep deeper and deeper within your own misery.
Thank goodness I did not spend too much time here, but I must say, AD’s helped. I saw it coming and I made sure I did not spend too much time here.
Of course the bitch about infertility is that each cycle is like a mini grief cycle in its own. You need to go through a mini grief cycle after each failure. The shock, the anger, the depression and then the acceptance. It makes it very difficult to move completely out of it all because each cycle puts you back in it again. I think this is why so many people give up, they just can’t handle the pain of going through this again and again. However the good thing is that the time it takes to move through the cycle gets shorter and shorter as time goes on.
And then you come to the stage of acceptance. What a liberating place it is to be. Acceptance comes in many forms. You can accept that you will live childfree. A decision I admire but one that I can’t contemplate. This is the stage where you can look at babies and not feel pain, but rather feel joy and hope or peace.
Or you can be like my friend and I are. And many of my other friends. You accept that this is your lot in life. This is my cross to bear and I can either throw myself on the floor and cry and yell and scream, or I can say ‘well, I am infertile, what can I do about it’. It almost becomes like a job. Infertility is who I am and what I do. Thank god it is only infertility. Thank god I don’t have cancer. Infertility sucks and it’s a pain in the f’ing arse, but hey, its there.
I just believe that shit happens. Its got to happen to some people. I don’t say ‘why me’ any more, why the hell not me? Who am I to be so special as to avoid shit in my life? Every one has shit in their life. I have a sister who is super fertile (two and a half kids – i.e. one on the way) but is unlucky in love, I have a friend who is gorgeous, is getting married, doesn’t want kids, but can not find a decent job / career, work and money are her cross to bear. Then my other friend (who reads this blog) is clever, good at what she does, has a beautiful daughter but can’t find her prince. Being on her own (until she finds her prince) is her cross to bear. I have a wonderful husband, a good job, enough money, but I am infertile. It is my cross to bear.
I wont let it get me down, I will succeed. I will conquer this and I will achieve my dream. Fuck you infertility, I’ll beat you. You watch!
Not such a good start to the day.
1. Firstly, crap sleep because I was scared I would mess (AF) on my new linen. So kept waking up to check. This after previous night’s very little sleep due to too much to drink and night out.
2. More stupid dreams. Too stupid to go into.
3. Geyser seems to have packed up or something (its only two months old) because no hot water. So had to shower in cold water, very very quickly. Splash and dash. Thank goodness I had long shower last night.
4. Therefore couldn’t wash hair (I wash my hair every day) and now have greasy hair.
5. Could not make number 2 this morning now feeling full of shit. Ha ha. Sorry, gross joke. But not being able to make a number 2 puts me in a bad mood. And I can’t go at work. So I will have to wait until I get home.
6. Wore ugly dress today to reflect shitty (or lack thereof) start to day. Am wearing demin dress (blue), brown sandals and a maroon scrunchie (hair tie-er upper thing). Beautiful. Not.
So feel ugly and full of shit today.
It can only get better.
Yesterday was Freedom Day in South Africa, celebrating 10 years of democracy. 10 years ago yesterday Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as the new democratically elected president of SA. What a wonderful day that was.
I am so incredibly proud of my country. We have achieved so much. We have done wonderful things and I honestly believe that we are a leading example to the rest of the world on how peace and transformation can happen in the most volatile of circumstances. I used to be deeply ashamed of being South African in the Apartheid era. I would absolutely cringe when telling people where I was from. I still feel very guilty about things that went on. For a long time I suffered from the most incredible ‘white guilt’. About born privileged in a society where so many were denied dignity and the most basic human rights.
The capacity of so many people to forgive terrible atrocities and human rights violations is awe-inspiring. We have icons in this country like Nelson Mandela and Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu, wonderful people who have done so much to bring about this wonderful transformation. We have fallen heroes who gave up their lives for the struggle, Steve Biko and Chris Hani, and many more.
I love that there are so many opportunities for people who never had opportunities before. I love that the children of today don’t see race, they only see friends. I know we have a long way to go, and issues like poverty, unemployment, crime, HIV/AIDS etc are huge mountains to climb, but I have hope. We have just had our third democratic elections, run exceptionally well by the Independent Electoral Commission, declared free and fair. The threat of faction violence never materialized. This is fantastic! The new Premiers of the 9 provinces were announced, more than 50% are women!
I live in one of the most beautiful countries in the world and it feels wonderful to be Proudly South African.
We’ve come a long way, baby!
The infertility world is a sub-culture on its own. It has its own set of rules of interaction, its own language, class system, social hierarchy etc. It is not a culture that you willingly belong to but it becomes perversely comforting once you are in it.
The language is a fairly obvious part of the sub-culture. I know for the non-infertility people (i.e. read ‘normal’ people) reading this blog must get quite confusing sometimes.
For example, if I had to introduce myself to a infertility group within the sub-culture, I would say “I am Tertia, I am 35 yrs old, dh is 30, TTC 4 yrs, dx = PCOS, stage II endo, irregular AF and I don’t O on my own. 3 x injectible IUI’s, all BFN. IVF #1 = cancelled due to falling E2’s. IVF #2, zero fert, rescue ICSI, BFN. IVF#3 = BFP, but ectopic, 3 x FET’s = BFN, IVF #4 = BFP, but MC 8w3d due to T21, IVF #5 = BFP, twins, loss of one at 21w, the other born 25w6d, died after 10 days in NICU. And we would all know what I was saying. In fact you start thinking in this language and when you speak to ‘normal’ people you have to remind yourself that they don’t know what you are talking about, that AF is your period. I even want to call it AF to my Dr.
You tend wear your infertility history like an achievement badge in Scouts, and your history quickly defines into which social group you belong.
Its actually amusing yet sad to see the natural ‘progression’ (regression?) of an infertility patient within the sub-culture. They start off so excited and optimistic, convinced that whatever intervention they engage in WILL work. They think their stay in the sub-culture is very temporary. They look on the old timers with a mixture of pity and horror. I remember when I was doing IUI’s, looking at the IVF girls with pity because they had to resort to such drastic measures to achieve their dream. Then during my first IVF I was sure it would work. I joined a cycle buddies group (Julie explains this really well), had my name in a chart and joined all the 2ww boards. I was so sure it would work. I think I did hand out some ((hugs)) but I never flung any baby dust anywhere. Even in my newest of states, I never did buy into that baby dust shit. However, I was part of the happy, skippy, naïve class. Ignorance, without doubt, is bliss.
Than as you go through disappointment after disappointment, you become increasingly cynical and yes, sometimes a tad bitter. You stop eating pineapple, listening to fertility tapes, reading mind over matter books and start seeking out others who are in the same headspace as you are. (and if you are like me you go to the other extreme and you start drinking and smoking again).
Bulletin boards are a great meeting place and are the coffee shops of the Infertility sub-culture. People from all walks of life meet here, from all across the world. You know that when you go to your local coffee shop you will find someone who is in the same frame of mind as you, whether that is hope, optimism, anger, bitterness, disappointment etc. Being infertile in a fertile world can be lonely and isolating, not all the time, but in some aspects of your life. It does isolates some more than others, I was like that, about two years ago, you get over it. So it is incredibly comforting to be around others who are like you. Where you can just be you.
Within the world of infertility there is a hierarchy of some sorts. The cooler, somewhat streetwise girls are those who are doing IVF. The naïve newbies are those who are doing their first IUI’s with Chlomid. Those just on Chlomid and sex we don’t speak to. J/k. Then of course there are those battling with secondary infertility vs those who are still battling with primary infertility. It’s the pain Olympics, with no winners, even though the contest is subtly fought daily. Even within IVF there are subtle class distinctions. The dynamics on the IVFC board are amusing to say the least. The divide between the IVF Veterans and the beginners results in a flare up every now and then. Sadly I lived through a few of these. Sadly because it means I have been around the Vets board too long. They are very amusing though. I love to stir things up. I shouldn’t really but one has to find ones entertainment somewhere.
The rules of engagement in the sub-culture of infertility are complex and highly emotive. You are part of the close-knit band of brethren until you achieve the goal that every one is striving for, a positive beta (a positive pregnancy test). Then all of a sudden you are kicked out the club and you are supposed to move on and find a new group of friends. For someone like myself who has been part of the culture for so long, it was very difficult leaving and having to make new friends. You feel lost. Infertility is all I know, it’s been my world for so long it is impossible to suddenly leave and be part of the normal world. That normal world is as alien to me now as the infertility sub- culture was a few years ago. Unfortunately the scars run deep, but I wear them with pride because they define who I am today, and I like who I am. Older, wiser and a lot more humble.
As I said in the beginning, it’s a crappy world, a sub-culture filled with pain and longing, one I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, yet it is strangely comforting, and to be honest I don’t think I could go it alone. Imagine being the only different one in a world of normal people. Horrible. I am sad that being infertile has caused to me live in a parallel world, but I am damn glad there is this world out there. I have met some of the most amazing women in this sub-culture, bright, funny women, women I would have chosen as friends in the ‘normal’ world had I had the chance to.
It’s a world that I live in sometimes, not all the time and I think that’s the key. You have to find balance in your life or infertility will drive you crazy. Yes I know it’s an insidious disease, one that affects every single aspect of your life. It creeps into places you once thought were sacred – your relationships with your friends and family, you wealth, your health, you faith and your very outlook on life. But you need to know that its only one part of your life, and that the sub-culture, as comfortable as it is, is only real for one aspect of your life. You can’t dwell in it exclusively. Unfortunately, the real world carries on regardless. You can’t get left behind.
That sneaky bastard spot has been messing with me. AF was due on Monday but her sniveling sidekick spot arrived a day earlier, like a distant relative, unwelcome, but one you feel obligated to treat with a certain amount of respect.
Of course that causes a bit of confusion as what to call cd1. However seeing as it was only spot and not full blown AF, tomorrow shall be cd1, but I will start my lupron today, cd -1.
I had my last cigarette tonight. I feel quite anxious about that. Which makes me feel like a cigarette, but then I know I can’t have one, which makes me feel more anxious, which makes me feel like a cigarette even more. You get the picture. I am consoling myself by eating fudge. Which increases my sugar levels which makes my heart race which makes me feel anxious which makes me feel like a cigarette.
Life if very complicated.