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71 More Days !! The Update or The 411

In 71 days….  I will embark on my next IVF cycle !  YAY !   I am so excited !  I am ready !!  I have my funds together !!  It is time to make two little Valeries !!!

I have had a somewhat crazy past month or so.  I have been enjoying my mornings by arising, throwing on work out clothes, and going for 3-5 mile run intervals on the beach.  I wake every morning to the view of the ocean and I can not tell you how refreshing and inspiring that is for my soul.   My mom is getting her entire life here and is finally relaxing a bit.  She has been going with me some evenings when I do my pm run.  If she goes, then I just walk the entire way.   She even accompanied me twice last week to my aqua-zumba class and she went in the sauna and then rode a bike and worked out on weights while I participated in my aquatics class.

I work out in the morning every morning on the beach or in the gym on the elliptical, go to water aerobics twice a week, run on the beach for 2-3 more miles at sunset and will be adding ballroom/ latin dance to my workout as soon as they school calls me back so that I can enroll.   I am taking time and tending to ME !  I am spending time with ME… working on MY body… MY health.. enjoying ME !   Why not?

Great news !  My film, which was a finalist in the Reel Recovery Film Festival, has been screening around the country and in Canada.  I was invited to come in for an in person appearance for the NYC screening.  My cast, crew and supporters came out and we did Q&A after the screening. The film received wild applause after it screened on the big screen at Cinema Village Theater !

Reel Recovery Film Fest NY Cinema Village NY

My mother came with me to NYC and we darn near FROZE !  At the beach, it is hot and I get up and put on a tshirt or swimsuit.  There was a cold snap up North and it was COLD !  I was NOT prepared for that cold weather !

After the screening, we left and headed South to Washington DC to attend church service at my home church, as my pastor was being honored.  We went to the 9:30 am service (after only getting 3-4 hours of sleep) and then we went to my sister’s home and her hubby bbq’d for us !  What a treat 🙂

I just got in from my pm run and am relaxing.  I decided to try a new recipe I created today.  I made cajun braised beef ribs, rosemary potatoes, and cajun baby lima beans.

Cajun Braised Beef Ribs

Anyway, I hope that everyone is doing well !  Until next update….  xoxo

Chicken Lazone – Recipe

chicken lazone

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 lb free range or grass fed chicken tenders
  • 1/4 cup organic sweet cream butter, divided
  • 2 cups organic heavy cream

Directions:
Combine salt, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper.  Sprinkle over both sides of chicken tenders.

In large saute pan, melt half of the butter over medium-high heat.  Cook the chicken tenders until done, about 8 minutes.

Pour the cream and remaining butter into the skillet.  Lower heat and simmer until the sauce thickens, about 5-7 minutes.  Serve chicken and sauce over pasta or mashed potatoes, if desired.

IVF Medications and Possible Side Effects- The 411

IVF Medications and Possible Side Effects- The 411

I am on cycle day one and will be starting Estrace in twenty more days ! YAY ! I got my detailed medication protocol this morning and got some awesome documents from my doctor which explains the various medications, their purpose and possible side effects.

► Clomiphene Citrate: (Clomid) This medication increases the amount of FSH the pituitary gland will secrete. This is often used to stimulate ovulation in women who have absent
periods, infrequent periods or long cycles, or unexplained infertility.
The dosage is usually started at 100mg a day and taken for 5 days. Dosage may be increased if ovulation still does not occur. Potential side effects from Clomid include:
Increased incidence of multiple birth, Hot flashes, nausea, and breast tenderness, Headaches or blurred vision
Depression and mood swings, Ovarian cysts and pelvic discomfort from over stimulation of the ovaries

► Follicle Stimulation Hormone (FSH): (Gonal-f, Follistim, Bravelle) This is an injection given just below the skin (subcutaneous injection) that bypasses the hypothalamus and pituitary glands to directly stimulate follicle growth in the ovaries.

Potential side effects include:
Increased incidence of multiple birth, Breast tenderness, swelling, rash at injection site, Mood swings, fatigue and depression, Ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome which includes enlarged ovaries, abdominal pain and bloating

► Human Menopausal Gonadatropins (hMG): (Menopur, Repronex) An injection that contains equal parts of FSH and LH (Luteinizing hormone), given to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs during one cycle. Menopur is the most common hMG used. Potential side
effects are the same as noted for the FSH.

► GnRH Antagonists: (Cetrotide, Ganirelix) This is an injection given just below the skin (subcutaneous injection) that helps prevent premature ovulation by decreasing the amount of LH released from the pituitary. It is started when the follicles are of a certain size.

Potential side effects are:
Tenderness, rash or swelling at injection site, Headaches and nausea

► GnRH Agonist: Lupron (or the generic form leuprolide acetate) is an injection given below the skin (subcutaneous injection) designed to prevent mid-cycle LH surge which can result in premature ovulation.

Potential side effects include:
Hot flashes
Headache
Mood swings
Vaginal dryness
Decreased breast size
Painful intercourse

►Human Chorionic Gonadatropin (HCG): (Ovidrel, Novaryl, Pregnyl, generic HCG) HCG is intended to induce ovulation. In the case of IVF, HCG is administered 36 hours prior to egg retrieval to provide final maturity to the developing egg.

Potential side effects include:
Nausea, Tenderness, rash or swelling at injection site

► Estrace: (Estradiol) This is a medication that comes in pill form that will be taken at a designated time in your cycle. You may be instructed to take this medication vaginally, orally, or both. If you are instructed to take this medication vaginally you will insert the pill as high into
the vagina as possible.

Potential side effects include:
Breast tenderness
Mild nausea
Bloating
Vaginal itching or discharge

► Progesterone Support: (Crinone, Endometrin, progesterone in oil) is a medication that will be taken at a designated time in your cycle to support the endometrial lining.

Potential side effects include:
Breast tenderness
Menstrual like cramping
Nausea
Mood swings and depression

Risks and Side Effects

Ovarian Hyperstimulation:

Hyperstimulation of the ovaries is potential risk when taking ovulation induction medications. Ovarian Hyperstimulation occurs when the ovaries become enlarged. In mild to moderate cases of ovarian hyperstimulation, a person may experience abdominal bloating and/or abdominal pain. Approximately 20% of people will experience mild hyperstimulation. Symptoms usually resolve with the onset of menses, however with a pregnancy may continue for several weeks.

In severe hyperstimulation, you may also experience a significant accumulation of fluid in the abdomen, nausea, vomiting, weight gain, dehydration and a decrease in urine output. Clients who experience severe hyperstimulation may require hospitalization.

Mild to moderate uncomplicated ovarian hyperstimulation, which may be accompanied by abdominal distention and /or abdominal pain, occurs in approximately 20% of clients treated with Gonadatropins an hCG. It generally resolves without treatment within a few weeks, or with menses. However, if pregnancy occurs, it may persist several weeks into the pregnancy. Clients experiencing mild to moderate ovarian enlargement usually report pelvic fullness and some abdominal pain and discomfort, usually about 2 to 6 days after administration of hCG. The degree of ovarian hyperstimulation is related to both the estradiol level and the number of follicles.
Multiple Pregnancy:

The administration of fertility medications increase the probability that more oocytes are developed in the ovaries. With the production of more oocytes the risk of multiple pregnancy increases. Multiple pregnancies are associated with an increase risk of complications and premature delivery. Multiple pregnancies can result in the need to reduce the number of fetuses. This procedure is called selective reduction.

Questions To Ask About Infertility (source – NY Times)

What to Ask About Infertility

 

Confronting a new diagnosis can be frightening — and because research changes so often, confusing. Here are some questions you may not think to ask your doctor, along with notes on why they’re important.

 

What is your success rate in achieving pregnancies in women of my age and with my diagnosis?

 

Fertility diminishes with age, and so do I.V.F. success rates. Make sure the statistics cited by your prospective fertility doctor apply in your circumstances, not those of a woman 10 years younger.

 

Do you have a treatment specialty?

 

Working with a medical team experienced in your type of infertility can enhance your chances of getting pregnant.

 

How long do you believe your patients should try less advanced methods before moving to assisted reproductive technologies?

 

Depending on your age and diagnosis, oral medications such as clomiphene (Clomid) and artificial insemination can increase your chances of conception without the cost or emotional commitment of I.V.F. But patients over 35 years old should not spend too much time on such low-tech methods if they’re not successful within a few ovulatory cycles, many experts say.

 

How do you treat repeated miscarriage? What are your views on the use of intravenous immune globulins (IVIg)?

 

Recurrent miscarriage often is treated with hormonal supplements along with pre-implantation screening of defective embryos. Some centers may also offer IVIg, a highly controversial procedure that involves an intravenous cocktail of antibodies from many blood donors. Most well regarded fertility practices don’t administer IVIg because of its risks and as yet unproven benefits.

 

Do you perform preimplantation testing of embryos? If so, do you do it for anything other than genetic disorders?

 

Preimplantation genetic diagnosis, or P.G.D., is a procedure in which cells removed from an embryo are tested for genetic abnormalities before it is transferred into the uterus. P.G.D. can help doctors identify devastating genetic diseases, like Tay-Sachs or cystic fibrosis. Yet recent studies suggest P.G.D. is not as reliable as originally believed.

 

What’s your position on pregnancy reduction?

 

The more embryos transferred into a woman’s uterus, the greater her chances of carrying one to full term — and of having multiple births, with such complications as premature birth and underweight babies. Many doctors have begun transferring fewer embryos in order to lower these risks.

 

At what age, or after how many failed cycles, do you recommend the use of donor eggs?

 

Fertility centers and specialists vary in their approach; the answer also will depend on your age, diagnosis and history of live births. It can be useful to know your prospective doctor’s views and whether a prospective fertility practice would be able to locate an egg donor should you need one.

 

Can acupuncture aid fertility?

 

Some evidence suggests acupuncture may have beneficial effects on stress and reproduction, though studies have been mixed. Whatever treatment approach you choose, stress management is an important component of infertility treatment.

 

What happens to my unused embryos?

 

A reputable fertility center will have you sign an informed consent form expressing your wishes. The usual choices include donating unused embryos to another infertile couple, offering them to a research institution or having them destroyed.

 

Do you freeze eggs? Do you use the slow-freezing method or vitrification? What is your success rate with frozen eggs, compared to frozen embryos?

 

Egg-freezing is an area of growing research and promise, but the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the main professional body for fertility specialists, regards it as an experimental procedure that should only be provided to younger cancer patients facing sterilizing treatments. I.V.F. with slow-frozen eggs leads to pregnancy less often than procedures relying on fresh eggs or slow-frozen embryos. . Vitrification, a new process by which eggs are flash-frozen, may rival that of fresh eggs, though the procedure is new.

 

What about ovarian tissue freezing?

 

The safety and effectiveness of this experimental technique, which involves making a small incision under the navel and removing thin strips of ovarian tissue for later transplant, remains unproven. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine currently states the procedure should be considered only for women who must undergo medical treatments that may leave them sterile, not as a lifestyle option for women who want to advance their careers or find a partner.

The American Fertility Association, a nonprofit advocacy and education group based in Baltimore, also has a list of recommended questions on its Web site, www.theafa.org.