Life Really Sucks !!! – The 411

life sucks

So…… on top of all the other stuff that has been going on in my life of late :  Mom- cancer , Godmother- cancer, Me- 5 failed IVF cycles, Friend – son and grandmom dies same day in 2 different places, Friend- father dies, Best Friend – mother dies of cancer, Grandmother – advanced stage alzheimer, Me- packing up my mom’s house to move across country,  Me- filming TWO different shows for TV, Me- writing a book about my struggles with infertility  Me-  dealing with the anniversary of the loss of my baby, Me- working in other film projects….. okay, that is enough to drive any sane person INsane…. Guess what has happened now?

Friday, my spiritual advisor / spiritual mom/ the one who keeps me prayed up and has kept me sane throughout these last two years that I have been working on baby #1… one of the strongest women I know.. healthy as a horse… has a massive STROKE out of the blue.  She can not speak.  She has swelling on her brain and they are awaiting the swelling to go down before they can assess what is going on and the prognosis.  She is no where near out of the woods….

THEN…. my mom’s sister went into congestive heart failure yesterday morning and died in her home.

I am like WHAT NEXT JESUS?  Am I supposed to be the female Job now?  If so can you warn a sister?  I did NOT sign on for all this crap.  How strong do you really think I am?  Obviously pretty strong since you keep throwing stuff my way and I am STILL standing… STILL sane… and STILL faithful.   I am like, can you ease up off me a bit?  REALLY?  Can ya just do that?  I prayed for discernment.  I prayed for strength. I prayed for you to take me to the next level.  I prayed for covering and for blessings.   Um, I am giving you the benefit of the doubt since you can see a lot further than I can, but um, Lord God, I am struggling here !   I remind myself that this is so not about me.  There is a blessing in this and a testimony in this chaotic drama SOMEwhere… I just can not see it.

I will say this, all of this stuff happening is truly testing my faith and letting me know that I can ONLY rely on God.  The devil IS a liar from the fiery pit of hell !  Instead of all of this pulling me from God, it is making run to Him that much harder because I KNOW that I KNOW that I KNOW that God is good ALL the time, in spite of what I go through.  I have a covenant relationship with God and I KNOW that He has promised me that He would never take me to anything that He would not bring me through.  For that, I praise God’s Holy name.   He has ALWAYS brought me through every trial and tribulation in my life and I am ALWAYS the better for it.

How people who have no faith get through life, I have no clue.  But when I tell you God will wipe away EVERY tear and He will give you double for your trouble, He WILL !  He has proven that to me every time I have ever gone through hell on Earth.  When my wedding was called off and all hell broke loose in my life, I NEVER thought I would get over that and be able to move forward, but God brought me through that I was able to see in the end that God saved my life by removing that man from my life.  He saved me from headache, heartache and a eventual divorce.  Marrying a man I did not love JUST so that I could have my wedding, baby etc, would have been the worse mistake I ever made.

I am standing in the gap and praying for the complete healing and restoration of Reverend Nawanna Lewis-Miller.

As for the passing of my Aunt, we have yet to tell my Grandmother.  My mom is worried about how she will handle it.  The coroner is performing an autopsy to rule out foul play and then her body will be sent to a funeral home and she will be cremated, per her wishes.  My Aunt was mentally ill and has been the black sheep of the family her whole life.  She made my Grandparent’s lives HELL for as long as I could remember.  I often found myself questioning God as to why He would allow people like her to live when there is no obvious purpose to her life other than to hell-hack and scam people.  Why do you allow hurt, harm and death to come to good people and people like her walk around seemingly happy?   There is a purpose under the sun, but I never saw what it was… I guess the lesson was not meant for me.

I just pray that when my mom does tell my Grandmother (she will after everything is done so that she will not flip out about wanting to run down to NC to be in the middle of all this) that she does not get very depressed and start wilding out.  I do not have time for that drama.  The smallest thing can set off an alzheimers patient.  It could really throw her into a whirlwind and she will have exacerbated symptoms.  She has forgotten a lot of people and things, and seems much happier and content.  She has not had a blow up in months.  She has not mentioned my Aunt in several months so I wonder if she even remembers her.  She has forgotten her pastor’s name.  When you mention other people to her she does not remember them.  To me, this disease is disturbing.  It is truly frightening that brain cells die and effects the memory to the point that they forget life.  I pity her.

Please join me in lifting Rev. Miller and my family in prayer for healing and peace ~

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IVF #5 – Stim Day 19 – The 411

ivf 5 - keep calm stim on bear

19 days and counting…. Just two more days of stims and then hopefully Thursday night is trigger #1 and Friday is trigger #2 and then I can get these little eggs out of me before my babies come out looking like Benjamin Button ! lol

I did my normal injections this morning of Ganirelix, Lovenox and Neupogen.  I took the 20mg of Prednisone, Claritin, and also took my prenatal vitamin.  This afternoon, I took the Folate and also the Synthroid.  I will inject Gonal-F tonight (ran out of Follistim and the two are interchangeable) and the Menopur.  I have a pm prenatal that I take along with more Prednisone and the Vitamin D emulsion.

I just packed up my clothing, shoes, notes for my book, sheets, and heating pad into a box and have it sitting waiting on FedEx to pick it up and ship it ahead to the hotel.  I am elated to not have to drag luggage with me all around New York while I am in the city for the funerals.  I will leave from the funeral and head to midtown, grab lunch in Penn Station or nearby and then hop on the train to Albany.  It will be nice to be in a quiet hotel suite, equipped with a full kitchen, and no grandmom to ask me every five minutes if there is something she can help me do !  Thank you Jesus !   🙂    She means well, but at times, it is taxing. I wish she could do some of my writing so that I can take a nap LOL.

Today, my mom had her first radiation treatment.   All went well and we met with the doctor afterwards. I took her to lunch at PF Chang’s and then home we went.  After she worked for a while, I made her go to bed to take a nap and rest.   She is probably downstairs on her Ipad or cellphone playing around on Facebook lol.

In regards to my swelling ovaries, I spoke too soon !  Those things seem to start filling up late last night about 11-12 and felt like they were being blown up a bit kinda like a balloon for several hours.  It was so noticeable that I could not sleep from the discomfort.  My tummy is now a bit distended so I am hoping that nothing is growing out of proportion or too fast and I end up having the surgery on Friday.  I was looking forward to having all day Friday to relax and maybe catch a movie at the mall up the street from the hotel, hang out in the huge Border’s Bookstore and get a juicy burger from Five Guys in the food court.   Hopefully I will be able to get that in.

More tomorrow after my scan…. I am going to take a nap before I have to go to infertility support group meeting tonight !

IVF # 5 Stim Day 15 – The 411

ivf 5 - meds 2

Today is my 15th day of stims !   One more week to go before retrieval !!  Woot Woot !

I got up this morning and did my morning injections of Ganirelix, Lovenox, and Neupogen, popped the Prednisone and ran out to my early am monitoring appointments.   I got my scan done and my follicles are finally starting to grow.  I have a 12mm as the largest.  I have 9 on the right and another 4 on left so far.  I am to stay on my same meds and then go back for scans and more blood work on Monday and again on Wednesday.  I will possibly trigger on Wednesday, depending on how things look and report to Albany on Friday for retrieval and then a transfer on the following Monday or Tuesday.

ivf 5 - follicular stim day 15

I had to order more meds as I was out of Ganirelix since I have been taking it for 15 days now.  I was able to get two boxes from another patient and got five more from another patient who are on the Facebook support group boards I am on. Why pay the pharmacy $250 per box when I can get them from other patients for $50?  #diapermoneyforlater

Now that I am no longer injecting the delestrogen and my estradiol levels are dropping to normal range, I am not as tired as I have been.  Then again, I have been stressed and sleeping more, so that could be why I am not as tired.

My friend, Cristal, who lost her son and grandmom this week and my best friend, Gary, who’s mom has stage four cancer, have both launched funding campaigns that I am promoting, so I have not had much time to work on my book this week with that and all the documentation I had to pull together for the network submission of my show.  I have to tape additional segments this week and get them to the editor to revise the sizzle reel plus tape an interview.

Tomorrow, I am attending a class at Howard University School of Divinity that my dear friend, Pastor Nawanna Lewis-Miller is hosting.   I am really looking forward to attending the class with my mother.  I hate that I will not have the time to do acupuncture tomorrow, but I will try to get an appointment and go on Tuesday in the middle of the morning. Parking is so horrendous in DC during the week….

Tonight, I will be injecting 175 units of Follistim and 37.5 units of the Menopur.  My tummy is starting to look black and blue and depending on which med I am injecting, since the needles are different, I am noticing that I am bleeding a lot.  The Lovenox is the culprit !  I am being very careful not to bump into things or fall since I bruise so easily on Lovenox.

Have a great weekend !!

IVF # 5 – Stim Day 14 – The 411

ivf 5 - keep calm and stim like a champ

Today is stim day 14… I am starting to wonder if we are ever going to get to the end of stims !  I do not feel the “full” feeling I get when my ovaries are about to burst with follicles.  I can not wait, actually yes I can, to get to that point.  Stimming slow and steady is the best way to get quality eggs so I am being patient.

I have been so stressed out the last few days.  One best friend losing her son and grandmom at 10pm the SAME night on Monday, My godmother and mother both undergoing cancer treatment, and my best friend, actor, Gary Anthony Sturgis, has finally gone public with his mother’s stage four cancer diagnosis.  He finally got his mom to tell her siblings and now he was talked about it publicly, so I feel heartbroken for him, but at the same time relieved that he will have additional support.  Cancer SUCKS rocks !  In the midst of all of this mortality, I am trying to create life.  It seems strange.

In better news, my agent and I are submitting the final (although it is really just the beginning phase) mock ups of my reality tv project.  I am excited about the possibility of this show about my life, my struggles and the fertility struggle so many women and men face that I get to put a face on, being on national television !  I also know what this exposure can do for my career and other projects I want to launch in the future.  I am trusting God to open the right doors to the right people at the right time !

I am so eternally grateful for the opportunity to even be able to take this journey and I would be remiss to not thank God for His faithfulness because there are so many who would not be able to even dream of doing what I have done this past year.

I did my AM injections of Ganirelix, Lovenox, and Neupogen.  Tonight, I will inject 175 units of Follistim and 37.5 units of Menopur.

ivf - menopur  IVF 5 - Follistim  ivf 5 stim day 4 neupogen  IVF 5 stim day 2             Vitamin D emulsion

Tomorrow morning, I have another blood draw and sonogram.  Prayerfully there will be a little growth in the follicles, but not too much of a leap !  I want all the little ones to grow to the same size as the larger ones so that I have plenty of quality eggs to transfer back next week !

In the mean time, I am working on little gifts for the staff at the clinic.  I bough EOS balms and made cute hand tags that say “You Are The BALM!”  Thanks !.  I also got peanut M&Ms and put hand tags that say ” Thank You For Helping Make My Little Peanut (s) !”.  I also had Banana Bakery out of Dallas Texas make medical themed cookies that say thanks on them and they are shipping the cookies to my hotel in Albany to arrive next week and they are already hand wrapped individually.

To keep my mind occupied, I have been making flour with hard white wheat berries and baking and my team and I are working on the launch of Valerie The Pajama Chef, my cooking show.  You can pull up my flour escapades on Youtube that I shot with my cellphone LOL.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8jkyWBJWp8

I am headed downstairs to my kitchen now to make mile high buttermilk biscuits !  I am craving them, so I am making them and will go get some molasses  🙂   I know I am supposed to be doing gluten free, but one little biscuit is not gonna hurt much !  With all the hell going on around me, I deserve one little biscuit right?  🙂

IVF #4 – 3DP3DT – The 411

baby - one more day praise the lord

Today, I am three days post three day transfer.  I am feeling great !  I have been taking it pretty easy.

Last night, I took my mom to the emergency room at the urging of my sister.  Her blood sugar had dropped from the 600 range down to 285.  Her platelet count is coming up a bit, her red blood cell count is low and her white blood cell count is elevated because of the Neulasta shot she was given after her chemo 2 weeks ago.  I asked the ER doc if she should be on a low dose of Metformin to help regulate the insulin in her body and he agreed with my assessment and thought I was a doctor LOL.

We left the hospital at 10:30pm and the roads were a sheet of ice !  We got home safely and in one piece.  I wanted to go to the grocery store to get the items I needed to make authentic Pho Beef Soup, which by the way is AWESOME for pregnant or TTC women.  Any bone broth soup would be.  I decided to drive straight home since the temperatures were plummeting.

This morning, my mom had a follow up visit with her Oncology nurse.  All is going well and they are glad that we made her go to the ER and that I suggested the Metformin. (something they should have done from the onset considering they knew 2 wks ago her blood sugar was at 400 because of the steroids she is on !)

I was able to get InfuScience to set up my in home infusion services for weekly intralipid infusions.  I refuse to go to Albany on the train every week for this !   I will just pay the $235 out of pocket and submit to my insurance company in case they will pay for it.  I am out of state so they may give me grief…

I get my infusion done tomorrow after my morning acupuncture session.

infuscience

I did go to the International grocers today as well as Harris Teeter to get all the items I needed and I have been simmering oxtails with a whole onion, garlic, and some spices since noon.  I will turn it down and let it simmer overnight, just as they would in Vietnam.   I can not wait to make it for lunch tomorrow !!

For dinner, I made the Guinness Beer Chicken, Fresh Corn on the cob, and a five cheese skillet mac n cheese.  It smells divine so I am going to eat with my mom and grandmom.

IVF #4 – 2DP3DT – The 411

baby- bloating

Today, I am officially two days past three day transfer (2DP3DT).   The progesterone is starting to kick in.  The sore full boobs, the weird slight bloat, the prednisone food cravings… etc.

I am a bit tired, but other than that, I feel good.  I guess what they say about every cycle being different is true.  This IVF cycle, I did not have the pain and bloating I had with the first three.  The 1st cycle was the worse.

Today, it is snowing in the Washington DC Metro area, where I am visiting my mother.  I only went out to the mailbox and I have been taking it easy.  My mother cooked breakfast at 5 am (she thinks about food while awake or sleeping because of the steroids they have her on !)   I was up so I ate.  I spent the day watching tv and cooking.

I  made homemade yeast rolls, cubed steak with onion gravy, corn on the cob, mustard greens, buttered rice and also chocolate chip english toffee cookies for today.  Once I finished prepping today’s dinner, I cooked the Guinness Beer Chicken I seasoned yesterday and allowed to marinate in a bottle of Guinness beer for 24 hours.

It looks phenomenal !  The sauce has brown sugar, scotch bonnet sauce, red rice wine vinegar, and ketchup in it.  I am going to make skillet mac and cheese for my mom to go with it.  Soft foods go down easier for her.  Her gums and mouth are sore and her throat gets sore off and on.

My mother’s nurse called her at 2 am after reviewing her labs that had just come in to leave a message saying her glucose level, because of the meds, has shot up over 600.  Her platelet count is extremely low, so they could not do her chemo yesterday.  It has been rescheduled for next week when her platelet count is above 100.

We called her doctor’s office to try to get her seen or have them call in a script for insulin, but because of the terrible snow storm they were not open today.  I am going to take her to emergency room in the morning after the snow has stopped and all the roads have been plowed.  They do not come to clean our driveway and sidewalks until tomorrow.

My sister, who is an RN has been on me all day to make her go to the ER as she is worried about her getting deathly ill because of the high blood sugar.  My mom used to be diabetic before having gastric bypass 10 years ago, so her blood sugar has not been elevated in 10 years.  With a compromised immune system, my sister says it is worse.  I would go out now, but the roads have not been dragged and getting into a car accident would not be cute either !

My my mom says she feels fine so she will just go in the morning. She is more worried about the “non-driving” people around here LOL.

IVF #4 – Stim Day 8 – The 411

baby - ivf 4 stim day 8 scan

This morning, I went in for my monitoring appointment and labs and I now have 14 follicles !! One on the left is 2cm and there are two on the right that are larger than the others.  By Wednesday, they feel the smaller ones will catch up and I will be able to trigger on Wednesday and double trigger on Thursday for a Friday morning retrieval.

I am starting to feel very tired and ridiculously sleepy.  When I came in from my appointments this morning, I climbed back in my bed, turned on the heated blanket and went to sleep ! I woke up a few hours later and went upstairs into the kitchen and whipped up another pan of the soft and fluffy yeast rolls I made for the first time on Sunday.  They are so soft, sweet and yummy !  I had several colleagues who saw the pics on Facebook and demanded that I send them some.  I now have 8 bags of them in the freezer and will ship them out tomorrow after I get back from acupuncture.

I am having trouble trying to  focus.  My godmother was just diagnosed with recurrent breast cancer and my best friend’s mother was just diagnosed with lung and spinal cancer.  Although my godmother will be okay, I worry about my friend’s mom because the cancer on her spine has been there for years undiagnosed; to the point that it has mangled her ribs !  The good news is that the cancer on her lung is on the outside and the doctors feel that the cancer is treatable, but the work “inoperable” is what scares me.  2015 has been a true bitch for a lot of people I know.  I am just trying to stay positive and spread as much love and faith around as I can.  I am a witness that God can do exceedingly, abundantly above all we can ever think or imagine and He is also a healer.  I am putting all of them, my mom included, in the palm of His hand and I am standing on the unshakeable faith that God is bigger than any problem.