Monday, August 31, 2009

Shattered Dreams

There's nothing worse than getting up to a brand new day only to have your hopes and dreams come crashing down on you. I discovered first thing this morning that Aunt Flo had visited me sometime in the night and left me with the news that I dread every month - that I have failed to conceive again.

This visit took me by surprise because it wasn't due for another two days. This meant further bad news - I have a shortened Luteal Phase, as if endometriosis wasn't bad enough. Hearing how depressed I was, my sweet hubby tried to give me hope by suggesting that it could be implantation bleeding. It lifted my spirits up for a while, giving me a spark of hope, but I knew it just wasn't possible. And with all the signs of what a period shouldn't be - dark and dotted with clots, I am bracing myself for some more bad news - Immense pain and agony throughout the period. I don't know how I am going to make it through the next few days...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Anxious and Obsessed

I hate waiting and not knowing. The last 2 weeks leading up to Aunt Flo's visit often kills me. If I am having a normal Luteal Phase, then that usually means 14 days of agonizing over whether I managed to get pregnant or not. I am like the "Are-we-there-yet?" kid in a car impatiently bugging his parents every 5 minutes if they have arrived yet . Except, it's me asking myself -

"Am I pregnant yet?"

"Am I pregnant yet?"

"Am I pregnant yet?"

"How about now?"



I wish I had a Magic Mirror that could show me everything that's happening in my body. That would take a lot of the guesswork out! But I don't. So I am obsessed with symptoms and any slight changes in my body that could point to a possible pregnancy. Oh! How I love my digital thermometer! I am obsessed about taking my temperature, hoping for that slight increase that may suggest a pregnancy. I've taken my temperature twice already since I started writing this post! It was 98.8˚F both times! It's higher than my normal daytime body temperature of 98.6˚! Is that a good thing? "Am I pregnant?". "AM I PREGNANT?" I know - it's official - I am an "Obsessive Compulsive Knocked-Up Wannabe"!

Friday, August 21, 2009

How To Prepare Herbal Medicine At Home

My uterus is feeling rather tender today. Feels like there's something going on in there... Hopefully the sperm and my egg are having a party in there! I didn't have any symptoms like that at all last cycle. With the absence of ovulation, it felt like there was nothing in there at all- no uterus, no hormones, no nothing! So what a difference this cycle feels. I guess my hormones are finally kicking in. And I hope all these herbs that my husband and I are taking everyday are creating super soldiers and super eggs!

It does take quite a bit of time & effort to prepare the herbs everyday - it is a commitment. And this is how I do it. You don't need any fancy equipment -- just a pot and a stove. You could use a stainless steel pot, but usually a non-reactive material like ceramic, glass or earthenware is recommended. A glass pot like Visionware or ceramic Corningware with a lid is fine, which is what I use.

Some people rinse their herbs first, but I don't bother because it's an extra step and you may lose some precious ingredients while discarding the water. For example, some herbal preparations come with ground medicinal powder which you may accidentally rinse out.

Place the herbs in the pot and pour the water in. My TCM doctor recommends using 5 cups of water, boiled and reduced down to 1 cup.

Some herbal preparations are quite big, volume wise, so they may need more water. Whatever the case, it is safe to aim for enough water to cover the dried herbs with at least 1 inch of water above it. Bring to a boil, and then turn down the fire to a simmer. Stir once half way through to make sure all the herbs have a chance to be submerged in water. The process of boiling them (about 1 hour) extracts the nutrients from the herbs. When you've boiled it down to about a cup of liquid, pour the herbal tea into a cup or bowl through a strainer to separate the solids.

And voila! Your herbal medicine is ready! It is important that you remove the herbs from the liquid as soon as it is ready as leaving the herbs in the tea will cause the extracted nutrients to be reabsorbed back into the herbs. And the herbal tea should be drunk warm.

Then repeat everyday until desired pregnancy is achieved ;-D

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

August Sex Fest Officially On!

WOOHOO! I'm ecstatic! I am finally ovulating! It has been at least 80 days since the last time I ovulated! The darker blue line that alluded me for the past couple of months finally showed up on my OPK (Ovulation Predictor Kit)! Something's finally working! Which means I should be ovulating within the next 24 hours or so.

To increase the odds of sperm meeting the egg according to "Deanna's Sperm Meets Egg Plan", I've read that baby dancing should occur for 3 consecutive nights starting from the day the OPK turns positive, followed by one day of rest, and then one last try on the 5th night. So that could only mean one thing - the August Sex Festival with DH is officially ON!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

My Ovary Is Not Dead

Almost Positive! Not of the preggers kind but apparently I have an egg that's waiting to break out! Today is Day 24 of my cycle and I am finally detecting a slight surge in my Luteinizing Hormone. Yippee! I have been peeing on those ovulation predictor sticks for a week now and have almost given up hope, till today! The blue line on the right is the control line, and the line on the left needs to be similar or darker than the control line on the right. I've been getting nothing for the past week (see the first stick on top) but today's stick (the second one below) shows a blue line forming! I am sooooo happy!

For most women, this is no big event at all, but for me, it's HUGE, given that I am desperately trying to conceive and there wasn't even any sign of ovulation last month. So, I am relieved that my ovary is still alive - at least one of them is! That explains the painful twangs I've been having in my lower left abdomen, and for the fact that I've been so emotional yesterday - I even cried watching old reruns of The Amazing Race! I can't wait to pee on another of those sticks and see THE elusive dark blue line tomorrow. I am SO keeping my fingers crossed!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Soy Sauce In My First Aid Kit!

Recently, I burnt my wrist with steam while opening the lid of a boiling pot. I'm not the type that fusses over small kitchen accidents, like hot splatters of oil on the hands or accidentally touching something out of the oven with my barehands ( Yep-you could say I am accident proned!) I think of myself as a Ruff-N-Tuff kinda gal - I don't usually bother with band-aids or antiseptic cream or even medication most of the time. But this time it hurt like hell. Instead of treating the wound I complained to my husband, who told me to at least rinse it under cold water. OK, I thought I should at least do that! But it continued to sting like crazy!

My skin was already quite red by then and hubby got worried. He said that I should quickly pour thick dark soy sauce over it if I had some. My first thought was "That's absolutely ridiculous!" Filled with complete doubt, I asked him three times "Are you SURE?" It sounded like an insane and nonsensical idea but he assured me that was what his mother taught him! Before I could give it any further thought, he was pouring that thick, gluggy, black condiment all over my hands. Spa treatment this is not! He coated every bit of my hand and not knowing how to deal with it I just stood there with my hand over the kitchen sink, black soy sauce dripping. The stinging continued. No way this is working, I thought. We were planning to go to the gym, and I wasn't sure what to do with the sauce on my hands-whether to bandage it up or rinse it off. After "marinading" my hand for about 25 minutes, I decided to just rinse it off and head to the gym. That was the last I paid any attention to that burn. The redness remained for a few days.

During my last visit to my TCM doctor, I asked him what I should do in the future if I had scalded my hands with hot water or steam. The first thing he said was pour thick soy sauce over it. My husband and I looked at each other and laughed! I couldn't believe that a doctor had seconded this Old Wive's Myth! Then I told him what happened and showed him my burn. It was still a bit red but was starting to turn a light brown. He said that it was healing well, and that if I hadn't done that, the burn would have blistered and the skin would have broken and bled. He did tell me that I should not have rinsed it with water but poured the soy sauce immediately over it instead, and then leave it on the whole day or for at least 30 minutes. And he said to cut fresh aloe vera and apply it over the burn so that it would heal better. Truthfully, I have not bothered with that or any lotions. I still don't know for sure if that soy sauce made any difference, but now my burn has left a very thin layer of brownish skin that has already started to come off, as you can see in the photo. I am sure that if I exfoliated the dead skin away, there would be very little sign of the burn. So who knows, it might be a good idea to have thick dark soy sauce in your First Aid Kit!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

There's A Pain In My Ass

Yes, literally! My rectum is painfully throbbing away today. It is all sore and tender and feels like it is a radioactive reactor pulsing away inside. 

Although the stress of having Aunt Flo around left a couple of days ago, it really sucks now to have to deal with this pain! It is Day 10 of my cycle today, and coincidentally, I have read that many women suffering from endo also seem to experience pain out of the blue on Day 10 of their cycles! I often experienced unexplained pain during mid-cycle, but never realized there was a pattern.  After reading about it, I started to chart my pain and was blown away by how "punctual" my ass throbs every cycle! I find it puzzling that for a disease that has "no cause", it causes such a distinct series of symptoms in its victims. 

Anyway, I decided to take my body temperature today, thinking that perhaps a cold condition in my body was causing blood circulation problems-hence the cramps or pain. (I am always trying to figure my body out!) It had also been raining and the weather was cooler than normal. Well, I was surprised that after having been awake and active for 3 hours, my temperature had only climbed to 97.9˚. Normal human body temperature should be 98.6˚.  Hmmm... Maybe there is a relationship there between the pain and a cold body. Or maybe I'm just a cool babe.... Or maybe like Arthritic sufferers, my talented throbbing ass can tell when the rain is coming! 

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Aunt Flo's Horrible Visit

Another awful visit from Aunt Flo this time. This would be my third period after my miscarriage. The last cycle leading up to this period was terribly  disappointing because my body was so out of whack. I was looking forward to some serious baby dancing this cycle, but my body did not ovulate. It usually happens around Day 20 but the ovulation stick basically said No Way Hosea! I peed on so many ovulation sticks, day after day, that I finally gave up because the ovulation sticks always came back a resounding NO! However I suspect that -based on my body temperature and the discharge- that if I did ovulate it might have been at Day 28. That's 4 weeks into my cycle, which is too late in my opinion to have a hormonally healthy environment for a viable pregnancy. My period was also a week later than usual. And all this culminating into another excruciatingly painful period. 

I was so upset not only by the pain but the fact that my body had shown no signs of improvement despite having religiously taken the herbal medicine everyday, sitting through acupuncture twice weekly, sleeping with a hot water bottle on my uterus and abstaining from cold, icy drinks throughout the month. Oh well, except for maybe twice when I gave into ice cold coke and some ice-cream! But that was only two days out of the entire cycle! 

In TCM, painful periods are the result of a condition called blood stasis, which is evident as passing  dark coloured blood and clots during periods. I had plenty of clots this time, and I can't believe that it was all due to those two sinful days! So I asked Master L, my TCM doc why this was happening despite following his treatment-which had been very effective for me when I first started. Within a month of his treatment I had pain-free periods and within 4 months I had conceived. But after my miscarriage, the treatments were getting no where. It had been 3 cycles since the miscarriage - and despite all the treatment, my cycles were longer and the periods were horrifically painful and heavy. The only improvement I had this last period was that I felt 30% less pain and that the flow was not very heavy. It was too little of an improvement for me because I was still bed-ridden for days, breaking out into cold sweat and keeled over in pain and not being able to sleep or eat because of the pain. This did not feel like progress to me.

Master L's explanation was that my body had not forgiven me for the abuse that it suffered after the miscarriage due to the lack of care I had given it. I did not rest and heal and nourish my body the way I should have. As a result my body is still reeling in from the consequences of my neglect and there are still some unresolved problems in my system. Suffering from conditions such as endo and hormonal imbalance meant that I was suffering from a bigger set back than normal healthy women who had miscarriages.  His conclusion was that what he did for me was not good enough - that his treatment was right, but it had to be "more right" (his words!) As for me, that meant 100% diligence in abstaining from cold and raw food. Ai-yai-yai!  So with my silly logic I asked him- if ingesting cold stuff was a problem, wouldn't it be ok to drink something very hot following a cold drink to counteract the coldness? His reply was that it would be like putting on a band-aid after first stabbing your body with a knife.  Sigh! I guess there's just no cheating!