Monday, August 28, 2006

Sex libris

Just wanted to let everyone know that I'm okay -- I haven't been on the computer much, except to work, which is why I haven't been posting. This depression is kicking my butt, so I've got just enough mental/emotional energy to get my work projects done, do errands and occasionally get out and see friends (the latter is helping me a lot, actually).

I've got an appointment with my regular OB/GYN to go over management protocols for the POF. My doctor is pretty low-key, so I don't think he will suggest anything too aggressive. I'm slightly tempted to ask about an anti-depressant, but I feel like I've gone this long without one, it seems a shame to "give up" now.

Anyway, I will update properly very soon, but for now I just wanted to leave you with this gorgeous link that has been doing the rounds (I got it from my tech writing list). Enjoy!

Hot Library Smut
:: posted by Ann Howell, 11:31 AM | link | 6 comments |

Friday, August 18, 2006

More news I don't want to deal with

Yesterday was the due date for my brother and SIL's baby, so why was I not surprised to get a message from my mother saying the baby had indeed arrived. Because in perfect pregnancy land all babies arrive on their due dates, dontcha know. Heavy sigh. I really do want to be happy about this news, but I just can't seem to raise any real enthusiasm. It doesn't help that they had a little girl (Sophia Ann -- I guess I should feel honored) -- I was really hoping that they'd have a boy. It is going to kill me to have to watch their perfectly healthy little girl going through all of her amazing baby rites of passage. It's so frustrating to feel so apart from all of this! I should be right in there doing the doting aunt routine.

K. and I ended up having more than a few drinks last night in consolation (and we seemed to have forgotten to eat supper, so getting up this morning was not very pleasant!). Oddly enough, he did most of the crying. Although it's comforting to see him being so emotionally open about Lydia, it's also a little scary. I ended up retelling Lydia's birth story in gory detail, while he listened and wept. It was cathartic and I think it did help bring us closer, but it was also very draining. Tonight I just feel like ordering pizza and watching some vapid sci-fi. And I think that's probably just what we'll do!

Anyway, I'm still trying to digest the arrival of Sophia. Ironically, she may never have any cousins, as her mom is an only child and the rest of us seem unlikely to procreate (we've got one gay brother and an AWOL sister). I guess there are worse fates in life...
:: posted by Ann Howell, 5:52 PM | link | 6 comments |

Monday, August 14, 2006

Get off the stage, fat lady!

Okay, so I've decided that I'm not going to give up without a fight. After spending a dreadful weekend in a deep depression (and dragging my husband down into it, I might add), riddled with peri-suicidal thoughts in the darkness of night, I woke up this morning feeling... just as dreadful and depressed. Careful not to go over the edge completely, I tried to at least go through the motions of my morning routine, checking emails, making phone calls, etc. Once I had done the basics for the day, I decided to do a little more research into the FSH situation. Most of it was confirming what the doctor had said, which is that numbers as high as mine were the sign of full-blown, non-reversible menopause. But then a ray of hope was shone when I came across the High FSH Support Forum (there's a message board for just about everything these days!) and after a quick introduction was warmly welcomed by some very helpful women who pointed me toward some useful links. It seems that there is a slight possibility that this sudden menopausal state could have been brought about by a combination of high stress (check!), sedentary lifestyle (check!) and poor diet (check!). After doing some more research on my own, I found this nugget on PubMed (US Government medical site):

Ovarian dysfunction, stress, and disease: a primate continuum.

Kaplan JR, Manuck SB.

Department of Pathology, Wake Forest University, School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, USA.

Menopause is recognized as a period of increased risk for coronary heart disease (CHD) and osteoporosis. Vulnerability to these conditions is often attributed to the naturally occurring estrogen deficiency characteristic of this part of the life cycle. Premenopausal reductions in endogenous estrogen occasioned by functional ovarian abnormalities or failure are hypothesized to be similarly pathogenic and to accelerate development of CHD and osteoporosis prematurely, thereby increasing the health burden of older women. These functional abnormalities, which occur along a continuum from mild, luteal phase progesterone deficiency to amenorrhea, are relatively common and are often attributed to psychogenic factors (stress, anxiety, depression, or other emotional disturbance), exercise, or energy imbalance. Although numerous investigators have commented on these functional deficits, the abnormalities can be difficult to diagnose and are generally unappreciated for the contribution they may make to postmenopausal disease. Studies in nonhuman primates confirm that these deficits are easily induced by psychological stress and exercise, and that they accelerate the development of cardiovascular disease and perhaps bone loss in the presence of a typical North American diet. However, functional reproductive deficits are also reversible and are thus potentially amenable to environmental or behavioral intervention. Data from both women and nonhuman primates support the hypothesis that functional reproductive deficits are adaptive when triggered appropriately but are detrimental when activated in an environment (e.g., sedentary lifestyle, high-fat diet) permissive to the development of chronic disease.


I've got my dad (the physician) looking up the full text of the article to see what it's all about. My dad has become my right-hand man in this research and it helps that he has access to all of the medical journals. He can get the real-deal info, not just the distilled pap that the rest of us mere mortals are allowed to see. Mind you, his initial research was not good, as the first article he came across indicated that stress *lowered* FSH levels. So, I'm trying not to hang on blindly to any semi-plausible tidbit that reinforces a positive outcome, but if there's any hope that a healthier lifestyle combined with major stress reduction could restore my fertility... well, I won't kick it out of bed for eating crackers!

Okay, well I think I've mixed enough metaphors for today. I hope it doesn't appear that I was crying wolf with my despondency over my results in the last post. I was (and am) truly devastated at the idea of not only my fertility being gone, but also losing a certain amount of "womanliness". Today I've realised, though, that if I don't give up hope just yet, maybe I can hang onto my sanity for a bit longer. And then in six months or a year when it's obvious that my periods aren't coming back (depsite being a totally fit, non-toxic, salad-eating babe, lol!), maybe time will have softened the blow and I will be able to take it in stride. Until then, I'm strapping on my sneaks and sweatin' my troubles away! Right after I finish this piece of fudge cake :)
:: posted by Ann Howell, 1:54 PM | link | 15 comments |

Friday, August 11, 2006

It's Game Over for the ovaries

My FSH is at 93. No more periods, no more two week waits, no more BFPs or BFNs, no more pre-menstrual syndrome, no more baby-dancing, no more tampons, maxi-pads or pantiliners with wings, no more wondering about whose eyes the next baby will get, no more ultrasounds and never again feeling those first flutters from within, just a lifetime of nevermores... I've bled and birthed for the last time.
:: posted by Ann Howell, 3:03 PM | link | 16 comments |

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Take this life and shove it!

Sometimes I just get so mad at myself for making bad decisions that have led me to the unenviable position I'm in now. For example, if I had stayed in my unhappy first marriage, then maybe I'd have living children right now and I would certainly not be in mountains of debt (my ex was frugal to a fault). In my heart of hearts I know he wasn't the man for me, but sometimes that life seems so appealing.

It feels weird to be in my body. It's bizarre to think that I'll probably never have another period again. I can't remember the last time I even looked for signs of oncoming menses. Whenever it was, it was really the last time. I'm starting to gain weight again, but this is probably more down to being too depressed to exercise, than just the hormonal changes. And this depresses me even more.

My brother's wife is due in a week, and I really can't fake any enthusiasm about the whole event. I made a FCBMB* promise to come down and visit when the baby's born and I only felt marginally guilty for lying.

If it isn't already obvious, I'm feeling very sorry for myself today. I can't imagine any path that is going to bring me closer to even a modicum of happiness. I'm enjoying nothing these days and I resent having to be cook, laundress and chauffeur for my husband... You know what, he can make supper tonight. I don't care if it's scrambled eggs with marmite, as long as I don't have to make it...

*Fingers Crossed Behind My Back
:: posted by Ann Howell, 6:25 PM | link | 5 comments |

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

No news yet

Still no news from the RE, but of course the cell phone is no longer charged up and who knows if he'll have the presence of mind to call me at home. I will try calling him this afternoon if I still haven't heard anything.

Otherwise, I'm having a bad day. I'm finding that all of the old feelings I had about my husband's affairs (the hurt, the disbelief, the unworthiness) have come rushing back with a vengance. Whereas a few weeks ago I was really enjoying being with my husband and I looked forward to our future, now I just look at him and see all of the betrayal. I'm sure this is all tied into the trauma of the diagnosis, it just really sucks to feel like I'm being plunged back into all of that negativity. I really am ready for some happiness!

I have a lot to say, but I just don't have the energy to write it down at the moment. I've got a major case of the blahs...
:: posted by Ann Howell, 8:43 AM | link | 3 comments |

Thursday, August 03, 2006

False alarm

The RE doesn't have my results back; he was just returning my call (the one that was just to tell him that I had had the blood drawn and to call me when the results were in). He thinks it'll probably take a few more days, so it'll probably be next week before I hear anything. I've been a bucket of nerves all day and knowing I have to wait till after the weekend to get these blasted results doesn't really help!
:: posted by Ann Howell, 3:07 PM | link | 9 comments |

On pins and needles

The RE called the other day at 8:00 am, but I was in the shower and missed the call (he didn't leave a message and I only saw that he'd called when I got home that evening and checked the call log). He was out yesterday, but he's back in the office today so I am anxiously waiting for his call. I've charged up the emergency cell phone so he can contact me while I'm at my client's, but I was hoping he'd call this morning before I left. I just want to know what the test results were so that I can put this chapter to rest. I'm trying to be calm, but why doesn't he call already?!!!
:: posted by Ann Howell, 8:25 AM | link | 2 comments |

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Heard it through the grapevine -- Milo's here!!!

So unbelievably thrilled for Laura and Justin! So happy to hear that the newest member of the clan has arrived safe and sound. Thinking of Hans, too, and wishing that he could be here to welcome his little brother into the world... Give Milo a kiss for all of us! He is so incredibly loved already :)
:: posted by Ann Howell, 7:39 PM | link | 0 comments |