Friday, April 6, 2012
The one thing you aren't doing
I've been a little pissed lately. Actually, this issue has been bothering me since I was diagnosed with PCOS. I actually don't write much about my PCOS, because other than taking Metformin, I haven't treated it as an issue separate from my infertility. But, you'll see where this is going.
To start, the problem with PCOS is that it is a moving target. It is different for every patient and it can change over time. For example, my sister and I both have PCOS. Of the many, many symptoms that can exist with PCOS, she had some of the worst ones: cystic ovaries, irregular periods, hair growth, weight gain, thinning hair, hormone imbalance, and more. For me, my symptoms are much fewer: mainly non-existent periods, cystic ovaries, elevated LH, and very minor acne/hairs on my chin. However, I tend to do very PCOSy things in treatment - like develop huge amounts of follicles and cysts after injectables. (As of this morning, I have 14 follicles on my right and 3 on my left, with several more days until trigger. That means I'll probably have a whole lot more than that. Holy shit. It feels like I'm carrying around a grapefruit on that side.)
Because of the wide spectrum of symptoms, PCOS can be widely misunderstood and difficult to treat. The tension always exists with PCOS - do you treat the symptoms, or try to get at the underlying (unknown) issues that cause it? My sister has spent decades researching this crap. Workshops, conferences, books, doctors, message boards - she's done it all. I've done a bit too, and I have to tell you, I'm frustrated. Every single source I read adds more layers of confusion for me. It gets even worse when you compare Eastern Medicine and Western medicine's different perspectives on the subject. Then, try adding in all the supposed "cures" for infertility in general, and you've got a real clusterfuck. I won't bore you with the list...we all know how many different dietary, supplement, and treatment recommendations that exist out there. But lately, I am getting way more heated on this issue.
I have been reading a lot on Twitter, fertility boards, blogs, and the news about how everything I am doing or not doing is the thing that's holding me back from getting pregnant. Whether it is eating organically, being a vegetarian, cutting dairy (or soy, or gluten, or red meat) or eating more of it, taking fish oil, not taking fish oil, losing weight, gaining weight, loading on antioxidants, eliminating caffeine, or indulging in modest amounts of caffeine, apparently it is my fault I'm not pregnant. My gut reaction is to get angry - angry at the fact that I can't seem to find the magic bullet that is keeping me from getting pregnant. Then, my anger turns to self-hatred and disgust when I read about women successfully making some of these very dramatic changes, ending up with babies. How do I know which one? Do I do all of them and never eat a comfort food again? Do I force KG to make these changes too?
Is it just me? Does everyone find these recommendations completely overwhelming?
The hardest recommendation for me though continues to be, "Have a positive attitude."
Mo summed up my own feelings on this beautifully:
How did I not come up with this on my own? Of course! That’s the magic solution! Think positive thoughts! I’m sure all of the crap that has happened to me is entirely my fault because I didn’t think positively!
Don’t you all just love that little gem of advice? Useless and guilt-inducing all at once! It’s the whole package.
As I near the end of this IVF cycle, I don't know what I'll do if it fails. I feel really lost when I think about it. So for now, I guess I'll try to follow Mo's lead again:
Attempting to “think positively” and the inevitable failure of that attempt will only lead to wallowing and guilt.
So I either think negatively or I don’t think. Period.
Appropriately, Lost? by Coldplay played on my iPod this morning. This version is gorgeous.