Our Eyes Are the Windows to the Soul, If They Work

So I went to the doctor’s on Monday. A retina specialist, to check up on my eye condition after I had a vein occlusion. (Yes, I realize 30s is super young for vein occlusion when I don’t have underlying conditions, but you know, them’s the breaks?) For the past year or so I’ve been seeing flashes of light every time I move my left eye to the right. It’s most likely something is tugging on the retina and causing weird effects, which is why I had to go make sure my retina’s not detaching. Because of the pandemic I put it off until now. It’s gradually getting bigger – the area of flash of light, I mean – but more of a nuisance than something debilitating. Anyway, I finally scheduled an appointment on Monday, and went.

Well, the good news is that my retina is structurally fine, so far. No tears, no sign of detachment, etc. The bad news is that the doctor doesn’t know why I’m seeing this flash of light. His theory is that my vitreous liquid in the eye is shrinking, something that happens to near-sighted people as we age, and that is causing the problem. It doesn’t mean that the retina is going to detach, but it might, so the only thing we can do is just keep an eye on it (ha!) with routine check-ups. Not great, not terrible? At least I’m assured that so far, I can continue to see, which is a plus in my book!

A fun fact! So apparently the length of dilation of your eye is affected by how dark your eye color is. I have medium brown eyes, so when I get my eyes dilated it takes like 4-6 hours to get better. My husband has super black eyes and he gets over it in like three. And apparently people with super light colored eyes will stay dilated until the next day. I learned this from the nurse when she was dilating my eye for the checkup, and I was like, wow, no wonder some people don’t fear going to the eye doctors because they’ll be fine in a couple of hours. I can’t imagine how someone feels when it takes like the whole day and then some though. You can’t do anything then! Although I myself didn’t end up doing anything on Monday either. It wasn’t the dilation, it was the fact that the doctor was doing a really thorough job of checking my retina, which apparently involved using a metal stick to push back the sides of my eye and shining a ridiculous bright light for a long time. He actually put some lidocaine gel in my eye so I don’t feel pain during. So of course after I got home and the lidocaine wore off my eyes were bloodshot, puffy, teary, and all around miserable because someone just literally poked at it with a stick and blinded me for like, ten minutes straight. Brilliant. but hey, it confirmed that my retina’s fine, so there’s that, at least.

The doctor also suggested I go see my regular eye doctor (ophthalmologist instead of retina specialist) to see if I have glaucoma, and reschedule a checkup in three month. Well, all that will have to wait until I get vaccinated, I think. Maybe I can get my hand on something in May, but who knows. As of now I’m done with hospitals until I’m ready to try IVF again, which is, at the earliest, middle of March. I’m staying in my self-imposed quarantine for now. And on that note, I hope you guys also stay safe and have a good day.


Insurance and Water Leaks and a Million Phone Calls, Oh My!

Wow. You never realize how many steps there are to get some tricky medication covered by insurance until you have to, well, deal with insurance because you’ve received tricky medication. Well, it’s not “tricky,” it’s just a higher-than-average dosage, but apparently insurance freaks out over that. I’ve spent literally the past two weeks calling among three different insurance departments, two different pharmacies, and my doctor’s office every single goddamn day for at least an hour to get my new meds covered. Basically it needs to be verified by the doctor and the pharmacy, then get pre-authorization through several departments, then get an override because of the dosage increase, since insurance mistakenly thought I already picked up the full new dosage when I only picked up the old dosage, but because of that they won’t let me refill it before October when I needed it yesterday. The whole huge process is just a crapload of time wasted on phone calls and listening to hold music and explaining the same situation over and over and over and, yeah…

Good news is that I finally got through and successfully picked up my meds an hour before closing at a pharmacy I don’t usually go to. Turns out the factory that makes this medication was shut down for a while because of Covid, and so the prescribed amount did not arrive on time for me to pick it up. The pharmacist at my regular pharmacy is really nice, and she’s like, well, I would fill it partially but I’m afraid that it’ll trigger something with insurance and you can’t fill it again and then you have to do this whole thing again, so I’m just going to see if I can transfer you to this other pharmacy which I think have the full dose and you can go there. Oh and did I mention it’s like $400 of meds, for one month, and I need to be on it for at least three months even if everything goes well? The other pharmacist was like, are you sure this isn’t a mistake and I was like I wish, but no. She said when she called my regular pharmacy to verify she was told of the ridiculous runaround I had to do to get it covered, and she sympathize greatly. Good times!

While all this shenanigans are happening, our bathroom drain pipe decided to spring a leak (probably because one of the earthquakes) and soak a giant water bubble into our downstairs laundry ceiling. We peeled off the paint and drywall, put a bucket under the drip, and called a plumber. Someone came and fixed the pipe (small, simple leak) and then we got a water damage crew over to look for mold. They said there’s very little mold, and it’s a small job, but haven’t given us an exact quote yet. And then we have to call some construction people to patch the hole in the ceiling and/or replace the cabinets, depends on if they’re warped from water damage or not (won’t know until the water damage folks get going). And all these things are all relatively “small” but they all add up, you know? There was a lot more phone calls and texts and emails being exchanged but my s.o. handled most of those. What is with these few weeks? I’m having try #2 at getting pregnant next week and all these crap just have to pile on top of each other, don’t they? You know, they say the year 2020 is bad luck for folks born in the Year of the Rat. Superstition and all, but sometimes I really wonder.


The Light at the End, Maybe

Well hello peoples. My, can you believe it’s September 1? It felt like an eternity since I last blogged. Partly because I’ve finally gone through the final, man-controllable step in my IVF journey, and so it feels like a huge hurdle cleared. Partly because, well, every day since March feels like forever, doesn’t it? (And the smidgen of hope that is November is another eternity away.)

But anyway, I’m going to talk about what has been happening with me. So I finally had the embryo transfer done last week! The whole process was an ordeal, but not really painful or anything. They had me taken a valium instead of any anesthesia, as they didn’t have to cut anything. Basically an embryo technician took out the chosen embryo in the petri dish, showed me to make sure it was mine (everything’s double checked by multiple people), suck it into a syringe thing, which then went through a catheter that my doctor had already inserted into my uterus, and then it got implanted inside guided by another technician with an ultrasound machine (you know, the kind they use over a pregnant lady’s belly to see blurred image of the baby). It was only uncomfortable because I had to have a full bladder for this to work best, so I was just trying so hard not to pee while they do the procedure. And boy, the lady who operated the ultrasound was like the most cheerful person ever haha. She was so gung ho about it and optimistic and everything (my doctor was too, of course). It really felt like they were really cheering for you to have this baby, you know? Especially since my husband couldn’t be in the room because of Covid (normally he would be.) I was very sad that he missed the whole thing, because yeah, so technically I was just watching a tiny cell in a petri dish on a tv screen becoming a shiny spot on the grainy ultrasound imaging screen after, but somehow it was so emotional. Like, I was watching life potentially happen! Not gonna lie, I totally cried afterwards (you needed to lie down for 15 min post procedure), feeling all emotional and wishing my husband was next to me. Well, until I had to get up because my bladder was about to burst and ran to the bathroom as soon as I was able. At least I got pictures to show him.

I wish I could say that everything was just an anxious wait after. But it’s not. Why? Well, I’m seriously in so much pain that I didn’t even think much about the pregnancy test at all. So I had to do these progesterone shots to help with pregnancy. They’re suspended in oil and you have to inject them in your butt cheeks every day with a pretty damn long needle. And the shots are so goddamn painful! My whole buttocks and upper thigh swelled up to twice its size after the first couple of days – so much that I couldn’t fit into my normal underwear and had to co-opt my husband’s boxers instead. I could only take Tylenol, which is not great for baby’s development, so I try not take it as much as possible. Also, they recommended bed rest for 48 hours post-op and I totally understand why. I couldn’t keep my eyes open, because the swelling was so painful that it interfered with my sleep. I couldn’t lie down properly, couldn’t sit properly, and had absolutely no energy for a solid week after. It’s why I didn’t blog anything, because I couldn’t sit for more than half an hour on my computer chair without getting completely wiped out. As the days dragged on it got better by tiny increments. I can sit more or less ok now, and the swelling had gone down to a half of what it was before, but I still looked bloated as heck and the pain is not going away. I seriously cannot imagine another full 8-12 weeks of daily progesterone shots after this. I may have to, at some point, ask my doctor if we could switch to a different method. Like right now I couldn’t walk properly and stairs (yes, my house has lots of stairs) are a nightmare still.

Well, I’m going in for the first pregnancy blood test tomorrow, bright and early. I hope everything turns out positive, because otherwise I just suffered two weeks of the shots for nothing, we’re down one embryo, and we have to do everything again. But let’s try optimism, yeah? Everything’s out of my hands now, so let’s just take a deep breath and hope for the best.


Life · Work

A Break?

My husband said something to me this morning that made me think. Yesterday my doctor called me and told me that she’s very happy with the current results of the IVF process, and then delineated the next steps in the journey. Well, there seems to be a whole other half involving even more, bigger needles, more hormones, a possible additional surgery because there might be more polyps growing (guess I just have a propensity to grow the stuff. Biology.), not to count the actual implantation itself. So it’s far from near the finish and I’m going to rack up more uninsured medical costs, along with more body trauma. I’m still recovering from the surgery right now – coupled with the signs of the beginning of a long-overdue period – and so let’s just say bed rest and Advil are still my friends. So, my husband said, after I told him all this, ‘dear, why don’t you call the doctors and see if you can take a break to completely recover before we continue?’ Everything’s on ice as far as I know, and that means it can potentially wait a month or two. I thought, well, he’s right. I could use some downtime from all this, especially with the emergent coronavirus and the tanking of the economy. Money’s going to be tight and hospitals are a dreaded place to be in the near future, so maybe not going outside for a month or two and stay relatively restful would do me a lot of good.

Plus, I can finally get some semblance or normalcy back – physically, mentally, hormonally – and so can continue to work. There has been some serious disruptions in my daily routine, and as a writer struggling to write it’s not really helping matters. I’ll give a call to my doctor today. Really, could use a good break so I can actually work.


And More Surgery! – But Success!

Wow, so, I wanted to detail the process since the last time I posted – the medical processes that I went through, that is, but it’s just so draining both emotionally and physically that I couldn’t get myself to sit down and type anything of substance. I mean sitting down is already a luxury these days – I couldn’t really remain in a chair without getting tired this whole week until yesterday. Remnant of the surgery I had last Tuesday. Add on top of that writing an entry and go over the whole process again mentally? Nah, not until I feel ready.

I’m happy to say that I’m pretty good now! I went through a long, expensive course of various hormones that I had to subcutaneously self-inject. Made me sore everywhere, and wow do I feel bad for people with Type I diabetes or any kind of disorder that needed to inject medicine daily to keep functioning. It’s a good thing I started before the coronavirus scare hit, because otherwise I’d run out of alcohol swabs and other kind of things that people are panic-buying. Anyways, a whole ten days of all that, a whole lot of money later, and I had a successful egg extraction last Tuesday! They got 26 eggs – granted not all of them are going to be good and viable, and there’s more tests being done with the embryos and such – but hey! Twenty six is a good number! Now I just wait for the next result, which I’m not exactly sure what it’s supposed to be. I emailed my doctor, though, so I guess we’ll find out some time soon.


Minor Surgeries Are Still, Well, Surgeries

Well, I guess this is the beginning of it. I am officially doing the steps of IVF. Pre-requisites, that is, to make sure I’m healthy otherwise before they start the crazy hormones and injections and endless blood-draws and ultrasounds and all that monitoring, just so I can attempt to have a baby. You know, back in the day I’d just be childless, or had to adopt. I guess I shouldn’t really complain when the miracle of modern medicine is (hopefully) allowing me and my s.o. to have a child of our own. Pregnancy is already an ordeal in itself – my luck have it that the process of getting pregnant itself is apparently an ordeal as well.

But first, before any of that, I went through a minor surgery. No, it’s not the one that I talked about before. It’s one where they simply send a camera up my vagina to see if my uterus lining is good, and if they see any polyps they’d remove it. (hysteroscopic polypectomy I believe was the medical term.) No incisions, minimally invasive. So I got that done. The pictures they showed me afterwards were hella freaky! (high tech cameras and their insane details!) and apparently I had a lot of polyps. Like, covered in polyps. Yeah. You know, I’m beginning to think that I’m just not made very well internally or something. At least when it came to the reproductive system. So they took care of all that and my uterus should be good to go.

The recovery was not anywhere near as bad as when I had my myemectomy two years ago. They put me under but there were no breathing tubes or anything, and it was like an hour instead of four hours and cutting and all that. I had no major pain afterwards (nothing Advil couldn’t handle), no bleeding, no infection, everything was fine. However, I was bone tired for a solid week! Slept most of the days the first two days, and then gradually got more energy as the week went on, but still felt like passing out after dinner. So stupid. I guess surgery just takes a lot out of you regardless. It also doesn’t help that I’m trying to lose weight right now so I can get my numbers down to the optimal range by cutting my calorie intake by half. But I was not expecting it to take me like a full week to get back to “normal.” Lesson duly noted.


And We Start It All

So let’s just be frank, this year is going to be the year of medical procedures. I, despite my relatively young age, am not in the best of health. Lots of weird little problems that could potentially become big problems, but aren’t yet, and doctors can’t pinpoint a reason why they’re problems in the first place. Seems to run in my family; the number of ridiculous discomforts my mother goes through on a daily basis with not even a hint of why they’re medically there is insane. Same for my grandmother. So, yeah, my base blueprint is pretty shite. That’s just about the gist of it.

Haven’t talked much about this, but my s.o. and I have been trying to have a baby for a while. A year or more, to be exact, to no avail. We went to a fertility clinic and found out that my Fallopian tubes are most likely blocked. Both of them. There’s a procedure to make sure but it requires incisions and after my myomectomy two years ago I am really not keen on getting cut open again if I can help it. There’s not much they can do medically to “open” them up anyway, so to speak, so we figure let’s skip the extra diagnosis and go straight to IVF. I went to an appointment today to sort out the logistics. (With a bonus ultrasound. Ugh. That was fun.) Well, it’s going to be super expensive, involve a whole lot of precise timing, and all in all I assume discomfort and stress throughout. Most of the expenses are not covered by any insurance because America. Plus there’s a few rounds of genetic testing because you know, I’m not a sprite 25 year old old and my family history has a lot of weird recessive genes. Too many variables to go wrong and money spent in vain, but, hey, it might be a baby in the end. I think we are lucky to have the resources to try for one at all. (To be honest I’m really okay with no children, but for my s.o. that’s a whole different story.)

I’ll keep y’all updated in the coming months. Don’t really have that many people to share the stress (or joy) with, and that’s precisely why we have the Internet, no?


December, December

I swear I’m going to stop only posting on the first of every month and disappearing. I’m so bad at this blogging thing – although I know, I KNOW it helps me focus and should be kept up.

Oh hi, yes, November had come and gone. I went to France for the first half of that month, and then spent the rest of it getting over jetlag, fighting off a terrible lingering cold, and taking care of my s.o. who was sick with the same cold but worse and it only kicked in after we got back and lasted the rest of the month. Yeah…so my plan for NaNoWriMo? Completely shot to bits. I just shouldn’t have bothered this year, but you know what they say about hope and springing eternal. Maybe I should just give up hope and completely wing everything from now on. One day at a time and all that.

Alright I’ll stop with all the trite self-help quotes now. Let’s just dive right in – there’s no way I’m finishing my novel by the end of the year. I’d be lucky if I can finish by end of January next year, maybe even going into February. I’m so sick of this delay – and myself – so guess who’s going to schedule an appointment with her therapist again? Also there’re a few other pretty damn important issues I have to talk to him about that’s not just me failing at working, which I will update you on once I see him, which is hopefully this week but might not happen. Yeah. This is why I started that moon journal thing for all my issues when I’m without a good outlet and coping.

I did go see the dermatologist, who said I indeed have seborrheic dermatitis  and gave me some creams for it. Apparently I should use it very sparingly because it thins your skin! But they worked, and I’m mostly healed with all the red splotches and bumps and itching. I’m getting a follow-up this Friday to see if anything else needs to be done. It’s not completely gone, so not sure what to do next.

And so here’s your mental and physical health update. I will talk about funner things later, I promise, like the awesome trip to France, and my upcoming trip around Christmas to see my mom. I haven’t been home for like, years, so that’s exciting. Details for another time. Maybe I can actually write more than one damn post this month, huh?


It’s November!

It’s November folks! NOVEMBER!! Argh, I’m completely unprepared for this. Not for NaNoWriMo. Not for the trip to France. Certainly not for my novel to wrap up before the end of year. I’m so overwhelmed!!

I’m going to pack this weekend. Not leaving until mid next week but heck, it’s been a while since I’ve done any long-distance traveling. I also need to buy so many things – mainly makeup. So apparently the dry weather here (I mean So Cal was and is literally on fire; pretty close to where I live too. ) got my skin freaking out. I’ve developed either eczema or seborrheic dermatitis (had to google that word!) or something, and it’s annoying af because not only does it look crazy, but I literally don’t have any heavy coverage concealer that matches my skintone. Because I had combination skin (had, keyword) I always used very sheer coverage items, and I have horrible undereye circles so my concealers are two shades lighter than my light foundation. Now I have these ghastly red peeling skin and I have nothing to cover it up properly! Totally sucks – and, yeah, I’m certainly not walking around in PARIS looking like crazy. Don’t worry, I scheduled an appointment with a dermatologist, but I won’t be able to see them until I get back. Until I get a prescription cream to help it’s the magical power of makeup to the rescue.

Anyway, didn’t mean to go on that tangent. It’s like the least of my problems but it all adds up you know? I don’t think I need to see my therapist – yet – I can’t schedule a session anyway because he only schedules two weeks in advance. Meanwhile I might just make a new journal and just, confess everything that’s bothering me every day in that. You know he did tell me to do this as a strategy to cope before. After I got my depression and anxiety under control I stopped doing it. I really should pick that back up again. It’s definitely stifling my creativeness, and I can’t let that happen. I’ve got a book to finish after all.