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Infertility Advice

I recently sent along an episode of Reply All to Noemi because it spoke about money.  I had paused it midway through the episode when I got out of the car in the morning, and returned to it in the afternoon.  In between, I sent the email.  I would have still sent the email, but now hearing the end of the episode, I would have written a very different message.

The episode was about people listing their financial transactions online.  You can listen to the episode, if you want, below.  The part that gave me pause came at 13:45.  The woman is talking to someone who charges others to give them advice.  She asks him a question about PCOS.

The situation is that she was diagnosed with PCOS two years ago.  She is now in a committed relationship.  She tells the advice giver that having PCOS means that she is infertile and will be unable to have children.  She asks him if she should tell her boyfriend now that children aren’t in their future.

Wait.

Hold up.

Who told her that PCOS equals infertility?  PCOS is a common diagnosis for infertility — about a third of all infertility diagnoses are PCOS-related — but not all women who are diagnosed with PCOS will be infertile.

It’s also an issue that has possible solutions.  If you look at the various reasons for female factor infertility (missing or blocked fallopian tube, endometriosis, uterine anomaly, etc), it’s a problem usually solved with less invasive treatments such as oral medications.  It’s a diagnosis that many times allows doctors to ramp up slowly to IVF instead of heading straight to embryo creation without passing go.

I’m not minimizing PCOS, but a PCOS-diagnosis is not a single lane road to infertility.

The advice giver tells her to be upfront and tell her boyfriend.  It’s not terrible advice — I’m all for openness in relationships and she should tell her partner her known medical history — but it’s uninformed advice.  He doesn’t point out that she should still be careful about having unprotected sex unless she wants to have children because she is fertile until proven otherwise when it comes to PCOS.  He doesn’t point out that PCOS is often treated successfully with Clomid and Metformin.  That the average 20 – 24 year old has a 20% chance of getting pregnant, lower than the success rates of Clomid/Metformin or IUIs for women with PCOS.

I only knew this was uninformed advice because I knew generally about PCOS.  Which made me wonder: How many other advice columns do I read and nod along with, believing it to be good advice because I don’t know better.  Whereas someone, somewhere else, is cringing as they read the advice, knowing that it’s just… wrong.  Or even when it’s right, it’s uninformed, a shot in the dark.

This advice thing is serious business, especially because we are so open to gathering the thoughts and feelings of other people when we’re struggling to make sense of our lives.  What else is the comment section except a receptacle to catch all the advice and feedback that floats out of the reader’s mind as they read the post?

It definitely gave me pause.

And it totally wasn’t what the episode was about.

Side note: Tomorrow is #Microblog Monday.  Get writing.

July 5, 2015   No Comments

Her Story Search Terms

So Josh and I are officially obsessed with finding all of the videos in Her Story. There are 271 videos. (I think.) We’ve found most of them, though there is a chunk in the middle that is eluding us, and a few here and there.

How do you know how many videos you’ve watched? If you move the main database screen, there are a few other “programs” you can access underneath, such as the trash bin for the computer, a clock, and a video log. We moved all the icons on the iPad so it would be easier to access them.

So here is our list. I’ll keep adding to it as we try more terms.

Stop reading if you haven’t started playing, and only come to this list if you get stuck.

S

P

O

I

L

E

R

S

Okay, here is what we’ve tried so far:

murder (4)

tattoo (4)

weapon (1)

knife (2)

Eric (14)

bruise (5)

Carl (5)

rules (4)

attic (12)

dollhouse (5)

Eve (8)

tap (2)

code (1)

hid (1)

Portsmouth (1)

Peter (1)

Susan (1)

Helen (2)

argument (9)

glasses (6)

sex (9)

cheat (1)

database (0)

Cavalier (1)

van (1)

sister (4)

twin (4)

Florence (5)

Her Story (3)

wig (7)

move (5)

cat (5)

Domino (2)

blind (1)

blonde (6)

Rome (1)

biscuit (1)

diary (5)

met (6)

Ouija (2)

diaries (2)

paper (5)

fairy tales (7)

violent (1)

parents (18)

died (6)

heat (1)

Doug (6)

Eleanor (6)

cheat (1)

kill (4)

detector (3)

truth (1)

park (2)

Rome (1)

row (0)

double (1)

upstairs (3)

hide (1)

room (7)

glass (5)

Ernst (1)

window (5)

mother (9)

father (1)

cheated (5)

Oxford (3)

expenses (2)

affair (3)

Glasgow (10)

watch (5)

Diane (5)

baby (17)

miscarriage (5)

infertile (3)

pregnant (10)

secret (3)

glazier (7)

mirror (11)

reflection (6)

birthday (9)

present (5)

teacher (0)

school (6)

mum (8)

dad (10)

mushrooms (3)

Hannah (19)

Smith (3)

confess (1)

drown (1)

February (2)

wind (2)

song (1)

guitar (3)

rain (2)

play (6)

trick (0)

music (0)

fake (0)

pretend (2)

make believe (0)

arrest (5)

lawyer (4)

trap (0)

throat (4)

blood (5)

dead (10)

cremation (2)

body (6)

cellar (4)

fight (1)

fought (2)

Rock (4)

lie (4)

Sarah (1)

girl (9)

test (3)

Ava (1)

pass (1)

Rapunzel (5)

missing (1)

killed (2)

alibi (1)

car (12)

Sunday – Thursday (0)

Friday (2)

Saturday (1)

look (11)

July 4, 2015   2 Comments

552nd Friday Blog Roundup

Tomorrow is the 4th of July in the US.  We’re going to two firework displays this weekend.  That feels incredibly indulgent: two firework displays?  What can I say?  Washingtonians love their fireworks.  What are you doing this weekend?

*******

Truman took his last dose of medication about a week ago.  He seemed mostly better.  He (mostly) wasn’t wheezing, and he (mostly) stopped sneezing.  But not entirely.  So I decided to change his bedding after an exhaustive Google search informed me that guinea pigs can grow allergic to their bedding.

I went to the organic pet store because I figured they would have the most all-natural, allergen-free bedding.  And I was correct; they had all-natural, dye-free bedding.  I had to commit to an enormous bag which technically cost less than his normal bedding when you looked at it handful for handful.  I mean, once you got over the fact that you had to purchase a difficult-to-store, expensive truckload of bedding.

I filled his cage and put him back inside.  He gingerly walked over it as if he wasn’t quite sure the surface would hold his weight.  And then he promptly began EATING THE BEDDING.  Like shoving his face down into the bedding and pulling up mouthfuls of it with delight.

I quickly Googled “guinea pig eats bedding help” while he chomp chomp chomped behind me, and I learned that (1) this was a common situation, (2) bedding was delicious to guinea pigs, and (3) that it wouldn’t kill him as long as he didn’t eat too much.  Too much?  What was “too much?”  No one would say.

He has mostly calmed down about the sea of delicious bedding and now only nibbles it from time to time.

Oh, and he’s still sneezing.  So much for allergies.  Back to square one.

*******

Stop procrastinating.  Go make your backups.  Don’t have regrets.

Seriously.  Stop what you’re doing for a moment.  It will take you fifteen minutes, tops.  But you will have peace of mind for days and days.  It’s the gift to yourself that keeps on giving.

As always, add any new thoughts to the Friday Backup post and peruse new comments in order to find out about methods, plug-ins, and devices that help you quickly back up your data and accounts.

*******

And now the blogs…

But first, second helpings of the posts that appeared in the open comment thread last week.  In order to read the description before clicking over, please return to the open thread:

Okay, now my choices this week.

Mali put it for last week, but I had bookmarked it for this week because it was a Friday post.  Serenity in Chaos has a post about being on the fringe of society and yet still always finding like-situationed people.  It’s a really interesting post about fitting in or not fitting in, being the same as the majority or being different.  I love the new label she finds for herself by the end.

Pages, Stages, and Rages writes about ideas that stick in our head (whether we want them to or not) after a trauma.  She discusses her own work flinches and then segues into her daughter’s ongoing relationship to separation stemming from her adoption.  I love the weaving of the Princess Bride through the post.

Lastly, the Road Less Travelled has a post about watching other people’s children age while her daughter, Katie, does not.   I think people mostly think about this in terms of babyhood, but she writes about next year’s graduation class.  How her daughter should be walking across the stage.  It’s a moving post about how the heart never lets go.

The roundup to the Roundup: 4th of July.  Truman’s delicious bedding.  Your weekly backup nudge.  And lots of great posts to read.  So what did you find this week?  Please use a permalink to the blog post (written between June 26th and July 3rd) and not the blog’s main url. Not understanding why I’m asking you what you found this week?  Read the original open thread post here.

July 3, 2015   6 Comments

A Memorial to Whom You Used to Be

The first month we tried to conceive I thought it had worked.  We went out to a restaurant one night, and I was positive that my abdomen felt bubbly.  Odd.  As if a tiny embryo was digging down deep in my uterus.  I had brought a Your Pregnancy Week by Week book along on the trip, and I consulted it as if this was a test and there was only one possible answer: twinges = pregnancy.

That cycle, of course, didn’t work.  The restaurant burned down a few years later, a month or two after we conceived the twins.

In both cases — myself and the restaurant — the original versions were gone.

*******

I don’t know why we’re always surprised when our thoughts and feelings don’t return to their pre-situation state; as if we believe that our lives are like rain slickers that the downpours just roll off of, pooling on the ground so we can step aside.

I would say that we exit experiences changed, but that insinuates that there is an exit.

Maybe it’s more like a nautilus, starting with this small, dense core of self, that tiny original circle of our personality that existed before the nautilus started circling out in an ongoing loop.  The nautilus completes circle after circle, growing and expanding, getting farther away from that original space in the center.  We’re able to always look ahead as we grow while looking back as we wind our way around our old experiences.

There is no rhyme or reason to which way I’ll go: Sometimes I am excited as all get out for a new baby.  Other times I need to avoid it for self-preservation.  All I know is that the Melissa who exists today isn’t the Melissa who was sitting at that restaurant, a pregnancy book in her bag and her hand on her stomach, talking to someone who wasn’t there.

nautilus

Image: Hitchster via Flickr

*******

In the Magician King, you learn the backstory of how all the characters came together, moving between now and many years ago, until the two points in time meet.  We know the story before the main character, Quentin, knows the story, discovering it just pages before one of the characters sits down to tell him.

He says, on page 381, the woman “sitting next to him on his bed was like a magnificent memorial to the girl she used to be.”

Isn’t that a gorgeous thought?  That we’re all just memorials, walking memorials, to the people we used to be.

The woman (and I’m not naming her because it would be a spoiler for the first book) explains to Quentin on page 380, “I wanted to go back to before what happened, when I was still human.  But I couldn’t, and I couldn’t go forward either.  Then somehow in the underworld I realized for the first time, really understood, that I was never going back.  So I let go.  And that’s when it happened.”

She can’t go back to who she used to be; she can only move forward, carrying with her all the old versions of herself.

Just like everyone else, outside the pages of a book.

July 1, 2015   13 Comments

Her Story, the Game, is Like the Podcast Serial…

I’m not a huge fan of murder mysteries in general* — I have never, for example, watched CSI — but Josh and I have been sucked into the new game, Her Story, which came out on June 24th.  You can play it on the computer or any device.  Plus you need paper.  Lots and lots of paper.

So the game is essentially 200 video clips.  They range from a few seconds to about a minute in length.  I think the longest one we’ve found thus far has been 42 seconds.  A woman has been interviewed 7 times by the police about the disappearance of her husband.  You are watching footage from the 7 interviews.

The game starts out with 4 videos in the queue under the search term “murder.”  You watch them, jotting down keywords that you’ll want to explore more.  For example, let’s say that she referenced a red dress in one of the videos, you could then search the database for “red dress,” and it will bring up every other video that contains a reference to a red dress.  Maybe there will be zero other references to a red dress, or maybe you’ll see that there are 10 other videos where she discusses the red dress.  If it’s the former, you know that it’s probably not an important clue.  If it’s the latter, you may want to explore it further.

At the same time, you take notes, just like any detective.  Josh and I have pages of names and dates and small things we noticed in the videos — times she looked down or made a face or was wearing something (or not).  You can also tag the videos in order to easily find them again in the future.  But the paper notes are key.  Especially because after our first session, Josh and I accidentally erased all of our tags and restarted the game.  Ooops.

A heads up that there may be a few triggers for you in the game.  I would say more, but I don’t want to spoil anything.  The interesting thing about the game is that depending on what you search for first, your investigation will go in a completely different direction.  And you’ll form opinions and get attached to certain ideas.  So… just know that there have been some references to things that may be triggers for this community.  But if you can handle Gone Girl, you can handle this.

So essentially, you’re like Sarah Koenig, looking over all the footage in a case and trying to figure out who committed the murder.  And like Serial, I’ve heard that it doesn’t have a clean wrap-up, but is more like real life where you think you know who did it, but you’re reconstructing what happened based on what is said and clues.

If you’re playing Her Story, let me know because I want to talk about this with people.  Because it’s really really really creepy.

* The exception is Sherlock Holmes.  I love those stories.

June 30, 2015   7 Comments

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