Thursday, May 31, 2007

Hurry up and wait...

Well, we're waiting again. But it's an okay wait this time. I Fedexed the signed and notarized contracts back to the agency yesterday and wired them the payment. All was received this morning. So now, even though we are the second couple of a shared cycled, there is still stuff to be done before we can start the protocol.

We're now waiting to get a call from the donor coordinator at the agency and a call from the program coordinator at our clinic. The donor has to have blood work and a vaginal swab (sorry tmi) so our clinic, when they get the call from the agency, have to send a medical testing kit to the donor to take to her local lab. These tests are then sent back (or perhaps it's the results) to the clinic here. Once that's received, then our protocol is written and it's determined when we will begin. Both couples, of course, want to start as soon as possible. So hopefully, she will get her tests done quickly so we can start in late June. I'm expecting that it will be July. I've been told it can be a couple of weeks before we hear from the donor coordinator, and also a couple of weeks for the donor to get the tests done. I assume that she's got to do these tests on CD3 of her cycle. So as I said, we wait.

Have I told you how much I hate waiting?

Monday, May 28, 2007

Er, what are you planning on doing with that finger exactly?

As some of you know, I am a pretty big guy. That is 21st century, politically correct speak for "fat guy". And, along with the extra weight is the extra concern; well, great concern by all of those around me and mild interest within. Let's face it, until I can no longer, Poppa has got to get his feed on. Two words: Big Daddy's.

Anyhow, with my dear wife in mind, and the ever looming bounty of joy to be running after. I decided it was time for my yearly (read, when I remember to feel like doing it) physical. To say it has been a while would be lying as my current doctor has never seen me undressed before today. I even had to wear the neck-tie gown, which I now need two of to cover ALL the nether regions.

So, as I was sitting there in the gown, my mind wandered onto the subject of a prostate exam. Next year I will be forty so it is not unlikely that he may ask to do one now. Unless one is prone to rectal probing as a hobby or otherwise, it is not something one looks forward too; especially for us uptight men brought up by fathers and mothers who expressed that IT was an exit only area and anything else would lead you to hell. Yup. Christians. Gotta love them.

So, Dr. R. comes in and is his usually chattering self which was more distracting than welcomed this time around. Not sure why I started feeling anxious as I don't feel ill or unhealthy and nothing has said otherwise the last time (last year) that I had tests done. He asked if I was felling anything, had any illnesses, anything of that nature. I told him that everything was clear, totally forgetting my nagging shoulder and knuckle pains as they decided not to nag at that precise moment.

Strangely, he had trouble getting a proper blood pressure reading. He tried twice with my left arm, then once with my right. He listened to my chest and then made me lie on my back where he listened to my chest again and then checked the right arm pressure again. Something was not gelling but he was not telling. I hate asking doctors any questions because they tend to give answers I don't want. So, he was done, tells me to get dressed (what? No finger probe?) and says that he wants to send me downstairs. I ask to get some more accu-check strips (for the blood glucose machine, just so I can see where things are at) and he writes me a prescription. I head downstairs.

This is an old building and the lab is in the basement hole of the place. It is almost always full to the point that you spend a good half hour in the hallway waiting to get in; I never wear good clothes when I know I will be going to the lab as I just plunk down on the floor. Thankfully, I assumed correctly about needing tests so I had a full bladder in need of emptying and no food in my stomach. The request sheet had a bunch of writing on it and I was right that it was not just blood.

In this wonderfully open society of ours, the receptionist calls out my name and then basically announces to the crowd when asking me if I knew I was having a prostate exam. Excuse me?? He decided he did not want to play with my bam bam so he was farming out the work? She pointed to the PSA test written down and informed me that OHIP does not cover it so it would be thirty bucks or I did not have to do it now. I had already geared myself up, steeled myself if you will, for the invasion of my inner space. There is no way I was delaying that. Besides, if Mark Dailey from CityTV can bend over and publicly take one for the boys, then who was I to have any hangups of a complete stranger voyaging where no man has gone (or ever will go) before? So, I agree to the test and sit back down.

Finally my name is called and the technician is trying to explain to me that there is fluff on my face. No matter what I do, I am not getting it. As he had just handed me a clear plastic cup and three clear vials, all to be filled with urine, I told him I would look after it in the bathroom. Ok, something is still wrong with society. If not at least three people in the doctor's office, including the doctor himself, plus the receptionist and the four people already sitting there looking at me could not tell me all my head and beard was filled with bits of fluff from the gown and shirt exchange earlier, then I know not to count on any of them when I really need help. So, I clear my face of all that stuff after I was done my task. And let me tell you, with a full bladder, in a strange bathroom and trying to aim into what amounts to the mouth size of a juice bottle and then the mouth size of a nickel or dime, I was more George Bush (just hit EVERYTHING) than army sniper. What the hell were they thinking when they thought that trying to make a guy pee through a target was a good idea? I think they should invest in Swiffer or Bounty at the very least.

So, after I clean up, wash up, wash the containers down after ensuring they were sealed tight, I cleaned up the fluff and headed out the bathroom. I dropped off the materials at room three and was shuttled into room two for the blood guy. Not sure why but lately my veins have been collapsing. I am sure my sister could find them with little issue (she is amazing at her job) but these folks lack the precision and finesse. While this guy carefully took his time to find one, and he did hit it the first time (unlike the hunt and poke of a couple of months back), it still stung quite a bit which is not normal for me when it is done right. Four vials of blood later and I was shuttled to room one.

In this room lay the ECG machine. My sister was the last person to run one of these (as well as an EEG for fun) on me. Things are different now as these electro stickers are placed around your naked top have and lower calves. Then electrodes clip onto those pads and plug into the machine. It took five times as long to hook me up than it did to actually run the test. From what I could get the tech to mumble, it appeared that everything was in the normal range. So, that really left only one thing to do as they were shuttling me out the door. Which of you lucky studs were going to get up close and personal with the nether frontier?

Apparently, no one. Funny thing that. It seems that the new PSA test is done in either the blood or urine testing. Mark Dailey's presentation mentioned this before but the digit test was still being performed as it was the most definite way to tell right away if a man's prostate was enlarged. I guess the test is so much of a success, the digit is no longer needed. As much as I was ready to sing like Chevy Chase in Fletch Lives!, I was relieved that I would remain a virgin for the time being.

So, I now have to wait until the doc gets the results, mulls them over and then calls me about them. I won't start freaking out until he says he wants to discuss them in the office immediately. I left the lab and headed down Pape to a wonderful little Greek-owned eatery that makes the best breakfast sandwich under four bucks; a sourdough bread with an omelet and tomatoes folded inside. Mmm, mmm, good. Then I had to head into work; the fun was over. Ah well, at least the wife knows her probing is not alone though I will take mine over hers any day.


Saturday, May 26, 2007


Okay, so you saw my post the other day where I listed out what we've got to do. Well, we chose a donor! We were receiving the profiles on Friday and as promised they arrived in my Inbox at 12:23pm. I'd been chatting with V. on MSN all morning and sent him a message that we got seven profiles. I didn't get a response within a couple of minutes so I sent him a message to his blackberry letting him know. Turns out he had slipped out to grab some lunch and was heading back in a few minutes. I told him I'd forward the emails to him but I wasn't going to make any comments about any of them, or tell him who my top choices were. I wanted him to go through them and let me know what he thought. So, by the time he got back to his desk, I'd already gone through the profiles, printed them out, highlighted various important bits of info like such as age, height (I'm only 5'1"), and if anyone in their histories had various illnesses such as cancer, heart attacks and the like. I also had selected my top choice.

So V. gets back to the office, looks through the profiles and using MSN, we discuss the merits of each donor. Right off the bat he eliminates one because she's 5'10" and her medical history doesn't jive with what we want. I had eliminated another for similar reasons. After about 10 minutes he narrows it down to two and tells me his first choice. Without my input he had come up with the same top two as I did AND the same first choice as me. How great is that!!! AND is that she's already matched le so we're the second couple for the shared cycle, which means we'll be able to start as soon as possible. So, I call the agency with V. (I conferenced him in) to speak with the matching coordinator so we can tell her we've decided. In order to lock in a donor, you've got to call as soon as you decide as someone else may want her as well. Well, suffice it to say, the coordinator couldn't believe we decided in about 20 minutes. However, we then found out that there were additional expenses that would have to be covered above and beyond the agency fee. We knew there may be, but the amount was significant and required that we re-think our choice. So, we told her we would take the weekend to decide. However, after 10 minutes, V. and I still wanted her so I had call to make to see if we could finalize the funds that we still required. Half an hour after that, we were set financially. However, when I called back to the agency, it turns out that she'd left early because of the long weekend in the US. That's okay because I left her a voice mail cpnfirming our choice and as she says, first come first serve, and be sure to leave a voice mail. Needless to say, I'll be calling her first thing Tuesday morning to get her to send me the contract so we can get it signed and notarized and returned with the final payment.

So that is another thing to mark as DONE on the list. :) Woohoo!!! Can you see my happy dance?

Next on the list was the sonohysterogram. (TMI alert) The doctor had mentioned wanting to check if my tubes were clear, even though I've had this done a couple of times and they were. So, because it had to be done between CD6 and CD10, I went in today, which is CD7. It turns out he didn't want to check my tubes, but just my uterus. This is why V. posted what he did earlier. When reading posts of other people who are going to be having sono's asking about them and if there is any pain and such, I've always been surprised, because in my experience I've never had any pain during or following the test. And it always surprised me when others would indicate how painful it was and such. Well. Oh. My. God. It definitely hurt today. Sure I had a full bladder and that is never fun when having an ultrasound. But holy crap! It was definitely different than before. And of course afterwards I've had cramping for the better part of the day. Not fun.

Anyway, that's where we are. I figure by a week Tuesday, we should be all set with our donor. The agency will contact the clinic and let them know and the clinic will contact me. On CD2 of my next cycle I'm to call the clinic if they haven't called me. Everything at that point revolves around when the donor's cycle is due. So, right now I don't know anything about timing, but I figure that we should be starting in the next 3-5 weeks.

I'll keep you all posted. :)

But seriously....

I know most of my posts are either super serious or downright nutty, so let me go a bit in-between.
Those who know me know that I can be a very expressive guy for all sorts of things but only a select few ever get to know the real feelings I hold inside. That circle is small and hand-picked for reasons that do not belong mentioned in this blog. Suffice it to say, I keep it very close to the vest most times. For the sake of my wife, I am about to break that tradition for just a little while to say publicly, this: I am excited.

Actually, excited is an understatement, but it is very tempered with my need to hold reality close by during all of this. We were close before and things did not work out and the devastation on my wife's face is not something I can handle well. I do not enjoy seeing her in that much pain. I saw it when she was remembering her father with me. I saw it when she was dealing with the realization that she might lose her mother a few years back (thankfully, R. with be around to see her third grandchild be born). I saw it when she considered the possibility that our relationship might be over after a major fight before we were married. And I saw it when we realized she had miscarried a few years back. I don't like seeing it. So, I am very protective of her and her expectations as I want it all in check to ensure if things don't work out for us, she is protected.

Anyhow, that said, we are looking forward because, as my wife indicated in her post, the "feeling" is much different now. When we first set out on this journey, we naively thought about how things would happen and was greatly disappointed when they did not go that way. From timing to finances to medical to everything; it just did not flow right, quickly or consistently. That was frustrating.

Now, in comparison, I feel like we are on the Japanese Bullet Train and we are just trying to hold on and enjoy the ride as things whip by. We have ben at this almost four years. In less than four months, we changed clinics, donors, had financing in place, and are literally ready to do anything and everything required of us as it is asked. I will let Pam tell you the exact details because she loves doing that, but suffice it to say that we are a phone call and a wire transfer away from the next step.

Ever found the perfect car and then had to wait for it to be in stock and for confirmation on financing? This is better!

Ever found the perfect house and got into a bidding war and had to wait to hear if you got it with the conditions you wanted met? Thsi is better!

Ever busted your butt in the hopes of the recognition getting you that great raise and/or promotion? This is better!

Geek alert! I was reading one of my usual tech mags in the "office" when I read a quote from this Linux guru about how "Life is free". It immediately made me laugh and think of writing into the magazine to correct him that Life is nowhere near free. In fact Life started around 20Gs and kept a running tab until sometime to be determined in the future. I was going to just post about that magazine quote but then I sat at the computer and realized that instead of associating the quote with what life costs in terms of jobs, government, earthly goods or anything else, I equated it with bringing a life into the world. That pretty much says it all: I have baby on the brain.

And I think my wife wanted, NEEDED, to know that from me. So, I decided to put it in writing for all to read. I have baby on the brain. And I cannot wait to see my lovely wife with our baby sleeping on her chest the way my little nephew used to. These are exciting times indeed.

Can you feel it?


The anxiety of man

Ok, so let's get it out in the open: Men are a bit touchy on some subjects and a bit shallow or others. Everything else we are WAY deep.

So, with all due respect and understanding, it is never, EVER going to be a comfortable situation when we are fully aware, complacent and compliant as another man is looking into, probing around and eye to eye with our woman's vajayjay. Fellas, please chime in here at will. We have much invested in that area. We have long walks, incessant talks during the game, agreements when we knew we were right so it was not hidden from us on purpose, strange colours, shared bathrooms, wet shoulders that have been cried on for things we had no interest, understanding or care for, and all the other wonderful idiosyncrasies that come with loving a woman.

Without going all caveman (don't bother with the comments, Geico dude) and not wishing to piss off the feminists in the audience, but that area is ours. Nothing goes near the area without consent from the area's owner and the area's protector. However, some unwritten rule says, if you have an MD after your name, you get a free pass to set up tents in the area. You get to groom the area, invite colleagues to the area viewing, pass out pictures of the area; heck, you even get VIP access to the private room and back door. All for just have two little letters of suffix. Do you know what we men had to endure to get VIP access? Do you?!?!

So, you are probably wondering what triggered this little rant today. Well, it is the joy with which my dear wife announces how the good doctor thinks her woohoo is just dandy. Yep, everything looks right, works right, takes a nice picture right (which I will point out that I am forbidden to do, not that I am looking to do it, but...), responds corrently and is, to quote, "beautiful".

Ahem. I tell you that all the time in the hopes of more frequent visits and all I get is the look of, "Not now", "Not then", "Uhm, no, seriously?" or my personal favourite "If you must, just hurry up." Those more often then the, "My God yes! Why are you waiting? Take me now!" look. So, to wit, I have a new mission in life.

I am going to get two letters suffixed to the end of my name. If they actually have to mean something, it may take some schooling and some more time. If it has to be MD or anything like that, well, I will post about it in a few years. Whatever it takes though, I intend to get the same reaction the good doctor gets the next time I say, "Honey, that is some kind of something-something you have there."


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Next Steps

Do you ever get the feeling that things are falling into place and just feel right? Well, that's how I'm feeling right now with this whole process. The last 21 months have been such a roller coaster and full of axiety and stress. Once we made the decision to change clinics anxiety and stress all but disappeared. I don't feel anxious or stressed about any of this, and actually have entertained the thought that perhaps this might just work. Of course, I still have V's voice of reason in the background wanting to make sure I'm staying grounded.

So this is my checklist of things to do.

1. Consult with new clinic - DONE
2. Complete donor agency forms and send deposit - DONE
3. Sonohysterogram to ensure tubes are clear - May 26
4. Peruse profiles and select donor
5. Lock in donor with agency
6. Begin cycle with clinic

Once we get to #6 I'll know better what the timing is going to be.

We should be receiving profiles from the donor agency this Friday. Because we're going to do a shared donor cycle, we will receive profiles of donors who are already matched with another recipient couple at the clinic. This means that if we like any of these donors, we would be able make our choice and then the cycle would begin soon after. If we choose a donor who is not currently matched, it will be a wait of about 4-8 weeks probably until another couple selects the same donor. However, from my conversations with the matching coordinator at the agency, there are a couple of donors she'll be sending us that she thinks would be excellent matches for us. So, to say we're excited would be an understatement. :)

I can't believe we've finally gotten to this stage. Woohoo!!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Doctor's Report

We saw the doctor today. He's the head honcho of the clinic and wants to see all new patients. I'm not sure if he'll be our doctor, but it sounds like he will be. I think he does most if not all of the retrievals and transfers, but I'm 100% sure on that either. We'll find out when we get going with ours. For now I'll call him Dr. L. for lack of a better nickname.

So we'd been told to call about 1.5-2 hours before our appointment to see if he was on time as he's notorious for being late. I'd heard it before as well, and it's because he likes to be thorough with his patients. However, it turned out that it wasn't a busy day and he was on time. Of course V., being on call this week, got a call just as he was supposed to get ready and for us to go with lots of time available in case there was traffic. Needless to say, we got out of the house with about 20 minutes available for us to get from where we live to downtown Toronto. I won't say how we did it, but V. managed to drive what would normally be about 45-60 minutes in 30 minutes. We were only about 10 minutes late, but ended up waiting for him for a half hour anyway as he had a transfer to do.

So we go through the standard questions about heredity, illnesses and the like. There were even questions I'd never been asked by any doctor during the 4 years we've been trying. That in itself made me think that this was going to be different and more thorough. Even though there were copies in the file, I had brought printouts of all the tests we'd had done in March as well as the file that I'd sent to the clinic in Montreal 18 months ago. I also found a copy of the surgical report from when the fibroids were removed. Turned out to be a good idea as he didn't seem to have read the file. What's interesting is that he did question why I had the fibroids removed as they weren't in the cavity.

After the interview he did an exam of me. V. went back to the waiting room as they had internet access. He did an ultrasound both internal and external. Luckily my bladder was already full as he said otherwise we'd have had to wait an hour. After this, we were back in his office. He said my uterus looked good which was nice to know. Then he went over the Issues and the Plan for us.

He said issues included hormones and making sure everything was okay here but this would be dealt with in blood work, immune specifically referring to autoantibodies like lupus and this would be determined through bloodwork, and finally my uterus and if the tubes were clear. Even though I've already had several sonohysterograms, he wants me to do one after my next period to make sure himself.

So the plan is as follows. V. and I will begin the process to select a donor. We've already got that in the works with the US agency. We just need to complete the forms and send the deposit and we're going to do that this weekend and send it for Tuesday. Psychological counselling would be part of that plan, but because we already had it done with the Montreal clinic, and the report was included in the referral (thankfully I requested it be sent), we are able to check that off as done. Yippee!!. I will go in sometime in the next week or so for the sonohysterogram as that has to be done on CD6-10, so after my period ends but before I ovulate. Since I'm on CD28, that will be fairly soon. And finally bloodwork. Both V. and I had blood work done today even though we'd had it done and given them the results. No biggie really. All is covered by OHIP except for two tests that he wanted done for me that weren't. Thankfully not expensive. He wants me to get the anti-cardiolipin IgA and IgM tests which is another test for autoantibodies, from what I googled. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

So basically that's where we stand right now. Once we've selected our donor, things will being moving. He did say that the agency has excellent donors. And that generally there is a 60-70% success rate, so I'm feeling fairly optimistic at this stage.

So, stay tuned.

Oh, on a side note, Dr. L. asked V. after looking at the report for his most recent semen analysis if he'd ever considered being a sperm donor. Apparently my man has super sperm! :)

Thursday, May 17, 2007


Okay, there's not much to report. Acupuncture is going well. I'm quite enjoying it, both the treatment and the banter with C. and J. I get two of the students each treatment because I think there are more students in the clinic then there are patients, plus I get so many needles in me, it's faster when two put them in. I also find that I'm so relaxed now that I doze of pretty much each treatment.

V. and I have our initial consult with the clinic this Saturday. Yeah! Once we've met with the good doctor, V. and I can finally sit down and finish up the forms for the agency and send them off. We should start receiving donor profiles by the 25th. Woohoo!!

Please go and congratulate Rae. She's an ovarian cancer survivor who just got a positive beta with donor eggs.

Other than all of the above, not much going on. For those of you celebrating Victoria Day, enjoy the long weekend.


I am...

I've been tagged by Gil. According to the rules, I need to list 8 things about me that are true then tag five more people.

It's not until one sits down to do this, that you realize how hard it is. Do I put frivolous things on the list, or keep it serious and stuff. I opted for a combination.

1. I am a bonified geek. I love new technology be it television, audio or computer. V. has a rule that any new technology that comes into the house is mine so technically our big screen TV is mine, as is the XBox and a number of other items. I have been known to sit at the computer totally absorbed by MechWarrior for hours. Who has time for that now. :)

2. I LOVE chocolate in any form. My favourite dessert is a gooey chocolate cake with a not too sweet icing. Add chocolate ice cream to the plate, and I'm set.

3. I've been known to read a Harlequin Romance from time to time. It's been a while but I used read their short stories on line on the Harlequin site.

4. I love to watch reality tv. Mind you, I love to watch any tv. :) However, if I'm going to miss any, they have to be taped. I love American Idol (can you believe Melinda got voted out?). Amazing Race (best reality show on tv), Dancing with the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, America's Next Top Model, Top Chef, and I'm sure I'm missing something. Hate the Bachelor series of shows.

5. I used to be a certified aerobics instructor in my late 20s. I used to work out twice a day, every day. I was a power lifter in my hey day and extremely buff and cut. Now I'm just fluffy and trying to become less fluffy. :)

6. I love to entertain. The more the merrier. We've been known to host BBQs and Christmas open houses where there are upwards of 50-100 people. We've moved so our guest lists will now have to be cut back. Sorry about that folks.

7. I can cook and bake and I do it well. I have often been asked why I didn't become a caterer. My response was always "then it's no longer fun". I make my own pasta and yes, V., I will now that we've got a decent kitchen again.

8. I am totally excited for our upcoming donor cycle. I have a feeling that this is going to work. I am worried that won't. Then what?

So, I'm going to tag Patti, DrownedGirl, Thalia, Meri-Ann, and Rae.

Friday, May 04, 2007


It's been 4 weeks now and I have to say that even if this doesn't help in terms of prepping my uterus for transfer later, I definitely feel better. I am more relaxed after the treatments (nearly fell asleep the other week) and I seem to have more energy. I enjoy these treatments because the interns performing the treatment seem to enjoy what they're doing.

C. was assigned to me at the first session but had two weeks off because the students were between two terms so I've see two other interns, both good. But C was back this week. She and I are about the same age, or at least reasonalbly close in age. We have commonalities in terms of shows we watched as kids (or at least as teens) and movies we've seen. What was funny this week is that J, who treated me for my second session is 26. We were discussing John Travolta and Saturday Night Fever and also Welcome Back Kotter. He knew of the movie but had never heard of the show. We both laughed and told him to rent it.

In any case, I believe, with everything I've read, that these treatments are beneficial. Once we've got a donor in place and we know when the protocol will be starting, and subsequently when transfer will be, we will up the treatments to two per week.

And, one more thing. C. has offered to answer any questions anyone may have regarding acupuncture. So, either post them in the comments or send me an email and I'll pass them on.