Friday, November 7, 2008

Anatomy of a Panic Attack

Or was it?

I woke up at 4:00am this morning, which is pretty typical for me. I checked in with my body. Usually, if I eat something and stretch a little, I can get back to sleep. So I got up, had a snack, popped a 5-H.T.P, just to cover all my bases, and listened to a relaxation tape to get back to sleep. I had a lot of thoughts going through my head about yesterday's events. I decided that I was going to meditate while listening to the relaxing sounds of waves, but my heart had other ideas. It was pounding. I felt like I was having the physical effects of a panic attack, without the mental freakout. I wondered if it was really a panic attack after all?

I decided to consult my book on adrenal fatigue to try to get some answers. First, I did not eat breakfast yesterday. Bad news if your adrenals are maxed out. I figure I pretty much live in a state of adrenal stress, and it will remain that way until I retire. I rarely miss breakfast, but I was rushed for my early morning appointment with Dr. G.

Second, this was my first appointment with an RE in seven months. Any trip to a fertility clinic is stressful. It didn't help that we were interrupted by a frantic knock on the door and a call for Dr. G to help a woman. I had no idea what was going on, though I made up some good, but terrifying, fantasies about it. Apparently, a woman had passed out after her bloodwork. Maybe she skipped breakfast too.

I did a pretty good job of not completely melting into a puddle of tears during my visit with Dr. G, though there were a few tear-jerking, pull-out-the-tissues moments while I was giving my background. I couldn't totally avoid my whole story. The information I was given by Dr. G was not comforting, though it was helpful. More difficult decisions will have to be made if I decide to go forward with FET or another fresh cycle. The stress from this one visit reminded me of all the anxiety I've sucked up for every RE visit, ultrasound, or bloodwork.

*insert your favorite expletive here*

Shortly after the RE visit, I had a meeting in which chocolate was available o-plenty. I had recently weaned myself of chocolate but went off the wagon as a cure for Wednesday's hangover. I decided this morning that the chocolate wasn't a good idea either for my stress.

Immediately after the choco-fest meeting, I'm faced with my co-worker's newborn. I made myself stay there, instead of doing the usual scurrying- away-before-she-sees-me tactic. It was too late to do that anyways. I also asked to hold her baby, because I wanted to see how I would react. Perhaps the timing wasn't stellar just after my RE meeting, but the Universe has an uncanny way of putting things in my face when I least expect it.

*more, but tamer, expletives*

That all added up to a lot of stress that I have not dissipated yet. I'm having lots of reminiscing about unpleasant pregnancy memories today, what ifs, and just general gloom-and-doominess. This is not a good path that I should be traveling down.

To DHEA, or not to DHEA
I was pleased that I did not get any DE lectures yesterday, but the "do you take DHEA" question came up. I told Dr. G that I was on 5 mg of DHEA. He was curious why I didn't take more, as REs kinda tow the line of taking quite a bit more than that to improve egg quality. I responded that I have high testosterone with only 5 mg. I've got a Lauren Bacall type of voice, but there is only just so much more I want my voice to get deeper anyways. As it is, I get mixed up with Magic when I answer the phone (and vice versa!). My testosterone is on the high side anyways without DHEA, and I certainly don't want any more facial hair than I already have. I went back on DHEA 12 days ago when I had another craptacular cycle, this time my second shortest at 14 days. The record breaker was three cycles before that at 13 days. It seems that I get all geared up to ovulate, and then I get my period instead. I'm completely befuddled by this, and of course did not utter word of it to Dr. G lest he throw me out of his office right then and there. I'm assuming it's due to poor egg quality and the DHEA would help. However, DHEA has an annoying side effect. I was curious if my heart pounding had anything to do with the DHEA. Dr. Google confirmed my suspicions. I also read that DHEA can cause abnormal menses. I decided I would stick with pregnenolone supplementation, which is another hormone precursor, but safer than DHEA. Pregnenolone is a precursor to progesterone as well as other important hormones, including the ones that DHEA is a precursor to.

I'm left wondering if I am experiencing some trauma reaction to yesterday's events, the side effects of DHEA, or a little of both. It's clear that I need to be more vigilant about stress in my life. Stress is the fertility killer.


B said...

Sounds like a kind of horrendous/ kind of normal-post-loss sort of a day.

It's such a hard hard slog - and you aint so far from your loss (even though it feels like you've travelled ever so far).

Sending calming thoughts to you.

take care

Lost in Space said...

Wow, Phoebe, that is alot to deal with all at once. I can see why a panic attack would manifest.

I decided to dive in to the DHEA thing with 75mg per day. Maybe it's too much for me. Maybe it won't help. Maybe it will be bad for my future. I just don't know, but decided to just take the plunge anyway. Insert desperation here. (:

Hang in there and keep taking care of you.

Pamela Jeanne said...

whoa. I had flashbacks with you reading this post. Hoping that you're feeling less stressed today...

DAVs said...

I hope you liked Dr. G. I really did--he did my hystero (though he DID swear I had a polyp, sent me home for a polypectomy and the surgeon could find NO polyps anywhere despite a very vigorous attempt), and he did my transfer.

How is it that I did not know about DHEA? And here I have these crappy eggs...feeling really stupid now.

QVC said...

This is my first time hearing about DHEA as well. Does anyone have any good resources that talk about this? My RE has never mentioned it but I am going to bring it up at my next appointment. Thanks for any tips.