Saturday, September 27, 2008

Show & Tell: Everything's Peachy

These are not ordinary peaches. These are Colorado peaches. I never liked peaches until I'd had these. Peaches growing up were from the supermarket, hard or mealy and flavorless. Colorado peaches are sweet and dribble down your chin juicy.

This year, the peach season is still going strong at the end of September. I've never seen the peach season go this late. This 20 pound box of peaches lasted our family of four two weeks. I was eating two to four peaches a day. Magic bought another 20 pound box of imperfect peaches today (is it really September 27?!), and they are AMAZING! Normally by now, the peaches are long gone at the Farmer's Market. You have not lived until you have had a Colorado peach!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

"Don't Pass No Plastic"

This was the advise given to me by my eccentric red-haired Calculus professor as I was going out into the world after graduating from college, "don't pass no plastic". His intention was "don't be fake", but I'm passing a lot of plastic these days. Looks like credit cards are going to temporarily bail me out of my financial crisis for now. Which means any FET is on hold until January at the earliest. This makes me nervous, because if that doesn't work, I'll be doing another fresh cycle at 42. I think my eggs are up for it, but I don't know if I am. I pumped myself full of A LOT of drugs last time, to the amazement of Magic. I don't even like taking ibuprofen, let alone doing four shots a day. I'm not excited about being a science experiment again.

First and foremost, I need to heal from the trauma. I was unexpectedly triggered again yesterday during my recent enlightenment training. Afterwards, I got out my iPod and listened to my Brainspotting recordings. I got some dirty looks from people in the enlightenment training, but I needed to calm down my nervous system. When I get a moment, I'll write more about Brainspotting and how it's used for trauma therapy (or you can click on the link). It's one of those weeks that I need about two more days in this week that I'm not going to get.

Thank you all for your supportive comments after my last freaked out post. It meant a lot to me.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Broke, In More Ways Than One

I'm not really one to count these kinds of anniversaries, but the anniversary of IVF (failed) #1 is coming up, or is it here? I just know because the credit card I charged my IVF to for one year of interest free payments is coming up. I thought I would have paid it off right now as I had planned on selling my rental house, that I used to live in, before I shacked up with Magic. The housing market hit an all time low last week, which does not bode well for the selling of my house. There are something like 80 foreclosures in the same zip code as my house. Whereas I could have gotten a home equity loan last year to finance my IVF, I decided to put it off by getting these interest free credit cards for a year. Now, I can't get a home equity loan because lending has gotten that much tighter in the past year and the value of my house has decreased. Crap. I'm feeling stressed and tired. I can't even think about a frozen embryo transfer now that a loan is out of the cards. The Feds bailout of the mortgage crisis seems iffy too.

I remember having an attitude with IVF of going-for-broke, and I guess I am. It was all such a big gamble that all went so terribly foul. I wish I could point fingers for blame at my doctor, myself, or god, but there is no use. What happened happened. I really don't think I could have changed anything, not in the state of mind I was in. I can't even afford trauma therapy now. It's all just so depressing.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Drama Called Trauma

It happened one day in July. One of those moments when the Universe was nudging me, and I was just awake enough to notice. I'd been talking about how I had been traumatized during my pregnancy experience and the outfall, but I hadn't been recognizing how the trauma was affecting me. I thought depression was the only symptom of trauma.

I was attending my first weekend enlightenment training after an eight month hiatus. In the hallway, there was a postcard advertising this book:

I thought, "I need to get this book. This is what I've been experiencing."

I went to Buns and Noodle to try to find the book. Instead, I found this book:

I read how trauma is an instinctual response to being overwhelmed, and how the energy can get stuck in our bodies if we don't have a way to discharge it, basically causing the trauma to replay over and over in our lives. I now had a doorway to understanding my seemingly irrational behavior during my pregnancy.

It is any coincidence that both these authors live in my groovy western town? It appears that not only do I live in alternative medicine mecca, but I apparently live in trauma therapy central. Who knew? I wish I knew back then.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Brain Damage

In memory of Rick Wright who founded Pink Floyd and passed away today. I listened to a lot of Pink Floyd in my teenage angst years (read depressed), probably way more than I should have. I loved the sick and twisted lyrics, and the music is awesome. Remember the scene in "School of Rock" when Jack Black's character gives homework to an aspiring teen singer to listen to the vocals in Great Gig in the Sky? I did see David Gilmour in concert when I was a teenager in 1984 at SPAC. I've always loved Dark Side of the Moon more than any other Pink Floyd album they put out.

The lyrics from the song Brain Damage speaks to me a lot, especially as I reminisce/try to make sense of my craziness while I was pregnant.

The lunatic is in my head.
The lunatic is in my head
You raise the blade, you make the change
You re-arrange me 'til I'm sane.
You lock the door
And throw away the key
There's someone in my head but it's not me.

And if the cloud bursts, thunder in your ear
You shout and no one seems to hear.
And if the band you're in starts playing different tunes
I'll see you on the dark side of the moon.

The first part of this video will give anyone who did IVF or hates hospitals the chills. Apparently, Pink Floyd had a thing for showing politicians in their concerts, like they do in this video.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Show and Tell: Tomatoes Comin' On!

It's my favorite time of the year, fall. The nights are getting cooler, the hummingbirds are getting sparser, and the bounty in the garden and farmer's market is plentiful.

Where I live, the nights get too cool, even in the summer, to get an abundant tomato harvest. I've planted tomatoes in other places I have lived in the state, but I've never bothered here since we get a lot of cool nights in the summer. Warm nights are crucial to tomato fruiting. But what the heck, I gave it a go this summer, and I did actually get some tomatoes.

I planted two San Marzano tomato plants. Normally, I'd go for the Romas for plum tomatoes, but the Master Gardener at the plant sale convinced me I'd like these more than the Roma variety. The other tomato variety I planted, the Thessalonika, was excellent in flavor, but I got a disappointing harvest. I'm getting a decent harvest on the San Marzanos, but I don't think I am going to have enough to can. So what's a gardener to do?

It's a cool, rainy morning today, so it's a perfect morning to make a leisurely breakfast that includes San Marzano tomatoes! I'd like to share one of my favorite recipes with you, courtesy of Suzanne Somers. Yeah, the girl can cook! If you are bored of cooking eggs the same old way, this is a refreshing new way to start your day.

Eggs in Tomatoes and Red Peppers

1/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium-size red onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
about 10 fresh San Marzano plum tomatoes from the garden, or one 28-oz can of plum tomatoes, drained and chopped (this is what the recipe actually calls for, but I usually put in one 14.5-oz can of diced tomatoes)
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
4 eggs
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (optional)

Heat a 10-inch saute pan on medium heat. Add the olive oil and the red onion and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the bell pepper and cook for another 7 minutes. Add the tomatoes, salt and pepper. If using fresh plum tomatoes, you can remove the skins first, if you like. To do that, boil a pot of water. Put the plum tomatoes in the boiling water. Remove them with a slotted spoon when the skins split. Cool a little, and pull off the skins.

Reduce the heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Prepare for the next step by breaking each egg into a separate custard cup or small bowl. This is important so that you can put all the eggs in the pan at the same time for even cooking. You will be basically poaching the eggs in the tomato mixture you just created. Increase the heat to medium-low before cooking the eggs. Make four small wells in the tomato mixture (see picture above). Pour each egg into a well. Cover with the lid and cook until the whites have set but yolks are still runny. I've timed it to exactly 3 minutes. If the tops are still runny, you can put the pan under a broiler for 1 minute, but you need to have it ready ahead of time. Timing the eggs is crucial if you like runny yolks, like I do. Remove the eggs from the pan immediately after cooking to prevent the yolks from cooking anymore.

Since I don't eat dairy, I skip the feta cheese part, but you can sprinkle the feta over everything and serve immediately. Yum!!

Thursday, September 11, 2008


"I'm watching something really cool about 9/11," my stepson called from the family room. "Ah, this is so cool!" I had to see what he was watching. It was a documentary of 9/11 from the average person's video camera. The second part of the documentary was the people on the street who were behind the camera describing their experience. I was glued to the screen, like a deer in headlights.

One guy was filming this man who was listening to a radio on the hood of a car, and looking at the World Trade Center Buildings with one of them burning. All of the sudden, you see the second plane crash dead center into the second World Trade Center Building. "Aaarrgh," we all scream in the living room, like it was happening that day. Except that my stepson was seven then. I met him about a week later after 9/11.

The same guy describes the footage of these firemen we saw earlier in the documentary. They are heading off to the World Trade Centers with a hose and a fire extinguisher, with expressions on their faces like, "what are we supposed to do with these?" He explains how none of those firemen made it that day. More groans from our audience.

My husband and I are now too depressed to eat dinner. My stepson recounts how he was too young to really understand it then.

It reminds me of when I was pregnant. I felt like I was having similar playbacks of my childhood. When I was growing up into young adulthood, I always thought I had a great childhood. I never really made a connection between the periods of depression and suicidal thoughts I had as a teenager and my childhood. After having a series of bad relationships in my 20s, I finally decided I needed to take a look at myself rather than blaming others for my problems.

When I was pregnant, having these childhood memories traumatized me as much as watching this 9/11 documentary tonight did. Only back then, my nervous system was so easily triggered that I couldn't deal with all these traumas piling up on one another. It was a train wreck waiting to happen...

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Show & Tell: My Garden

This is my sanctuary, my garden. The kale you see on the far right, lower part of the garden was planted while I was pregnant. This is the best garden I've had since moving in with Magic five years ago. The first year, I completely dug up the garden that had been neglected since Magic's divorce five years earlier. My stepson, who was eight at the time, helped me remove a gigantic rock that probably weighed close to 100 pounds out of the garden. Two of those years, I didn't have a garden. One year was because of how busy I was with planning my wedding and the next year I didn't have a garden because of my fibroid surgery. I have an interesting story to tell about my garden and my fibroids.

My babyquest started in earnest after I was married in the summer of 2005. The first RE visit was the revelation of my "huge" fibroids and my (failed) attempts at getting rid of them naturally. Although I ended up having surgery, I learned a lot in the process. Shortly after my first devastating RE visit, I was fortunate to be able to attend a workshop in my home town by Rosita Arvigo to learn about Maya abdominal massage. The workshop really wasn't so much about Maya abdominal massage, as it was a fascinating anatomy lesson about the uterus and all the ligaments that hold it in place, and it's health. All the women in the workshop were midwives except for myself and another woman who had been dealing with infertility for five years. I asked Rosita about why she thought fibroids formed. She answered that fibroids are basically confused creative energy manifesting in the uterus. The uterus is an organ of creation, and not just for babies. One of her examples was of a gardener who doesn't garden. This hit home for me as I did not have a garden that year because of all my wedding and other summer activity planning, and my exhaustion afterwards. At some point during the workshop, I came home for lunch, and I saw my patronus sitting in my backyard. That was the first time I'd ever seen that happen. I knew that it was a good sign and I was on the right track. Unfortunately, the next year I was not able to work on my garden either because of my surgery to remove my fibroids and the complications I had afterwards. Ever since then, I have tried to express my creative energy, the garden being one of them.

I've always had some flowers in the vegetable garden. Usually, it's been marigolds, but I got bored with them this year and these flowers were on sale. I bought the "Lady in Red" salvia and the Black and Blue salvia for the hummingbirds, and they do love them! I was working in the garden yesterday, and had a hummingbird about two feet from my face, hovering above these flowers and checking me out. I look out my window in the morning to watch the hummingbirds feed on these flowers and chase each other. I love going out to my garden everyday to see what's new. There is always an interesting variety of insects visiting my plants.

What's growing in your garden?

Friday, September 5, 2008

Recurrent Nightmare

Dr. Wonderful looked at me with concern as I poured out my story, sobbing the whole way...

This is a private post. If you have access, click here.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

He's Leaving

I received a "Dear Jane" letter the night I got home from enlightenment training. He's leaving, Dr. Wonderful, my surgeon savior. The letter had no forwarding address for him. It was a bad sign. I knew he must be leaving the state.

I had been meaning to see Dr. Wonderful, but it didn't materialize before I left on retreat. I promised myself I would do it right after the retreat. I just didn't want his leaving to be the motivation.

I was worried about seeing Dr. Wonderful. I didn't know what I was going to say to him. I was nervous about how he would take the news. It's too bad he didn't deliver babies, or I would have picked him for my OB when I was pregnant. Now, I needed to know if I had any new fibroids. My uterus has felt different since being pregnant, and I've worried that it's been a big fat fibroid lurking underneath my belly fat.

I immediately broke down in tears when I told Dr. Wonderful the story of my failed pregnancy. It's the first time I've done that in front of a doctor. Usually, I can keep it together long enough to have my breakdown in the car or later at home, but my story is just too sad. Then, the words came out of my mouth. I didn't know what I was going to say when he asked me what I was going to do next. I said, "I want to try again, but I'm not ready... emotionally." That was clear to me after seeing him. I was pretty shook up, and this was after seeing a doctor I love! I'm not ready, but this is my first step towards getting there.

Dr. Wonderful is leaving because he can't make it financially here. He's a progressive surgeon who does minimally invasive gynecological surgery. I had my laparoscopic myomectomy (fibroid removal) with him, but this was after seeing three reproductive endocrinologists, the first two who adamantly told me I couldn't have my fibroids removed laparoscopically. Not only could Dr. Wonderful do it, he didn't even bat an eye when I asked him if he could handle my "difficult" case. My first RE who manhandled me in a "pre-surgical exam" lectured me about how he couldn't do my surgery laparoscopically because of the location of my largest fibroid, on the posterior side of my uterus. I couldn't fathom having my uterus completely removed outside of my body, after moving the bladder and intestines to the side, then shoving it all back in again and in hopes that it would work. Lots of women have abdominal myomectomies, but I didn't want to have my abdomen sliced open if I could prevent it. Unfortunately, doctors aren't progressive enough around here to refer their patients to Dr. Wonderful for minimally invasive surgery, even though in the long run, it would be better for their fertility and certainly a lot less painful for the patient. If you live in the Tuscon area, Dr. Wonderful is coming to a new hospital near you very soon!

We did the exam without fan fare. He said, "you've had this done a thousand times". I said, "sadly, yes, it's true". I couldn't see the ultrasound monitor very well with the glare from the sun, but Dr. Wonderful explained how I had this small thing that he didn't even know if it was a fibroid at this point. It's a little less than a centimeter in diameter, probably about the size of a marble, if it's even a fibroid. It's in the same area where I had my large 8cm x 4cm fibroid, and luckily it is on the outside of my uterus (subserosal). I'm going to treat it as if it were a fibroid, and not ignore it. I've kept them at bay for two years since my surgery, but I stopped doing some of the things I was doing to prevent them from coming back, like weekly acupuncture and Chinese herbs, and I had started eating dairy and a lot of chocolate again. Oh, and I haven't been working out on a regular basis since January. I don't know if I can put the effort into everything I had to do to keep the fibroids away. It's a big effort, but it's for my overall health in the long run, not just the health of my uterus.

Dr. Wonderful is the only regular type doctor I know that I hug. We hugged each other at the beginning of my visit and we hugged again when we said goodbye. I hope he will come back when all the old fart OBs retire or die off around here. It's sad, but he's a doctor before his time, at least in these conservative parts of the west.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Enlightenment Training

Sunset at Asilomar State Beach

I've been gone, working on the long neglected spiritual side of myself. Before I was gone, it was the usual whirlwind of getting ready to leave. That combined with late evenings watching the Olympics accounts for my drought here of late.

The operative word here is training. This is not "Enlightenment Finished". It's not like you go off to college, get a degree and you're done. Enlightenment Training is a lifetime of work, or many lifetimes, if you believe in that kind of thing.

Yesterday morning, I was getting my last fix of enjoying the natural surroundings of my spiritual retreat. I took advantage of low tide and got my fill of searching for starfish. It's odd that in the four years I've gone to Asilomar, I haven't ever seen a starfish before. It wasn't until this year that I really looked. I'd been too busy looking for sea otters. The same is true of myself. If I'm always looking for one particular aspect of myself that I like that plays effortlessly in the waves, I miss the other gems that are tenaciously holding to the rocks while getting bashed by the impact of the waves.

I was able to recharge my batteries at the retreat and take a rest from all the craziness of the world, including the internet. I was able to connect with my spirit again, and drop the story of my recent trauma, if only for a short while. If you want a summary of what we learned in the retreat, you can read a book that my teacher wrote that came out a few months ago.

A. H. Almaas is the name my teacher writes under, like Phoebe is my writer's name. This book was written based on a retreat I attended five years ago. While we covered other topics in our retreat this year, the content is basically the same as this book. It all comes down to living in the present.

Coming soon: Life springs from the ashes of the Big Sur wildfire.