Follicular Frenzy and the ART overdrive: Round One's Last Minute Rally

Previously on A&A Adventures in ARTistry: Toast was toast in the burbling oatmeal slide of 2014. Arteries shuddered and veins fled in desperate attempt to end the ongoing E2 persecution. Training plans were tweaked from ragingly ravingly lunatic to a more sedate rage and rave under the full moon. And stalls continued without abatement, prompting discouragement and a shocking stillness in the treadmill's den. Idleness clashed with Peace Building horrors, but a weary and ragged couple soldiered through to a slightly sedentary promise of weekends beyond the volunteer shift. 

Coming up: Our swooning senorita survives a fifth blood test in frigid cold and a bonus ice pack, but how many more can she endure?? With a clap and click of the monkey paw's pumping castanetas, the wary underachiever hits hyperdrive.  Will cycles cancel, blood run freely, and love be stemmed? Or will an army of teeny (W)rights wind their way into the woodwork? Will Adella survive daily trips through the badlands of I-405? And will the waiting needle's prick and wand of secrets waive through the iffy blooms and yield a crop of answers? Will triggers be pulled or discarded on the side of the traffic-jammed road?? 

Pack your alcohol swabs, fill up your gas tanks, and vroom through the uncertainty to find the almost-answers in wait beneath. 

Insane in the MemVREIN and Saturday's Swooning Senorita

Per my new-November-normal, this morning was the time for another contribution of vital essence to the vampire's greedy goblet. That's right, it's been a few hours, so time to double check and see if there's any more lady-juice in my veins yet.

Per the pattern, I go in first thing in the morning, drop some blood and get a phone call near the end of the day telling me to increase my go-go-gonadotropins and go in again in five days. Sometimes I inquire about the actual result, but since it's meaningless and disheartening to hear the specifics sometimes I kind of don't. Back I go every five days rain or shine. I think I should get a punch card for the Peacehealth Labs at this point. Maybe every tenth draw gets me a free piece of fruit or lollipop? The end to this attempted cycle is nigh.

I think I probably only have one more to go before the whole self-stabbing cycle gets cancelled for the rest of 2014. The trigger for "nevermind, let's just shelve this until next year" is definitely near. And I know it. I may even be done ordering little vials for this year. Our HSA may remain in the pink long enough for us to contribute back into it. Maybe. Rest assured, if I get no response and have cancel, I will be bummed. I will be frustrated to have spent between 3-5 thousand dollars and nearly a month of varying degrees of discomfort and weird side effects on a big fat "maybe next time." But, admittedly, I'll also be a little relieved to switch back to the devil I know. The cheaper, less-prickly, blood-draw free demon patch and pill combo. I'm a spell fatigued. 

Especially the blood-draw free part. At least judging by this morning's merriment, my body's kinda done with them. Not an ideal excursion, needless to say, though kind of a fascinating adventure. It began at six a.m. in the gelid and ebony witching hours and hours before dawn. Despite several assurances (mostly from personal experience) that the lab opens at 6:00 a.m., I discovered that the doors were all locked when I tried them at 6:05-6:20. A few other folks and I alternated checking various doors, shivering, and banging very loudly. But to little avail. 

Eventually, some patrons who had come in with the nurse finally realized that the heaving rapping sound was not the wind in a frisky sub-arctic moment.  A curious blood-letter eventually retrieved me. I, in turn,  retrieved my fellow frostbitten blood-givers from various other doors.  Settling into a chair, I spent a decent spell of waiting as the five hundred backlogged bloodletters waited for the undersupported phlebotomist to alternate between check in, unlocking doors, and vein-suckage. That was actually the pleasant part. It was warm. I had a phone. I was ... conscious. 

I've been so proud of my blase and easy breezy blood-letting experiences of late, knowing of my past panics and blanches. But today was a bit of a reversion. My veins did not want to come out to play this morning. That didn't seem that problematic. The poking (of which there was plenty) didn't hurt all that much and I felt more or less content (so I thought) to stare at the green ombre of my little medical curtain, while the phlebotomist gently poked and apologized again and again.

But then medical grade cotton pullulated through my aural canal. The peripheries of my little curtain focus oozed into a haze and flicked out from focus. Voices began to slip and slide through their words. Suddenly somebody was asking me if  should I lay down... and after some muddled protests, I found myself guided into a heads down position draped over my arms. Eventually an ice bag alit on my neck. An unspoken passage of time (apparently about twenty minutes by my watch) later and the world returned to focus. The senior phlebotomist who had come to tend me asked if I'd rather return later. She then did a perfectly painless and easy blood draw when I begged her to just get it over with (by " begged" I mostly mean, groggily roused and said that I actually was starting to feel a little better). 

It took me a little while to regain full consciousness, though I felt better almost instantaneously, and the pear smothered in peanut butter that I devoured upon returning home was a revelation. Note to self, don't go into get your blood drawn when you've already not been feeling all there while also (1) freezing, (2) underfed, aside from a few nibbles of a lunch you made for your husband before heading out, (3) dehydrated, (4) on your fifth blood-draw in fifteen days.

 It's been a while since I fainted in a phlebotomist's chair. Brings me back. I think the last time was in 2009 after my first visit to the UW Health Clinic. Always kind of befuddling and unexpected. But hey, estrogen is the lady hormone, right? And there's nothing more ladylike than swooning... Until my afternoon phone call tells me otherwise, I'm going to claim that this is a sure sign (more certain than any number) that my estradiol level actually is increasing. I mean any more and I'll start fanning myself and saying "gosh golly" between churlish giggles and lisping levities. 

It's been a grand experiment, this relentless month and I do hope my body pulls it out in the eleventh hour. If not, I guess I know my orders for the holidays: do as everyone else BUT you does and get your padding back.

 Not walking at my treadmill desk is a huge adjustment, although it's not horrible other than the increase in back discomfort. I do fidget enough that I don't really get too many other ill effects of "standing still" fortunately. Interestingly enough, my appetite was pretty sizable yesterday despite the decrease in activity. Even higher than most work days. Which could be because I'm not feeling well, but I like to speculate that it's possible the low-grade constant activity actually has a suppressive effect on my appetite. Will be interesting to see how that pans out over the coming weeks. I'm aiming for fifteen pounds by the next cycle. I think just cutting out walking and keep other exercising down to one yoga, one cardio and a few mild walks would allow that to happen given how much I do eat. We shall see. Hoping my curves are as kickin' as they used to be. 
 I realize sometimes that the physical exertion gives me this odd sensation of "accomplishing" even when work is slow or when I'm not really doing much. Standing or sitting has a certain timeless element that makes time sludge into a mushy gazpacho compared to the crisply punctuated beeps and minute markers of the treadmill's timer and the rhythm of my own pace. But I'll adjust. The only other major downside of the treadmill being off is that I was more or less using it for billing, since it kept track of my time in a way that I could directly track for work-tasks. Will have to start setting a real timer or something. 

Anyways, I get myself an hour walk (forty five minutes more likely) today and it is impending! Now that I can see straight, I see only the future and my lovely jaunt to the gelid harbor.

Swoonie Sweetie and the ARTful Level-Up 

While yesterday's blood-bath fainting match was an ordeal, it brought me fantastic results further on during the day. Between a deeper-than-deep (but still not quite Nick the massage assassin) Swedish tryst and a mandatory ("no, young lady you cannot clean the kitchen, you SHALL HAVE THIS RELAXING EVENT) bath, I received a phone call from my doctor's office. The ritual. Oh yes. I was ready for it.

Do I have a moment for talk about my results?

(Sure, I think. And while I knew I had done everything to steel myself with an icy indifference and a cagey cynicism, I knew I'd be taking my bath and another few hours in the afternoon to recover from the disappointment).

Sure, I say, half dressed in a pink robe robe and slightly chilly without my slippers.  

Great. She says. Well, your estrogen level is at 100. 

Not 25. Not even 30. But a real, genuine, actually promising result. 

You'll keep taking the same dose and come in for labs and an ultrasound in two days...

Three weeks ago I was relieved not to rush back to the ultrasound chamber. But nothing has sounded sweeter. The blood draw will peradventure require additional smelling salts, but my faithful husband shall be at this appointment to carry me back to the Pathfinder and throw me in the bed of the truck if necessary. 

My body is responding! As if on cue my body has started slurping up water. Actually it started doing this on Friday, but it's more pointedly doing so now. I know I determined to gain weight by being less active, but I doubt I really took in 6,000 excess calories in the last two days! The cramps I thought were maybe a stomach thing might actually be an estrogen thing. My body may be in fact chugging along like a rusty jalopy after a long spell in the garage. Dust is flying everywhere, but this is good. I am capable of responding to these things. 

Of course this is just maybe level three of a pretty high level game. But I'll take whatever bonus round coins and victory dances I can get. 

For level three, I'm off to Kirkland first thing tomorrow morning. With husband in tow and or husband towing (lest I faint). This will be his first encounter with a physical location for SRM. 

As practice, of course, we're off to Seattle today. Although one hopes that a Director's Choice Repertory at the Pacific Northwest Ballet is slightly more comfortable (possibly even slightly less expensive) than our dinner and an ultrasound (ok really breakfast, but this was less catchy) date on Monday. We're leaving quite early so that Andrew can exchange a busted wheel at the Seattle location from whence it came. With an interlude for lunch. 

I'm looking forward to several kinds of non-exercise-related sittings and some proper face-stuffing. Doctor's orders after all. 

Happy Sunday all! May your day be bright and bonny. 

Follicular Follies and the Bloody Kirkland Caper Monday Road Trips Open Windows

And to resume a common theme hereabouts, it does not feel like Tuesday today. Having more or less started off my Monday with a many-splendored (or perhaps merely many-houred) excursion down south, I do not really feel that I fully experienced MONDAY in all its potent portent and ritual significance.

Having not commenced the week with a proper Monday, I do not believe that this week has, in fact, any viability. Especially since I'll once more take to the road tomorrow; since the Thanksgiving vacation is right around the corner anyways, I'm pretty sure we should just call it good until January. The holidays aren't really great times for work to get done in the least medically demanding of years. 

But nonetheless, here I am, standing at my treadmill desk like a good little patient. My mom-boss and her boy-toy found me a fabulous chef's mat to ease the strain of standing for too long. We shall see, but it does at least make it easier for me to wear my slippers while working. I also brought a fairly tall stool from home (after replacing it with its mini-me version at home) to the office for sitting purposes if need be. It's close to a good height. If nothing else, it's something else to play on. And I treat my office space like a jungle gym.

But yes, yesterday. Another one of those special "three and a half hours of driving for a ten minute appointment" kind of experiences, but with bonus stop to see the illustrious Mr. (W)right's new desk on the second floor of EI(eeeeiiiiiiooooo). It's nice. Amid a klatsch of overgrown collegeish not-so-co-eds (if there were women present on that floor, they were pretty masculine). Kind of like an extension of some engineering graduate school study area. But with writing on the windows. 

The good news came fairly freely at my appointment beforehand. My body is responding as it should. And that obstreperous vein that keeps coyly rolling away on first palp of needle prick was easily pinned by the nurse in attendance for a fairly painless and swoon-free experience.

I have a follow up on Wednesday morning. It is quite possible - knock on wood - that we (W)rights have stumbled into our "window" for this particular cycle. I'll spare you the details there, but needless to say the pressure is on to keep the pressure off more or less. Although this whole fertility imbroglio has been "our thing" in some ways, it's hard not to let the argot slip into "Adella's treatment" or "your meds." Escalating from gracious support-figure offering reassurances and occasional escort to and from appointments to a key ingredient upon which absolutely all these many thousands of dollars and weeks to years of uncomfortable side effects absolutely now depend!!! NOW! The clock is running out!! may be a bit stressful. And I'd like to minimize that for all involved. There's enough stress in this cycle. 

As I say, this first time out is a big dress rehearsal, so there will be some figuring out to do to keep things loving and supportive. In between injecting myself with various pointy things full of crazy fluids... nothing is more romantic, I know, than remarking on your various stages of cramping and water retention while calculating out the lifespan of various body parts. Fortunately, I'm still kind of a frisky lovecrazed kiddo of a somewhat-newly-wed, so conjuring up a little concupiscence isn't exactly a challenge. But remembering not to remember a ticking clock or any big significance to this week over any others seems kind of important. 

A "window" that I'm more obsessed with is the window for buying more of my go-go-gonadotropins. If - knock on wood - all goes well, I may be ready for the next stage on Wednesday. In that case, I will not have to order yet another $460 vial of the stuff. I will even have a day leftover. If I need to wait and come back in a couple of days, there's an increasing chance that I'll need just one more dose and will have to buy the entire vial. Needless to say, this is preoccupying my brain far more than any potentially relevant considerations. The obsessive part of me (same part that could spend hours playing Tetris) wants to game it so that I have exactly the amount I need. No tret. No leftovers. Just the last necessary dosage at the last moment. 

I will, however, have plenty of leftover needles. Some of which I can use in future months (the box of insulin needles should cover me for several months and/or any future encounters with diabetes), and some of which I will continue to accumulate in stock pile with future orders. Clearly I should take up some kind of multi-media art involving all the waste associated with injecting myself. Wrappers, syringes, syringe lids, alcohol swabs, alcohol swab packages, bandages, receipts, pretty little vials and their colorful caps... I'm thinking some kind of gargantuan mobile, perhaps. Call it Luv LYFE!

Anyways, I've fidgeted about enough while click-a-clacking here. This standing desk thing is a little less perfect than walking, but I'll get it dialed. Really I will. Perhaps with a swing!

Some Journeys a Woman Must Make Outside of the Carpool Lane

And, once the man sold his pocket watch for a comb to give his freshly calvous wife, Adella's wishes for a response came with a little bit of a handshake from the monkey's paw. 

In typical Adella fashion, I have been slow and reluctant to react. But in even more typical Adella-fashion, after tipping toes into this whole follicular development and fertility thing, my body has now gone full scale overachiever (What, me?? Never!!) and has set to developing resources for a small army of baby (W)rights. 

Between last week's 25 and Wednesdays most recent prick, my estrogen levels went from non-existent to "entire sorority house during homecoming" (865, actually). My follicles are madly spinning little ova after several years of hiatus. Hilarious as the idea of millions of little wrightlets tottering about, multiple gestations have ridiculously high risk across the board well beyond the longterm one of actually producing a brood. Needless to say, if I keep developing on this course, the entire cycle gets called off. 

We're crossing our eyes, fingers and toes that only three are around today. If not, good news is still abundant (1) no more shots for a while, (2) no more ultrasounds or blood draws for a while, (3) most importantly, my body does react. It can be stimulated. Just, well, like the introvert that I am, it's a little prone to overstimulation after some initial hesitation. 

Somewhere Ovidrel the Rainbow: (W)rights Charge Ahead Beyond Statistical Certainty
And did it all end with a bang-bang-bang of a "aren't you glad to get through this in one piece?" I knew not to expect anything merciful from the traffic along the large and small intestines of Hades (also known as Interstates 405 and 5 in the Seattle/Bellevue). Both harbored special treats for me yesterday morning: an accident on I-5 turned the few exits afore mine to a caramel coated halt for several agonizing minutes. The experience made my 30 minute joy(less) sludge on I-405 seem tame by comparison. To add a little special treat to my commuting experience, the pre-digestive areas of I-5 were pitch black and saturated in driving torrents of pre-dawn tsunamis. The wind, the water and my kia led to some moments of terror to really prime me for the stop-and-go-frustration awaiting around the bend of Everett's toosh. 

Despite having left about 40 minutes "early," I managed to arrive for my appointment right on time... to wait for another ten minutes... to get my (blessedly) final blood-letting for the month. I am relieved to report that I did not swoon, though not for lack of trying on anyone else's part. We began with the recently tapped left vein. It was not having any further incursions and stomped away in a huff at any intrusions. The right vein was a bit more coy than hostile. After a few futile farragoes with a larger needle, the intervention of a second nurse, and some very concerned "you still ok?" queries, my medical team settled on a smaller needle. They inserted this with some difficulty. At which point, the blood trickled with recalcitrance for a good couple of minutes before the rest of my blood was essentially milked through the vein by the nurse. 

And people complain about transvaginal ultrasounds. I actually think those have been the least uncomfortable and unpleasant thing to happen to me medically in quite some time! If I had to have a one every morning in lieu of commuting through I-405, for instance, I'd consider it (depending on whether it would be covered by insurance, because those damned things are pricey). 

The results were a teensy eensy bit ambivalent. I'm responding, and how. There are definitely three little ova in their young adulthood raring to go. There may be 4 more. Or possibly even more if the ultrasound missed something (always possible). I left the ultrasound certain that the cycle would have to be cancelled. Needless to say, I'm tired. Emotionally. Physically. And any other way one can possibly be exhausted. And I've been a raging barrel of hormones to the point where I'd like to just go find a pair of grey sweat pants, a pint of Ben and Jerry's and a marathon of some BBC's Jane Austen rot to cry over. Or so I felt on the ride home anyways.

A subsequent follow up with my doctor  gave me enough stats and percentages to work with. Basically a few things. 

(1) Yes, I have the possibility of releasing a litter. If anything sticks, there's a 25% chance of twins and a 5% chance of triplets. There's no way in hell that she'll recommend going forward if I'm not well advised of and ethically comfortable with selective reduction surgery. That would carry only a 5-10% risk to the remaining embryos. 

(2) But on the other hand, the chances of any pregnancy is lower if we trigger immediately, due to the most mature eggs not being quite as far along as usual. But in order to avoid the risk of the aforementioned 6-7 eggs, triggering means going ahead. 

(3) We could convert to IVF on this cycle, but it'll be another $12,000. Oh and require continuing on with shots and blood tests and what not. 

(4) To be safe, we could cancel entirely, stay celibate for a lifetime, and try again on the next cycle. Of course, it turns out that all those years of hoarding up  my reproductive material means that my ovarian reserve is through the roof and any stimulation will very likely produce the same result. We can start at a higher dose, but not too high and it will likely take less time than this round, but longer for me than most (still more like 10-14 days than most of a month). Or we could cancel and start over again with a pure IVF. 

Anyways, risks mulled and conversations had, we decided the lower chance of anything sticking combined with the higher risk of multiples more or less cancelled each other. So, it probably won't stick, but after 8 blood draws, 4 ultrasounds, 25 days (!!) of self injections, and nearly $4,000 spent on shots and tests needles and all... we just couldn't walk away. Not with the risks as low as they were. And statistics are funny. And one doesn't always end up being the statistical norm.  Maybe we'll be the outliers. Odds are better than buying a lottery ticket anyways and plenty of people do that. 
So ok, tally ho and sally forth I have taken my final shot of November 2014! I have discarded (properly) of my sharps container and packed up my little injection station. I have promised my bruised arms and hostile veins that they may rest easy for a few weeks. If it doesn't work, which it probably won't then no harm. If we end up with triplets, well... the odds are ok. 

Anyways, remaining celibate for "like forever" (as my doctor herself put it) didn't sound all that fun. 

I'm not really sure what we'll do in December. Probably try more of the same and then discuss the even bigger guns if the same results keep happening. 

All I know for sure is that I am FREE! For a spell. And it feels oh so good. 

Peacebuilder's Bacchanalias and the Stilling Stagger

Previously on A&A's Adventures in ARTistry:  Mediations moaned and maddened, as they mingled with court papers and panicky rushes through the Englettlaw gamut. Essential epicene elixers of gravidity gamboled through Bellingham on rampages without proper tracking numbers. A cottage cheese fountain and a mad dash home brought respite and reunion. Despite the desperate pokes, jabs and incantations, a medical standstill came crashing back over the momentary momentum. Elixer vials left inutile and fully tapped beyond their refrigerated domicile. Our heroine, less stress-free crawled desperately past the stoic koi's bubble Charybdis, and towards the Oasis of FRIDAY! Yoga faeries frolick through the Sat Nam sweetness of a weekend well-spent and thoroughly readjusted.And great rejoicing was had for our hero's magical new shoes.

Coming Up: A weekend of love spits our (W)rightlings back out into the wilderness for another battle with the war-waged week. Toast is toast and oatmeal bubbles over. Will kitchen experiments yield gustatory greatness or glommy leftovers? Veins collapse and E2's plummet. Will any end reveal itself in sight or will a taut tummy turn cerulean camo with contusions? Training plans unbridled and mad dash forward into the future with only a hint of sanity. Will Mr. (W)right reach his slightly-less-totally-insane-training-goals? Will he collapse trying? And  frustration yields new contingencies and an increasingly prohibitive lifestyle prescription. Will our haggard hoyle finally reunite with her cast off feminine curves or will she plummet into madness as the treadmill turns stationary. 

Bubble Bubble, Oatmeal on the Double (or maybe just burnt onto the bottom of the pot) Magic Manic Monkeys Meet the Monday

They say "if you love something, set it free." They say a lot of crap (mostly reposted in meme form on various social networking sites and attributed to either Marilyn Monroe, Abraham Lincoln, or Samuel L Jackson), but I believe my sweetheart of a weekend took this particular adage to heart. Or so I can only imagine as I find myself once again dazedly maundering into a Monday morning. No more radiant glows from deep massages and spiritual anti-cross-fits. Time to tarnish up a little bit of that workweek edge back. Parenting plans to be proposed. Collaborative law meetings to be recorded. Elections to be held! Elections for the collaborative law board, that is. I'm not so far gone that I missed the national elections were last week. Hell I even voted several weeks prior to that. And paid attention to the local results. 

The upcoming elections today should be of a slightly different flavor. Mostly of the "um, so... anyone willing to..." followed by a dead silence... some chuckling... various people nominating other people... eventually a series of "well, if anyone else at all would be interested then nevermind but I guess I could... are you sure you don't want to (person's name)??" I've got my list of "oh dear god, please not you" people. But otherwise, it's all a wash. I keep my position for at least another year. Hopefully by next year, our life circumstances will be different. Maybe with sprats. Maybe fully embracing our DINKosity and moving somewhere a little DINKier. But something. I love typing up the minutes, but I'm slow-cooking my way up to burnt-out I believe.

The office is still reeling from an exhausting Friday mediation. The parties did reach some agreements. On things that were expressly called out as not for consideration this mediation, of course. Nothing that would leave our client in, say, a financial position to pay off her vertigo-inducing bill. But the shining spot of all this is that the hearing (yes, the one I spent days and hours preparing response materials for) is off. I'll pretend that this was due to my absolutely incredible work. Not sure what comes next, here, other than a thorough Englettlaw picking up of pieces. And probably quite the case status meeting to remember all the other little clients we have under our wings. 

On the home front, I am making good on my threat to slowly wean Andrew off high-FODMAP foods. While we are still both exceptionally skeptical that this is the relevant protocol, a little more variety never hurt. And Andrew has been eating five pieces of bread every day. Granted, this is down from eight. But still room for some variety. In terms of both economy and time, I figured oatmeal was not a horrible substitute for toast. In fact, I figured, it was kind of an awesome one. 

And so - having used up most of the hummus I'd made for spreading on said toast (also high FODMAP apparently, being a legume-based spread), I pulled the switch this morning. It wasn't the biggest rager of a success, although it was all perfectly passable. I think I put too much cinnamon in too early, and the pot I was using seems to demand a certain burnt GLOM of material on the bottom. I admit to pouring out the mostly done oatmeal and finishing it off in the microwave. But I thought the sliced banana and almonds was a nice touch anyways. It looked all fancy. If I'm feeling brave, I may try other forms of porridge. I may also try the rice cooker.

The one downside to this is that I rather enjoy have the rice cooker available, and per our contract Andrew washes the dishes created in making his food. Since he waits until the end of the evening to wash all the dishes, it would potentially leave me with a soiled rice cooker pot or with picking up one of his dishes to rewash. And the latter compromise could certainly bring about Eschaton!

But, hey, I feel accomplished for my teeny tiny experiment. No explosions and - while it may have taken him much longer and required far more deliberate slurping - Andrew did manage to eat the new breakfast. There shall be some self-patting on my back today for certain. I just hope I don't bruise myself too significantly. I have enough black and blue on my stomach from those nightly piercings. 

but only on my right side despite alternating... weird
And, since apparently the injections are merely symbolic, I actually feel better than I have in some time. Something I'm sorry to attribute to a likely decline in the previously rocketing estrogen levels brought about by several patches and pills. A little disappointing to see all the signs I associate with the opposite of what should be happening hormone-wise, but if they aren't going to work much I'm glad I don't have that cognitive dissonance of feeling totally floored just like I would if they actually were working. So, gleaming spot in the dark chasm of ambiguities is that I feel completely comfortable going to Pilates today without a single bursting bowling ball gonad explosion. Small mercies. I didn't like missing last week. 

Happy Monday all! For those of you in the US, Veteran's Day is just around the corner! And for the subset of you who are taking this as a four-day weekend, I proffer one magnificent raspberry of a :-P to you! No, really, enjoy! 

Click a Clack, SAD Light's Back A Very Commemorative Pseudo-Holidaze from the Work Desk

Happy (um... reflective, grateful, humble) Veteran's Day fellow observers. Well, fellow is a stretch. I am actually at the office after having a quick jaunt over to my favorite vampire's lair for yet another blood draw. I expect the blood draw will tell me two things: (1) that my estrogen levels still aren't responding to the massive amounts of crazy go-go juice I've been jabbing into my belly for the past two weeks, (2) my left vein is so over these needle things. It was pretty enthusiastic about being the primo vein for a while. But fickle little prima donna that it is, it's squawking about a pay raise and calling for its agent now. Or at least hurting and bruising up when I alternate back to it. 

But work. Yes, I'm at work on a holiday. Well, a half-holiday. I guess Andrew and his kind are all working today, so it's not a universal day off (though by imperial fiat, all Veteran's must go to lunch with the eccentric owner of the EI empire). We at Englettlaw tie our office closures to the court usually, but then frequently come in and work behind closed doors. 

Today, I am in at work purportedly due to an upcoming client meeting tomorrow. It will be a complicated one. There are lots of papers to do. And because it's a little complicated in a less fun and more just "huh" kind of way, I've waxed cunctatious in my duties. So I'm coming in to today to minimize distractions and get things done. Except, I don't want to at a profound emotional level having something to do with a tantrumming inner child or two.

As such I'm well set to spend the entire day at work procrastinating, reloading my email, and making up other little work tasks to do. Clearly this is a productive way to celebrate and apologize to those who have put their lives on the line for our country, been stop-lossed several times, and then pretty well screwed upon their return home (ok enough of that political commentary nonsense).

However, it is still a rather important day. I have finally broken out the SAD light. Its lovely rays of sunshine and joy are casting a gelid sun-wash over my shriveled winter brain and casting out the cobwebs. Of course, we're actually having some very beautiful sunny afternoons at the moment, so it is a little less necessary at this point. But the morning and evening darkness certainly takes its toll. Yesterday, I was so bedraggled by afternoon that I had to lay down in my office. Not hugely comfortable incidentally. 

I am also into the part of the season where the heat is too high to close the window, but the morning chill is icy enough that I must chose between working in a sports bra with a migraine, or while wearing gloves and a light jacket. I'm opting for the latter. These gloves actually aren't too bad for typing, though that dexterity comes at the cost of any actual effectiveness. 

It is also a gravely important week. We've begun 2015! At least insofar as Andrew's training calendar is concerned. We are in "prep" which is different from "base" which is different than "build" which is different than "live on your bike and race every weekend."

Andrew is very pleased with himself for being "reasonable" and "disciplined" this year. By which I mean that after some significant struggle, he has decided not to attempt the 400 hour training schedule to which he has routinely aspired and of which he has - with great distress and anxiety - fallen short. To accomplish this plan, he would need to do at least one evening ride a week. And the light and weather are both not great for these things. Last year, with twisting and tossing and angsting, he managed 330 hours. And he actually did really well race-wise. So perhaps, he thinks, the 400 hour schedule could even be counter productive.

So... he's slashed back dramatically to... 350 hours. Which I might point out is still more than he did (after a lot of twisting and angsting) last year. But on the other hand, I'm so proud of even the faintest glimmer of sanity that I don't want to discourage it. So, we'll call this a good sign. 

Best news being that today he's just going on a run at lunch instead of trying to cram a ride in after work in freezing dark. 

And with that, I find myself grinding down towards the time when actual work demands attention. It's been a blast putting it off, but time to ... fabricate some other excuse for not doing the work that brought me in here in the first place!

Hollerin' Hoyden's Fortnight of Punctures Picks Up for Another Season

My oh my do I espy the peak of our cantankerous camel's kyphosis? It may well be we've reached dromedary day! Between the non-holiday of yesterday and a bit of volunteering merriment on Friday, today is both Monday, Wednesday and PANIC-DAY. 

But my oh my am I happy for the semi-day of yesterday. There was much cleanup and a modicum of rejoicing. We even - finally - managed to stop by Cuts Plus for some much needed trims, AND (after significant scavenging) found a couple of leftover Thanksgiving decorations buried between the Halloween sales and the Christmas surge. The office shall have a turkey by golly!

And of course, my bi-weekly bummer of a report on the blood test. I'm getting used to this here, but it's still tough right after the call. My estrogen levels are super low. Like nearly post-menopausal low after two weeks of injections. So we're a far cry away from "the right dose" still, I guess. Which means another week or two of self-stabbings and another blood test on Saturday (probably followed by another incremental dosage increase and another blood test next Wednesday if I follow the pattern). It's frustrating and mopeworthy to feel no sense of progress and a bevy of side effects (now even exacerbated by the low estrogen after a few years of some supplementation or other). And I know we're nearing the date in which we will have to pull the plug and write off the several thousand dollars this initial foray has cost our HSA. 

Andrew and I were realizing that our amazon wishlists are out of date and Christmas was fast approaching. I suggested it was too bad that we couldn't just put gift certificates for PeaceHealth Labs, Seattle Reproductive, and RoxSan Pharmacy on our lists. All I want for Christmas is a few decent follicles and an E2 of +150, baby. Catchy, I know. Just wait for The Eggs of Wrath: The Musical. That will be my headliner song. And the special effects on the ultrasound scene... oh you'll have to see it to believe it (if I ever reach that scene again, yeesh). 

But that bit of routine threnody aside (and at this point I could just schedule an hour at the end of any blood test day for "mope and self-pity party"),  it was a lovely Tuesday to set us up for a survivable Wednesday. We shall overcome! Clients and tigers and bears, oh my!!

Today is the First Day of the Rest of My Idle LifeGooble Gooble and other Grateful Gaieties of mid-November

Things are about to get curioser than curioser and curioser ever fathomed: despite several years of the same exercise less and eat more and gain weight theme, I've more or less kept a steady enough stream of always walking at my treadmill desk. Between four to six hours a day. And admittedly, I don't necessary gambol along, although it's a mild enough pace that I've been dubbing it "light exercise" and not cause for concern. But one woman's steady pacing while working is another handful of people's "moderate thirty minutes three times a week" exercise. 

Having begged for specifics from my doctor about what happens if the injections do or do not start working (preferable in some kind of complicated flow chart because I am both a lawyer and a case manager by compulsion), I've gotten the skinny (har har): One more week to see what happens. If nothing happens then, we stop. I go back to princess of patches and Ooooh barracuda HRT cycle for a month to get back my white-pants red flow. Then I take a break. And then I come back and either try starting all these injections at a higher dose or pull out the big guns and go full IVF. If it does start working, ultrasounds, things moving quickly and probably another week. 

Good news, I'll more than likely be through all this nonsense (or so excited to have had a reaction that I don't mind) by Thanksgiving holidays. And my estrogen starved soma will be getting a fix one way or another. 

But at the end of this, she also told me to cut back any exercise to 2-3 hours a week and gain 5-10+. As you can imagine, the two prescriptions may be interlinked. 

So for now, anyways, I suddenly have a very elaborate standing desk. Which is good, because standing still is not an exercise in my book and it beats the hell out of sitting. And well, it certainly will shortcut my other struggles with attempting to gain weight to eliminate that extra 500-1000 calorie drain on my net intake. And I'll admit with my recent medication/winter related fatigue, I was really starting to feel it after walking a little bit and feeling far better on the weekends. Think I'll be cutting down to short walks outside when it's nice, hippy spiritual yoga, and my weird YMCA pilates class. Maybe go back to that stretching class targeted at the silver sneakers demographic.   

But it is a little strange. Positives include being able to wear skirts and actual work clothing (prohibitively uncomfortable for several hours of walking). Downsides include being very fidgety. I've done several thousand knee bends and calf raises and stretches in the last hour or so alone. 

But it'll be an interesting experiment and good preparation for whatever next job lands me with a little less sweet and cushy of an office accommodation. Possibly even fewer heater/temperature battles. 

But enough about my stationary worklife (and increased trips back and forth through the office in frothed up pace panics. How about some more "semi-active not exactly work or exercise" shenanigans?

Tonight is a grand night for the WDRC: Their annual "Peacebuilder's Awards." This is, of course, an elaborately constructed fundraising event that seems to me (the uninitiated) to use up as much time, hours, cost, and energy (in dollar equivalents) to never possibly justify the enormous haul brought in from all the rich drunk people who attended to (1) get ragingly drunk for charity (2) network while ragingly drunk.

 As you may guess, these events are anathema to an introvert like me. I've actually been to several, but only as a comped "dancer" (either performing specifically or just brought in to provide atmosphere). Oh and I do go to the grand PeaceHealth one with my dad from time to time. But that's with my dad. Of course I do that. 

Anyways, according to the schedule that we reviewed in detail at our volunteer orientation, I would have a total meltdown roughly two hours into the event (well when the official beginning of the event occurs, I'd have a meltdown. There are a few hours of unscheduled drinking and raffling and wine-walling time before that). I'm pretty sure it's even on the carefully parsed agenda. No dancing, actually, which is a rarity for these events. But the typical raffles, silent auctions, catered dinners, "dessert dashes," wine walls, and several hours of poetry readings and awards given as excuses for inspirational speeches about the DRC (read: time to let people get sufficiently soused to then get super sentimental about the inspirational conflict-resolution type messages there, AND then reach for their checkbooks).

 Andrew raised a good point. Where events like this seem to rely on getting attendees' wallets thoroughly lubricated with intoxication, it is a bit concerning that these events are also held far enough away from anything that it's likely all these attendees will be driving home. 

At any rate, I am not going to the event, but I am being a sport of a volunteer and doing the midday preparations. In this case my role commences with a drop by Boundary Bay (local restaurant responsible for catering) to pick up a truck load of flatware. I was actually unaware of the extent of the load (or the contents) until the volunteer orientation yesterday. When the point person asked if I had a big car, I snorted and said I could borrow one. A volunteer from the back of the room raised his hand (me! me! me!) and said he had some kind of large car. She said we could talk about it afterwards. I'd somehow thought the man with the car was volunteering to pick this stuff up in my stead. But when I attempted to speak with him, he was... kind of ... not super conflict resolution magnificent. 

I tried approaching him after the big meeting, but he was talking to two friends. Once that broke up, I finally approached and said "so, you said you have a bigger car?" He looked at me like I was an insane person and asked what this was about. So I reminded him of the earlier offer and that he'd said he had a bigger car. He then snorted as if I had flung poop at him and said in a mildly condescending voice "bigger than what?" Trying to thrust out a heavy nevermind, I said something about having a kia. He then looked on the verge of rolling his eyes and said "but what kind of kia??" I told him "trust me, a small car."

Anxious to leave and get on with my day far from this flummoxing conversational fandango, I reiterated that it was fine and I could borrow my husband's Pathfinder, but at this point he was going on about his four cars and their various sizes. Trying to conclude the conversation, I said it sounded like the Pathfinder would really be fine so never-mind. He carried on about how he didn't usually lend his car to strangers, but... after my fourth attempt to conclude the conversation, he looked annoyed, told me he really needed to be in the meeting with the serving staff and wanted to know why I couldn't talk about this later. THEN insisted on getting my number so he could talk to Ilana about this and get back to me. Needless to say, I haven't heard back from him. Did I mention he's the lead server of the evening and helping with the presentations? Did I also mention I'm really glad I'm not staying for the event? 

But before then, it promises to be a mellow (idle) day at the office followed by a weekend of staying warm and cozy indoors (hopefully) and a Sunday jaunt to the Pacific Northwest Ballet that shall not be deterred by illness or injections this time, by golly! Which is darned well both more rewardingly peace building AND restorative than any big old function or day of click-a-clack work work work. 

Give Thanks, for it is Friday! 

Koooo-kooo-ka-kundalini Craze: Spiritual Pretzels, Mail Order Madness and ART Hits the Brick Wall.

Previously on A&A's Adventures in ARTistry: Lost in Sweden with a ragged FODMAP for navigation, our couple cambered past Chthonia once more. Time stopped and reset itself as physical betrayals yielded relaxation and trepidation. As the pendulum swung so did the moods of a maddened self-stabber. Pillows mocked her and towels tittered while she crumpled in with the sheets in a drugged and dazed dither. Mr. (W)right played hookey to follow his dreams, or at least his Muffler. Livers were spared punctures and little swimmers were deemed funny looking but persistently pullulating. Mysteries mounted as "weird, but not bad" returned as the diagnosis of the day. As he retired from his medical revelries (drunk on dried-up deductible deliciousness), experiments proposed to appease the roaring internal chasms. 

Coming Up: Stirrings of a stressful sort at Englettlaw derail a self-made promise. Lost in the paperwork, our heroine's chimerical "relaxation" mews and shivers. Will the almighty weekend ride to the rescue and unearth a gravely imperiled equipoise? Will Adella's massage assassion - smarting from the Swedish duplicity - put the quietus on her small flicker of life with a deeper-than-deep tissue rampage? Having depretzelled from their Bhakti Flow Follies, our couples try once more to meet the yoga hydra. Will the kundalini cross-fit caper finish them or will gems of sparkling sat nam soar? And the self-stabbings carry on without respite or coupons. Will those go-go-gonadotropins ever go anywhere beyond "stashed outside the garage?" Will Adella's mad dash rescue the errant elixers or will cottage cheese flow freely with her disappointment? 

Bulk up on alcohol swabs, open up your chakras and cha cha through the paperwork to find the answers below....

Through to Thursday and Tip-Toeing to Freedom A Post-Date-Night Worksplosion in Wait

From the tip of my tippee toes to the base of my skull I am feeling the Thursday. Too much happening on Friday for which I am ill-prepared. Too  much behind us to linger on the past. Thursday is just about right for me and my pixie-toes today. Although I'd take a Saturday. Or a next Tuesday is Veteran's Day day

We've waged quite the war on the mediation/hearing horror that has been smacking its maws at me from its Friday morning perch. The deadline is fast approaching. Ever single document needs to be edited and thoroughly scrubbed, but we do actually have every single document. This is significant progress. And that was not easy considering how many documents are required to straddle the span of this action/mediation. 

Yesterday was such a muddle that, by the end, I had to stand over mom-boss' shoulder just to make certain that she would accomplish the three remaining tasks required (billing, emailing docs for proofing, and shutting down) instead of trying to do any of the one-billion other things that her computer's bevy of icons and updates tried to tempt her into doing. It took a half hour. There were missteps. She may have kept forgetting which client we were talking about and what the remaining steps were. What email was. And how to type her name (Sincerely, Snoopy the Succubus!). Facebook, email, various file folders may have popped up and then been rapidly shut after a protest from the cantankerous associate attorney. It really was one of those days

Today will be another one of those days, but in a slightly less paper-intensive manner. It's more that she's got a mediation in the morning and a four-way in the afternoon, so everything needs to be handed off and completed before 9:00 this morning. Needless to say, there's going to be some significant scurrying. 

But quite merrily, my evening at least was quite restorative. A date night, yes! An interesting one at that. Andrew was tired from - you'll never guess - pushing himself hard on a ride that afternoon. I was a little tired after work, and then I decided to inject my go-go-gonadotropins before going out. I did this so I wouldn't be worrying about them on the way home, and I suspect it was the right call. But there are costs associated with the post-shot haze. The hormones may no longer shoot me into a perpetual emotional quagrmire, but I would still warrant that the hour or four afterwards manifest some pretty interesting states. Primarily I feel a narcotic buzz and droop. Variations may include moodiness or just plain spaciness.

Yesterday, I was particularly entranced by the bubbles in the koi tank at Panda Palace. Riveted. Enchanted. Unable to break my gaze, except to chuckle at the preposterously stoic koi looking oh so serious about his bubble stream. 

I was also punchy and moderately incoherent. We made streams of anserine inanities and giggled a lot. We were not intoxicated technically, but perhaps drunk on love (or hormones, which is virtually the same thing). 

And after a few pillowy toussles (and a long time refusing to leave the car once we'd parked in the garage), we were perfectly suited to snuggling up in odd postural variations for a Futurama. I don't think I actually nodded off at any time that evening, but I can't say for certain. The membrane betwixt the land of men and the land of fairies is ever so exiguous at such times. 

I tore through the gates of horn and ivory upon hitting the sheets, though. And was not 100% certain about reemerging into the waking world this morning. 

But, well, it would be nice to get through Thursday and on to the weekend. And oh boy, the construction noises are coming from somewhere else today! Always a variation or twenty to keep it spicy!

The Gale-ing Dervish Drives it Home to Friday (and then back to work again)

Ok, so that pledge to myself about being less active, fattening up, and chilling the frig out has been a bit hit or miss. I'm eating more, but I'm not sure that my mind-body-spirit quite grogs that gaining weight in any sort of timely fashion requires a pretty decent quotidian surplus. Like, say, more than an extra handful of food here and there. I'm told (by the INTERNETZ) that the 3,500 = a pound adage is perhaps mythical, but at the very least it seems to capture the kind of volume we're talking about here when I contemplate raising the ante another ten pounds or so in time for it to be relevant.

 Weight weight weight, yadda yadda yadda. More apropos of this particular week, STRESS!!! AGH. Adrenaline! Whew. What a week! As I mentioned, we're just at the crest of a sheer tsunami in our most (currently) aggravating case. Several things happening all at once. Five bajillion dueling expert opinions. Court requirements. Which touch similar issues but require different handling than mediation preparations. Insane other parties being bolstered by disengaged tantrumming babies of attorneys on the other side. All to be put together while slalomming through a series of other mediations and four-ways and client meetings that must happen RIGHT NOW. May I proffer one large YAWN?

Good. Here it is: Yawn

Just as I was coming down from a job well-sped-through, we turned back to the ongoing matter of those mysterious medications I'm jabbing into myself every day. So, as the story goes in legend and in life, I kind of shot away the majority of a vial of highly active gonadotropins two weeks back. Because I suck at decimal points (37.5 versus 375? No difference! Let's try 3,750 next time!). Anyways, having gotten back on track on a drastically more conservative dose, I was a bit concerned about how long the remaining vial would last. Especially when I was finally bumped gingerly up to the actual "lowest standard dose" earlier this week.

As of last night, I am out of syringes. I suspect I do not have enough in the vial for a full dose tonight. This could be fine, of course, because today was the day for another blood test! (WHOOOOO), which may or may not garner a call with instructions that may or may not involve (1) upping my dose of the fully tapped medication, (2) continuing on my dose of the fictive medication, (3) stopping immediately and fleeing to Chthonia before my belly bursts forth with little spider babies. Somewhere in there, there might be an ultrasound or blood test order.

Given the above options, it seemed like I'd more likely than not need more medication by this evening. And my pharmacy for these drugs is located in California. So I need a little notice. The RE had been chary about telling me to plonk down more money on a third vial, but given where we are, I finally got the go ahead to go ahead and order more. Phew.

By the earliest estimates, my package was scheduled to arrive at the office to be received with signature only and by Friday at (gulp) 8:00 p.m. Feeling unnerved about that late window, I requested tracking information and have been happily stalking my little package since then. 

To my delight, I discovered the package was out for delivery yesterday! Hoorah. 

To my subsequent confusion, I then discovered that my package had been delivered. At a garage. Without a signature. 

Of course, odds were good that they'd somehow confused my shipping instructions and sent it to my house. Of course. But what if they actually left it at the Bellingham Towers' Parking Garage, those bowels of barren dust and dullness? What if it went to 123 instead of 1203 Somethingorother Parkway instead of Boulevard. What if somebody else has my gonal??

And, given the pulchritudinous pence these teensy itsy bitsy vials cost, I was a little bit less thrilled about the prospect that my Lilliputian package of go-go-gonadotropins were merely lolling outside my garage on a blastedly blustery day. 

Naturally, I discovered all this roughly forty minutes before my date with the DRC. And I considered merely waiting it out until the evening. But given the potential necessity for an overnight shipment order and some very exhausting customer service calls, I really wanted to know where my essentially epicene elixir gravida had gotten itself to. 

Into the breach! Or at least the car. Through some highly resistant rasps of old Aeolus in all his dithers. Holding a bowl of cottage cheese with fruits and seeds piled high and gusting off into the breeze. I was hungry and had just started my meal when all the confusion erupted. The bowl spent the remainder of the afternoon in a sullied state on my passenger side seat. Fortunately, no major contamination occurred and no accidental passengers encountered my slobbery. 

Even more fortunately, the package was outside my garage door. Phew! It hadn't blown away or been shuffled off onto the black market somewhere. At this blessed reunion, the clock tolled "10 'til", so I leapt from the car, grabbed the box, and slammed back into the car with my quarry. Plowing along the parkway back to town, I naturally had to risk life and wheel by ripping open the package to assure myself that the medication itself was the correct one. No school children were harmed in the making off this cardboard-to-car candombe, though some school busses might have been displeased with my driving chops.

But oh phew again a thousand times. It was the correct medication. I made it back to the DRC just a few minutes late... to wait around because it had  been a wild day there as well and everyone was otherwise occupied. 

Ommmmmm. I am devoting the rest of my day to coming down. 

Well other than my morning "whoops!" when I realized that the alarm clock had blipped out in a power flicker and that my attempts to reset it all had left an alarm set for 5:15 p.m. Fortunately I was awake before then anyways, but it took some blind blundering about in the dark to set it for Mr. (W)right before skidding down to the kitchen. 

Reset. Rush to the Vampire's Den for yet another blood draw. Hop right onto my eternal IRB meeting. And OMMMMMMMM. Ummmm, really. I swear. 

And a little eensy Hip Hip Hoooooray!!! It's Friday!

Things are getting better by the second!

Stabby McStabberson's Maybe not-so Massive Misdose Afterall?

Another week, another spate of blood tests and phone calls. I'd more or less resigned myself to a continued "up your dose an eensy bit and let us tap you again in five days" instructions, so I figured my next instructions would be something very dramatic, like "come down here for an emergency splenectomy immediately!" Just to shake things up. 

Good news, bad news. 

Good news: I get to keep my spleen.

The downer: I am not responding to the go-go-gonadotropins yet. I would have preferred just a minor modification of "enough" on there. The sort of absolutism of just not makes me feel a mite dissuaded, considering my body otherwise thinks it's responding with dizzy spells, strange feelings "down there", and a general weakness that I had hoped was a positive sign of something working and not just my body otherwise being a nag about all this lady hormone stuff.

 My RE wrote me an email letting me know it was a frustrating process, but she strongly believed it was just a matter of finding the right dose, so hang in there cute little kitten (ok, she didn't quite go there, but it was implied). On a follow up, we discussed what happens if the unthinkable "never respond" happens (another cycle of the high dose HRT, which has the benefit of not including several days of self-stabbings, favoring sticky patches instead that are slightly cheaper and at least partially covered by insurance).

More to the point, we discussed what she thinks is likely: at least 8 more days of injections. So back to the pharmacy. Alack no non-responder discount, so I'm rapidly cleaning out a year's worth of HSA allowable contributions in the matter of a few months, Gosh darnit, L'oreal tells me I'm worth it!  And hey, we did just set up another transfer that isn't 100% eaten up by the cost of double orders from a fortuitous surplus in our joint account. 

Of course, there's a general patina of frustration immanent in hitting yet another plateau of non-responsiveness so briefly after finally hitting a bit of momentum. The ghost of Christmas "two and a half years of 'gain weight, have some small doses of hormone pills and call me again in four months, it all should work'" is rattling his chains in my addled brain. My silly soma is just so doggedly intransigent. Yeesh what did I do to you body? Maybe I should have rested on my laurels and just tried for a few more white-pants-on-beaches anovulatory cycles, just to feel accomplished. 

The rosier hue to all this: as my dose increases, the relative "big f'ing waste" factor of my initial misdose merriment plummets. From ten days of medication shot to waste down to three days of medication currently. Given my current optimism, I'm getting to an easy one day. Given that I'll likely be on these for at least three weeks, the significance of those days shrinks too! 

I just feel less profligate than if I really were a super-responder who could have gotten away with half the lowest minimum dose for eight days (making my first misdose exceed the entirety of my actual need). This reminds me that I'm still at a relatively low dose so far. And I still have plenty of time to be one of those exceedingly "rare cases" (I'm not sure if this is my RE's attempt at being reassuring or just covering all downer bases) who goes from producing zero eggs to fifteen and suddenly has to move into IVF or emergency egg donation programs not otherwise specified. 

Better news: I have very cozy stripy toe-socks and Mr. (W)right has a pair of cycling shoes that appear to fit! They're not even discount camo shoes. He's very excited. I'm sure you can see why. 

And as I move into week three of self-stabbings, I can say I'm becoming a pretty confident little expert about all this. I mixed another vial last night with an audience. That's how confident I feel. I'm at the point where I'll just clear my food away, spread my crap out, and inject midway through everyone else's dinner. Pretty soon, I'll be doing it at restaurants or on the bus! No stabbed eyes or anything! 

Since whatever flattened me last week has abated, I think it's time to try another tangle with yoga this weekend. This one is Kundalini Yoga. Which sounds like some kind of hearty red smoothie to me. We shall see!

Taste the Yogas of the Rainbow Ko-ko-kachu-ka-Kundalini to the Rescue

I have a new theory that I'd be a lot better at my "gain weight, be less active, and chill the frig out" game plan if there were more weekend days and fewer work days. At least all the crushing "side effects" and exhaustions of the work week seem to evaporate by late Saturday. I've been continuing to channel my inner husband around the house. To a limited degree, at least. Sure I still spend a few hours doing things in the kitchen. Sure I go shopping. But I spend a lot more time forcing myself to not do these things. More relevantly, there's a lot more down time. And in between the down time, the commitments are things like "go on a walk at the Harbor" or "try out this yoga class" and maybe "go out to dinner." 

And instead of burning my stress and churning my work out workout style by walking for hours at a time on a stationary tread-desk, my walks are half hour nuggets of brisk outdoor breathers. Mornings by the lake. Afternoons by the ocean. Plenty of driving time in between. If I could just eat like it's the work week (3k calories a day give or take) and live like it's the weekend, I'd probably reach my aforementioned goal state in no time. Yes, that's got to be a new motto for some self-help mantra somewhere along the way. I see it on t-shirts and tote bags, or maybe just a book blurb. 

At least so long as I keep my kitchen crazies under control. And just so long as I stick to yoga classes that are not trying befuddle me in a panicked irretrievable pretzel. 

After our taste of flying acrobatic Bhakti bonanza, I was a wee bit gun-shy on the yoga. It still felt good afterwards, but the panic and all the flailing definitely harshed my spiritual meditative buzz. Also, fifteen bucks a class is a little hard to swallow. I don't care that I've placed three separate orders for $450 drug vials in the last week, $15 for a yoga class offends me, because I'm special like that. Also organic peppers costing like one dollar more per pepper?  Excuse me, I don't think so! Don't get me started on those berries. I'll take my blackened 37 cent "cut bananas" from the discount shelf, thank you very much. They'll be great to eat after my fourth $150 blood test this week!

Nervous as we were, we did not back away from the yoga challenge. This time out we tried a return attempt at Inspire Studio. On the weekend in which we Bhakti'ed our butts off, we had initially attempted to attend and Inspire offering of Kundalini Yoga. Unfortunately our timing was a mite muddled and we arrived late enough that we cowered at the concept of shuffling in late. So the Sunday 9:30 a.m. emerged as an alternative to our Saturday at 10:30. 

Yesterday, our timing was much improved. I joined Andrew on the pre-run warm up, and finished out an early morning walk, returning with just enough time to pack up some food and a bottle of water that never made it to the car. Andrew returned shortly after and reoriented with shocking celerity to set us back on our way. 

This was a totally, absolutely, 100% different experience. The Anti-Bhakti-Flow. Andrew had commented that at 8 Petals, he swore that everyone had the exact same tattoo somewhere on their bodies, as if they'd been initiated into a secret club. They really did conform to a certain signalling code so well that they appeared to be in full uniform.We were warily welcomed, but so clearly not of their numbers. 

The Inspire crowd was a heterogenous olio of all types, personalities, and athletic enduement. Droves of disciples across a dance floor about two to three times the size of the compact and modern room of 8 Petals. At 8 Petals, we confirmed our online registrations at a reception desk. At Inspire, there was a slim line up towards a check-in book. 

We were almost immediately greeted by Ruby, the instructor (who had spent much of our time there hugging various students, and winking at the invisible pixies and elves that trailed about her in a tittering fairy dust aura). She hastily showed us the water, the bathroom (the most important things) and a place to set up, instructing us to return once we were all settled in to fill out her little form and to handle payment. There was plenty of space, plenty of water, and several kinds of specially mixed teas for after class. 

The class itself was markedly different. So much so that I'd not have recognized it as "yoga" from a first glance. Much more emphatically a spiritual discipline rooted in physical mindfulness and movement. Far less of a fitness class with Eastern window dressings. 

There was little to identify it with the stereotypical yoga. No sun salutations. No asanas. A couple of downward dogs or child poses. It was almost the crossfit of yoga (other than otherwise being antithetical to the crossfit ethos): a selected physical movement synchronized with fast and deliberate breath (maybe shaking the wrists, maybe flapping the knees, maybe twisting, or alternating extending hands) for a period of minutes; this was followed by a deep breath, a straightening, and a relaxation In between, there were chants and even songs.

More like a very physical religious service in terms of how I felt afterwards. Apparently my lymph system has been thoroughly purged and I've repeated that god's in me, and god and I are one (whatever my interpretation of that concept is, as Ruby happily explained in some metaphysical detail). And I've indulged in many positive metaphorical movements for casting off negative energies, past illnesses, and self-criticisms, while pulling in the good. Totally hippy-dippy, for sure, but in a credibly effective and challenging way. And very grounded despite the starry-eyes and world-hugs. The number of decompressing snapping and crumpling noises my back made suggests I needed this kind of movement. 

Andrew has challenges with sitting on the ground. Something about tight hamstrings or discomfort in in his lower back. It made this class (which spends much time seated in lotus/bent knee either doing isolated movements or mediating) possibly more difficult on him than our flailing pretzel Bhakti flow. I'm guessing it won't be our couples yoga thing. But I may try the weekday women's group. It's on Tuesday (our Veteran's Day holiday), and right after my next blood draw, so I'm sure the stress-purger will be appreciated. 

Today may not include any yoga, but I am following up with a massage. Less relaxing Swedish and more full on massage assassin deep tissue. It's time to start pansying around and stage an incursion on the heavily fortified shoulder sediment creeping into my neck! Only Nick dares tread those areas. Others would never survive!

And once again, a bit of a husband channeling followed by a bit of not-walking-and-stressing-all day. Now will I channel my inner work appetite and actually take measures to plunk that scale in an upwards direction? Hmmmm, I do have a shelf or two of leftover Halloween candy that needs to be cleared for all the candy cane and eggnog novelty flavors and chocolate truffles!

I suppose the good news is that, either through sheer power of psychosomatic thought or just a really restful weekend, I am feeling almost none of the previous "side effects" I'd attributed to the injections. My body, finally clear on the fact that we were returning to low estrogen levels, decided to just go ahead and purge itself of quite the agglomeration of water retention. By by needing actual support up by the decolletage (ah well, pert ballances better with my general impertinence). And I'm generally capable of focus and emotional sanguinity. A bummer, granted, that perhaps this is a sign of more stalling (if it weren't for the strictly physiological signs, I'd say this was all in my head, but cup size and similar things can be measured), but being more emotionally equipoised, I am capable of handling "bummers" with grace. Who knows what the future holds? Oh, I do! A massage! Whoooooo whoooo!

Happy Sunday! May it be peaceful and full of frolicking faeries!