Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas 2010!!

I just wanted to wish you all a very Merry Christmas. Now go sip some hot chocolate, open up a present and hug someone that you love.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Nothing Says Merry Christmas Like Chocolate Chip Cookie Ovaries

As promised in yesterday's blog, we're going to give the backstory on my "chocolate chip cookie ovaries". But we'll do you one better and give you a full update on where we currently are in our IVF process.

-We met for the initial consult with the IVF doc, which we already posted about, so I'll jump to the next step.
-We attended a 3 hour class at our IVF doctor's office (which, by the way, is called Arizona Center for Fertility Studies). During this class they gave us a complete overview of the process, medications, costs, etc. It was jammed-packed full of information, but it left me feeling a little overwhelmed, nervous, and as if I was going to forget something.
-We ordered my "stimulating" drug (which will help me to have a ton of eggs), HMG, from England, online (the website was suggested by our doc). It was really easy to do. The doc faxes a script; you order the meds; they ship them within a few weeks; and you pay 1/5 what you'd pay in the US.
-We picked up my "suppression" med, Lupron, from a specialty pharmacy. Lupron will trick my body into thinking it's going through menopause, so it will have a "rest" period before they stimulate my ovaries with the HMG. This "break" and then "flare" will help get the most eggs possible. I will be on Lupron for about a month.
-On "Day 2" of my cycle (Wednesday), we went to the doctor's office for a transvaginal ultrasound, in which they check out how your uterus and ovaries look. This is where the chocolate chip cookies come in. Turns out, on an ultrasound your ovaries look like little chocolate chip cookies when they're full of eggs, since they have a bunch of dark chips (or eggs) that you can see. We got some exciting news that it looks like I have a lot of eggs - she counted 16 in one ovary alone, so she's guessing I have over 30 total. These will be the eggs that will hopefully mature and be used this cycle. We were excited to hear that everything looked good on this exam, as it was the first test actually checking out my reproductive health.
-On "Day 3" of my cycle (yesterday), we went to my new OB-GYN to get acquainted and to have a slew of blood work ordered (they test for everything from HIV to Rubella to hormone levels!). He did a quick physical exam also and all checked out. He said, "they should have you pregnant in no time. You'll be an easy one." I have to tell you, those words made me happier than if he had told me I was the pretty woman he had ever seen!! I was psyched to hear a doctor say what I was hoping. Although, I need to manage my expectations, you never know!
-After that OB-GYN appointment, we headed to a lab for them to draw my blood for all my blood work that was ordered. You know how labs are, we sat there waiting for 45 minutes, and once they called me back, it took all of 2 minutes and I was out of there. We expect to here the results from all the blood work sometime next week.
-Right after the Lab (literally...we were in the car) Ronnie gave me my first Lupron injection. The thought of Ronnie sticking me with a needle worried me, but he was a pro. He said, "take a deep breath, exhale..." and boom, he stuck me and it was over. It is the world's tiniest needle! The injection site itched like a son of a gun for about 7 minutes, was red for about 20 and then everything was back to normal. Pretty cool! I'll be doing Lupron injections once a day (in the morning around 9:30 AM) from yesterday until January 28th.

And that brings us to today! All in all I am very excited that we have officially started the cycle and I'm excited to get the last few diagnostic tests out of the way for me (they have a few more things they have to do to verify the prediction that I don't have any reproductive issues) - more on that as they come in the next few weeks. Please feel free to ask any questions you have...we're open books!


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Thankful Thursday - Chocolate Chip Ovaries

We can't stress enough how important it is in our own lives to slow down when things seem to be getting "fast" and just think about the little things that we're thankful for. Many of you expressed a similar sentiment last week as 11 people joined forces with us and blogged about their own thankfulness. I have a little "Linky Tools" at the end of this post that you can use to join the party and link up your thankfulness post! Feel free to spread this around to anyone you know that may like to participate.

We all have GREAT things going on in our lives and sometimes it's just a matter of sitting down and putting it to paper before we realize how good we really have it.

Mandi's List:

I’m thankful for family and family time. My dad got into town yesterday afternoon. To say I’m a daddy’s girl is a bit of an understatement, so it was fantastic to get to see him! We were able to spend time as a family (me, Ronnie, my parents, my brother and sister-in-law). My mom cooked a wonderful meal and we all sat around enjoying each other….and best of all, ripping on each other. There’s nothing like knowing people so well that you know just how to poke fun at each other!

I’m thankful for fun doctor’s offices. We’ve been into the baby makin’ doc’s office quite a bit these last few weeks, and I tell you what, they sure make it fun. Typically doctor’s appointments and being poked and prodded isn’t fun, but the folks at our office are fun…I actually enjoy being there!

I’m thankful for Costco and Sams club. No where else in the world can you buy food in such large quantities! Something about gallon tubs of BBQ sauce, 5 lb boxes of candy and 100 toilet paper rolls per package is exciting. They seen to have everything there, and man am I so thankful to have access to food. Not only the necessities, but the stuff you don’t need and just want really bad (like a bucket of peppermint bark).

Ronnie's List:

I’m thankful that Mandi’s ovaries look like chocolate chip cookies. We went to the doctor today and had an ultrasound done, and on one ovary alone there were about 16 eggs, which is apparently a good thing (more on that tomorrow).

I’m thankful for our yard. Growing up in Arizona, I was often around gravel, zero-skapes and cactus so I never got to experience the change in seasons. Although it’s certainly a little late, we had fall this year in our back yard, as it was covered with orange leaves.

I’m thankful that Mandi’s dad is in town. We’ve already knocked out project number one: getting the sling box in good working order. I look forward to spending some quality time with him since I don’t see him too often (turns out China is really far away).

Rondi's List:

We are so thankful for Christmas. This time of year has such an incredible feeling! Not only is it a time to spend with friends and family, but it’s a time to celebrate the birth of our Lord and savior! We’re so thankful that God sent his son! T minus 2 days til Christmas – YIPPEE!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Rondi's Recipes: The Hamburger Cake

For our cousin bake-off on Thanksgiving, Mandi and I decided to make a hamburger cake. It turned out well...if by well you mean looked awesome but not tasting great :)

The ingredients.

Any vanilla cake and brownie mix will do.

The set-up.

The cakes.

The destruction.

Fondant burger toppings.

That seriously looks like a piece of meat.

Rockin' and Rollin'.

That's one good looking burger.

Serve with french fries (sugar cookies).

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Why don't you do clinical drug trials?

I know I've talked about it before on RSBR, but I just have to talk about it again: Clinical Drug Trials.

Today was my first visit for the new trial that I'm on which will be studying the effectiveness of inhaled Levaquin. I'm super excited for this one, because last year I did an inhaled Cipro study and Levaquin is the "cousin" of Cipro. Why am I excited? Because, and this is "off the record" and completely my opinion, I felt like a million bucks and my lung function increased (mind you, I very well could have been on placebo...doubt it.) Anyway, I'm hoping to have the same great experience with this inhaled antibiotic and I figure if I don't, somebody else is, so it's a win-win in my mind!

I thought I'd list a few reasons you should be doing clinical drug trials:

If not you, then who? If you're one of those peeps who champions a "cure" and does not actively search out drug trials, then let me be frank, you're talking out both sides of your mouth. We will never have a cure without clinical trials. And more immediate, we'll never have better medicines to help control the symptoms. So no more cure talk if you're not willing to put your money where your mouth is.

Speaking of money, you get paid. It's almost too good to be true. You can get paid to do medicines that can potentially increase your lung function? Yes. At the very worst, you get cash money to puff on some saline or pop a sugar pill. This is easy money if there ever was some.

You learn more about CF. Now maybe I've just been blessed with a great research coordinator or maybe she's just wicked smart, but I've learned so much about how drugs work and the anatomy of CF. And to be honest with you, the more you learn about CF, the more you realize that we have a lot more control over this thing than we give ourselves credit for.

You're taking control of your health. Doing a clinical drug trial is just another way of taking control of your health. It's another way of being active and not settling for "the cure" to come to you (when I speak of "a cure", I'm not speaking of our genes being corrected and our cells working properly, I speaking about us being our own darn cure by what choices we make in our lives). It's up to each and every one of us do to everything possible to put ourselves in the best position to succeed.

I could go on and on about the reasons you should be doing a clinical drug trial, but I'll step off the soapbox and save you from my diatribe. On a serious note though, get involved!! Stop thinking about all of the reasons you won't do one, and just do it all ready. That is, unless you can come up with a reason that doesn't sound like a total lame-o excuse, which I am more than willing to listen to.

Which leads me to my next question, why don't you do clinical drug trials?

Monday, December 20, 2010

My Favorite Things: Christmas Edition

Each year, Oprah has an AWESOME episode in which she lists her favorite things for the year, and people in the audience get all the stuff she talks about. This post won't be that awesome, and I won't be giving everyone the stuff I'm talking about...but I would recommend you incorporate some of this stuff into your week this week as you get ready for Christmas.

I am VERY excited for Christmas. Unfortunately, it doesn't get very chilly in AZ (it's in the 70s during the day), so we have to do things to help make it feel cozy and Christmassy! Some are things I've grown up with my whole life, some are new additions to the Christmas line-up.

Christmas-Scents - I have been doing everything I can to make our house smell like "Christmas". I have a few Cinnamon Spice candles I have been burning, but I have a new concoction that my mom showed me. You put water, cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice, and oranges in a pot on the stove, and let it simmer on the stovetop. This was the toned-down version, that she showed me how to make, with stuff I already had, but the real deal uses apple juice instead of water, and also uses apples, cloves, and pine as all. I'm planning to pick up some of that in the next few days so the house can smell even yummier.

Christmas Movies - If there is a Christmas movie on TV, I HAVE to watch it. There is nothing better than watching a Christmas movie with come hot chocolate and cookies! This year I've watched a lot of no name movies (that I have never seen before) and classics like Home Alone. The movie I haven't watched yet, but I will not allow Christmas to come and go without seeing it is Elf. So that is on my to do list this week!

Hot Chocolate - This is a Christmas must-have. We always had hot chocolate as kids, after playing in the snow. We'd sip some hot chocolate and dip a candy cane in it - we'd even add whipped cream on a really good day! Ronnie's mom has spiced up the tradition as she made us home made chocolate goodness to make our hot chocolate out of. You can find the recipe here. It tastes like heaven in a mug...I can't get enough.

Family Time - This is a bit of a no brainer, but family in town makes it start to feel like the holidays. With my mom in town already, and my dad getting here in Wednesday (I CAN'T WAIT) it really feels like Christmas is close. I love having my folks in town and spending time together as a family. I can't wait for Wednesday when the whole family is finally together, and we're kicking things off with a family dinner.

Cookies - Ahhh Christmas cookies. What is Christmas without cookies? This year I made me favorite Christmas cookies for the first time. These cookies always show up at cookie exchanges and holiday parties, but I've never made them myself. This weekend, with my momma, I made them, and they were just as good as I remember. "What cookies??" you ask. Peanut Blossom cookies. These are the ones we made!

Christmas Music - I love me some Christmas music. I of course like the classics, but I have one all time favorite, and that is Amy Grant's Christmas album. As long as I remember, Amy Grant was the soundtrack to my family's Christmas's and I associate such feelings of warmth and joy with her songs. If you don't own Amy Grant's Christmas album, I recommend you buy it!

Ugly Christmas Sweaters - I'm sure many of you have heard of ugly sweater parties. I was reminded of their goodness this weekend at our neighbor's ugly sweater party. But what I really was reminded of, is the awesomeness of tacky Christmas sweaters. The sweatshirt I bought for the party I'd actually consider wearing again this week!

Well that's it! I hope this week brings a lot of excitement, joy, and Christmas spirit! It is truly the most wonderful time of the year. What are some of your favorite things that you'll be incorporating into your week as you gear up for the big day?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Classic Scare

I forgot at the time that my aunt had just had some complications with her heart...whoops.