Sunday, April 20, 2008


First, the good news. We passed! That is, Cindy passed. The medical test was performed last Monday, and the tubes are all clear, with no blockages. What a relief.

In the hours before the test, we were both oddly nonchalant about the whole thing. We both knew how important this was, and perhaps because of that we felt no need to hype the occasion any further. We submitted to it with the perfunctory acceptance as we would have to a dental exam, frankly.

The test only took a matter of minutes. In fact, I was with Cindy in the post-procedure room for only about 5-10 minutes when the doctor came in with a few x-rays taken during the test, to show us the results. We knew how it went before we left the building, and I guess Cindy probably knew even before the procedure was even done, as they got to watch the fluid flowing in real time on an x-ray monitor. Needless to say, the drive home was a happy one.

The following day, we went back to the center for a consultation, to get some more details on the results of the test, and to figure out what to do going forward. Basically, we just keep trying, and see how things go for a few months afterwards, with the hope that the procedure itself helped clear out any remaining tube obstructions. It's still possible that another test and procedure may be necessary, but by continuing to try the 'old-fashioned' way for now, we make it easier to make a case for having insurance cover any future procedures. For now, we'll see how things go.

Another interesting topic we discussed was the idea that, based on Cindy's diligent reporting of her body temperatures (taken first thing in the morning every morning for the past six months), it seems likely that we actually have successfully conceived on a few occasions in the past year. Obviously, however, implantation has not occurred, and the reason for that is what we are trying to determine.

For my part, I am heartened to think that it is not because of any physical impairment either of mine or Cindy's that we've not been successful yet. For some reason, I find it easier to accept that it is either random chance that has prevented us, or perhaps a condition that effects implantation (like endometriosis) which can be treated if it isn't overly pervasive. Maybe that's because it doesn't speak to a genetic or congenital deficiency on our parts, nor would it be because we didn't 'do things right'. We're close - we sense that now.


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Monday, April 14, 2008

 The Test 

It's been a long road to get to this point. 3 years ago this wasn't even on our radar, although it was in the back of my mind. Now, we've been trying for over almost 2 years. And we kept thinking that we were just a month away, that the previous month we just didn't quite get the timing right. Month after month was the same result, sometimes delayed, often punctual, but always the same - not pregnant. For the better part of the last year we've sought the help of more holistic approaches - herbs, acupuncture, massage. These practices have their own health benefits, and we are grateful to them, but in the end they did not bring us what we are hoping for.

The emotional rollercoaster became too rough to ride. Too much dread and disappointment for what has become the inevitable monthly result. Finally last fall, I convinced Cindy that we need to see a medical professional and try to diagnose what is happening that prevents us from getting pregnant. It was not an easy job - Cindy has long been reticent to go this route, with reasonable justification. Still, I strongly felt it has been necessary, just to get us out of the rut we've been in and help us answer the scariest question one can have on a subject like this. One always need to be careful what questions to ask, because in the end you may find out answers that you don't like to hear.

We're going in for a more involved test today than the first one we did a month ago. This is the type of test Cindy was reluctant to take, but she has come around to accept as necessary. When it was first spelled out to me, I didn't realize the ultimate nature of the test - the determination of flow constriction in the fallopian tubes. What makes it so ultimate and is that Cindy absolutely refuses to go the IVF route, so that if it is found that the tubes are effectively closed off, then it will be that we can never have children. The tremendous cost and physical difficulty required for IVF makes me very sympathetic to Cindy's concerns, and as difficult as it would be to accept, I would still do so. It would be enormously sad, the import of which I have not fully considered at this point, mostly because I have wanted to be optimistic and have shielded myself from thinking about what this would mean.

If there isn't complete closure of the tubes, then hope remains, and we could still go the route of other non-drug or simpler medical procedures that would improve our chances for a more natural conception. I believe this is what we'll actually find with the Test, but I of course cannot be sure right now. Unlike the first test last month, Cindy herself is unsure of the result - this test measures something that not even she can know, which coming from someone who has a remarkable feel for what goes on invisibly deep inside, really means something. We've reached a level where one really can't have much of an intuition for such things. But I have been a 'rock' through this entire effort, offering consolation and hope for as long as we've been trying, assuaging her continuing doubts and fears, as if the act of merely believing that this is all possible can itself be the last hurdle to overcome. And I will continue to be that person, because right now that's all I've let myself be.

At least for one more day.

tags: personal,
pregnancy, couples,

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

 Just taking the quiz in the first place proves something.... 

And while we're on the subject of self-evaluation:

77% Geek

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 My Valuable Physique 

$4225.00The Cadaver Calculator - Find out how much your body is worth

Frankly I thought I'd be worth a little more, but I guess you need to have been exposed to some pretty nasty things to rake in the big bucks.

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Friday, December 29, 2006

 Holiday Travel Frenzy 

Well, that was interesting.

As you have probably heard by now, we had a remarkable blizzard in Colorado on the 20th, just a few days before our scheduled road trip to Kansas for Christmas. After postponing that trip a day so we could dig ourselves out of 16 inches of snow in Fort Collins, we did manage to make the round trip without a hitch. Yet as we prepared for our California trip on the 29th, we saw that *another* heavy snowstorm was on the way for this weekend. Every 6-12 hours or so, the forecast for Friday (our flying day) seemed to get worse and worse. Storm totals began to increase, forecast winds got faster, and the duration of storm kept bleeding further into the weekend. As we drove back from KS yesterday, we began to really worry about how we were going to get out to California (and therefore onto Hawaii early in January).

Our airline (Frontier) put up a notice on their company website yesterday afternoon announcing special suspensions of change fees for customers flying Friday who want to reschedule their flights for Thursday, just to get out of town before the onslaught. Even though we'd driven all day Wednesday and only gotten home around 4pm, we decided to try to move our flight day up from Friday to Thursday. However, the published 800 number for reservations was completely unreachable in the early evening. I even tried dialing the local Denver metro phone number for reservations, but only got busy signals. It wasn't looking good for being able to change our flight in time before the arrival of the storm.

I then decided to try to call a customer service number, with the goal of simply trying to talk a human being so I could figure out how to then reach a reservations agent. While going through that menu, it allowed me to connect to reservations by pressing 2 or something like that, so I decided to give that a shot. To my amazement it actually worked - I got put in the queue for talking to a real reservations agent. 25 minutes later I had a human voice on the other end of the line - huzzah. I have no idea if this is how all the other people in that queue got through, but I'm certain I would have never gotten through (at least not until very late) if I'd kept calling that 800 number. A helpful hint for the next time you need to reach a number that's impossible to connect to - do an end run like this around it.

After some finagling with the agent, she was able to get us two seats on the Thursday morning version of our Friday flight, as long as we were willing to sit in the Exit Row. (Yep, we're able-bodied, and our English is pretty good.) We jumped at it, knowing full well that meant we'd have to start packing right away, and not get any sleep before heading out to the airport in the wee hours of the morning after our 10-hour drive back to Colorado. It was like cramming for a final exam at 8am the next morning - consider it a "travel final". But we did it - we left the house at 2:30am and got to the airport at 4am, at the suggestion of the agent, and made our flight before a slew of Frontier cancellations of flights today, tonight, and tomorrow. And now, the forecast is for this storm to last perhaps all through the weekend! If we'd not jumped at this opportunity, it's quite likely we'd have had to cancel not only our California trip, but our whole Hawaii trip!

So now we're in sunny California, and it's beautiful here. We're a day early, but somehow we'll get by. We'll be able to do Hawaii after all, and Cindy is thrilled. And Colorado is shaping up to get hammered by yet another blizzard, a very rare thing for two major winter storms to hit within a week of each other. I'm sure all that snow will still be there when we get back.

POSTSCRIPT: we later found out that the flight we were originally scheduled to fly on for Friday was *not* cancelled, and in fact was one of the few flights out of Denver for Frontier that stayed on the schedule. It did leave an hour late, but arrived only a half hour behind the original arrival time.

Of course, we still believe we made the right call by leaving early. There was no reason to assume that our flight would have been one of the few to leave, not to mention that getting out to the airport last night would have been very difficult as well. Overnight it appears that Fort Collins received about 8.5 fresh inches of snow, with more on the way as we speak.

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Thursday, November 30, 2006

 Colbert Report - not just for humans anymore 

I thought this was cute.

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

 petty and vindictive 

Not that this is a surprise or anything, but thanks to Huffingtonpost (and apparently a mole deep inside the FoxNews rat's nest), we get a glimpse at the "fair and balanced" thinking that goes on with their editorial:

"Be on the lookout for any statements from Iraqi insurgents, who must be thrilled at the prospect of a Dem-controlled Congress." Right-o, Foxies. A little sore about last week's election results, perhaps?

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 The Broken Record 

Many other bloggers have written extensively about the peculiar habit among war supporters to constantly defer on when things might finally stabilize or improve in Iraq. In fact, since mid-2003 or so, a term has come up in the liberal blogosphere, popularized especially by Atrios, which typifies this form of punting - it is aptly called the Friedman Unit, or F.U., named after its initial and most common practitioner, columnist Thomas Friedman of the New York Times. A Friedman Unit is defined as "six months", which is usually the amount of time that the proponent says it will take before we can either 1) know how a certain strategy in Iraq is really proceeding, or 2) know if the country is really going to spiral out of control, requiring withdrawal or what-have-you. Of course, many other pro-war columnists and pundits and other ne'er-do-wells often use this same unit, in which case they advocate "staying the course" for at least another F.U.

As I mentioned, this kind of deferring has been going on ceaselessly in editorials and conservative blogs for over 3 years now, and we are constantly being told to wait "another six months" or so before making any real changes to our Iraq policy. In that time, the situation has clearly gotten worse and worse and worse, in spite of all the handwringing about "progress". Tens of thousands of civilians are dying every year now in sectarian and terrorist violence, both forms often intermixed to make them inseparable. Whatever window of opportunity there had been to make things better in Iraq with our presence has long since passed, but many in Washington (and even a few generals in Iraq) seem to think we just need to be more patient, even with the recent electoral results that strongly point to a desire to stop this insane policy.

So guess what we hear today at a Congressional hearing with Gen. John Abizaid:
"Our troop posture needs to stay where it is," for the time being, he said.

In one of the day's most contentious clashes, Sen. John McCain (news, bio, voting record), R-Ariz., challenged Abizaid on his analysis of the situation and complained that he was advocating no major changes in U.S. policy. McCain, a possible 2008 presidential candidate, has called for adding thousands more U.S. combat troops in Iraq to help fight the insurgency and halt sectarian violence in Baghdad.

"I'm of course disappointed that basically you're advocating the status quo here today, which I think the American people in the last election said that is not an acceptable condition," McCain said.

In response, Abizaid said he was not arguing for the status quo. He said the key change that is needed now is to place more U.S. troops inside the Iraqi army and police units to train and advise these forces in planning and executing missions.

Pressed by Sen. Jack Reed (news, bio, voting record), D-R.I., on how much time the U.S. and Iraqi government have to reduce the violence in Baghdad before it spirals beyond control, Abizaid said, "Four to six months."

It just never changes, does it? "Stay the course" lives on.

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Sunday, November 12, 2006

 I've changed my name to Nielsen 

At least for a week, anyway. Yep, that's right, starting last Thursday and going 'til Wednesday, our house has become a Nielsen family. We got the call about this a few weeks ago during the time of all those aforementioned robocalls, and I'm glad I didn't reflexively hang up as I'd been tempted to do. After being asked a few questions about our household TVs, they arranged to sign us up and send us a diary to keep for this week.

So far after about 4 days, we actually don't have a lot in the diary. The simple fact is that we don't watch very much TV in this house. (But that's OK - they want to know if we're not watching as well.) We do watch a lot of Netflix, and we do record the Daily Show/Colbert Report combo Monday through Thursday. And of course we watch Lost, although last Wednesday was the last show for three months. Now, I do occasionally plop down on the couch and surf madly through channels, hoping to glom onto something interesting. But the Nielsen rules are to write down what you watch if you watch for more than 5 minutes - in my case, I rarely stay on a show for more than 10 seconds, unless it seems promising. (As you might guess, I only engage in this behavior when Cindy isn't home - she can't tolerate this kind of remote-control abuse. I suppose no one really can, unless you're the one with the remote.)

So if we don't watch a whole lot (and I certainly knew that going in), then you might wonder why I agreed to participate in this. Well, I want my opinions on things to matter. I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore! I'm the kind of person who likes answering polls on the phone, even if the timing of the call isn't convenient. In fact, I wish I got polled more often, but then I suppose that's because I don't fit too neatly in demographic samples. I've always been a "strange duck" - at least that's what 56% of people who know me think.

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