A new immunologist on the team.

25 02 2013

Today I had my appointment with a local immunologist, Dr. Gutierrez.  She’s just an ordinary immunologist, not an RI, and she was my pick from the lengthy insurance list because she’s also affiliated with National Jewish Health, one of the labs which runs my immune panels.

I liked her a lot.  She was open minded, motivated, and curious.  I felt comfortable with her and after some long discussions about my test results from Dr B, I told her I was interested in seeing if I had any diagnosable condition which would justify a prescription for IVIg.  She seemed interested and positive, so I hope this is a step in the right direction.

Thursday I have an appointment with a hematologist.  And next month, with an endocrinologist… I’m not ignoring these hypothyroid symptoms any more.

Closing thought:

“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”

Arthur Schopenhauer
German philosopher (1788 – 1860) 


Humira worked! Now, what’s next?!

22 02 2013

This morning bright and early I got an email from Dr Braverman, saying:

“have your results in TNF 48 INF gamma normal 20 , all else normal , I think you are perfectly set for our bhcg and neupogen protocol which should also lower the TNF I think INF gamma is the more potent of the 2 and its normal now. As you read we have already helped block the action of the TNF so again this is ok to still be elevated. Your WBC was 3.0 so again neupogen should help this. “


So…. his nurse Sandra will be in touch with me to work up a calendar of meds so I know how much I need and when I need it by… then I will coordinate with the hubby to get plane tickets that work around our respective work schedules.  Not sure he will come with me to NY yet or not, I will be staying with his darling cousins again so I’m perfectly okay to do this alone, but I know we’d both prefer if he were there.  And he wants to eat more of cousin Joey’s gourmet homemade pizza, too.

I’m scared.  I was actually happier when I was just “resting” with all the embryos on ice because I wasn’t risking anything and it was all possibility and potential.  Now, even though I’m deliriously happy that the humira worked and I’m moving forwards, I’m also BIG SCAREDY CAT at the thought of putting embryos in and not… getting… pregnant.  Or miscarrying.  I mean, I read ALL THE TIME about ladies who think they have the answer, and it doesn’t work, and then they find out there was another problem.  And rinse, repeat!  I only have four blasts on ice, and we won’t be doing any more embryo-making, and we have ruled out all other forms of parenthood (egg donor, embryo donor, adoption, etc) for various reasons.  So… I have 2 chances here (hubby insists on saving money and doing two FETs.  Sigh.)


Thanks for listening 🙂

Pernil pork roast

21 02 2013

Pernil is roasted pork shoulder, seasoned to the max with garlic, cumin, oregano, vinegar, and lime. It is served with rice and beans or sweet plantains. Cold Pernil is sliced thin, paired with Swiss cheese, pickles and ham to make the famous Cuban sandwich. 

Pernil-Style Pork Tenderloin
8 large cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
6 small shallots, coarsely chopped
4 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
4 Tbs. distilled white vinegar
1 tsp. chili powder
1 packet sazon goya (found in most supermarkets in the ethnic aisle)
1/2 teaspoon adobo seasoning (found in most supermarkets in the ethnic aisle)
3/4 tsp. ground cumin
3/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
1-2 tsp salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper
5 -8 lbs pork shoulder
4 limes cut into wedges

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  In a bowl mix garlic, shallots, salt, pepper, cumin and oregano.

With a sharp knife make deep cuts into the pork only on the meat side, and stuff the garlic mixture into the slits.  The more cuts the better the flavor.

Sprinkle the other seasoning (chili powder, sazon goya, adobo) all over the outside.  Rub the seasonings in, making sure the entire surface is covered.  Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar and the juice of 2 limes.

Put the pork into the 350 oven, skin side down on a rack in a nonstick roasting pan, uncovered, for 1 hour, then turn the heat down to 225.  Roast one more hour skin-side down, then turn skin-side up for the remaining time.  Using a meat thermometer, make sure it reaches 155 degrees.  Usually I roast this cut for 4-6 hours depending on the weight and size (thinner roasts cook a little faster, thicker ones are slower.)

Remove from the oven and remove to cutting board, then tent with foil and allow the meat to rest for 20-30 minutes.  During this time, the juices will “settle” into the meat, and the internal temperature will rise to 160 due to residual cooking heat.  Serve with rice and beans, the pan juices, and squeezing the remaining two limes over the roast.  Fried plantains are also excellent with this dish.

Photo courtesy of FineCooking.com and recipe loosely based on one found here on Food.com.

Here’s what’s up with me…

20 02 2013

Sorry I’ve been absent so long… stupid work computer was all kinds of fubar, and every time I tried to post, it got hung up in the “publishing” process.  Gah!

1, we did our part on all the right days, but AF arrived a prompt, standard 10 days later.  Oh well, at least I’m back on track with my cycles.  I wasn’t surprised or upset… pretty much par for the course (I’d almost be mad if I got pregnant the “usual” way at this point.)

2, I had my blood drawn on Feb 14 for the immune testing.  The next day, Dr B emailed to tell me my CBC (complete blood count) came back with very low WBC (white blood cell count) which he said was common with Humira treatment.  But I’m getting another CBC drawn tomorrow at his request.  I have been plagued with a very low level of phlegm/congestion ever since new year’s so hopefully it means my immune system is laying down quietly for once.

3, I found a source for neupogen, and based on my research and conversations with Dr B about reprogramming the antigen presenting cells, I plan on trying to do IVIg AND Neupogen AND hcG boosters in my upcoming FET.  Which, thankfully, is still not scheduled.  I should have my immune test results back around March 1 and we’ll know a bit more regarding scheduling then.

4, I’ve lost 4-5 lbs.  This is great 🙂  I’m signed up for the Healthy Wage bet too.  I paid $100, and if I can lose 10% of my bodyweight within 6 months, I get $200 back.  It’s funded by grants and charity money trying to reduce the obesity epidemic.  Started at 151.6 lbs and have to get to 136.6 by June sometime.  Should be totally do-able in shorter than that– I’m 146.8 right now.  So I’m fessing up to you and looking for accountability 🙂  If you’re interested, go to http://www.healthywage.com as they have other “bets” too (losing as a team, losing a certain # of pounds, etc.)

5, I’m training every day or almost every day in Brazilian jiu jitsu again, and it feels absolutely AMAZING.  Mentally, physically, spiritually a blessing 🙂

6, on Monday I had my followup MRI on my liver, which confirmed my tumors are benign, and are both focal nodular hyperplasia.  This is great news– not just that they’re not cancer, which we knew– but also because they’re not hepatic adenomas, which rarely can turn into cancer AND are prone to growing and bleeding when you’re on hormones like those we use in IVF/FET cycles and those that come about naturally when you’re pregnant. So yay 🙂  Totally worth the pain of my contrast dye IV (I have small veins, and the contrast is injected by a mechanical IV push, so I think it just taxed the flow capacity of my poor hand.)  After the MRI I felt shaky and tired, which might have been the other meds they put you on to slow down intestinal movement, so I went home and slept on the couch for 8 hours, then got up at 7pm and did jiu jitsu for 2 hours and felt awesome.

Hope you’re well… and now my computer is fixed, so hopefully I’ll be more regular here!

Not much going on here…

2 02 2013

I did my second Humira shot on the 24th and so my bloodwork will be drawn on St. Valentine’s day, whoohoo… very romantic 🙂  Actually my husband and I don’t do much for that holiday.  Not that I would mind at all, but he’s not into that stuff, and I made the mistake early in our relationship of saying I wasn’t much into it either.  (I’ve tried, since, to make such a huge deal of positive reinforcement when he does bring me flowers… hopefully it works a little bit… though in nearly 5 years of marriage and 8 years together, I’ve gotten flowers 3 times.  Once, my wedding bouquet, once a miniature rose bush in a pot, and once, flowers for Valentines.  It’s a slow process.)

Not sure it’s related, but I do have a cold right now.  I am fervently hoping it’s a sign the Humira is doing its thing.  I’m a little mad though, because till this cold I was doing really well at going to the gym and training jiu jitsu– and eating very healthily– and had lost about 4-5 lbs.  Then being sick, working from home, drinking tea all day, and eating soup… you think that sounds relatively okay, but I was eating tortilla soup with tortilla chips and shredded cheese… not so good.  And not working out.  So today I’m feeling better, though still sniffy, and I’m going to class.  I’ll wash my hands and tell my partners so they can switch people if they want.  I just have to get out of the house and get a good sweat on.

Random note:  I hadn’t had AF since Dec 7th.  So I asked Dr Braverman and he ran my bloodwork… which revealed I hadn’t ovulated yet, but was getting close.  So I started doing those opk’s (ha, good thing I saved some) and we actually focused on timing things.  I thought on-demand BD was a thing of the past and I’m sure my DH did too.   Now, I’ve heard enough women in the internet world who got bfp’s from random business between IVF cycles…. but aside from the sheer ridiculousness factor, I don’t think it will be happening for us.  But… in the name of “what the hell let’s try,”  we tried.

We leave next week for Vegas to visit his parents and aunt/uncle.  It’s his uncle’s 80th birthday, so it will be like a family reunion.  Thus, another “georgette brings hpt’s” trip to the in-laws.  *sigh*  Talk about ridiculousness….

Hope you’re doing well….


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Okay, so, it’s not like I think everything I say and do is so damn awesome that everyone should know about it. In a blog. It’s just that as if being blind, and a vegetarian, with anxiety/OCD, and having the ability to accidentally break almost anything, and not liking chocolate, would be enough. But no. I also have to have IVF. Could I be any more minority? So it’s like god is playing one big joke on me… and I am not going down without a fight. In fact, God, I’m going to tell your mum on you. Well I would if my knowledge of religion was good enough for me to figure out who your mum is. Eve? Is it Eve? Well, Eve, this is what your son has been up to, and God, I just got you grounded pretty much forever. In your face, God. Ha.

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