PCOS - check. Infertility - check. IVF - check. 43 years young - check. Sick of babydust - fricking double check. Join a Scottish infertile as she slowly swirls down the plughole. Now with added donor egg flava.

Monday, November 06, 2006

In Every Dream Home, A Heartache

You know there is definitely something to this global warming malarkey when we are still having to mow the lawns and my weigela shrubs are still in flower in NOVEMBER, for the 2nd time since summer!!!! In SCOTLAND.

It makes me run around the house turning off all lights and unplugging electrical gadgets in a frenzy. If we all do it then maybe we are not all doomed.

I know I have been suffering from bloggers block. Lots of bloggers have been doing the post every day in November and I am going the opposite way...NoBloNo hehe.

Nothing much going on with me, other than feeling like crap and contemplating the real taking of the Proz*c. I think its time may have come.

There has been lots of discussion about the way forward and a return to Cape Town. However, another monkey wrench has been thrown in the works by my finding out my latest TSH bloodwork had come back at 4.68. No-one contacted me to tell me this as it is just below the normal UK medical upper range of 5.0. However, as any good infertile can recite by rote, that level is way too high for optimal TTC. No wonder those 3 embryos were doomed.

By my research findings, I have diagnosed myself as being hypothyroid. I am certainly exhibiting all the symptoms. Hair loss, exhaustion, dry itchy skin, weight gain, feeling cold, numbness in hands and lets not forget the trifecta of infertility, depression and irregular periods.

This has thrown me for a complete loop and is leading me down the path of considering throwing in the towel with DE treatment. The more I read about anti-thyroid antibodies and their role in the body's immune response makes me think I should just quit and stop throwing good money after bad.

The trouble with the UK is that the only people on the cutting edge of immune treatments are a long, long way away. It seems like another insurmountable obstacle to me. I am too weary for this any more.

After procrastinating for weeks about this, I have a GP appointment tomorrow to discuss it but I know the response will be a referral to my endocrinologist, months in the future. Hence my feeling that enough is enough. How many red flags do I need to convince me that a pregnancy is never going to happen? The PCOS, the type 2 diabetes, premature ovarian failure and now thyroid problems?

The message from my beleaguered body is becoming deafening. I know I am probably over-reacting but I feel as if I have hit the wall.


At 10:02 PM, Blogger Jess said...

I'm sorry. :(

I feel so often lately, too, that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. But how to end it, how indeed? It's so HARD, isn't it?

Why on earth can't it be easy? I was babysitting today and watching Maury (trash, I know) and it was ho after ho not knowing who her babydaddy was....why can they all get pregnant from one night stands???

At 10:08 PM, Anonymous JMW said...

Hi Pamplemousse

I too suffer from hypothyroid. Whatever you do about TTC, I hope you will get yourself some synthetic thyroid meds - it made a world of difference for me and I had all the symptoms you list, plus kept slurring my words and people thought I was drunk all the time. (If only.)

I have had 2 m/cs and looks like I'm on my way to a third, so I may not be the best example... but... for this last cycle my RE put me on heparin (blood thinner) and medrol (steroid) to address my antithyroid antibody issue. He felt it helped me to get pregnant (though that will be cold comfort if I'm not STAYING that way!). Anyway I totally understand what you mean about the body's signals, only you can decide when enough is enough, but getting thyroid levels under control can sure change a person's outlook. It is hard to move forward when you feel like crap all the time.

You seem like a really interesting and kind person, I hope you wind up mothering a child by one route or another.


At 10:42 PM, Blogger DD said...

If I could get them on a plane or in the mail, I know someone who makes some mighty mean M80s. You can use them to throw at the wall in front of you and show it who's boss.

Stupid FAA regulations.

At 11:17 PM, Blogger Lut C. said...

After all you've tried and endured, do you think you'd feel like you quit too soon (if that's what you were to decide)?
From the outside, it looks like you've done just about all you can.

I hope the visit to the GP brings you something.

At 11:31 PM, Blogger linda said...

Geez...I've got hyperthyroidism and my hair is falling out, too. What is it with our damned thyroids that does this?

I didn't realize that you had type two diabetes. Did your RE put you on metformin when you were cycling?

At 12:51 AM, Anonymous T said...

Well shit. Fucking wall.

At 1:40 AM, Blogger mermaidgrrrl said...

I just hope that whatever you decide makes you feel at peace sweetheart. Lots of hugs from me xxx ooo

At 1:59 AM, Anonymous Flicka said...

I am so sorry to hear that you have hit the wall. I wish there was some magic thing that would make it recede in the distance or better yet, go away completely. Stupid wall.

I hope the GP surprises you with something better than just a referral (free samples of synthroid?) I hope things get better all around.


At 3:06 AM, Blogger Kris said...

And it's a brick wall, too, isn't it? Figures.

At 3:38 AM, Blogger Avonlea said...

If it's not one thing, it's another. I'm sorry you feel down and defeated - that's your thyroid speaking.

I don't know how the measurements transfer, but here in the US the lab normal is way higher than optimal or what is normal for most people - I try to get between 1-2 in my TSH - I've read that if you don't get to that level you can't get or stay pregnant - I couldn't get it to that level when I was TTC.

Before or in addition to trying anti-D's - you might want to try taking 6000mg of Omega-3, there have been quite a few studies to show that it works as well - Sam-E also works, it's an amino acid - try some B vitamins too.

Sorry about the hair loss, been there too - I took lots of extra Zinc and some amino acids and it came back and has been ok for almost 20 years now but I had a lot of bald spots and a lot of thinning - R0gaine for women is suppose to work too - can you get that? If not I'd be happy to send it to you.

I've never liked red on a flag - red handbag, red shoes, red sofa - are so much more fashionable.

Take care of yourself sweetie.

At 5:10 AM, Blogger Krista said...

So sorry Pamplemousse. I really hope there are answers and that you can get your mojo back. Most of all I really wish you success.

At 7:01 AM, Blogger Donna said...

If I only had a crystal ball, I could see when it made sense for all my friends to stop trying, or to keep going, success is right around the corner. You've got a lot on your plate right now, I hope you won't find me insensitive to your fertility issues when I say I believe it's more important right to take care of you, the larger being.

At 9:18 AM, Anonymous swisschard said...

I have really felt for you since your Capetown disappointment, the sort of feeling-for-someone that is tinged with self-feeling, since I am in a mighty similar situation, a few months behind you. I admired your willingness to go so far, because I wasn't myself -- I thought that I would fall apart if I went to SA and spent so much and was disappointed again. (I think I can manage Ukraine or Czech Republic, though even that will take quite a lot of courage.) But I think you are a stronger person than I am, and that gives me faith that you'll eventually be clearer and well, though I know it's pretty sad going for now.

But I just wanted to say that I don't believe in "bodily fate." If your body is trying to tell you something, it's something to do with your body. I mean your body may be making pronouncements on its own condition -- and those you should listen to -- but it isn't telling you anything about your parenting ability or rights. Or if it is, it's speaking out of line, because it doesn't know what you know -- what you may be forgetting in your sadness, or think you were wrong about, but you weren't -- and what we know. That you should be a mum, in one way or another, and that you would be good at that.

As too many of your readers know, being good at being pregnant (getting there, staying there, exiting gracefully) and being good at being a parent are two different things. For some of us, they will never go together. But when you have been "given" (burdened with?) an uncooperative body (such as yours or mine), you need to tend it and treat it as best you can, and ignore it when it starts giving you life lessons.

Please let us know how you are even if you fear your post is merely another dour moan. We are thinking of you.

At 10:18 AM, Blogger Thalia said...

You gotta love that swisschard woman, she hits the nail on the head every time. Listen to her, P. Even if you decide you've had enough of trying to conceive, you want your body to be maximally healthy, and that means dealing with your thyroid issue if it's makign you feel crappy, and it sounds like it is.
I hope your GP is helpful.

Believe it or not, I've been suffering from blogger block, too. Every time I start a post I type "i have nothing to say" but after a paragraph of moaning the stuff I want to say seems to come out anyway, then at the end I go back and delete teh first para. It's working so far, let's see if I can keep it up.

At 3:00 PM, Blogger moo said...

Hi Ms. P

I am so sorry to see the wall. I have been there as well. I don't want to restate what others before me have stated so beautifully...but I do think before you decide anything about next steps or no steps if that be...getting the thyroid under wraps will help clear the way for it. Feeling like crap on top of the disappointments can only weigh on you more. Thinking of you.

At 3:08 PM, Blogger Jade said...

I too am considering DE and have been following your journey closely. Only you can know when you have taken it as far as you are willing to go.

I too have the thyroid issue - it is not always autoimmune - and they have a test to determine if it is - mine is not autoimmune.

You can have a baby - if not by DE - then by other means. The road to parenthood can be quite unfair and painful.

What you have had to go through is horrible and you have earned the right to be angry and depressed.

Just remember, you deserve to be a mom - regardless of what your body may be telling you.

At 3:45 PM, Blogger zhl said...

Oh, P, this just sucks but I do know that the hypothyroidism is easily addressed. My husband has it and has been much better on the synthroid. So I'm glad you're looking into it; just sorry that you have to go to another doc.

And maybe, it is time for the Proz*c. ADs really helped me, and it's not like you stay on them indefinitely. Once you're over the hump, you go off.

Good luck.

At 5:45 PM, Blogger Heather said...

Regardless of what it is, I hope they can make you feel better. It is so hard feeling like crap all the time.

Thinking of you...

At 6:51 PM, Anonymous B. Mare said...

Echoing what others have said-hypothyroid is easily treatable. As for the whole immune issue/antibodies thing- well, if you're screwed then I am equally doomed since that is my problem is well. But until there is a conclusive study to show that immune issues are really all that big a deal, I am willing to go along with the opposing notion that they're not.

At 7:16 PM, Blogger Beagle said...

Not sure what I can add here that would be even remotely helpful.

Just wanted to let you know I'm thinking of you.

Been pondering the how much is enough question too. The trouble is the answer . . . what is the answer??

At 4:23 AM, Anonymous Alex said...

I'm so sorry.

Hypothyroidism is easy to treat, but -- unless your TSH is severely elevated (which yours is not) -- only if you can find a doctor up-to-date on the new reference ranges, and my impression is this is particularly difficult in the U.K.

That said, getting hypothyroidism addressed is certainly worth the trouble.

FWIW I never had TSH that tested over 3.0, but did have anti-thyroid antibodies and hypothyroid symptoms, and only got PG once I got these addressed and TSH down to 1.0. I did IVF (due to MF) and in my fourth (first successful) cycle -- with my thyroid doctor's blessing -- upped my Synthroid dosage by 50%+ (from 112 to 175 mcg) while taking the stims; my TSH stayed steady. Turns out that estrogen binds to thyroid hormones, stressing the thyroid while taking stims. REs seem blissfully ignorant of this, while thyroid docs know the connection but not what stims do to estrogen levels. I had to explain this to my (good) thyroid doc, and didn't even bother with my RE. Anyway, my point is, assuming you took estrogen or similar for your DE cycle, it could have had a similar effect - stressing an otherwise marginal (but perhaps marginally OK) thyroid. Not helpful to learn that now, obviously, and for that I'm sorry, but maybe helpful if you decide to try again? I wish you best of luck and peace in finding the right answer to that question.

Finally, this site has what may be some useful information about thyroid stuff in the UK:, while this one provides a list of UK thyroid doctors with patient comments:

At 11:50 AM, Anonymous Sassy said...

I'm so sorry your body is letting you down. I hope you can find a plan to help get you feeling better even if the DE stuff needs to be left alone for awhile. I wish I had something helpful to say but I don't. Take care.

At 2:44 AM, Blogger art-sweet said...

Dear Madame P's Body:

Cut the girl a break already, wouldja?

I wish I could make it better, hon.

xo Art-Sweet

At 6:12 AM, Blogger Millie said...

Hmmm, Alex's theory about the estrogen stressing the thyroid sounds like a very good one. If this is the Alex I know from another board, she is a thyroid expert.

I've always thought that my own hypothyroid was somewhat responsible for me DE failures. I think it's also related to my high FSH--soooo many of us with high FSH have thyroid problems.

That wall is a really shitty one. But I think the fix for the high TSH will have you feeling better regardless of what you decide to do next.

But if you think you're going back to Cape Town without me by your side, you've got another think coming.

At 10:43 AM, Anonymous Carlynn said...

I wish I could make it better too. Just to say I am thinking of you and reading regularly. I hope there is some good news about this TSH story, what does your RE say? Is he positive?

At 10:51 AM, Anonymous Kath said...

Dear Pamplemousse, I'm sorry I'm only catching this now -- I do hope your appointment with your GP helped to allay your worries a bit. (I did say "a bit".) It's so sad, and so understandable, that you feel betrayed by your body, but I agree with Swisschard. Your body is not giving you any meta-message.

Anyway, what Alex said made a lot of sense -- the thyroid is affected by estrogen, so it makes sense to monitor the thyroid during hormone stimulation.

I am hypothyroid (have been for years and years) and am negative for anti-thyroid antibodies. As far as I have been told, most people who are hypothyroid are, so there is no reason to assume that your TSH level indicates thyroid automimmune problems. A treatment with synthetic thyroid hormones usually takes care of it. I take a combination of iodine and synthroid, but if you test positive for thyroid antibodies, it is best to go with synthroid alone -- iodine tends to stimulate the immune response (and selenium has been found to lower it).

It's crap that you have to wait so long for an endocrinologist appointment. I'm surprised that your GP can't just do the thyroid antibody test and the full thyroid panel (TSH, T3, T4 and FT3 and FT4) and then give you your appropriate thyroid medication...

At 5:39 AM, Anonymous Truly Tested said...

Ah, the tricky thyroid. I've had this too -- peroxidase antibodies -- and went to see an endocrinologist to get it under control. I've been lucky to not have hair loss or weight problems (gaining that is), but my once-strong nails fray at the slightest brush with anything, my skin gets dry, and I am exhausted ALL of the time. I'm taking synthroid which means I alternate doses every other day.

I so hear you about questioning, when is enough enough?

And I so agree that our bodies betraying us does not mean that we are not fit to be parents. Just a cruel twist of fate. If I read one more article about Britney popping out her babies, I am going to hit the roof.

It really is amazing how many people undergoing IF seem to have thyroid issues. I believe it's related and that they just don't know enough yet about how so.

I hope you can hang in there and get an appointment and take steps toward feeling less like s--- which certainly never helped anyone, especially given the emotional heartache.

Thinking of you.

At 4:00 AM, Anonymous Alex said...

Actually they do know that thyroid problems and infertility/pregnancy problems are related. The link with hypothyroidism and infertility (including failed implantation), miscarriage, and various other problems is pretty widely known, and treatable. The correlation between anti-thyroid antibodies and ditto is also well known; what is less clear is whether it's treatable. My personal opinion, based on the studies I've read and my own experience, is that (a) the threshold on TSH is set too high (some women who are hypothyroid are not being diagnosed as such); (b) the medical profession is only just now starting to realize how early pregnancy can stress an already faltering thyroid (this is clearly documented -- i.e. that the medical profession is starting to realize it. There are a host of new studies about precisely this issue); and (c) that some women (especially, maybe, those of us with thyroid antibodies) are more sensitive to thyroid failure -- experience symptoms of hypothyroidism, including infertility -- earlier/more easily than others.

I suspect that many more of us would benefit from Synthroid (or similar) than are prescribed it. This seems odd to me, given the low cost and low risk of Synthroid as compared to so much of what we go through in the name of getting pregnant.

(and yes, I am the high FSH Alex)

At 10:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another woman with high levels of anti-thyroid antibodies here (in New Zealand). Exceedingly high compared with yours. I'm being treated by one of the leading naturopaths who deals with in/fertility and miscarriage. I've got pregnant easily, but lost both babies at 12 weeks.
My antibodies cause my thyroid to swing between hypo and hyper.
I'm currently TTC and have just started blogging about it. I'll let you know if the treatment I've had has worked in a few months I guess.

There are lots of studies out there showing that addition of supplements such as selenium can really help with the antibodies. Also a gluten free diet is supposed to be a big help.

Don't give up on account of your thyroid antibodies just yet as there may be things you can do!

All the best.

PS - my 'prove I'm not a robot' phrase seems appropriate - it's 'ArsesRE', and I definitely reckon some reproductive endocrinologists certainly are!

At 10:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Additionally, my naturopath sent me this last week, as she has me on levothyroxine alongside the naturopathic treatment plan. This is from a recent fertility conference here in NZ:


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