Living in Oxfordshire, we’re lucky enough to have the John Radcliffe teaching hospital on our doorstep. The John Radcliffe has an excellent worldwide reputation in practically all areas of medicine, and today I visited the Oxford Fertility Unit (OFU) with my husband.
If you didn’t already know, we’ve not had much luck conceiving (I’m the oldest of 9 children and I love kids. Everyone who knows me, knows that babies, toddlers, children and even teenagers make me feel all mushy and mumsy). Over the last three years I’ve had cancer, vaginismus, VVS and then been diagnosed with PCOS. Oh, and don’t forget to add this to my fibromyalgia and underactive thyroid. It’s not been good. It’s been draining and emotionally hard. To top it off my husband also has some problems and so after a long wait, we were finally referred to the OFU.
Today, I’ve been told that we qualify for ONE cycle of IVF on the NHS. Honestly, I can’t express how excited, nervous, shocked, anxious and worried I am. I’m so grateful to get this opportunity but I know that if it fails, then we have to find the money to privately fund subsequent cycles and at £3300 a cycle – it’s not cheap.
The OFU has the highest success rates in the country: approximately 50%. A flip of a coin…let that sink in. Our chance of a baby could fall on heads or tails. That’s quite scary.
The doctor was lovely. She’s pre-signed all our forms and has told us to submit them when we’re ready. There is no waiting list apparently, and the entire course takes between 6-8weeks. I will have epipen style injections to take every day, eggs removed, fertilised and then incubated before being popped in to see if my body will accept them.
With this in mind, I want to give this one shot the best possible chance of succeeding. I don’t want to regret rushing in if the treatment fails and be thinking, ‘if only I was thinner. If only I wasn’t so tired. If only I wasn’t so unhealthy’, and so I’ve decided that before I go any further, I need to lose weight. My BMI currently has me at 31. This makes me obese and I don’t want to be obese any more. I would like to lose between 20-28lb before I start treatment and fall within the normal/overweight category.
I discussed this with the doctor today, and she agrees that with my underactive thyroid losing weight traditionally is exceptionally hard. THIS IS NOT AN EXCUSE. IT IS A MEDICAL FACT. My metabolism runs a lot slower than the average person and so I eat less than an average person to compensate. She has suggested that we increase my thyroxine for starters and for me to go on a diet that works for me. She is as keen as we are to make sure that our ONE funded chance is a success.
The diet that works for me is Actidiet.
If you don’t know much about it, it’s very similar to Lighter Life/ Cambridge Diet, but instead of just shakes and liquid food, you eat real meals. It’s low carb and high protein and works on the basis of a ketogenic diet. Last summer I lost 20lb and I’ve only put 5lb of that back on**. I had to stop due to the cost which is around £40 a week (£160 a month). Now, at the moment I spend £100 a month to feed BOTH of us and I don’t think I can afford Actidiet on top of normal food.
However I am going to try and order enough for 2/3 weeks and help kickstart this weight loss, and that’s where the Paypal donate button comes in on the right hand side of my website. If you could spare £1,£2, whatever to help me get a foot on the weight loss ladder, I would be eternally grateful. I’m going to be sharing every painful step with you all, and documenting my weight loss and measurements as I go. You’ve all been so supportive so far that I feel I owe it to you all!
I know some of you will think it’s easy: eat less, exercise more, but when you have my health problems and metabolic issues, I promise you that it’s not that simple. There’s a lot more at work and to dismiss my protestations would just be ignorant. I WANT to be healthier and I WANT to weigh less. Please consider helping. If I wasn’t desperate, I wouldn’t ask.
Without Actidiet, it takes me a month to lose 1-2lb. That means that (being optimistic) it would take 10 months before I can lose this weight on my own, possibly longer. Our referral is valid for 6 months and if we don’t start the treatment in 6 months then we have to be re-referred and start the process all over again. Being 31, I don’t want to leave it too long.
Current Stats: 178lb
Goal Weight: 150lb
(I will add a widget to the page when I get a chance).
I’ll also be using MyFitnessPal (user ID: SammyHKSmith) to document exercise/calorie intake when not actidieting etc
Before writing this blog post, a thought popped into my head: if I can’t afford Actidiet, can I afford a baby? The answer of course will be yes. This year we’re financially catching up following the mess of last year (new boiler, new car, business acquisitions and then my husband moving jobs and being unemployed briefly). While no-one can predict the future, I’m pretty confident we’ll be more settled in a few months.
I’m not a proud person. I’m very much ‘if you don’t ask, you don’t get’. So, in advance, I do thank you all and I PROMISE to keep you updated!
**The weight loss last year was to help with conception. I have been trying hard, and will continue to push forward.
Today would have been my nanny’s birthday. Love you, Nanny. It’s nearly been 5 years since you left, but I miss you just as much now as I did then. You’re the most important lady in my life, xxx
So far, 2014 hasn’t been that great. The awful slime that was 2013 has had its tendrils clamped firmly in the ground of this year, and I’m doing my best to cut them away before they take root.
4 years ago my sister moved in (under less than pleasant circumstances) and last week, my other sister joined us. It seems that when we (female siblings) reach a certain age and a certain understanding…we find ourselves both suffocated and irritated with our mother. It’s a sad state of affairs and one that I can’t see ever changing – and to be honest, it’s too complicated to post, but there are people out there who understand and know the story. It’s not fair of me to lay all the blame at my mother’s doorstep though – my father could have and still should be doing more to support her in bringing up my siblings. Instead, he’s quick to bury his head and acquiesce when lies and garbage are spouted as gospel. In a way, this sort of behaviour is worse as it enables people to develop a self of unwarranted worth and ego.
Don’t get me wrong, I am by no means perfect, but I will never ever turn my back on a sibling when they ask for help. If I get burned or if I get used, so be it. I won’t lie to curry favour or make my life easier.
And so I’ve found myself on edge again. I’m antsy, irritable and I’m poised ready for attack. I don’t know why exactly, but I’m not quite myself. I can’t concentrate on my studying and I find it impossible to write or work on Kristell Ink. I can only take solace in re-reading a series** of books that I started in 2005 and lost interest in 2010… I think it’s my way of detaching from my emotions at the moment and I know I’ll have to face up to them soon, but I don’t want to. I quite like living in this protective bubble where no-one can get to me and where I don’t have to face reality.
But this blog post isn’t about me. It’s about someone with a beautiful heart, and that someone is TWN (I’m using her initials because I don’t know how she’ll feel about being identified). I doubt she’ll even read this blog post, but I want the world to know how lovely she is.
When my sister came to live with me, TWN asked her name and when I went back into work there was an 18th birthday present sitting on my desk for her. This was a lovely, lovely present that left me a little tearful with gratitude. You see, my sister won’t get much for her birthday and she’s moved an hour away from her friends to be here with me. We don’t have much to give, and 18th birthdays are supposed to be special, aren’t they? I know some will say that it’s not the material presents that count, but when you’re young…gifts matter, be they token or extravagant. For someone, a stranger for all intents and purposes, to buy her such a gift shows the kindness of their heart. TWN does this often – advent calendars for the office, christmas gifts, birthday presents, newborn baby gifts, all sorts, but it’s not just the material – she gives time, advice, support and care. She does it because she genuinely loves giving and helping. There’s no fuss made and instead she just smiles and says ‘I like making people happy’.
And she does. She doesn’t quite know how touched I am and how thrilled I know my sister will be with the gift.
Thank you, TWN. Thank you for kicking me in the face (metaphorically) and reminding me during all this family crap, there are decent and lovely people out there who do things for others with no ulterior motive. Please don’t ever change, you have no idea how much your actions help others – small or big.
** The Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R Ward
…”Our dead are never dead, until we have forgotten them…” George Eliot
I didn’t know whether I was going to write a blog post about this, but today I decided that I would because, well, sometimes it’s easier to talk about things on these blogs than it is in person.
Yesterday, I found out that a writer friend passed away at the weekend. Her name was Lindsey J Parsons, and she was vibrant, loving, funny and strong.
I didn’t know Lindsey that well, and I won’t pretend that I did. We met on a website called Authonomy in 2011 when I joined the band of misfits known as ‘The Alliance of Worldbuilders’ (fantasy lovers).
Linds was someone who had a penchant for dragons, mythological creatures, fantasy and grimoire, and a subtle wit that made you giggle and smile. She was excellent at critiquing and offered sound and solid writing advice. I remember her excitement at sharing with us the mock-up designs for her debut book cover, and the long thread chats about cake, Midnight, and the jokes involving the VC and Dark Lord. Sometimes she was quiet, but you knew she was there reading them and taking everything in. She was solid like that…dependable, you know?
When her book was released, I bought a copy immediately. Not just out of loyalty to the Alliance, but because it was good. She could write and write well. I remember that her author photo on Amazon made me smile, her beautiful eyes full of laughter and her mad hair poofed up for the camera – a sultry, sexy, black and white minx!
Her writing skill was ‘another string in her bow’, funny, because she was also an accomplished archer. I admired her for this. I love shooting and yet she had the strength to handle bows I can barely pull back. And win competitions. Jealous? You bet.
The last one is the most important. Lindsey was loved. The grief of losing her in the Alliance is so palpable that it hurts to read the comments. Her untimely passing has shocked us to the core. It reminds us that life is precious, life is fragile, and life should never be taken for granted. It is a gift that can be cruelly snatched away at any time, and when it is, it leaves a wound so raw that it feels like nothing can heal it.
Except…we do heal. We do move on. We remember the good times, we remember the love, and we remember the person. They wouldn’t want us to grieve, they would want us to honour them by living each day to the full. To stop the mundane and embrace our dreams. For the Alliance, we dream of fantasy, magic, dragons, worlds and characters. So I don’t plan to mourn. I plan to write, and ride a dragon.
But most importantly, I plan to remember that my writing, while important and wonderful, is nothing compared to my friends and family. They’re what matters.
Quintus Ennius, a Roman poet, was once thought to have said the following:
…”Let no one weep for me, or celebrate my funeral with mourning; for I still live, as I pass to and fro through the mouths of men….”
Let’s never forget those that pass, but let us not wilt in the shadows, and instead bloom in the light of their memory.