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My Story

Hi there, welcome to my blog. Yes I am a drama queen and yes I have been deemed “infertile” by a few of the medical experts in the great State of Colorado but that hasn’t made me give up my quest to have children quite yet. My husband and I have been on the emotional roller coaster of infertility since March of 2009 when I stopped taking birth control after being on it for ten straight years. I have been keeping a journal since the start of this process and thought I would share it with all of the other incredible women out there who may be going through the same thing or similar thing that I am. At age 28, I have been diagnosed with Premature Ovarian Failure (POF). With no history of fertility problems on either side of my family and normal periods before going on the pill, I was left to accept that I have this condition and that there is no medical explanation for it. Since receiving this diagnosis from a fertility specialist in May 2009, I decided I simply wasn’t going to accept that I wasn’t going to have children with my own eggs. I jumped into the world of Eastern Medicine, worked with an Endocrinologist and even went on a fertility diet trying to get my ovaries to start functioning normally. The conclusion I have come to is this…..having Celiac Disease (Gluten/Flour intolerance) and continuing to eat flour throughout most of my childhood and part of adulthood caused my body to produce anti-bodies that have now started attacking the organs/glands in my body. After a visit to an endocrinologist in December 2009, it was determined that I have ovarian antibodies which are essentially antibodies produced by my body that only attack the endocrine system. No doctor has actually confirmed my self diagnosis that the Gluten Intolerance caused this but Celiac Disease is an auto immune disorder and any auto immune disorder can cause your body to attack itself. I am currently waiting to see a Reproductive Endocrinologist to see what the next steps for me will be. I have read that doctors can try and stimulate the Pituitary Gland to get your Endocrine System running again or that you can be given steroids to help restore ovary function. I am hoping to receive one of these treatments in the near future but only time will tell. In the past 10 months, I have watched many of my close friends become pregnant while I remain a sad statistic. This blog contains my thoughts as I struggle through the process of figuring out what in the world is going on with my body and how I continue to try to stay upbeat and positive about my fertility and enjoy my life. I hope that my blog can help others would love to hear from other women going through the same thing, inspiring stories or anyone who just needs encouragement. I know and understand how difficult every day can be once you have received the POF or infertile diagnosis and want you all to know that I am here for you. Please note that some of you may feel I am sharing to much information (TMI) and for that I am sorry. If you want to read my blog…you get all the details. You never know what will be helpful to someone else right? God bless everyone and I wish you luck on your fertility adventures:0) Remember mind over matter!

My intent is to raise awareness of the issues. Please do not rely on this or any other article when making decisions that will affect you and your health. These are things I have decided to try after much research.
I am sorry I have to even ask, but this research stuff is starting to get expensive. I am just asking for $1.00 donation for posts you feel have helped you. I will use all donations to help fund my research and doctors appointments and of course report back to you. Baby dust to all of you and dont worry we will all find a way to have children.

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Save the carrot shaving from your juicer and make carrot cake or carrot muffins yummy! You can also save them to put in a salad.



Infertile – a horrible word used to make women who are already feeling bad about themselves want to jump into a pool of chocolate fudge and eat their sorrows away only to realize that not only can they not get pregnant but now they don’t fit in their clothes. A word so easily tossed around by doctors that they don’t even realize they are saying it and a word that you never under any circumstances should google unless you want your brain to explode.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Namaste...

The past few days I have really been feeling down. I just can’t believe it has been since last November since I had a period and that until recently I hadn’t taken gluten out of my diet which means….I have started over again. Kill me now! All of the research I have read says you need to be off gluten for “an extended period of time” before your fertility may¬ be restored. I am going to assume that “an extended period of time” is probably a year or more. This is seriously exhausting. The juicing in the morning, making my “organic and cleaning” lunches everyday, making sure I take my supplements through the day . either preparing my dinner separately from everyone elses or playing twenty questions with a waiter at a restaurant to make sure my meal will be gluten free, making sure I workout for 30 minutes 5-6 times a week and going to my cleansing appointments! It’s all to much and I am still not ovulating, still have headaches and am still child less. I know what you are thinking “patience my dear, patience” but I have been going through this for over a year and a half now. GURRR! Here is what I am thinking, I am thinking of cutting down my cleansing appointments down to twice a month (so I can relax and save some money), finish the bottles of supplements I am currently taking and then cut them out (except for the multi-vitamin, probiotics,royal jelly, maca). I feel that my body is currently overloaded with supplements. That means I will be cutting out lysine, PABA (which I am not currently taking upon request of the kiniesologist), Heavy Metal Detox. I want my body to get healthy on it’s own. I will keep the royal jelly and maca because they are superfoods not just for fertility but for your body in general. I will keep the multi-vitamin because everyone should take a multi-vitamin and I will keep the probiotics in because it is really beneficial to your body to take them. That is it. I will get the liquid form of royal jelly when my pills run out and that way I can dump royal jelly and maca into my juice in the morning which leaves only the probiotics and multi-vitamin for me to remember to take through out each day. One problem solved! I am also going to start going to yoga classes a few times a week. I have noticed that they are only offered from 7-8 PM during the week but I will have to suck it up and get home late those nights. I really think the relaxation will be worth it and very good for me. I believe stress is a huge part of my problem. I have always been the type of person to keep things in and try and make sure everyone else is happy. Well I need to be able to punch things (which I already do in my boxing classes) and to take time to breathe (which I will be doing in the yoga classes). I have an extremely hard time meditating (due to my self diagnosed ADD) so going to a class that forces me to focus will be a very good thing for me to do. According to Belly Bliss where I will be attending fertility yoga “Dr.Alice Domar, researcher at Harvard Medical School, did a study with women who had been trying to get pregnant for a year or more. She put them on a program that included Yoga and exercise, 50% of those on the program became pregnant within a year as opposed to 20% in the control group who were not on the program that included Yoga and fitness.


*Yoga poses that can help with fertility are those that open the hips and increase blood flow to the pelvis, this also can help rebalance the hormones. Certain Yoga poses can also help to stimulate the ovaries. Yoga is a great way to help women reduce their stress levels and relax which can be key when trying to conceive. *20% of those facing fertility issues are considered “idiopathic” meaning doctors are unable to diagnose the reason a woman is unable to get pregnant. Many feel Yoga has helped them relax, believe in their bodies and de-stress which has helped them overcome their fertility complications and become pregnant.” Proof that it will be good for me. The class was great. The instructor is now pregnant. I remember last fall when I attended a few classes she mentioned her and her husband were thinking of trying soon. She helped me work through my stress about infertility and explained that yoga can help me balance my hormones. There were a few parts in the class that requires everyone in attendance to throw there egos out the door and not care what other people think. I of course have no problem throwing my ego out the door, considering I already tell the world about all my digestive and woman issues. The first things we did was chanting which was so amazingly relaxing. Next we were asked to get into table top position and move around freely to try and start to open up the hips. I had my eyes closed but I am sure I looked like a wounded deer trying to move around. I was able to relax my muscles and move quickly into the next pose. I was amazed at how relaxed I felt throughout the class. At the end of the class the instructor had us lay in “corpse pose” which is flat on your back with your arms and legs relaxed. As soon as I laid down, my lower back started throbbing. Then, as if she was reading my mind, the instructor said “feel for any areas in the body that are calling out to you, what do they need? Focus on sending each breathe to that area.” I took a few deep yoga breathes and concentrated on sending them to my lower back. Guess what, my back stopped hurting!!! That is enough proof for me that yoga works! I think I am going to try and practice my chanting and my corpse pose breathing a few times during the week (just don’t want to scare the hubby, any sentence with the words chanting and corpse could probably scare anyone).

I have officially cut out half my supplements with the exception of maca, daily vitamin, probiotics and royal jelly. I am also still drinking the Seven superfood juice and the superfood greens mix in my smoothie. I am no longer taking lysine, PABA or milk thistle. I just want to be as natural as possible and taking what feels like hundreds of supplements just doesn’t feel right. Everything I have left/added in my daily routine wont hurt me it can only make me stronger….just like the saying “if it doesn’t kill me, it will make me stronger”. These are things that just might give my body that extra push it has been wanting. At the gluten free food fair I recently went to, they were passing out a food pyramid that gluten intolerant people should follow. My question is how much of a particular item is considered “one serving?” I mean the grains section suggests at least six servings a day. That sounds like a lot of food but I think I am probably picturing much larger servings then what is recommended. According to http://www.goaskalice.columbia.edu/0715.html below is an explanation of service size:

Even though there is no single chart that details how much of a particular food a serving constitutes, you can click on each food group's heading (see below) for more information on common portion sizes. Also, here's a basic breakdown of the new guidelines: Breads, Cereals, Rice, and Pasta

One serving equals 1 slice of bread; 1/2 cup of cooked rice, pasta, or cereal; or 1 ounce of cold cereal. All of these serving sizes are known as "ounce equivalents" As a general rule of thumb,

1 serving size/ounce equivalent of bread = plastic CD case
2 servings/ounce equivalents of cooked brown rice = a tennis ball

Vegetables
Unlike the Breads, Cereals, Rice, and Pasta group described above, cup size matters when it comes to vegetables. That is, vegetables servings are measured in cups rather than ounces. One serving equals 1/2 cup of raw or cooked vegetables or vegetable juice or 1 cup of leafy raw vegetables.
1 serving size = 1/2 cup of broccoli = a light bulb
1 serving size = 1/2 cup of potato = a computer mouse

Fruits
Like the vegetable group, cup size matters here, too. One serving equals 1 cup of fruit or 100 percent fruit juice, or 1/2 cup of dried fruit. Because fruits come in so many different shapes and sizes, it's hard to say how many pieces of fruit count as a serving.
Generally, 1 serving size of whole fruit = 1 tennis ball
1 serving size of cut fruit = 7 cotton balls

Milk, Yogurt, and Cheese
One serving equals 1 cup of milk or yogurt, 1.5 to 2 ounces of cheese, and even 1.5 cups of ice cream. Choose low-fat options from this group whenever possible.
1 serving size of cheese = 2 9-volt batteries

Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Eggs, and Nuts
Like the Bread, Cereals, Rice, and Pasta group, serving sizes are also measured in ounce equivalents. One serving or ounce equivalent equals 1 ounce of cooked lean meat, poultry, or fish; 1/4 cup dried beans, after cooking; 1 egg; 1 tablespoon of peanut butter; or 1/2 ounce of nuts or seeds.
3 servings/ounce equivalents of fish = 1 checkbook
3 servings/ounce equivalents of meat or poultry = 1 deck of cards
2 servings/ounce equivalents of peanut butter = 1 roll of 35 mm film or 1 ping-pong ball

Oils
MyPyramid.gov measures serving sizes in teaspoons.
1 serving/teaspoon of margarine and spreads = 1 dice
2 serving/teaspoons of salad dressing = 1 thumb tip
Because these oils are found in many of the foods we eat, there may not be a need to add this group to your diet. For example, half of a medium avocado or 2 tablespoons of peanut butter provide 3 and 4 teaspoons or servings of oil respectively, while also counting towards your vegetable or nuts allowance.

I also found information on a law passed in 2006 which made it easier for consumers to check the labels on the foods they were consuming. Since January 2006, all food labels are required to clearly state if the food contains any of the top eight food allergens, including wheat. It is important to remember that wheat free doesn't mean gluten free. Lawmakers are also working to make labels easier for people with celiac disease by requiring companies to identify other components, such as hidden ingredients and barley and rye. The article suggests a list of foods to avoid. They are below:

beer and other grain-based alcohol products
bouillons and broths
breading (such as the coating on breaded chicken cutlets, etc.)
brown rice syrup (frequently made from barley)
cake flour (made from wheat)
caramel color (occasionally made from barley)
communion wafers
couscous
creamed or breaded vegetables
dextrin (a rare ingredient, which may be made from wheat; maltodextrin is OK for people with celiac disease)
dry roasted nuts (processing agents may contain wheat flour or flavorings)
fried chicken
french fries (if they've been coated in flour)
gravies and sauces (including some tomato and meat sauces)
imitation bacon, crab, or other seafood
luncheon and processed meats
malt or malt flavoring (usually made from barley)
marinades
matzo
modified food starch (most food manufacturers will now specify the source of this ingredient; e.g., modified cornstarch, which is OK, or modified wheat starch, which is not)
nondairy creamer
pastas
salad dressings
seasonings (pure spices are OK, but check seasoning mixes for gluten-containing additives)
some herbal teas and flavored coffees
soup mixes and canned soups
soy sauce and soy sauce solids (they may be fermented with wheat; don't eat them unless you verify they're OK with a dietitian)
spreads, soft cheeses, and dips
stuffings
thickeners
udon noodles
wheat-free products (wheat free does not mean gluten free; many wheat-free cookies and breads contain barley or rye flour, which contains gluten and other gluten-containing ingredients)
yogurts with wheat starch


While we are on the gluten free subject, here is a list of information on items I have recently done some research on:
• Mccormicks seasoning – their site states that all of the their ingredients are listed on the back and if it isn’t listed on the label, it isn’t in the product. All of their one ingredient seasonings, like cinnamon, contain only that one product.
• Burts Bees – all products gluten free (I love the green tea shampoo and conditioner for colored hair..smells so good, they also have a great body lotion with royal jelley and tinted chapstick)
• Sky vodka – I know I said I wasn’t going to drink….but with football seasoning now here and the holidays in the near distant future, I should start drinking a little so that I don’t over do it at tailgates and work parties…don’t you think?
• Bare Minerals – foundations are gluten free. Some of the lipsticks are not. The Boxom lipgloss is gluten free.
• Aveda - http://www.glutenfreehub.com/aveda-is-celiac-friendly/ - they check their products periodically to determine “allergen content.” Aveda Color Conserve shampoo & conditioner.Lip Saver lip balm SPF 15. Light Elements Smoothing Fluid, Phomollient & Light Elements Defining Whip. Hand Relief for hand lotion. Have other shampoos, conditioners and make up that are also gluten free.

I also recently found some research on treatments currently being researched to treat celiac disease. http://www.glutenfreehub.com/what-everyone-ought-to-know-about-the-causes-and-treatment-of-celiac-disease/
• drugs to break down gluten peptides completely, which researchers expect would prevent the immune response
• drugs to inhibit TTG, which would intervene in the chain of events that cause the immune response
• interventions to dampen the genetically controlled factors that lead to the oversensitive immune system (though gene therapy has not been explored)
• drugs to block intestinal permeability (the results of pilot studies appear promising)
• gluten-free diet for the first year of life may prolong or prevent the development of celiac disease among high-risk infants
• probiotic treatment


I received an email back from the doctor I had emailed off of glutenfreefrenzy.com regarding celiac disease and infertility. Below is her response:

“Sounds like you are headed on the right track. Our bodies are meant to reproduce and the body is a very powerful thing. Now that you have the Celiac Diagnosis you can get yourself on track to a better you! My Neice who also has Celiac was told it would take a year of strict gluten avoidance for her body to be healthy enough to have a baby. With this program she now has a healthy toddler and is pregnant once again. You have the right idea, just being gluten free is a great start but by truly eating a natural diet full of heathy foods is key. My theory is that if you can't hunt it, pick it, or gather it you should not eat it. Obviously not everyone is able to go out and hunt and gather their food, so what this means is to avoid all processed foods and foods not found in nature. A healthy diet is full of nutrient rich foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, unpasturized dairy, and organic meats. Your body also needs healthy fats like coconut, olive oil and butter. Pure filtered water is also so very important the body is made up of almost 80% water. In my practice I can also recommend herbs that are wonderful to help with infertility if you are willing to try them, I know with the things listed above they work with your body to heal and balance out your hormones, making it easier to concieve. Trust yourself and believe in the power of your body I have seen the body heal itself from terrible diseases when given what it needs. Please feel free to contact me with any further questions!
Best wishes to your health and happiness!!!”

That’s it for me right now. I am still on my drive down the slow paced information highway. I have been capturing notes from every book I have read so far and will post my reading list as soon as I have some time. I am going to try hot yoga this weekend. Groupon.com has a coupon for $40 you get unlimited yoga classes for a month. I am going to try one class for free and see what I think. I have read that hot yoga is very good for you, and as you know, I am willing to try anything once.

1 comment:

  1. My heart aches for you as I read this. I was in your shoes so many times for so many years. Wheat grass shots, yoga, herbs, diets, charts, specialists and the list goes on and on. If you would like to e-mail me I do have some information I would be happy to share with you that you might be interested in.
    kam528@sbcglobal.net

    ReplyDelete

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Reading Materials/Other Items That Have Helped Me

  • Inconceivable
  • Making Babies by Sami S. David, MD & Jill Blakeway, LAc
  • pre-seed Fertility-friendly Intimate Moisturizer
  • restoring fertility - yoga for optimal fertility dvd - you can feel it working!
  • Taking Charge for Your Fertility by Toni Weschler, MPH
  • The Infertility Cure by Randin Lewis, Ph. D.