It’s still January, so I feel it’s okay to wish everybody a happy 2014. I hope the year is getting off to a great start, bumps or no bumps.
Scant progress on the fertility front over the last couple of months. I had another test of my cytokine ratio (ratio of CD4:CD8 cells) yesterday to see if the three Omega 3 capsules I’ve been taking daily for the last two months have reduced my levels of inflammatory substances. My CKR reading in November was 123 and they don’t like it to be above 30. I don’t know about the inflammatory cytokines but my hair is as greasy as hell. And large doses of platinum-level Omega 3 play havoc with your digestion. That’s a lot of oil to be ingesting. I’m waiting for the amazing brain benefits but they are yet to come. Maybe offset by Metformin fatigue (see rant below). It’ll be two weeks before Doctor O calls me with the CKR results, so there’s little I can do in the meantime.
I also started the Metformin, which I’m still a bit dubious about in the absence of a test that shows I need it, other than my “PCO traits” of a high ovarian reserve and high ovarian response. These traits are problematic apparently because they might imply I have a degree of insulin resistance and high insulin levels are not great for implantation. I’d be a bit more comfortable with this if they’d actually measured my insulin but I’m coming around (again, see below). Metformin, used to treat diabetes, is well known for doing nasty things to your digestion but, as the Omega 3 was already taking care of that, this wasn’t a huge problem. Dr O had told me to build up gradually from one 500 mg tablet a day, to two the following week and three the third week, finally landing at two 850 mg tablets a day. I have had low-level sickness, particularly in the second week, but what knocked me out most was absolute dog tiredness. I clipped the side of my car on the pillar driving into my house in the second week, for no apparent reason. The only other time I’ve done that was after an all-night charity walk on no sleep. My parking skills are not dazzling but I was driving forward at the time with plenty of room either side, so I can only attribute it to a Metformin stupor.
The third thing that might have impeded implantation in September was my high immune response. My natural killer cells measured at 23% of the total (13-15% is normal) and CD56, some type of NKC that affects implantation, was at 17% (usually up to 12% is fine). Once I start the next frozen cycle, they’ll be tackling that particular bummer with intralipids, administered by drip three times, a low-dose steroid and Clexane blood thinner, and aspirin if I get pregnant.
Three things I have noticed while on the Omega 3 and Metformin. My skin is very clear, which is nice because I have mild rosacea. This means my skin flushes really easily and stays flushed; I have some broken veins on my cheeks and nose; and occasionally I get bumps on my cheeks. The improvement could be down to the Omega 3, as I think rosacea can be an inflammatory condition. However, I did a quick Google and saw there might also be a link between insulin resistance and rosacea (which apparently someone has called “diabetes of the skin”). I noticed on a Metformin forum that some people experience mad flushing of their skin when they start taking it; anyone with rosacea will tell you mad flushing is par for the course whenever you drink alcohol, eat spicy food, move from hot to cold etc. So it does look as if all this stuff is connected.
Another thing I’ve noticed is that carbs are less appealing to me now. I love my mashed potato, so this is really out of character and a bit tragic. People complain of bad stomach problems if they eat loads of carbs, fried food or sugar while taking Metformin, so again not surprising. This could be helping my skin too, as could the fact that I’ve stopped drinking alcohol because it gives me an instant headache on the Metformin. Oh, and I got a Clarisonic for Christmas. So, though it’s hard to pin down among all those changes what might be helping my skin and as much as I complain about the random nature of Dr O’s diagnosis that I might be insulin resistant, I will admit there seems to be something in it.
And I had mild menstrual cramps all last week, when my smartphone app tells me I was ovulating. I’ve never been the sort of girl who could feel she was ovulating but this first month on Metformin seems to have changed all that.
Hopefully, all of the above will make my womb a more hospitable environment for some of the four little embryos waiting patiently in the lab to be transferred. It does strike me now and then how odd it is that these embryos are from eggs harvested way back in July. One way we TTCers can turn back time, I guess.