Let’s Catch Up: 2019 Review, part one

April 2019 was the last time I was consistent on my blog, and a lot has happened since then. I got burned out and overwhelmed, so I needed to take a break from blogging. My life has continued to burn me out and overwhelm me, but from a blogging perspective I’m feeling more like myself again!

To help catch everyone up on life’s happenings, I wanted to do a summary of 2019. No matter how “quick” I try to make these, they always end up long. This post will be January through June, and part two will be up next week. These summaries will include links to my Instagram posts (where I’ve remained active) for further details, when they’re available. A few items, especially earlier in 2019, will also include links to blog posts. All links in this article are to my own material.

January

February

  • February started with me releasing a three part series to explain the details of our infertility journey to that point. Part one, two, and three. Instagram posts that go with part two and three have a few more details.
  • Dan caught a candid picture of me refilling the pill cases on a Sunday, and I thought it was an extremely accurate depiction of chronic illness and infertility life.
  • We did our first fully medicated cycle with our fertility clinic: Clomid and progesterone. They cancelled the IUI because my follicles grew too quickly, which can indicate a cyst instead of a proper follicle, so they didn’t want to waste our money.
  • I finally got an MRI of my hip after more than two years of constant and debilitating pain.
  • February 23rd we got over 8 inches (20cm) of snow!
  • I attempted to do hand occupational therapy to improve/prevent my nerve from subluxing (a result of my 2018 arm surgery), the therapist and I were not a good match and I was too overwhelmed with everything else to pursue it further. It still subluxes sometimes, but far less often and less painfully.
  • I’m particularly proud of this blog post I did about “How to Be There for People Dealing with Negative Emotions.”

March

  • We had our first IUI at our fertility clinic. Obviously, it was not successful.
  • I had a 24 hour BP monitor again, in an attempt to determine if we could fine tune my treatment any. The second attempt also had a recording error, except this time I had a horrible allergic reaction to the cuff. No further attempts were made.
  • March 13 we got another 8 inches of snow! But, once again, it was preceded by a massive temperature shift. I do not like 65 degree F days (18 deg C) immediately followed by snow storms.
  • I turned 29!
  • We met with a surgeon to discuss the results of the MRI I’d had on my hip, as my rheumatologist was not qualified to help. It turned out I needed surgery, and it took me a bit to come to terms with that so I didn’t explain until April.
MRI of my right hip, before surgery.

April

  • On Instagram, I explained the issue with my hip that we had discussed with the surgeon in March.
  • I did a four post series on my blog for Autism Acceptance Month.
  • My baseline ultrasound for my fertility cycle showed a cyst, and my blood work confirmed it was producing estrogen. That cancelled my cycle. During the baseline, they saw what they thought may be polyps in my uterus, so scheduled a Saline Infusion Sonography (SIS) exam.
  • The SIS was definitely physically uncomfortable, as they filled my uterus with sterile saline to get a better look at it. There were no polyps.
  • Fertility treatments had caused my fibromyalgia pain to go completely out of control. I decided (with my doctor) to start low-dose naltrexone to help manage it. On the third, I took my first dose of the extremely low starting dose (you taper up in 1.5mg increments every two weeks until you get to 4.5mg). Shockingly, it worked immediately!
  • April 11th, I got a cortisone injection in my right hip joint. The surgeon had said it didn’t matter if surgery was before or after pregnancy, and since a cortisone injection meant three more months of waiting before surgery, we decided to give ourselves three more months of trying to conceive.
  • I got a coupon for acupuncture, so I went to my first acupuncture appointment. I liked it more than I expected to, and have been going weekly ever since!
  • The end of April was National Infertility Awareness Week. I did three posts on Instagram for it (and many story posts, which are saved in a highlight called “NIAW”): one, two, three.

May

  • The first of May was the day I took my first full dose of the low-dose naltrexone! I was lucky, and have no side effects from it at all. Some people can’t get to the full 4.5mg dose due to side effects, but they will often still see positive results on the lower doses.
  • We started the month with our second medicated IUI. Another unsuccessful attempt.
  • I landed in the ER with a severe UTI. While there, I mentioned about a dozen times that everything they were giving me needed to be safe in pregnancy because we had just had an IUI and I didn’t want to screw it up. I feel silly about that now.
  • I switched therapists (talk therapy) because I realized I wasn’t getting what I needed from my old therapist. The new therapist has been a perfect match and I wish I’d found her sooner!
  • Dan and I went to a gluten-free and food allergen festival, called Nourished Festival. The signs they had on the booths clearly showing allergens in the products were awesome, and it was nice to not be stressed about what I was eating for once!
  • Our last snow storm of the season, remarkably, happened on May 22nd. We ended up with four inches (10cm) of snow, and had to put frost cloth on my plants because so many had come up already!
  • We discovered that the supplements and acupuncture had woken up my left ovary, which had been non-functional prior to May!

June

  • Once again, we started June with an IUI, our third. This one was our first letrozole (Femara) IUI, the other medicated cycles had been with Clomid. Unlike Clomid, the letrozole had matured three follicles! All of my Clomid cycles were “ehhhh, that one is probably mature.” Obviously, my ovaries prefer letrozole. This IUI was more emotionally painful when it failed, especially since test day was the day after our sixth wedding anniversary.
  • After a month on the full dose of low-dose naltrexone (LDN), I was happy to report that it is indeed my “miracle pill.” Ever since my fibromyalgia diagnosis, in early 2013, I had been hoping for a “miracle pill” to eliminate my daily symptoms. Never has my fibro been this controlled. I still get flare ups of my symptoms, but the daily pain is gone. The maternal-fetal medicine doctor (perinatologist) has cleared me to use LDN all through a pregnancy, but I have to give birth in a hospital with a NICU because there is a small risk for fetal withdrawl.
  • Between the LDN and the cortisone injection, I was in far less pain than I’d been in years! Near the end of June, I could tell the injection was starting to wear off, but I still had significant relief for most of the month.
  • I started a wheel pottery class at my local rec center! I needed something to do that wasn’t tracking infertility and health stuff.
  • We celebrated our SIX YEAR wedding anniversary!
  • My parents came to visit and spent a week with us, right after our anniversary. We had fun taking them on our favorite route through the mountains. The fall color along the route is amazing, and it’s equally stunning in the summer!
  • I painted a polyresin statue of a fairy that I bought off of Amazon. I’m extremely proud, as she was a lot of work! She lives with my house plants in the winter, and out on my porch in the summer. The statue was a DIY kit that came with paint, but I decided to use my own acrylic paints to make her more vibrant and have more options.

I sure do have a lot happen in a year, especially between infertility and my chronic health issues. I’m tired just re-reading all of that! Next week, I’ll summarize the second half of the year.

What were some of your highlights of 2019?

2 thoughts on “Let’s Catch Up: 2019 Review, part one

  1. I’m sorry it was such a rough health year!
    My highlights of 2019 included moving out of a crazy & unhealthy living situation, trying therapy for the first time in years, going swing dancing like I’ve wanted to for several years now, and starting writing again more frequently.

    Liked by 1 person

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