Friday, March 20, 2015

Questions, we get questions

As is typical with a blog of this renown, I get questions from my faithful nineteens of readers, wanting to know everything about the inner workings of my life so that they too can emulate my greatness. While I certainly can’t share every secret that makes me Who I Am, on occasion I do graciously acquiesce to answering a few of the more pressing queries or comments. To wit:

I say, meet me in Las Vegas next month, we dine, dance, drink and make a baby the normal method not the "abby something, abby normal I think" way.”
This is actually an excellent idea, most excellent, Random Internet Stranger. If we took just a quarter of the about $60K I’ve spent thus far on unicube production, we could have us a grand ol’ time in Vegas. Cirque du Soleil shows and Vegas-priced Starbucks and quarter slots and basically All The Things. Hell, we could go every month around ovulation time and stay at the freaking Bellagio for that kind of cash.

So if this shit doesn't work, I'm in. Please, RIS, send me an application post-haste detailing your sperm count/motility as well as a genetic test that shows that you too are not a carrier of GRACILE syndrome, aka the rare disease of my heretofore unknown Finnish ancestors. We’ll talk.
“Miss Tasha, are you still using the Cheez-It and Slim Jim training diet along with the intensive method of only training on a bike on the road for only the two weeks leading up to the ride?”
Another excellent question. I was thinking about my training regimen the other day as I was riding my bike – actually, I was driving, but I was thinking about cycling so it’s essentially the same thing. I was trying to pinpoint the optimal 2-week period in which I should start ramping up for all the crazy-ass bike rides I plan to do this summer. Should it be before RAGBRAI, thus going into the rides before that on really fresh (aka untrained) legs? There’s clearly something to be said for going into organized events without having put your body through all the stresses of cycling for hours.
As I always say, any fool can get ready for something by embarking on a strict training protocol months ahead of time. It takes true greatness to just blindly go into those same events with only a 2-week ramping-up period beforehand. I think it’s part of my (ahem) Wharton training, where I do the back-of-the-envelope calculations and cost-benefit analyses and throw in some TQM to get at the greatest efficiencies for my training plan. After all, why spend days and weeks frittering away your life training when you can just pack it all into 18-hour cycling stints for a couple of weeks?
As for diet, I still recall with some fondness the time I attempted to score a Slim Jim sponsorship by reaching out to the one SJ marketing person I could find on LinkedIn.
He denied my request, blocked me, hid his LinkedIn profile, and moved to another country so fast that my head is still spinning. So that was a bit of a bust.
To show my extreme dedication to my attempts at unicube production, I did in fact completely overhaul my diet. Cheez-It consumption was brought WAY down, to almost ridiculous levels; at one point I was down to around half a box per day, just in the morning. Torture to be sure, and I wouldn’t recommend anyone else try this, but that’s the kind of single-mindedness eye-on-the-prize attitude I’m known for.
Of course, since my last cycle was a bust, all of that happy horseshit went straight out the window and I’m pleased to note that I’m back to my usual finely-honed diet of cheezy yums and salty meat snacks.
One interesting note – a dear friend who is also on this IVF path told me that apparently some circles say that us IVF-ers should avoid strenuous activity or working out. To which I say, fuck you, some circles, and my apologies to my little future unicorns. Even Miss Tasha has her limits, and if I can’t ride my bike for hours in a frail attempt to preserve what’s left of my sanity, well then, this shit just ain’t gonna happen.

Monday, March 16, 2015


I believe friend Cori said it best: “Couldn’t they wait until AFTER they were born to be disappointing little shitheads?” (paraphrased) (maybe)
No, apparently not. My little future hockey team petered out at the pre-blastocyst stage, so I was left with nothing. Tough to swallow, basically throwing away another $25K with nothing to show for it. At least I got told the bad news by Alison, British Embryologist, because hearing crap news in a British accent is so much more soothing.
Alison: I’m so sorry love, but all of your embryos have gone a bit pear-shaped.
Okay, so that might not be exactly how she said it, but with that accent that’s what I heard.
Anyway, after being depressed about this for a brief time, I shake myself off as usual and start signing up for a shitload of crazy-ass bike rides, because that’s what one does when one’s life is going all to hell, amirite? I also book my WTF appointment with Dr. B., which is what we call the follow-up in IVFLand.
Of course, when I go in, my first question for Dr. B. is kind of the obvious one: what the fuck happened? I had FOUR out of five embies still chugging along on day 5, and then there was nothing. What kind of slacker bullshit is this?
Dr. B. had this theory, based on her years of education and training and experience, that my embies got pushed along to a later stage, probably because of the NOW WITH DOPING regimen that I was on, but that they were probably abnormal to begin with which is why they didn’t make it to the blast stage.
I had my own theory, based on nothing more than the thoughts from my own head, that the supplements I had been on for just a month at that point were enough to get my embies to grow more, but not enough to get them to blast, since they say that it takes 3 months to form eggs. So in my world, with my next cycle Il’ll have been on the supps for 3 months, so I should have excellent results.
Clearly I’m going to go with my theory; the science is sound.
I then move on to rapid-fire of questions at Dr. B., based on ideas As Found on the Internet, all prefaced by wonderful phrases such as “I’ve read” and “studies show” and “I’ve heard people do this.”
Me: What do you think of embryonic co-culture?
Dr. B.: No.
Me: How about in-vitro maturation?
Dr. B.: No.
Me: More doping?
Dr. B.: No.
Me: Test for DHEA level?
Dr. B.: No.*

I’m not getting much to work with here.
Me: Perhaps a double trigger to help with maturation?
Dr. B.: Well yes, that is something we ca…..

Victory! We decide to add a double trigger AND to do an estrogen priming protocol (EPP) which can be successful in helping all the follies grow at the same time rather than being all over the damn place. We did have an odd moment as I was asking about the lab at CCRM and if they’re actually any better or what all the hype is about the place, and Dr. B. said that basically they’ve been around for a long time and are certainly a top lab, but so is ORM, which I knew. Then the weird moment, which I think came out of some strange place in Dr. B.’s head heretofore untapped.
Dr. B.: Well, not that I’m trying to encourage this, but if you DID want to talk to CCRM for a consult, I wouldn’t tell you not to….
The air gets sucked out of the room, and we all fall silent, me, Dr., B., and note-taking scribe, who also looks stunned. In a moment though, Dr. B. shakes her head a little bit as if to clear it, and we go on talking about my next cycle as if that odd comment had never been uttered.
I leave feeling insanely optimistic, and to say that my hopes are sky high would not be an understatement.
What could possibly go wrong in this scenario, right?
* We actually do discuss all of these at length, i.e. why they wouldn’t necessarily help, and yes, Dr. B's points makes sense to me. Dammit.