Jun 29, 2016

The Halfway Point

I re-read this blog in its entirety over the weekend.
At least, all the posts pertaining to baby-making.

2012 seems like such a long time ago, right?

My posts from 2015 were filled with so much hope and optimism.
Counting down the months, days, hours...until our first IVF consultation.

A consultation I never thought I would ever have to make.
I was thrilled and nervous and excited. The possibilities were endless.

And of course I had a general timeline.
One that included, in bold print, that the goal of 2016 would be to complete all the set-up, retrievals, and testing necessary to yield a perfect little babe.
By July.

Yup, my goal was to be completed by July.
Today is June 29th, we are just past the half-way point of the entire year, and July is definitely going to come and go without us being 50% complete with everything.

I thought FOR SURE we would need no more than six months for everything.
It had to be enough time, right?

But it just hasn't been.
And not for lack of trying and pushing people and shortening time lines.

I have been on top of my logistical game and it has been awesome to stretch those "muscles" for myself, for a change, instead of coordination for others at work.

The image above? That's a little countdown app I have on my phone that counts down the days for major events.
IVF #3 starts next Friday.
I'd like to say third time's a charm, but there are just so many variables, I don't know what to expect.

I am on a different protocol this time. One that my doctor hopes I respond to better, but it could also go in the complete opposite direction.
Cancelled only to re-start.

My new "goal", if you will, is to have a successful embryo transfer by December 31, 2016.
I have six months remaining.

To an outsider looking in, six months is a mighty long time.
But to me, I feel like the door is half-way closed already.

In those six months, I will need to complete 1-2 more retrievals.
This eats up July with #3 and up to two additional months for a 4th retrieval.

Then the testing.
PGD testing of any viable embryos takes roughly three weeks for results.

Then the frozen embryo transfer.
Assuming we just need one attempt, a single transfer requires 8 weeks of prep (including a month of birth control).

At the bare minimum, the best case scenario would be the following:

- IVF #3 stims begin July 9th with retrieval by the 23rd.
- IVF #3 embryos grow for 5-6 days and any viable ones are biopsied and batched with IVF #2's singleton.
- IVF #4 piggy-backs without a break (like #1 and #2 did) and I start up immediately for my final retrieval.
- IVF #4 stims begin around August 5th with retrieval around the 20th.
- IVF #4 embryos grow for 5-6 days and any viable ones are biopsied and batched with the other ones from IVF #2 and #3.

The final retrieved cells are shipped overnight for testing with the other batched cells, which triggers a three week results lead time.

- I go on birth control with my next period to begin prep for a frozen embryo transfer.
Start birth control pills around September 1st.

- Results are available from PGD testing by September 16th. (and hopefully we have TWO perfect embryos!)

- Birth control ends around September 25th and stim protocol for frozen transfer begins.

- Protocol last for approximately two weeks.

- Transfer takes place around October 8th.

- Blood draw for (positive) pregnancy test around October 17th.


And this is BEST CASE.
There are so many other variables.

An IVF retrieval could get cancelled.
I may have to go on birth control between #3 and #4 retrieval, extending this time line another month.

The first transfer may not take, and if we have another embryo, then we'd do another transfer, but that's another 2 months!!

I am writing this out to get it out of my system.
It is so overwhelming that I literally can only think of what is happening in the next week.
I hope God is on my side with this one, and everything runs as smooth as silk for the rest of the year.

On a completely different note, if you're still reading, please send positive vibes and prayers to Crash, our oldest French Bulldog.

His hematoma never went down with the Prednisone protocol, and is heading in for twilight surgery on his ear to drain the blood/fluid, tomorrow morning.
I always get nervous when the animals go under anesthesia.

Hopefully the procedure will go by quickly and so will his recovery.

Finally, we have approximately 16 days (or less) of tube feedings with the cat.
Just about two weeks left and he will be back to his old self.

He goes in for one final surgery to un-bind his teeth and take out of the feeding tube at the end, and we could not be happier knowing we are rounding the corner to the end of this shit show!

Happy Wednesday folks! Make it a good one! XO
Jun 23, 2016

The REAL Effects of Birth Control

Birth control comes with a slew of scary side effects and warnings.
You know, blood clots, stroke, weight gain, etc.

This post is an incomplete list of the hormonal shit show that wreaks havoc on your mental state approximately seven days into a pack of birth control and continues for the next couple of weeks.

Things that will make a person irrationally angry (Like, to the point of screaming)

- When a newly purchased, empty, plastic planter, tips over in the back seat of your car.
Nothing was in it.
Nothing was planted.
It simply tipped over.
And laid there.

- When the mulch you placed in the trunk of your car makes the whole car smell mulchy

- When someone doesn't use their turn signal "fast enough"

- When you take a turn too fast while driving and your hand bumps the visor

- When someone leaves a gap longer than two car lengths ahead of you because they are checking their phone (ok, this one makes me angry regardless of hormone-induced conniptions)

- When your pillow isn't cool enough....on either side

- When someone is on "your" treadmill at the gym

- When someone turns the light on in a small gym bathroom, that was previously off, and walks out with it STILL. ON.

- When your husband leaves for an IVF consultation ten minutes ahead of you but you BEAT HIM TO THE DESTINATION.

Things that will make a person irrationally sad (to the point of ugly crying)

- Newly hatched, baby birds, found on the concrete, at work...and you can't find their nest or mom

- Trying to make a nest for said birds, at work

- Randomly thinking about the bird situation in the middle of the night

- Realizing the birds probably didn't make it but you can't bear to go look

- Reading or watching ANYTHING related to animal abuse, or old animals, or sick animals, or baby animals, or anything about animals EVER.

- Thinking about your old eggs while driving home from work

- Thinking about your old eggs while peeing

- Thinking about your old eggs, randomly, in the middle of the night

- Thinking about how often you have been crying

- Not being able to fit in your entire to-do list in one day

- Not making it to the gym because your gym clothes are still wet

- Forgetting to turn on the washing machine

*This list may or may not have happened to me over the course of two days.
**It did.

This is the warning label they NEED to post, don't cha think?

Hope some of this insanity made you smile today.

Lord help my husband while he watches this shit-show unfold.
Happy Thursday everyone! Thanks for reading! XO
Jun 21, 2016

The Kitchen Sink

Oh hey there.
Mark and I had a 7:15am follow-up consultation with Dr. Jacobs this morning to discuss just what hell is wrong with us and how we are changing things moving forward to yield better results.

This is also known, in the TTC world, as the WTF Appointment.

Because really....What. The Fuck.....is wrong?

After I shed a couple tears in his office, I booked it over to Walgreens to pick-up some new make-up, because, as a 50% Southern lady, you don't go out in public without your face on.

Side note: the 50% Southern part comes from my mama, whose birthday is TODAY.
Happiest of Birthdays MOM!! I know you're reading.

Here are some photos to remind you of your favorite child, and to show off our love and affection for all things neon:

Mom with her favorite child.

The need for matching outfits in bright colors with fabulous fanny packs is overwhelming.
This photo defines my childhood.

You're welcome.

And we're back to the topic at hand, our consultation.

The nurse suggested with go in and chat with the Dr. about our first two cycles and what was on deck for the next round.

But I already knew the answer because the nurse already gave me my new calendar and in the last three days, I have been on the phone a dozen times coordinating medication shipments.

We are doing a protocol called Microdose Lupron Flare.

Instead of using Ganirelix to ward off the impending ovulation, to ultimately do either a Lupron or Hcg trigger, we are moving forward with a flare protocol that will use both my natural hormones with the stimulated ones.

Aka...I am just going to assume I'll be a raging, hot-flashy, bitch, in July.

This means more shots.
Instead of doing two nightly shots, then adding a third in the morning half-way through the 10 day stimulation protocol, we start off with a bang at two daily (tiny) Lupron injections, then adding the other two (Follistim and Menopur) to the party on Day 3.
Of course, don't forget the 5 days of nightly Letrazole pills.
And my dozen vitamins, and powder of myo-inositol, on the daily.

The best part of all of this, is the Dr. told us that if I am not responding the way he would like, he is going to cancel the cycle prior to retrieval, give me a break, then put me back on the original protocol.

I am using the word "best" sarcastically.
I would love nothing more than to stab myself with over 30 needles.....only to be a poor responder to the new protocol and then have to start all over.

Another super fun fact I learned this week....compounded medications are not covered with my insurance. Even though all the lab is doing is diluted my lupron meds in half, the fact that they are doing anything other than issuing them to me as is, means I have zero coverage.

Between the cat's surgery, a visit to the vet for our dog yesterday, new medications, and just life in general, I keep thanking my lucky stars for the insurance coverage we DO have because this year has been more expensive than anticipated, with zero fun in return for those expenses.

Crash, by the way, has a hematoma on his ear that we are monitoring and hoping we can scathe by without surgery to drain it. Prednisone FTW.

A hematoma is a blood-filled lump in his ear, that is caused from trauma, either by shaking his head violently or as our dog does, rub his ear on rocks. 

Anyways, the news that made me tear up (I blame the birth control pills) is that all of this is "my fault."
My eggs aren't really that good and the reason for the constant rapid decline in fertilization numbers and overall retrieval quantities is all about me.

Not Mark's smoking or his borderline morphology issue.
Not anyone else.
Just me.
And my genetics.

It's as if my body decided to release 3x the amount of eggs over its lifetime and I am rapidly approaching menopause at a much faster rate than I should be.

Typically, dealing with lower ovarian reserve, poorer egg quality, etc, is seen in patients over the age of 35.

But yet, here we are.
Miss 32 years old with over-the-hill eggs.

I am doing everything in my power to combat this, though.
I choke down a dozen supplements and vitamins each morning, make sure to continue to eat correctly and work-out moderately.

I will continue to fight this until I am out of options.

So we will move forward with this new protocol, but as the Dr. stated, he is literally giving me the kitchen sink of injections, maxing out all standard dosages, to try and get me to respond correctly.

I have 15 more days of birth control, starting my baseline Friday, July 8th and Day 1 of stims July 9th.

It would be awesome if this cycle would yield all the embryos we needed, but if history has taught me anything, we are in it for the long haul.

Two more cycles, folks.
Send me some good juju for perfect little embryos!

As always, thanks for reading!! XO
Jun 15, 2016

Life Updates

Although Mark labeled this The Summer of Injections, we are still trying to live as normally as possible, all things considered.

Of course life is anything but mundane these days.

Summer is in full swing which means trying to cram in fun most weeks.

We are living each week based on the weather.
If the day is good, we get in gear for either a pool day or a boat day.

This last weekend yielded both, which was awesome AND exhausting.
We zipped to Chicago for our maiden voyage on the boat to watch the Louis Vuitton Catamaran races.
And although we got there a tad too late and could hardly see anything, it was still nice to not be sitting inside staring at a cat feeding tube for a few hours.

If we aren't on the boat, the back-up plan is to lounge by the pool.
The dogs seems to know how to do this best.

So spoiled, right?

These moments are fleeting, though.
For every minute of fun, there seems to be a never-ending to-do list that includes four hours a day of cat feedings.

Four hours a day....now gone...when I used to fill that time cleaning or organizing or just zoning the fuck out...man.

We have a decent routine now, but some days seem to get the best of me.
Every day, I get up, do everything on my list, and collapse at the end of the day exhausted.
But sleep is lost.
I have been a machine, powering through every minute.
Sleep has been little, worry has been a lot sometimes, and sometimes I just can't keep it together.

Balancing our emotions while we work to heal our cat, while we work to maintain our home, while we work to...well...WORK, has been difficult some days.

Work is busy. That's a good thing. But it doesn't make it easier.
I am training a new girl, who luckily is doing awesome and taking the reigns as I had hoped.

I am (finally) moving into my office and getting it set up to my liking...dodging the snide remarks from more tenured employees from time to time.

Don't people understand that someone in HR actually needs a private office...you know...for PRIVATE conversations?

It's a thing, I promise.

Anyways, back at home, it's a whole new world, making something else the center of my attention most days.
I suppose, in a way, this is a small snippet into the years ahead of me as a mom.

Because these feedings, although relatively simple in theory, take a lot out of us.
The prep, feeding, and cleaning of each tube, making sure we have the right meds mixed, removed the air bubbles,etc, is a process.

The cat was losing weight so it freaks out Mark.
His parents cat is on its way out, and Mark keeps comparing it to our own.
And I try to calm Mark while helping to get the cat up to speed.
All the while I keep my own emotions at bay.

Until I can't.

Sunday was a rough day for me.

I was in between finishing the cat's feeding tube and starting his water tube, when he decided to launch himself onto Mark's bed, shooting sloshy wet food all. over. the place.

I mean, it was everywhere.
A complete blow out.

This was AFTER the cat peed in my bed, causing me to wash my sheets for the millionth time.
Now starting another load for the issue at hand.

And the dogs were freaking out the whole time.
Barking at the neighbor dogs.
Whining that I wasn't with them.

I couldn't be in three places at once.
It just all seemed too much.
In that moment.

I was overly tired but couldn't sleep.
I kept thinking I was going to miss a feeding or something if I actually slept, so would jerk awake just as I dozed off.
Over and over and over again.

I'm back on track though. Tomorrow is another day.

I vowed, during my month off from injections, to get back in the gym.
Even if it means 45 minutes less sleep, which might seem contradictory.
I think it's important, though.
To release stress and center myself.

So far it seems to be working.
Plus, I received an awesome gift from a great friend, that I wear upside down so I can look at it often.

Stay Strong.
Can do, my friends. Can do.

And on a random note, check out this photo of my parents!
So retro!

My mom was about my age in this photo! (Hell, maybe younger, I think this was pre-kids)
With Father's Day coming and my mom's birthday just after, I thought this was fitting to share!

Thanks for reading! XO
Jun 10, 2016

Why Are We Doing This?

First off, I wanted to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for the outpouring of love and support we received after the (finally) good news earlier this week!

We are thrilled for the first one, but eagerly awaiting the next round to get some more.

I wanted to back-track quickly to clarify WHY we have to bank embryos, WHY cells have to be shipped, and WHY we have to go through this in the first place, especially for new folks.

Because I'm pretty sure some of you may be all....well they already got one, why don't they just transfer it and get knocked up already?

And trust me...I totally would have pulled that trigger if we weren't dealing with a huge genetic mess.

I have written about this in detail, in previous posts, but the long and the short of it is this:
...back in January 2015 we were balls deep in our first round of official fertility treatments.

Something wasn't working, after trying naturally for over a year.
All our preliminary lab work came back normal...but SOMETHING must be wrong...how could we not get pregnant after all that time?

So we headed in for our first IUI. (this is the turkey baster method, btw....they pump the woman up with hormones to produce one ripe egg, then suck up the man sample in a catheter....and....well....you get it)

During that process, we elected to both have genetic testing completed.
It's a simple blood draw. No big deal.
Totally not mandatory for an IUI, but something that we figured...eh...what the hell, why not!?

And low and fucking behold....Mark and I found out we were a genetic carrier match for a mutation with the acronym MCAD.
The chances of both of us carrying this mutation, and then meeting and getting married to each other and then trying to have babies is 1 in approximately 289,000,000.
This mutation, by the way, hinders the way a baby processes proteins, most of the time leading to SID's...and if you're lucky enough to jump that terrifying hurdle, future episodes can lead to seizures, dementia, and a life time of other fun problems.

Carriers, by the way, don't have the mutation. They simply carry in their DNA.
But two carriers can make a baby that actually has the mutation.

Armed with that information, we said no thank you to chancing having a baby with that type of uphill battle (naturally, we have a 1 in 4 chance of conceiving a child this way....those odds are NOT in our favor).

Our only option to ensure a baby free of genetic mutations was to move forward with IVF along with genetic testing for both our mutation (PGD) and for general chromosomal abnormalities like down syndrome (PGS).

If we're in...we're all in.

So here we are my friends.

I had a couple questions about why the cells had to be shipped to New Jersey.

First, the IVF lab isn't shipping the whole embryo.

That baby stays here, cryo-preserved in Illinois.

They biopsied a tiny itty bitty cell from that embryo, put it in some fluid, then shipped just that cell to New Jersey, which is the location of Reprogenetics, the lab my IVF facility contracts with to test for our genetic mutation.

It is what it is. We didn't have a choice for location.

So I get local, constant monitoring during stimulation injections at either Crystal Lake or Buffalo Grove.
My retrievals and transfers are completed at the Highland Park location.
The genetic testing is completed in New Jersey.

And this is all coordinated through a team of nurses and staff like a well-oiled machine.
It truly is amazing.

So why do we have to bank more than one embryo?

There are two statistics working against us in the process.

Statistic 1 is chromosomal issues.
For every 10 embryos, statistics say that approximately 60% of them will be free from abnormalities.
That's 6 in 10.

Statistic 2 is our genetic mutation.
There is a 1 in 4 chance, or 25% chance, that an embryo will be affected with our genetic mutation.

So if you combine these statistics, it goes something like this:

Originally I was naive and assumed we could easily bank 8-10 embryos.
Right now we have 1, and I only get two more cycles covered under insurance for this year.
I think we will be lucky if we get five.

So let's say we start with 5 embryos for testing.
Of those 5, we can expect that 60% of them will be free from any chromosomal issues.
That leaves us with 3-4 embryos.

Of those 3-4 embryos, we can expect that 75% of them will be free from our genetic mutation (on the high end).

That leaves us with (at best) 2-3 "perfect" embryos.

But there are a couple more hurdles, of course.

Any remaining perfect embryos will need to be thawed for transfer.
Obviously there are risks with freezing and thawing.
There is a chance the embryo may not survive the thaw.

Then there is the transfer back to me.

Typical transfers, without genetic testing, yield a 20-30% success rate.

With genetic testing, transfer success yields up to a 50% success rate (and although I have read higher reports, up to 80% success...I'm erring on the side of caution)

So as you can see, all of this work and waiting literally comes down to hope.
Neither us, nor the techs, nor nurses, nor scientists can actually make this work in the end.

Phew...ok, you got everything? Good.

So that is why this is hard.
That is why it takes so much time and effort.
That is why we bank.

And even with everything I just said....in my heart of hearts, I know this will work.
It may only work once, but God damnit, it'll work.

Have a beautiful weekend! XO
Jun 7, 2016

We got one!


Good afternoon everybody!
I have been reluctant to post any sort of update since our retrieval numbers dwindled so fast last week.
I guess I was nervous it would cause more bad luck if I kept complaining ;)

So, I wanted to give you an update about my experiences with two back to back egg retrievals, what's on deck for the future, and most importantly....our final embryo count for this cycle!

I did my first egg retrieval on May 4th.
We completed 10 days of stimulation injections, followed by a 2-part trigger injection protocol on days 11 and 12, ending with our egg retrieval on Day 13.

My follicle count at baseline was 8, and by the time of retrieval, the number jumped to 17.
My estrogen was a tad high by the time trigger rolled around, so they opted for the two-part Lupron injection trigger vs. the standard hcg injection in the butt.

What's the difference, you may ask?

Lupron tends to be a more gentle trigger that doesn't spike estrogen levels.
High estrogen levels means a greater possibility for OHSS (ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome)...which is no bueno (think lots and lots of fluid retention, weight gain, pain, bloating...for WEEKS following the egg retrieval)

Hcg is the holy grail for trigger shots.
It tends to produce plump, juicy ripe eggies that are more mature, but it does spike your estrogen more which could lead to the dreaded OHSS.

They retrieved 6 eggs, 5 of which were mature, 3 of the 5 fertilized.
By Day 5 we have 1 early blast, 1 morula, and 1 ten-cell.
By Day 6 we had one low grade full blast (3CD), and 1 early blast.
By Day 7 both died.

The second round was slightly different.
I stimmed again for ten days. My follistim protocol stayed a tad higher than the first round, never going below 150units (it went down to 75units first round).
On Day 11, I triggered with 80units of Lupron and the good ole hcg trigger shot in the butt.

Okay folks...this booty shot is not fun.
Mark kind of freaked out, but timing was critical, so we literally just stabbed and moved on.
It did kind of hurt....and continued to be sore in the area for about a week.

This round my follicle count went from 21, to 19, to 9.
They retrieved 7 eggs, six of which were mature, and of those six, 2 fertilized normally.

And that's where I left you.
Most because I was pissed that I went through 70 injections for that number.
And because I was bloated for nearly a week, with a very mild case of OHSS, I believe.
Coconut water FTW!!

So I turned my focus to our cat and our home and got my ever-loving shit together.
We spent a fun weekend at an exotic car show and lounging by the pool with friends.
I started training our new hire at work and that has been insane, and then I got our first Day 5 update on Monday from the Highland Park nurse.

Both embryos were still growing.
But they were exactly the same growth rate as the first round.
So it wasn't exactly exciting.

We had 1 early blast and 1 morula.

I would be getting another update today.

Now, as I mentioned before, when there is bad news, the head nurse calls you, if it's decent news, the normal embryologist will call you.

I am in a meeting with my boss and the phones rings (of course)
I squint....look at my phone...and run out of the room (totes professional)

Hi Tia, I have your Day 6 updates.
It's the embryologist!!

OK, so before I dive into details, I wanted to clue you into embryo grading and development levels so you understand what I'm about to say.

An embryo needs to make to a Blastocyst to be considered viable. (or blast, as I am calling it)
There are three stages: early, full, and hatching

Early means the inner and outer cell regions are just starting to form. There is a bit of separation, but no real grading occurs at this point because it's too early to define anything.

Full means the cells have fully formed an inner and outer mass and can now be graded based on quantity and uniformity.
Grading occurs as a combination of 1 number and 2 letters (for the inner and outer cells forms)
The more tiny, uniform cells the better.

A means there are hundreds of tiny cells and they aren't fragmented at all.
B means there are hundreds of tiny cells and there may be slight fragmentation.
C means there are few cells and there may be considerable fragmentation.
D means there are very few cells with considerable fragmentation.

Hatching means the embryo is starting to literally hatch out of its shell, ready to implant in the woman's uterus.

The number portion of the grading is 1-6, based on how far along the growth of the blast is; from early to hatching. Early is 1, hatching is 6.

Phew....so are you ready for our results?

One died.
I wasn't shocked.
The morula was slow to grow and history showed us that a morula on Day 5 is not good.

But the other one?

We ended up with a HATCHING GRADE 6BB EMBRYO!!!

It was successfully biopsied, frozen, and the cells are currently being shipped to New Jersey where they will wait for their siblings in our next round(s).


Kim, the head nurse, called me shortly after (I had to leave my meeting again) and was screaming

We chatted briefly about next steps and laughed and told me to make sure to pump my ovaries up with lots of medication moving forward....we are on the right path!

I can't tell you how happy this makes me.
This is another hurdle we needed to get over to have a chance at genetic testing.
It seemed like it would never happen.
But it has.

And I hope we get some more!

Right now the nurse wants us to take a month off from medication.
We are headed in to chat with Dr. Jacobs mid-June to talk about the first two cycles and what's on deck for the next round.

We will be gearing up for IVF #3 just after Independence Day!

Thank you for all your support and thank you so much for reading!!! XO
Jun 2, 2016

IVF & Life Updates

Real Talk: IVF is a crap shoot.

And I just know there are going to be a million responses with the good ole phrase: but it only takes one.

So if you're thinking that....please just keep your response to yourself.

Nobody going through two or more rounds of IVF wants to hear all their works leads up to (maybe) ONE.

If they even get that chance.

I have four. Four IVF chances to bring home the gold.

Round one returned nothing.
Round two is currently in limbo.

I wish I had more exciting news, but the reality is...I am crushed again.

We were so hopeful for this round. I mean, we are hopeful for every round, but our bodies can't seem to quite figure out this nonsense.

The first round they were able to retrieve six eggs.
Of those six, five were mature.
Of those five, three successfully fertilized.
Of those three, none made it to full blast.

This round they were able to retrieve seven eggs.
Of those seven, six were mature.
Of those six, only two were successfully fertilized.

At this point I don't have much hope for those two.
Time will tell, obviously, and I will know early next week.

Regardless, I went ahead and emailed the nurse because at our best, we end up with two this round, but need to bank at least five for testing.

So IVF Round 3 is clearly happening.

I assumed we would be gearing up right away again, but I guess the clinic cycles differently, so we will be required to take a month off, to start up again early July.

We have a follow-up consultation with Dr. Jacobs to go over our results from the first two rounds and see what he has to say about the next one or two.

I am slowly watching my last plan of birthing a late spring baby fade away.

I gave up on most plans going through all of this, but I'm frustrated that I can't even have any say about when we transfer because nothing seems to be working, and I can't force anyone's hand to make it so.

The silver lining is I don't have to take those awful Endometrin suppositories now.
I was just told to call when I get a period early July and we'll go from there.

In the midst of this frustration, we are helping our cat recover from his broken jaw.
He has been on round the clock tube and medication feedings, and I took him to see a specialist this morning because the ER could only fix one of the two broken points.

He is headed back in for another surgery tomorrow, with a (rather lengthy) six week recovery.

Our hope is everything works out and he is back to normal in July.
He has been a trooper, and we are grateful he is letting us tube feed and poke and pry at him as needed.

Finally, my dad had another round of blood work completed for his prostate cancer.
His numbers continue to decline, which is excellent news.
They want them to level out around 5.
Last month they were 6.6, and this month they are 5.7.
I am so grateful that someone in the family is yielding positive results.

I suppose a month of no meds could do me some good.
It gives us a chance to reduce some of the chaos in our lives, focusing solely on the cat and soaking up the summer.

I am trying my best to stay positive.
I really am.

We get two more chances to get it right.
And maybe, just maybe, we'll get to keep a frostie from this round.

Fingers crossed.
Thank you for reading. XO