Friday, December 17, 2010

getting it out

day 4: get rid of one thing
for those of you catching up, i am going through the apartment therapy home cure, a 20-day adventure focused on creating a "beautiful, organized, and healthy" home.

so far, it's been fun!

yesterday's challenge was to give away one thing. the program's host left an old iPod on a ledge outside his apartment with a note that said, "use me!". i thought that was a bit odd (wouldn't it be better to give it to a deserving kid or a charity?), but -- to each their own.

i think the point of this exercise is that once you let go of one thing, opportunities to cleanse just pop up out of nowhere! i already had it as one of my priorities for the month, but now i am even more excited to go through my closet and weed out the unworn/unused.

last night, though, we just started small.

josh parted with a pile of old t-shirts . . .

they served their purpose, but it's time to move on

and i headed to the kitchen, where i tend to hoard things. prior to the cure, josh asked if i really wanted this old (once coveted) amazing grass smoothie shaker (freebie from HLS '09!).

last weekend, i balked at the idea. yesterday, i realized he was right. i like the IDEA of smoothies, but if i don't drink them at this point, that is probably not going to change. some old mugs went into the outbox as well.

in addition to kitchen supplies, my other cache of unused items is made up of -- you guessed it -- stationery! for example, these notebooks are really cute on the outside, but blank inside, and i need (NEED) lines (or graph paper!). you can't see them, but there are also 2 black soft-cover moleskine cahiers in this pile (one with pages ripped out of it, the other virgin).

so who should i give these to? yeah, i'm asking you all. something tells me that someone out there reading this has a use for a to-go smoothie mug or several cute notebooks. no fancy giveaway; just send me an email if you are interested (along with which item: either the smoothie cup or stack 'o' notebooks) and i'll send it out! U.S. shipping destinations only, please.

update: that was fast -- both items have been claimed! enjoy, l and n!

running update / coming clean

nope, not happening yet.

i still haven't received an answer from my repro/endo specialist about my running question. since it's been a week, i may try calling (i had sent an email to one of the fellows, who passed it up the chain to her).

i've also started doing a little research on my own, even though i was actually trying NOT to be my own MD in this situation. as much as i wish it weren't true, it looks like there is at least some evidence that exercise may have a negative impact on ovulation. duke does not have access to this journal, so i can't vouch for exactly how much exercise it takes, but this older article showed a striking difference in ovulation rates in women who were sedentary compared to women who ran an average of 32km/week (that's under 20 mpw -- not exactly what i would consider hard-core).

this honestly breaks my heart a little. i haven't discussed it outright, but to clarify to some of you who are wondering why i am getting so worked up after a few months of trying -- it hasn't been just a few months. i had amenorrhea for about 18 months after stopping OCPs in february of '09, and finally began medications (provera + clomiphene) to start trying in a less futile way this fall. initially, these treatments seemed to work, but the last two cycles have failed to stimulate my ovaries the way they were supposed to, even at higher doses.

i am pretty disappointed in my own body at this point. i truly do not believe it's a body fat or energy balance issue, and in fact have gained a few pounds since starting to try FOR REAL (which i can't say i love, but am dealing with). i don't feel like i train to any level of excess -- but maybe for me, running + ovulation just don't go hand in hand.

i still haven't decided exactly what i should do in terms of changing my typical workout habits. i suppose i shouldn't be so emotional about it: i can always run LATER, after i have a baby (or 2). and starting a family IS more important to me than my piddly 'running career.' i mean, come on. plus -- and this should be obvious to me every day, considering my job -- i could be dealing with much, much worse than sleepy ovaries.

but it still feels unfair, especially as i hear about EVERYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD getting pregnant after a few months of trying, running or not.

okay, now it's all out there.


  1. Those are cute notebooks. I'd be all over them, but the fact is that I definitely have my own unused notebooks over here, and I guess it goes against the purpose of apartment therapy to just add to someone else's pile. But if no one else claims them... hmmm...

    Sorry to hear about your ovary woes. We have only been trying for a month now, but I have similar fears. I'm so afraid that it won't happen that I haven't told any family members and have no plans to discuss it on the blog. (Not really worried about my MIL reading your comments). I had extremely irregular to no periods when I was in college, which everyone assured me was no big deal, but I am of course freaked out about it. Obviously I have no good advice, but I hope you are able to figure something out. I'm guessing you are otherwise hormonally okay and this is a mystery for you... Also I know women always feel like they are 100% responsible for the success of a pregnancy, but (and I'm guessing you've already checked this) it could be Josh...

  2. I think you should sustain this attitude. You can always start running once you have kids.

    I found the whole idea of leaving an ipod on the streets a bit odd too!

  3. chelsea: well, i'm hormonally borderline. meaning: based on labs, i have some features of PCOS, though i am not the typical case obviously! and trust me, i'm the issue. i have pretty good proof that i have ovulated just 1 time between feb '09 and now. doesn't give josh's part of the deal a lot of chances. . .

  4. I am sorry. I know how much it sucks when our bodies are not cooperating.
    I have access to the full PDF and quickly scanned through it. It seems the average time spent exercising pr week at more than 55% of max HR was 457 min in the EX-group and 97 min in the SED-group. Includation criteria for the EX were >2 hours/week and for SED <2 hours/week. Since 457 min (7.5 hours) would equal more than 45 miles for a runner doing 10 minute miles, that would mean more than 50 miles per week for you. So they were quite active. It would be interesting to see if the amenorrea rate differed between those that did a lot and those that did just 2-3 hours!

  5. I don't really have any helpful advice, but I just wanted to say that I'm sorry that you are going through this. I think you should try not running as much and see if it works. I mean, you are right, you can always run after the baby.

  6. Sarah, Thank you for sharing your struggles with trying to conceive. I stopped taking BC just over a year ago and my period has been absent since then. I've had preliminary tests done on my hormones and things look fairly normal from that perspective. I've cut back on working out due to an injury and only run around 10-15 miles a week, but my period still hasn't returned. The only time I have had a period in the past year was after two rounds of progesterone. We're looking at having conversations with doctors after the first of the year to get a plan together so we can start TTC.

    Sorry for rambling, but I really appreciate you sharing your situation. It helps knowing that I'm not alone in these struggles.

  7. Anonymous8:45 AM

    ((hugs)) i sincerely hope things start to look up and work out SOON for you. and i hope that doc gets back to you. even though you are a doctor it always helps to have some outside opinion tell you things. hopefully it's good too :)

  8. Your story kind of reminds me of this one: (she had "lean pcos").

    Thanks for sharing your story. I hope you get more answers soon! *hugs*

  9. Anonymous9:02 AM


    Do what you need to do. And thanks for sharing this...I'm sure it's not the most pleasant thing to write about, but it sounds like many people can relate. I hope you get some answers soon.

  10. Sarah, I know I shared this before, but I truly believe, from my non-medical-degree perspective, that although there are TONS of women (Paula Radcliffe!) who can manage to get their periods and get pregnant while running, there are also many who, for whatever COMPLETELY UNFAIR reasons, cannot. After 14 months of no period, I was diagnosed with PCOS on the basis of my labs. I now know that I did not have PCOS, I just have a body that is too sensitive to running and being lower than a certain weight to get a period. I cut running back to less than 10 miles a week and gained a few pounds and suddenly I was pregnant. I again experienced amenorrhea after my son was born, and a few months ago stopped running and gained 4 pounds. Last Friday I got my period for the first time in 15 months. I'm not saying you don't have PCOS, I would trust your doctor, just saying to you and anyone else reading that despite the fact that there's no reason that a non-elite runner who is within a normal weight range shouldn't be menstruating and ovulating, it is worth a shot to see what no running a few extra pounds can do. I am sorry you are going through this, and thank you for sharing it on your blog. I think you will help/support more people than you realize!

  11. Sarah, don't be disheartened. We all have our trials in life, but YOU WILL GET THROUGH THIS! My aunt suffered some of the same issues for years [she was my running partner!] and sure enough when she stopped running she got pregnant. I know it is hard to think about stopping running [it is such a HUGE part of your life!] but it just may be the answer. I have seen it work...maybe just focus on yoga and other low impact exercises for the duration. You never know what will happen! :D love you, xoxo!

  12. SharonfromDC9:37 AM

    Sarah, I'm so sorry that you're having to deal with all this. I think that when you look back on this in a couple of years--when you're busy juggling being a mom, working, and back to running--giving up running will seem like such a small price to pay. I'm just so sorry that things have been frustrating so far. It will get better!

  13. I just wanted to say keep your chin up! Everything will work out soon, I'm sure. And hey, you're getting real acquainted with your body in the process. Fun! (Right? :)).

  14. Anonymous10:24 AM

    i don't have any experience with this, but i think i can understand (to a certain point, since im not in the situation) why you're frustrated/upset. i have no advice, but i do like how you realize that your running career can be stopped for a little while and picked back up. maybe this is the wrong thing to say, but have you ever considered adoption? maybe adopt one kid and in a little while try again? not sure you ever saw the show "tell me you love me", which was on for 1 season 3ish yrs ago, but, i think as hard as it must be (and easier said than done), don't let this ruin YOU, ya know?

  15. Anonymous10:34 AM

    After residency I went in the Navy for a couple years and we started "trying". For us it never happened. By then I had my own practice, was making great money and having exhausted every other alternative we were presented with the endless rounds of in-vitro at 10K per pop. For us the process was way to much animal husbandry. We wound up adopting 2 baby girls from China, now teenagers and never looked back. Our lives are full, packed down and overflowing. My Children are mine. They belong to me because of the history we share not because of the genetics we don't.

    1. "Discouraged" comes from the word courage. It means to be without courage. Do not be without courage. There is no future in it.

    2. There is more than one way to become a parent

    3. Eat more protein and essential fat. It turns out about 20mpw is where lifters start complaining about not being able to pack on muscle.

    I have a definite heart for your struggle, but in the end there is no doubt. Good things will belong to you.

  16. LOVE your blog but never comment. I am 30 and have unexplained infertility. In fact I am in my 2 week waiting period to see if my first IUI worked. I didn't respond to Clomid as well as and only ended up with one egg, but I did ovulate (which they are skeptical that I am ovulating every month), so that is something. This whole process really blows, but in terms of exercise, I am treating my body how I feel. So more yoga, going to bed when I am tired (even if it is 7:30 pm) and honoring my food choices. I figure I have enough stress so lighter exercise is what I need at this point. And walking does help clear my head and yoga helps keep toned. I don't want to stress that I am doing my body wrong by overdoing it when I am already super disappointed in my lack of getting pregnant. Give yourself a pass and try out some new forms of exercise.

  17. TTC is a long journey. Each of us takes a different step each day. Running will always be there.

  18. Thank you for posting this. My hubs and I have been TTCing for two years now, and will start IUI in the next month or two. The details of my story are different from yours, but the emotions and results (or lack thereof) are similar. I felt betrayed by my body for about a year and a half of the two years we've been trying, and I've only recently re-learned to love and appreciate my body regardless of whether it can conceive. Best of luck, much love, and many hugs to you.

  19. P.S. I started doing yoga for fertility a while back, and even though we haven't conceived yet, the mental and emotional benefits have been huge. If you're interested, check out the Yoga Practices for Fertility DVD and Fully Fertile book (both by women in Chicago who run a fertility yoga studio called Pulling Down the Moon). (They have no idea who I am, I just like the yoga and approach they offer.)

  20. I know it's so hard not too, but try not to get discouraged. Eaach step you take is one in the right direction, even though it might not seem like it now. Keep doing what is right for you, what you feel in your soul. I have been where you are before and I'm pulling for you!!

  21. Anonymous5:06 PM

    Just wanted to say thanks for sharing your words and frustrations. Doubt is a part of courage, and you, to me, are one courageous person to share this with us (the anonymous reader). I think curtailing the running,along with relaxed and nonplanned expectations of the next couple of months, along with taking a zen/whatever happens happens for a reason outlook will have Josh and you blessed with what you hope for!

  22. i love all these comments, they are all so honest, as was your sharing of your story. i know that somehow things will work out, and it is okay to slow down on running (hey maybe even 10 miles a week would be ok?).. hang in there, and have faith that something will eventually work out.. BIG hugs from Cali... xoxo S

  23. That was really brave of you to discuss your TTC issues, thanks for sharing! I'm a big believer of the idea that everything happens at a certain time for a reason (so cliche i know!). It seems like running is a HUGE part of your life, but it IS something that you can always return to after having children- I don't think it can hurt you in the short-term to figure out other low-impact ways of keeping your body active. Meanwhile, sending you BIG baby-making good-luck vibes...rooting for you!

  24. Well, you already know my point of view,but I just want to share my thoughts here. I thnk it would be well worth an experiment to curtail your running for an extending period of time, making sure that you also eat well, to see if it might have some impact. Apparently others have experienced a siimilar problem where being highly active has interfered with conception. Plus, if it worked, not only would you be pleased about it, but you would help others who might have a similar problem. It has to be worth trying.

  25. Heather10:31 PM

    Thanks for sharing your TTC story! I never got my period after stopping BCP in Nov. 09. This corresponded with training for the Tobacco Road Half Marathon...whatever. I'm on my 4th round of femara and will see what happened with it next week...but we're planning on starting at Carolina Conceptions in January. GOOD LUCK TO YOU! I know the disappointment and frustration...

  26. Megan4:03 PM

    I'm so sorry to hear about your troubles trying to conceive. Although I'm single and absolutely do not want to think about having a baby right now, I was plagued with amenorrhea again after going off of BC about 2 years ago. I had been on it for a few years to regulate periods because I would go months/a year without one. They told me it was PCOS based on slightly elevated blood tests even though there was no other evidence. About 6 months after going off BC and not having a period a few things changed.
    1. I bumped up my running big time and started doing marathons
    2. I began eating a flexible 90% vegetarian diet .
    3. I cut out a lot of dairy. I had read things that concerned me about dairy production and hormones used. I switched to organic yogurt and half and half - 2 things I couldn't even think about giving up.
    4. I increased the amount of fat I was eating. Almonds and nut butters worked there way into my diet and that organic yogurt I was buying was either 2% or whole milk yogurt. I stopped using Pam spray and started using real olive oil and added more things like avocados.

    Suddenly, even though I was now running 50-60 miles a week and boston-qualifying at marathons - I started getting a period fairly regularly. Now, I have no idea if I'm actually ovulating regularly or anything and my story is entirely anecdotal and lacking in any scientific support. But I just wanted to do anything to help you out - Best of luck!

  27. Anonymous10:27 PM

    hi sarah. i have been enjoying your blog for months now and decided to comment. i have two children and experienced many months of unexplained infertility with my second child, causing us to finally seek assistance from an RE after trying so many changes on our own. running was my form of therapy at the time, to help me release all that anxious energy from ttc. while i don't have many of the typical PCOS smptoms, my levels were a little 'off' in the direction of PCOS. the RE explained he typically treated PCOS patients with femara. i became pregnant my first cycle on femara after several emotional and unsuccessful clomid cycles with my ob/gyn. i hesitated to comment as oh, i don't know, you're a doctor (!), but wanted to let you know my experience with ttc.

    thank you so much for your daily posts. your organizational skills inspire me daily and i find myself looking at notebooks much more often than i ever did!!!

  28. I've been thinking I need a good smoothie to-go cup! I have a giant plastic cup that I bring in my car that fits snugly in the cup holder, but my car-obsessed husband hates that I do it, afraid that I'll spill. I need to declutter big time, but I feel like with Christmas shopping and wrapping, and preparing to go see family over Christmas I haven't had time to spend on any extra cleaning. Sorry to hear about your difficulty TTC, I hope things work out for you and husband soon!

  29. Sorry I am just seeing this! I wish you the best of luck. I'm sure it can be frustrating seeing lots of people getting pregnant. Of course, I've been there a little so I know how you're feeling. Good luck!