I'm feeling a bit tired now, at 9.30pm. A quick glance back at what I've been up to today:
4 hours spent editing instructional mini videos for iPod learning, with crappy footage shot by a chef who thinks he's a whiz with a camcorder. Sigh. "Turd polishing" is the term that springs to mind :P
10 mins eating reheated pizza for lunch
1 hour meeting with IT dept to test the deployment method of the ebooks and videos I've been creating. Success :)
30 mins spent chatting with my boss
20 mins oohing and aahing at "Thrushley", the injured bird that one of the admin ladies at the office has been hand feeding catfood with tweezers, be cause he's too young and sick to go in the wild yet. Very cute. Today he got a new perch in his cage. He likes to jump around the office and get on the bookshelves!
Various time throughout the day spent going low (twice) and high (once). This has made me very lethargic and given me a headache. :(
45 mins cooking dinner: lamb leg steaks with chilli and soy. Baked potatoes and onions. Tomato, onion, cucumber, spring onion salsa with lemon and lime juice
2 hours helping hubby paint the walls of his new office. Another low.
20 mins deciding whether or not to ring the Health and Disability Commissioner's office. Decided yes. Now waiting for an advocate to contact me to discuss our case and hopefully get something happening regards ivf.
20 mins having a shower and washing hair
An un-measured amount of time stolen from the day in which I read various blogs and turn over blog ideas in my brain.
Now I'm hanging out on the couch, watching telly with wonderful hubby. Xxx
Today I celebrate 100 posts and 20 followers (Hi you lovely followers you!)
I am giving you all the opportunity to help me in my mission to get funding for our IVF.
This is my letter that I am planning to send to my local Member of Parliament. If you can spare me a few minutes to read it, and comment or email me with your thoughts I will be forever in your debt. I really need to know I'm doing the right thing here, saying the right thing. This letter could win the battle for us. What do you think?
Also, in case you're curious, here is the CPAC form as mentioned in the letter.
Thank you thank you thank you for reading and helping me fight for justice!
This is my step-daughter Olivia singing with her two friends as part of the "Busting to Busk" talent competition in the Park. The song is I'm Yours by Jason Maraz.
Every year the park is lit up with thousands of colourful lights, and there are always plenty of things to see and do. This talent comp was for 13 - 18 year olds. Olivia is 13!!! Look at her go! [She's the blond standing on the right, with guitar. Sorry about bad video quality :( ]
The girls chose the song that afternoon, so about 2 hours rehearsal and they're all ready to perform in front of 500 people. She's getting really confident now, and her pitch and timing are great, shame about the "interesting" drumming by her mate! haha
They won an award for Best Audience Participation. So cute! :D
Access to Infertility Services: development of priority criteria (A report to the National Health Committee by Wayne Gillett and John Peek)
Costs and Effectiveness of Infertility Services in New Zealand: A Decision Analysis (Wayne Gillett, John Peek, Richard Lilford)
I found the CPAC form (1) online last night, as part of research I was doing while writing my letter to the local MP. I couldn't believe it. All this time, and I tripped over it by accident!? Sigh. At least I have a copy now... although this one is dated 2001... remember that when we got scored to see if we were eligible for access, the fertility specialist would not give us a copy of the CPAC form? Yeah, well turns out there might be a sinister reason for that.
Document (2) is a thesis written in 2002, and I've only got a couple of pages into it so far. But it looks interesting so far, perhaps useful...
Documents (3) and (4) were perhaps the most brilliant "finds" after the CPAC form itself. I knew they were in the local library at the tertiary institute where I work. I just couldn't figure out a way to get them without a) the librarian looking at me over her spectacles with a questioning face, and b) having those two reports forever listed on my library record at my place of employment. I don't feel ready to scare my *new* employer like that just yet!! :P
But I had a plan. A cunning plan, so cunning if you put a tail on it you could call it a weasel!
The work library is currently being renovated, and the students are still on holiday. The door is pretty much blocked off as the builders are busy sawing and nailing etc, but I chatted to one who let me into the dark library. There was only one staff member in there working in a back office, so I went quickly to the shelves to get the books. Then I photocopied them in their entireties. No permanent record. I have complete copies that I can scrawl all over at my leisure. Excamallent. :) Quite pleased with myself.
I wish I could put digital copies up here for you to read (should you need to), but they are super-long and it would take forever to scan them. If you are interested in reading them (i.e., you're in NZ and fighting an infertility treatment funding battle) contact me and we can discuss postage.
Basically, I am hoping that all of the documents and reports I've found will support our case that we believe we have been discriminated against and unfairly denied funding. So far so good, all the documents are working in our favour.
Now, I've been checking the Fertility Associates website about every month, just because they do put new information up there. Would you believe it - they have changed the rules for eligibility for access to public funding! They now state, in black and white on their website, that:
Factors which reduce CPAC score – but funding may be possible:
Having one child12 or younger living at home
Having had a vasectomy or tubal ligation. Where one of the couple has had a vasectomy or tubal ligation, duration of infertility for CPAC scoring starts from when the couple first see a doctor about having a child.
OMG. That was NEVER up there before. :( And it is not a part of any of the other documents I've found, which deal with how to decide the rules! (My heart sinks. Hope once again tries to fly away.)
I think that Fertility Associates is being discriminatory; I think they are adding their own rules ON TOP OF THE CPAC FORM.
So, without an actual current CPAC form, with associated documentation to go with it, I can't be sure. I have a gut feeling, but I can't be sure.
I have just gotten off the phone with two lovely ladies from the hospital who's website published the CPAC form. I asked them: "You know that CPAC form for infertility you have on your website, it's dated 2001, is that the most current version of that form do you know?"
And lo and behold, the nice lady in Elective Services did know. Yes! It's current, Yes! They update them regularly. So that makes me hopeful again. Because it means that the fertility clinic, Fertility Associates, has less of a leg to stand on when they say the duration of infertility is calculated from the date of the first doctor's visit. Because NOWHERE on the CPAC form does it mention that. And NOWHERE in the documents (3) and (4) above does it say anything about it either. Because it's a stupid made-up rule of Fertility Associates, that they are using to weed out couples/people who don't fit the traditional notion of a pretty little infertile family. That's what I reckon anyway.
But yay! Now I know that the CPAC form I have is the current one! Everything just feels a little more stable and hopeful than it did when I read that bit on their website (see above).
I'm now in my second week back at work after the Christmas break, and there are 3 things on my mind:
why do I keep falling into an exhausted sleep at midday?
when will I finally write the Christmas beach holiday post I promised you all?
how on earth do I write a letter to my Member of Parliament asking for help with getting funding for IVF?
First things first: the tiredness.
Last week, I took 2 full afternoons off work, and each time as soon as I got home I fell into a coma-sleep until dinner time. Then there was the drama with the fish hook over the weekend, and then I got so exhausted with a migraine yesterday lunchtime I once again came home and fell asleep. I've taken iron tablets, and now I am taking B vitamins as well. Today seems to be ok so far, but I am dreading lunchtime because I'm afraid I will be too whacked to make it through the afternoon.
Lucky that I'm on a 3 week contract with another department here at the tertiary institute, because I don't have a real boss at the moment, which is great cos it means I can just slip home, sleep, then work in the evenings if I need to.
Second: the Christmas holiday beach post
Sometime this week I hope! I have a gazillion photos to download from my camera (last count I think it had close to 2000 photos waiting for download.) I'm hopeless at downloading...just love taking photos! haha
Third: the letter to the MP
This one is hard, because I know it's the next (read: only) step in our journey for IVF. I started re-writing what I had done already, but got part way through and turned into a mess of tears. It's so hard reading about the last year+ and all the crap we've been through, and knowing that this MP probably can't do much to help our particular case, and how am I supposed to approach this letter anyway? Everytime I start, it's too much. It's overwhelming. I have set myself a deadline to do it each week for the past 3 weeks and failed each time. I don't know whether to explain what's happened in great detail, or give bullet points, or just plain ol' beg for help?? I want to get a draft written and send it to my Endo, so he can give it the once over before I send it to the MP. I also want to be able to post it here first, to see what you all think.
Yeah, so today I am also starting the non-holiday food. That means, eat more fresh healthy stuff, and less "it's holiday time, fast food is ok!" food. Delicious cous cous with spring onions and chopped baby toms for lunch, with an apricot. Raisins and sesame crackers for snacks. No more bakery food for lunch! Makes me feel too ugh. Makes the diabetes too hard to predict. Fresh food always makes me happy.
How are you handling the back-to-work transition from the holidays?
But not for me this time! Unfortunately, while fishing off the breakwater at the port last night, my husband got a fish on the line (that's ok, we like fish!), but the fish let go and the line pinged back and all the hooks and sinkers hit him in the head!
I was sitting on a rock nearby, taking photos, and I heard him yell. He turned around and there was blood pouring down his face. I think there may have been some swears! I rushed over and I could see a huge hook caught in his temple, and fishing line wrapped all about his head. I got the big hook out (7cm long) as it was only a couple of mm below the surface of the skin. I had to use a whopping great fishing knife to cut all the line away, and it must have looked like I was threatening him from a distance! :P
But there was a second hook, smaller, only about 4cm long, but lodged quite deeply into his left eyebrow. :(
We packed up and drove the short distance home, and checked it out under better light. After deciding he couldn't remove it himself (and I sure as heck wasn't game!) we made the 1min trip to the hospital. Literally, it would only take us 5 mins to walk there we live so close!
And then we waited. For 3 HOURS!!! Sure, he wasn't in much pain, but he was going into a bit of shock, and he was quite a mess with blood all over his face. I had made sure to take a good stash of food and juice with me as I knew the wait could be a while.
And, oh yeah, had a low of 3.0mmol/L in the middle of all this! :S There was a discussion about who should drive to the hospital, not me, cos I'm low, and not him, as he's got blood on his face and may be in shock... he drove. I figure he had better control of all his faculties at that point!
All the staff were really kind and helpful, and they apologised for the long wait; there was a car crash with several patients which arrived just before us. They even let Hubby in to get cups of tea and coffee. Oh, and the nurses were all quite curious to see the man with the hook in his eye!
When we finally got let in to the ED, I asked if I could video the "procedure" and the lovely doc said yes. Here 'tis. Please don't watch if you're at all squeamish!
And part 2:
Funny, I was just thinking the other day that I hadn't been to A+E for a while. Looked like I jinxed it! haha :P
If you're in NZ or Australia you will know about this:
My brother in law, sister in law, and my 1 year old neice (my first niece or nephew!) have just moved to Ipswich. Ipswich is one of the worst places hit by the flood. So far 12 people have died in the flood. It's been described like an inland tsunami. It's caused by the recent torrential rains (La Nina weather pattern), a king tide, and the dams upstream having to release water because otherwise they will burst. This has meant that the rivers Brisbane and Bremer have broken their banks, along with countless smaller tributaries and streams.
Fortunately, our family has contacted us and let us know that they are safe, with their house being on slightly higher ground. But now the new problems are emerging, such as the price of basic food items skyrocketing. Thousands of homes and businesses are not only underwater or damaged, but without power - they've cut the power on purpose to stop people getting electrocuted. Now there are concerns about Dengue Fever and snakes in the water!
Here are two videos showing Ipswich after the Bremer River reached it's peak of over 19m; our family are less than 3 blocks from the water now.
Just interesting to see that I wasn't the only one who reacted strongly to these ads.
Amongst all the bad stuff:
IVF is expensive
And emotionally taxing
And there is not enough public funding in NZ for it
And access to that funding is very strict and unfair
Maybe the ad is exploiting infertile people?
And it's definitely not realistic - very much rosy-tinted glasses material
Such as being able to afford a loan - that means that one of the parents is wealthy enough on a single income to look after the whole family while the Mum is on maternity leave etc... Not very realistic, for us at least.
And they get triplets! NZ has a single embryo transfer policy for public funded treatments
Then they have enough money for a new car!
Was some good news:
ASB (the bank who made the advert) has raised the awareness of infertility in New Zealand
This could in turn make people aware that IVF/infertility treatments are very expensive, and more public funding is desperately needed here.
We are back from our holiday up the coast (more on that in the next post), and the kids are here for the weekend.
We are very lucky in that both of our sets of parents live within bike-ride distance, so we packed up the kids and pedaled off to hubby's parents. About 3km away I guess, with a couple of gnarly hills thrown in.
We took off and it was all going well. After the first hill however I didn't feel too flash. Not very good at all! We stopped and I did a test. At 9.8mmol/L it was not a low, surely! But with a spinning head and nausea, it was reasonably similar to some of the low symptoms I get. I sat in the shade while hubby gave me water to drink. I would have fallen down if I hadn't already sat down! So faint. So hot. So want to feel not sick and just finish the ride!!
Eventually I was ok to hop back on the bike and keep going. At the grandparents house I did a test and got 6.5mmol/l. Also not a low, but when you consider that was a fall of 3 points in only ten minutes, the funny feelings start to make sense. It was a blood sugar crash! I had just caught it higher up than normal.
12g carbs in he juice box and a cup of tea 4g sugar did the trick. I looked back in my meters memory to see what the lunch time test was: 15.9mmol/L - no wonder I felt so horrid! That's a drop of ten points in about 2 hours. Coupled with strenuous exercise ( for me! ) it was all just too much.
I spent New Year's with my family, as hubby was working in the mad throng of downtown (sound engineer for the local Irish band). We watched the royal variety show (a bit of a tradition in our house) then said our goodnights and "happy new years". Out the window of my parent's house the valley was filled with fireworks, and it was wonderful to sit back and watch out of the huge windows.
Summer is truly here, and I've spent the last couple of 2010 days biking, fishing, walking, and getting a little sunburnt! Oops! Never fear, industrial strength sunscreen is here - and I need it, what with the Roaccutane and my playstation-like-tan.
Tomorrow (I mean today, well, in the morning) we go on holiday and I can't wait. Just a week of relaxing by the beach, fishing, swimming, reading, and pretending to know how to play tennis.
Oh, and the food! The last week has been gloriously scrumptious, with THREE Christmas dinners spread over two days, and then a ten year old's birthday lunch, plus several trips to eat out when we can't be bothered cooking/have eaten the cupboard bare, and New Years Day lunch booked in with my Aunt and Uncle tomorrow. Now you see why I've been riding the bike! I think I've mentioned it before, but here we have a long coastal walkway, paved, and mostly flat. It's 7+ Km long, and it's a joy to ride along on a sunny summer's day :D
Throughout all the food and dining, I've been paying reasonably careful attention to my blood sugars. Although, I wasn't at ALL surprised when I spotted a few 20mmol/L's creeping in! Oh well, just deal with them and get on with it. It's definitely the strange, rich food, and different daily routine causing the trouble.
I have been trialling a new iPhone app over the last week, and it seems pretty swish. Diamedic is a pain in the a$s to enter details into, but it does give some nice useful graphs. And, I have to admit, I am much more likely to sit in front of the telly with the iPhone and enter the day's results out of my paper log book, than I am to use a web-based system (been there, Log for Life: Please fix your iPhone app! And stop charging a monthly fee thhhpppppppps *raspberry*!). So, for now anyway, Diamedic is a win. It's not perfect by far, but it has already enabled me to see trends such as how I am sitting too high before lunch and dinner, but doing well with the before breakfast and after lunch results, on the whole. It's a bit finicky but once you get the hang of it, you see how many features it offers. You can get it here.
Oh, and if any Diamedic folk happen to be reading, can you please figure out a way to retain all the features, but make the entry system multi-item friendly? So when I enter my morning bolus, I could also, say, enter the basal, carbs, and whatever else, all at the same time? Ta muchly. :) /end request.
The year that's just been: I would not want to repeat it, but I am glad I went through it. I "lost" my job, but got a fantastic new one which is much better. I found out we don't qualify for publicly funded IVF treatment here in NZ, but I now have some hope, and another year up my sleeve. Hubby and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary. All my step-kids are now in the double-digits (wow! when I met them, the youngest was only 3!!). I had an operation which may or may not have been strictly necessary, but I'm healthy and happy now.
This new year, I am hoping to achieve a pregnancy. If not that, I want to be on the official wait-list for IVF. Sad, I know, but at the moment, just the chance to get on the wait-list would be wonderful! :S In my professional life, I will be studying for my Diploma in Tertiary Learning and Teaching which is exciting and daunting, as I've not been in formal study for 9 years now. I am also hoping to grow as a tutor and raise the standard of design in my town. Well, someone's got to! The rest of the tutors in the art dept., lovely as they are, are either fine-artists, animators, or last practiced design when the ark was a-floating and dino was a-stompin'. :P I love them, truly! And they love me too because I bring them cake and chocolate. Noms. It's all good. It actually give me a great chance to make my mark on the department. I am starting off with a website (naturally!) and some social media awareness. Only one of my colleagues has a blog, and one of them doesn't even have a FB account! Shock horror! Watch this space... :)
In my blogging, I want to continue sharing my life with the world, because I get so much back from you guys, and I really enjoy being a part of your lives too. It's a cool community online here. Thank you.
There are other goals I'm setting myself, but they are quite mundane in comparison to the ones above.
Anyway, welcome to the New Year!! As I write this it's 1.30am in New Zealand. Time for a nap :)