Irony – Allanis style

I’m having a rough week. I will know in a few days if I am pregnant or not from round three, but if i’m honest, I think not. It’s a roller coaster of hope and frustration, and we go back to the fertility doctor on the 20th of March.

Mostly unrelated, for the past half decade or so, I’ve worked with Big Brothers Big Sisters. I met my first little sister when she was 14, and we built a solid relationship, so as she entered adulthood and aged out of the program, we have stayed close.

Today she told me she is pregnant, by accident, with a BF or three months, without resources or means, or planning. Because that is what young fertile people do. I am being supportive. I am being helpful. And I am dying inside.

There is a For Better or For Worse strip that basically says “fertility doesn’t come with foresight”.

I have no words.



Letrozole Round 3

So round two failed, which… sucks, but not shocking.

As I round the corner of having completed my third bout of letrozole, I am noticing an interesting and frustrating side effect: Absentmindedness. I’m not normally particularly forgetful, and I don’t often misplace things. But in the last month, I have completely forgotten conversations and the plans that were made in them on several occasions, and left my rowing gear at the club after practice twice. Along with that, I can’t do my normal standard of multitasking, and when my Husband talks at me when I’m doing some school stuff I have no idea what he’s said or how to respond. Granted, it would be nice if he waited until he had asked for my attention before starting to talk, but that didn’t used to be an issue, so it’s hardly surprising since it’s a new problem.

I’m not really sure what to do about it, the options are basically to roll with it and accept that I’m going to be an airhead for the duration of fertility treatment, or to stop treatment and hope my brain comes back.

I’m a little nervous about being able to finish the last two courses of my masters with limited mental capacity, not to mention the social issues with friends who I miss/forget plans with – there are only so many times you can apologize before the behaviour becomes tiresome/unforgivable.

So, we shall see. Each round of medication seems to bring a slightly different set of side effects as it slowly builds up in my system. The first month I was more mellow than I have been in a long time, the second one brought irritability and the start of the brainless factor, and this round? Well, I’ve just finished the meds, but we shall see how it goes.



Random Update

So the thing I have avoided talking about, thinking about the source of a lot of my anger in the last month or so…

My sister told me early this month that her husband had smashed his head through their bedroom door because he was angry, telling her that “it had been a choice of his head or hers” and that he had decided his head was the better choice. He’s always been violent and broken things. Years ago, my Husband and I shared a house with them when they were first married (They married two years into their relationship, 11 ish years ago – we married eight years into our relationship, eight years ago). I vividly remember one time when My Husband was working away for a month – i hear my sister and her husband fighting, tried not to, and then heard something break. So I went to investigate, and found a chair shattered, and my sister cleaning up. In a fit of rage, her husband had broken a chair. I thought that was unacceptable at the time, but didn’t read too much into it. I, We, grew up with a father who, although he had a lot of redeeming qualities, had a temper, and occasionally lashed out and damaged things and on very rare occasions us, so it wasn’t outside my, or her, experience of normal (I would have been 20 or 21, she would have been 23-24). Over the years, she mentioned an occasional violent outburst, but it was rare, and around the time my younger niece was born, 7.5 years ago, I was under the impression that he had stopped his outbursts and seen them for the inappropriate behaviours they were – especially where his children were concerned.

So fast forward to this month. Finding out that my brother in law has been increasingly violent and breaking things on an increasingly frequent basis. It culminated in that fight I mentioned above – him shoving his head through the door – twice. Did I mention that my 4.5 year old nephew was on the other side of the door?

I’m torn as to what to do. As i’m older and wiser, I recognize that a lot of the things I accepted as normal as a child were, in fact, abusive. I think my parents did the best they could, but that’s what happens when people have children in their early 20s- they don’t get the chance to be fully formed adults and they have the learn on the job. Dad slapped me once, when I was about 9, and he looked so ashamed. It was a one time event, but he hit me so hard I dropped to the floor, and he looked so ashamed.

I am afraid for the wellbeing of my sister, my niece, and my nephew. I am worried about their long term happiness, and the volatile quality of my brother in laws temper. I want to believe that he is capable of changing, but from the moment he threatened my sister, he lost all positive interactions I have tried to send his way.

I do not believe he will hurt my family. I also no longer consider him among that membership.

Abuse is no small thing, and I worry about my Munchkins future. If we do get to have children, we have known for years that we would never leave them alone with the brother in law – he can’t be trusted. But how long is it going to take for my sister to see that?




I wrote a whole post about anger and frustration and how i’m starting to come to terms with my anger about our fertility situation among other things … and it got lost in the ether of the wordpress website and never got posted.

So cliff notes version: I am having to realize that I am angry. I am beyond pissed off that my Husband and I can’t seem to have biological kids and I am currently dealing with a family situation where my brother in law, the father of one niece, one nephew, is a violent twit who recently threatened my sister “It was your head or mine going though that door” (he chose his, his head went through that door, because thats the smart thing to do – shove your head through a door in front of your four year old son, because that’s just fiiiiiiine) I hate that that idiot managed to procreate with my sister, not because I don’t love my niece and nephew, I do, and I am so excited that they are little people who exist. I just hate that He gets to be a father when my Husband doesn’t. That violent jackass piece of shit is a parent, shares a life with my sister and their kids, and my Husband, who is… so much better. Isn’t doesn’t get to have kids. Not yet, anyways. And if we’re honest here, maybe never.

I think the thing is that we all have to know that fertility isn’t fair. Fertility isn’t an indication of who you are as a person, who you are as a couple, who you are as a responsible unit… Fertility is a simple matter of what happens in utero … or doesn’t. And I’m sure there are people who believe it’s the will of a deity, but I don’t. It’s just that sometimes life isn’t fair, and thats not divine, it’s just life.



Happy 2018!

I am disinclined to make new years resolutions. I think it’s important to reflect and evaluate where you’re at and decide what you’re happy with, what you’re not, and how you want to change… but I think the arbitrary start date of New Years and making it a resolution is setting yourself up for failure. I mean, it’s a running joke among fitness/health professionals that the first week of January is a whirlwind and crazy busy and that by mid February everything will have calmed down back to normal.

All that being said, I had a pretty relaxed holiday, I didn’t spend any time with anyone other than my three furballs (the Husband, the dog, and the cat…) and I got some time off work, and I got to spend some time in reflection and think about what I do want to work to change.

The first thing that I know I need to work on is my own perception of myself and my war with my body. I’ve mentioned before that I feel like in many ways my body has betrayed me – its inability to conceive, to adhere to the physical appearance I idealize, and honestly the feeling that it has over the past year given out on me as my ability to push through the depression and its sister ship fatigue and I am actually having to take some time off. For these, and so very many more reasons, I often feel like I am waging a never ending series of battles with myself.

There are aspects of that last paragraph that made me cringe a little bit even as I wrote them – the idealized body annoys me – not because it exists as much because I still apparently buy into it. And that, although I do think I have gotten better at this, I still struggle to give myself grace and respect that self care is a necessary thing. I often counsel my clients on this front, but often I recognize that it’s basically a “do as I say, not as I do” situation. Which makes me a bit of a hypocrite, but…. well, like I say, i’m working on it.

The most recent meeting with the second fertility Doctor did help to reduce my feeling of inadequacy with respect to our inability to conceive – he made it clear that neither of us is to blame for our lack of a baby – we as a couple simply have not been able to create a viable melding of our genetic matter (I may also call an eventual child exactly that as a nickname, maybe i’d be unfit to parent??? VMGM FTW!)

The useful thoughts that came out of actually having time away from our workaholic lives to hang out together and talk: Husband and I have agreed that one way or the other, whether because the fertility treatments work, or whether we end up looking into and going through the adoption process, we plan to be parents sometime in the next five years. That being a plan, we have agreed on a few behavours that both of us think we would like to change/modify before we model them for the next generation. These are basic things like actually sitting down at the table to eat instead of grabbing food and hanging out in the living room and ignoring each other, less screen time in general for non work/school related purposes, etc. Nothing ground breaking, mostly just small things that we think would be good to change anyways, and we both see the value of building the habits now so that they are habits when the time comes, which will make it easier to adhere to.

But ultimately, the main thing I need to work on, not as a resolution, not with a finite end date or goal… just a general sense that I need to learn to work with my body and be kinder to myself instead of punishing myself… Because frankly it’s just counterproductive.

Random final thought: Having to have sex every day for a week is a lot less fun in reality than it is in theory once you’re in your 30s. It’s amazing how something so fun can start to seem like such a chore.

In a little under two weeks I’ll know if i’m pregnant or if we’re going for round two of letrozole. Honestly, it hasn’t been so bad. Other than a weird taste in my mouth early on, three days of crushing fatigue (like 12-14 hours of sleep/day) leading up to ovulation (probable ovulation) this medication has not been as bad as I expected at all. Mostly I am dreading the let down I know will come when I find out that I am, once again, not pregnant. You would think after 57 cycles of this I would be numb, but this whole fertility treatment brings it all right back home.




More than most things, depression is humbling.

I have in most aspects of my life been able to force my way through, muscle/brain/charm/flirt, etc. I am lucky. I am a pretty, caucasian, blond, and highly intelligent female. I found out when I was 17 that the IQ tests I took at age 9 designated me a genius – on a continuum I fall about halfway between 99-100. I didn’t actually know when I was placed in the gifted program at age 10 what it meant, other than that i got to skip social studies, which was great for me – give me mind puzzles over details on the voyageurs any day. I mostly use this as an example as why when I say that IQ is not a relevant indication of success, it’s not sour grapes – I am in the top 0.5 percentile according to highly biased tests best suited to middle class north americans. I just don’t think IQ is relevant because, frankly, it has a lot of research and anecdotal evidence suggesting it is not. However, it has been valuable to me in that I pick up new concepts quickly, I can respond and amalgamate new information efficiently, And I see links between details that are not immediately evident to others…. Basically I feel like I am extremely good at fooling people into thinking I know more than I do. Don’t get me wrong, in my chosen field of active rehabilitation, I am good – I have worked my butt of to know, research, back up, and reenforce what I do, and I am good at it. But much of the rest of my life I am simply faster on my feet than average, and therefor I feel like i’ve fooled people into thinking I am smarter/better than I am.

All that being said, where does the humble come in? Here’s where:

I can’t muscle/think/smartass my way through depression and mental illness. Long before I started this blog, I was in denial that I was experiencing depression. My sister in law told me, years ago, that what I was experiencing was depression – she was right – and I denied it outright. My own fear of the stigma and overall atmosphere surrounding mental health caused me to completely disregard my own. In my mind, the fact that I was not suicidal, and could get my butt out of bed in the morning, were indications that I was fine. I was not aware of the term “high functioning depression”. I thought that to be depressed I would have to be basically bedridden and lacking any kind of motivation.

So I convinced myself that the black hole of a mental state was just my being grumpy, it had nothing to do with the feelings of inadequacy, the fear, self loathing, insecurity, fatigue… It was just my having a shitty day. Nothing to worry about. Because I could get up, go to work, be a full time student and work 2-3 part time jobs and still be a supportive friend/wife/sibling/child… all of this could happen, right?

I promised myself time off when I finished my undergrad – I was just going to work the part time job as a research coordinator for a lab at the university – a role I had been doing while completing my undergrad degree and honours thesis (it’s published, woowoo). Then I got my first real job as a Kinesiologist, and the next five years are what she wrote – far be it for me to turn down a job in my chosen field and not choose to work my ass off. But I never took time off. By the time I walked across the stage I was already embarked on my new career – something that few of my peers had managed, but something that meant that long desired and planned for time off didn’t happen. Fast forward five interesting and professionally fulfilling years – I don’t regret that decision. But I was burnt out and a mess at the end of my undergrad, and I never actually took the pause that I promised myself.

Back to humble. Basically it is this: It doesn’t matter how smart, driven, determined, or full on stubborn I am. Depression has caught up with me and overrun my life in the last few years. And that is humbling; not because I thought I was better than anyone else, but because I had that stupid blind faith that I would somehow manage to be the exception: That Depression wouldn’t be able to take its tole, do it’s damage, because I would push through. So … humbled. Because this is my take away: You can run, but you can’t hide. You can busy the shit out of your brain, prioritize other things and people, and run at full steam for as long as you can… but you cannot ignore mental health. It isn’t simply gone. It refuses to be forgotten. Trust me on this, I tried. For years. For years before I knew what I was doing, and possibly with more fervour once I had more awareness. Therapy helped a lot, because it tends to. And I think it was a decent stopgap measure, but in my vanity, I still thought I could go it alone, and that was an epic fail.

When I finally hit the point earlier this year that I wanted to stop existing, I was clear that I needed help. All of the help. And I needed to let go of my own narcissistic vanity and be vulnerable. And I hated every second of that. I hate being vulnerable, I hate feeling weak, and I hate letting people in and needing support. But in wanting to not be me anymore, I realized I had to stop pretending that my depression wasn’t real.

I’m not going to for a second pretend I have any answers. I don’t. I don’t want to die. I want to see what life has to offer. I wish I had more humility, because even as I write this I still feel like I should know better. But that is the thing with being humbled – it happens in spite of yourself, not because of a decision, despite one… despite your sense of self, wants, needs… the id will out. And mine has wanted out with a vengeance, and scares the ever living shit out of me.

At least I don’t want to die.

Ugh. Humble is not my colour.




I hate being the object of pity. I’m not much happier with sympathy, I can sometimes handle empathy… But I hate pity.

I raced at Regionals this weekend, and although all of my four races felt good, and my team came together and performed well, I did not win any medals. Which was disappointing – every other person on my team won in one of their other races, I seemed to be the common denominator among losing boats. I thought I had made more improvements over the last year than I had, but apparently it’s going to take a lot more work to compete at an international level and win.

One of my coaches, who is an ex national team athlete (he was headed for the olympics until an injury forced early retirement), decided to race a single scull, and unsurprisingly he won. He felt like it was unfair, because despite having followed the letter of the law, it is somewhat unsportsmanlike for an athlete of his caliber to compete at a masters level. So this is where the pity comes in: At the end of the regatta, once the boats were packed back on the trailer and we were ready to make the 4+ hour drive back to the ferry, he called everyone together for a team meeting/end of regatta wind down chat. It started out nicely enough, he made some nice comments about learning a lot from adult athletes and how much he enjoyed coaching us…

Then he brought up a new thing. The “spirit” award. Citing the idea that this person had been positive and complained the least throughout the weekend, he called on me, and gave me his gold. And I just wanted to crawl under a rock and die. It I felt that I had earned that award, maybe it wouldn’t have felt so shitty, but I don’t think I did – There was another member of the team who had been far more helpful, positive, and proactive than I had been all weekend, which means they selected me because they felt bad for me. Because I alone had not medaled. I can handle my own disappointment, but knowing that I was the object of my coach’s pity just … It just sucks.

I held it together until I got into the car to drive home and then let the tears come. The ladies I was carpooling with were worried about me, and agreed that it was a poor choice and pretty transparently a consolation prize… and they were lovely. Half an hour into our drive home we were giggling about other things.

I have no desire to have anyone pity me. A large part of why I keep the details of my infertility largely private is because I have no interest in being the object of that attention. And I work my ass off at rowing, i’m just not performing at a high enough level to win yet. Having my coach think that that action was appropriate just… Makes me want to quit. Having it happen in front of all of my peers, and drawing attention to my failure, not to mention making me a lightning rod for their pity as well? FML.

I know that he thought he was doing something nice, and that makes the whole thing somehow worse. If he were just being an ass hole, I would write it off and dismiss it, but he genuinely thought that he was being kind. And there isn’t really a way to give it back without being an ass hole in return.

I’m aware that three days of racing in 35+ degree (celsius) weather, plus <5 hours a night of sleep for five days, plus 7+ hours of travel time on either end it making me more emotional than normal. I’m aware that once I am well rested and a few days have passed I will feel less miserable about this. But right now I don’t want to get back on the water, I don’t want to deal with anyone from that arena, I just want to hide, give up, oh, and starve myself to boot, because when I hate myself, I feel all the old body image issues resurfacing.

I have to go for a training shift at my new job today. I am overtired, have a slight heat exhaustion hangover, and my brain feels like fuzzy mush. Not ideal training circumstances, so here’s hoping I can get through it with some shred of dignity intact.

Fuck pity.