Week three of Leuprolide

I want to give a short update about how things are going on my Leuprolide Acetate (Lupron) protocol. First a quick note: In this blog, I will talk in detail about medications and protocols prescribed to me. This is never meant as advice for anyone else. Our bodies and circumstances are all different. The only thing that I recommend is talking to your doctors, doing internet research with a healthy dose of skepticism, and practicing self-advocacy.

I am almost done with my second week of subcutaneous Leuprolide injections. I am doing a protocol in which I take Leuprolide for 2-3 months to suppress endometriosis followed by a frozen embryo transfer. (Research shows that the benefits of this protocol are inconclusive, but that is where I am at desperation-wise right now.)

Since depression is a common side effect of Leuprolide and I have a history of all sorts of depression and anxiety, I opted to try daily injections first before moving to a monthly one. That way we can pull the plug on the treatment quickly if anything goes wrong. My reproductive psychiatrist also kept me on an SSRI in addition to my regular medication and I’ve been taking another anti-anxiety medication on top of that. Sucks to be on more drugs, but it’s getting me through with less emotional side effects.

I started the injections in the morning before I realized that most women do them in the evening to avoid the side-effects being worse during the day. The injections themselves aren’t bad. I can barely feel the needle and it doesn’t burn going in like some of the injections that you take to stim during a fresh cycle. The worst side effect for me so far is problems with short term memory. It basically makes me super ditsy, so I write down or record EVERYTHING or I will forget it. It’s also embarrassing to frequently stop mid sentence during meetings because I can’t remember what I started to say.

So that’s where I’m at: holding pattern, trying to not let it affect work too much, keeping a close eye on my mood. Waiting is the worst!

It’s Not Me, It’s the Hormones

tired dog

So I had a post-surgery appointment today. The good news is that I’m doing great! Healing quickly, in less pain than ever before in my life. The bad news is that the exhaustion that I thought was my body recovering from surgery is most likely actually from all the post-surgery and pre-IVF hormones and the anti-depressant/anti-anxiety medications that I’m taking. I think that this blog will be most helpful to you, reader, if I keep things real. So, in addition to talking about infertility, I will also be talking about what it’s like to go through infertility (and hopefully pregnancy and beyond) with a pre-existing anxiety disorder and history of depression. As you likely know first-hand if you are also struggling toward parenthood, there are all kinds of scary statistics out there about the level of stress that going through infertility causes. OK, I’m getting off topic. We will geek out about infertility and stress in a later post, complete with scholarly references. For now, let’s just leave it at my anxiety medication and hormones for infertility treatment are not playing nice. I’m exhausted all the time, and I now realize that this state of affairs won’t go away with one more week of rest. I have to find a way to cope and get work done while I’m this exhausted, possibly for months on end. I’m not sure what I’m going to do to cope yet. In the past I’ve broken my work up into small, doable chunks and rewarded myself for completing each chunk. I’ve also used the ideas of self-compassion and self-care. Now that I’m aware of the cause, I’m confident that I will find ways to slog through: one small step at a time.

Resources that I’ve found helpful:

Gamify Your Infertility (because why not): SuperBetter

Get support and, if you need it, help from an expert: