Vitex Side Effects

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The vitex flower is beautiful, but beware of the supplement.

I have had a lot of traffic on my blog from my original vitex post. If you want to see my original post, it is here.

If you read that post, you know that I experienced very severe side effects while taking vitex. I seem to get a lot of hits because other people have experienced this as well, and there isn’t a lot of information out there. I know it has helped some women, but a potential side effect from the herb is severe depression. And I mean scary severe. What concerns me is that this is not listed as a possible side effect. Any website selling this stuff claim vitex is completely safe.

This is from about.com: “Vitex may affect levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine. People with Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, or any other condition in which dopamine levels are affected should avoid vitex unless under the supervision of a qualified health professional. Vitex may decrease the effectiveness of oral contraceptives or female hormone replacement. It could also theoretically increase the risk of side effects.”

I have zero medical training, but I was always very sensitive to the pill. If you are sensitive to the pill, please use vitex with caution. I was taking vitex with the pill, and it DID increase side effects severely.

Dopamine and vitex

Two years later, I think I have the key to why vitex affected me so much. It all goes back to dopamine levels. Dopamine is the hormone responsible for focus, altertness and concentration. If you have low dopamine levels, you will have a hard time focusing. You will have difficulty finishing projects. You will become bored easily. Does this sound like anything else? If ADD popped into your head, you would be correct.

Dopamine, ADD and vitex

Most studies have shown that people with ADD have low dopamine levels. (Low dopamine levels have also been linked to addiction and other disorders, but ADD is the most common.)  I have ADD and was only recently diagnosed. I will do an entire post on that one, but I unknowingly had low dopamine levels. When I started taking the vitex it must have made my already low dopamine levels go even lower. Females with ADD have different symptoms than men, and are less commonly diagnosed. If you have been diagnosed with ADD or suspect you may have it, you may experience severe side effects with vitex.

If you think you may have it, below are some resources for people with ADD. Medication has made my life much more successful, productive and happy. I was undiagnosed for so long because I have the inattentive piece and not the stereotypical hyperactive piece. This may be you, it may not be. But please check out these articles and resources for women with ADD:

Women with ADD from about.com
The “primarily inattentive” description in the article is me.

Women with ADD symtom list from ADDitude Magazine.
I have to answer yes to nearly all of those questions.

Why can’t I concentrate? from CNN

ADD Women: Why Girls and Moms Go Undiagnosed from ADDitude Magazine

Vulnerability and other crap

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I know I have been bad about posting. Sorry all!

So here’s where I am in a nutshell:

On having children:
I decided that freezing my eggs would probably be the best thing for me at this point. As most of you know, my finances have not been super rosy. So I call the RE’s office that had seen me for my effing unicorn.

“We’re doing a study on egg freezing,” says the receptionist. My thought: wahoo, someone in Idaho is actually going to start freezing eggs! So at the end of the day, the nurse returns my call. Yes, they are doing a study (wahoo again!), BUT (hate the but) since you have “uterus issues” (her word not mine) I am not eligible. (@#%$^)

They then referred me to John Jain in Santa Monica, and I look at his website. Lots of TV appearances and lots of kudos. Ok, sweet. Then I go to the egg freezing section of the website, and have to pick my jaw up off the floor. $12,750.00. And then I would have to have IVF at about the same cost. Sad panda. Very sad panda.

Was hoping that would be my birthday present to myself: buy a couple of years. But buying a couple of years is out of of the budget for this self-employed chica. Oh why didn’t I pick a higher paying career path?! Damn.

On love:
So I went out on a limb and joined eHarmony. I decided since I was so horrid at picking men I was compatible with, that I would try to axe that part out of the system altogether. See, this way, I can’t choose another pretty asshole with a personality disorder. I can only see men that I am compatible with, so there is no way I will pick someone wrong for me because they are hidden altogether.

However it seems that I am so, um, unique(?!) that I am only compatible with men who are 48 years old, that, well, looks aren’t everything, but, let’s just say that they are all probably huge Star Trek fans. I am not sure how this art freak got matched with some of them, but once I mention Burning Man they pretty much run the other way. So, um, at this rate it looks like I may be stuck buying Costco size battery packs for a long long time.

On everything else:
Yes, I have a giant complex about my freak uterus, about having a horrible love life, and really just feeling pretty alone in general. It just seems like if I weren’t so weird for Idaho, if I were thinner, prettier, smarter, more talented, etc. etc. etc. that I would have what I wanted in life. Lots and lots of worthiness issues. I could go on long enough about kicking my own butt that even my mother wouldn’t read the entire thing if her life depended on it.

This lady makes me feel much better about it. In fact, I am about to go buy her book. I think her message is pretty important for all of us that struggle with the shame of our funky birth defects. Yes, shame. I have it, lots of it. There I said it. Watch this:

 

Baby Shower

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I have one in an hour. It’s for a lovely couple, and they are having it at a winery. I know my dread at attending this is entirely selfish. I don’t begrudge the expecting couple at all, it just reminds me of my own solitary existence. I wish I could register for an inpregnation fund like most people register for their wedding.

Ok, putting on the brave face and hoping I don’t burst into tears at this thing.

Wishes

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Magic Wand

I haven’t posting. Maybe you noticed, maybe you didn’t.

I have read so many of your stories, and my heart aches for all of you. And, I am happy for your adoptions and births. I am. It gives me hope. But, selfishly, reading everyone else’s posts make me feel sad as well. Most of you are married, I am not. Most of you have the funds to conceive one way or the other—either on your own or with your husband/partner. I do not. At least not for now.

I just needed a break. The plain truth is, the more I focus on my unicorn, the more I feel stuck. And, when the RE told me I had a year to have a baby or not, it was heartbreaking. I still tear up every time I think of it. I put on a brave face, but it just seems so daunting to have that looming deadline. Now I have months to to somehow come up with $20k or find Mr. Wonderful who would be willing to conceive, oh, immediately.

So I am somewhat of an anomoly in the IF world even though I have an anomoly myself. I am hoping for a miracle this year. That either my Prince Charming will appear (no more Prince Harmings, universe, please) or that my finances will take a turn for the better so I can just TTC on my own.

Come on world, please please please throw me a rope, a job, a guy, a winning lotto ticket, anything. I don’t know how many more baby showers, weddings, and engagement parties I can take without some happy news of my own.

What a long strange journey it’s been

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The beautiful temple at Burning Man

So if anyone is still reading this, I haven’t posted for about a month and a half. I just had to take the focus somewhere else for a while. And, well, it’s been a crazy month to say the least. The shortened version of August/September is essentially this:

  1. August was spent prepping for Burning Man (happy busy!)
  2. Just before leaving for Burning Man I snooped around on Facebook and discovered that my ex was in a new relationship. Initial reaction: ouch, but I had moved on at that point so not a huge deal.
  3. I snooped some more on his new girlfriend’s page. And, had a major OMG moment when I realized she had posted pictures with Jon the day before I went into surgery this spring. When I had surgery he told me this story about how his uncle needed help moving and really needed him there. I realized in that moment it was all a lie. This woman was here staying with him while I really needed support.
  4. Complete and total rage at what a rat bastard lying cheating SOB he was. Realized that this relationship was going on at the same time as ours, and even when he ended he told me there was no one else. Lies, lies, lies and more lies he told me.
  5. Went to Burning Man, still pissed as hell at him, but that is an amazing place to deal with emotion. I cried my eyes out at the temple for about 3 hours. That helped immensely, and then of course the water works started again as I watched it burn.
  6. I came home, and the whole thing was still bugging me to death. So, for better or for worse, I took action. I contacted his new girlfriend and told her everything. Of course he lied to her as well. He asked us both to move to Oregon. He told us both that he loved us, he was sleeping with both of us, and lying through his teeth. Who does that?
  7. Girlfriend basically thinks things over, doesn’t believe me, believes Jon’s bullshit story that I was nothing more than a friend with benefits.
  8. I realized that Jon is a dirtbag rat bastard with absolutely no soul. Then I realized he is that, but also seriously messed up in the head. He apparently is so terrified of being alone that he will manipulate, lie, cheat, and tell me that he will support me in having a baby, all while carrying on a relationship with another women. Thank god I didn’t move for him. Still mad that I wasted a year and half on a total and complete douchebag. (No there are no names too low for this one.)
  9. He is also an alcoholic working as a councilor while drinking again. So I turned him in for that as well. He seriously needs to be stopped.
  10. Funny thing, my body stopped hurting after I found all this out. It knew before I consciously knew all this myself apparently. Too bad I didn’t figure out what it was telling me before I spent thousands and thousands of dollars on doctors.

So, er, that’s it in a nutshell. The sheer volume of lies that he told me baffles me. He is a world class actor, and a world class liar. At least I will rest well knowing that I did everything in my power to stop him from using, manipulating, and hurting anyone else. I almost feel like I was in a movie, or a nightmare. So bizarre.

A psychologist told me that her off the cuff diagnosis is antisocial personality disorder. It’s the disorder that criminals have. He definitely has some sort of disorder, normal people just don’t act without remorse or care for anyone else.

Giving up

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So all of the tests are back from the RE. They screwed up my appointment in the books, so all I got was a 5 minute phone call to go over the results.

They told me my blood type, A+. Yes, I know.That I am immune to rubella. Yes, I know. That I have one tube. Yes, I know. That I am immune to chickenpox. Yes, I know. I still have scars on my stomach. I have a unicornuate uterus. YES I KNOW.

The RE I had placed such high hopes on completely let me down. No answer as to why I am in pain. The only new news is that my FSH is low and I would need extra fertility drugs if I ever were to get pregnant. Goody. Oh, and that I have approximately one year to decide if I want to have a child. All of that cost me $2k.

I don’t know what to do at this point except to just give up. I have no money to cover the cost of artificial insemination and no guy. It looks like I am one of those lucky ones in life that just isn’t going to get what I want, that I am just one of those failures in life. In every way.

If I was going to end up single and alone forever, I always thought all that blood sweat and tears I put into my career would pay dividends. But some people really just end up not getting what they want in life. I never thought it would be me, but it is. I never thought that I would be debilitated by pain at age 36. I never thought I would be alone. I never thought I wouldn’t have a family. I never thought my career would fail utterly as would my finances. I would never wish these things on anyone and can’t help wondering what I have done to deserve this. Where did I go so horribly wrong and what is so wrong with me?

I had a brief repose from pain, but well, it’s back. And, well, no one wants to hear about that, so I think I’m just going to take a break from blogging until something changes. No one wants to hear the same things over and over, and no doctor has any answers or can seem to help me. If you want me, I’ll be bonding with my couch.

One tube

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So I had my HSG today. Good news, my one attached fallopian tube is open. And, there doesn’t appear to be any sort of cavity in the rudimentary horn. That’s good news and bad news as I think that makes the reason for my pain even more mysterious.

At least it has been better lately. I haven’t had to down any of those lovely percocet pills since June. On a side note, I see why people get hooked on those babies. Not only do I not feel any pain whatsoever, the world becomes this lovely, swimmingly slightly psychodelic place. Yea, I don’t mind that one bit. On another side note,  I recommend not watching the later seasons of Weeds while on narcotic pain meds. It makes that dark humor way too bizzarro. Just saying…

And, the best news yet: now I should be done being the human pin cushion/lab rat. NO MORE TESTS. I just have to wait for the RE to get back from vacation at the beginning of August before I really get the low down on the plan. But I think the plan will be green light to conceive if I decide to. Eeek eeeek eeek.