Laparoscopic Surgery for Pregnancy Chance

A lot has happened since I last posted. Many of them had to do with travel. My husband and I went to New Zealand and Australia for about a week, which was beautiful! One of the best vacations we have ever taken! We hope to go back again to visit the South Island of New Zealand.

The topic today is about the Laparoscopic Surgery I will have in about 2 weeks. There have been great results for many women who have opted for this surgery. My ovaries are just not responding to the fertility medications, pill or shot forms. They barely reach 12 mm and I usually have a lovely pearl string on each ovary. My doctor suggested drilling which is where, through Laparoscopic Surgery, a laser is used to drill holes into the wall that has built up around the follicles. The idea is that the wall is preventing, or making it difficult for, the hormones to reach the follicles. By making holes, the hormones will reach the follicles and increase my chances of getting pregnant. Most women who go through this surgery usually get pregnant within the second or third cycle of fertility treatment. The effects of the surgery should last about 6 months to a year depending on the woman.

In Japan, I have to stay in the hospital for 5 days without any complications. Luckily, I have extra health insurance from Prudential, so they will cover my expenses! Otherwise, it may be too expensive for me to even think about since the regular health insurance doesn’t cover these types of surgeries or hospital stays. Any and all well wishes would be appreciated. I’m sure I will be in pain for about a day or two, but hopefully it will subside relatively quickly.

The harder part is getting the hospital to follow my diet plan for my Leaky Gut Syndrome that has come to haunt me with all of these fertility medications. I will leave this subject for another post though.

All the best to you and as always, feel free to contact me if you would like. Just send me an email or leave a message on this site 😉

V

Sloppy Lasagna

This is the easiest lasagna you will ever make!

I’m allergic to dairy, so for the longest time I was going without my friend, cheese. Then I discovered Sheese, a soy based cheese. It’s vegan friendly and works well in dishes. I tried it on it’s own and it’s alright. Not quite the same, but better than nothing. In a dish like lasagna it was perfection! It was like I could eat dairy again!

I basically followed the recipe from pressure cooking today, but instead of lasagna noodles I used gluten free bifun noodles. Mainly because I had it on hand and didn’t have gluten free lasagna noodles available. Of course, the bifun didn’t hold it’s texture BUT it gave the sloppy lasagna the pasta flavor and helped thicken it up too!

The Sheese I used was the hard cheddar flavored type and it worked well in this recipe. Instead of butter I used coconut oil, instead of beef I used ground chicken and I left out the carrot. I read somewhere that your body doesn’t absorb the nutrients of carrots and tomatoes if they are eaten at the same time…not sure how true that is, but I usually don’t include carrots in my lasagna anyway. I decided to use eggplant in mine and mmmm it was good!

Here is her recipe

Courtesy of Pressure Cooking Today
Ingredients
  • Meat Ragu Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 fresh thyme sprig
  • 1 fresh oregano sprig
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped
  • 1 lb. ground beef chuck
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 cup chopped or crushed tomatoes*
  • 1/2 cup tomato puree*
  • 1/2 cup water (for electric pressure cooker only)*
  • Lasagna
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces (10 noodles) wavy lasagna noodles, broken into 2-inch pieces
  • Water, as needed
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, diced

Directions

Sauce:

  1. Select browning and add 1 tablespoon butter and olive oil to the pressure cooking pot. When butter has melted, add the onion, thyme, oregano, salt, and pepper, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened. Stir in the carrot and celery.
  2. Move the contents to the side of the pressure cooker. Add the beef and garlic and stir to break up. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the beef is brown on at least one side and the juices have evaporated, about 5 minutes. Pour in the crushed tomatoes.
  3. Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker. Cook at high pressure for 18 minutes. When beep sounds turn pressure cooker off and use a quick pressure release. When valve drops carefully remove the lid.
  4. Remove and discard the herb stems. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter to the sauce and stir until melted.
Lasagna
  1. Add the salt and lasagna strips to the sauce in the pressure cooking pot. Pour in enough water to cover the pasta. (I added 1 cup water.) Smooth down the top pieces of pasta so they are submerged.
  2. Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker. Cook at low pressure for 5 minutes, or half the cooking time indicated on the pasta package. When beep sounds turn pressure cooker off and use a quick pressure release. When valve drops carefully remove the lid. Taste the noodles and if you’d like them a little softer, cook on simmer until the noodles are tender.
  3. Pour the lasagna in to a large serving dish. Sprinkle the mozzarella over the lasagna; stir, and let stand, uncovered, for 2 minutes before serving.
Notes
*I used a 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes in puree

Be sure and use the minimum liquid recommended for your pressure cooker.

FYI I was not asked to promote Sheese products. I just recently discovered it and some of them are available in Japan and thought other allergy sufferers of dairy would appreciate knowing about this product. Soy isn’t really recommended for women with PCOS, but when you want cheese you do what you gotta do. 😉

Beetroot Houmous

I love houmous, but there is only so many times I can eat houmous before I need a bit of a change. I know there are options like avocado hummus which is delicious! But, sometimes I want to save my avocados for another recipe. I just happened to be watching a cooking show on TV (Gordon Ramsay was the chef) and I saw Beetroot houmous! The color is what really got me. That rich purple red color with the creamy mix of chickpeas mmmm, splendid! I immediately started to pay attention and it was just as simple as avocado hummus!

Now, I know most people use canned chickpeas and that’s fine, but I don’t like the added salt in the can. I buy dry chickpeas and cook them in my pressure cooker and boy do they cook fast! To cook chickpeas in a pressure cooker you don’t even need to pre-soak. Just rinse 1 cup of chickpeas real quick, pop them in the pressure cooker with 3 cups water, close the lid and cook for 30 minutes. Simple as that.

I just happened to stumble upon fresh beetroots at my supermarket (almost impossible to find canned or fresh! in Nagoya at least). You have no idea how excited I was! I quickly bought 2 medium sizes beetroots and checked, my friend, pinterest for cooking length. It was surprisingly fast, too. Fill a pot with water and bring to a boil (there should be enough water to cover the beetroots). Make sure to clean the beets really well, no dirt or grime left. This way you can save the water and use it as stock or food coloring. Once the water is boiling and your beetroots are clean, pop them into the water and cook for 20-30 minutes and then put them in an ice bath immediately after cooking. They should be soft, insert a toothpick to check. The ice bath helps to remove the skin quickly, but I didn’t have ice. I put them in a cold bath and then I used a vegetable peeler. Just be careful not to peel too much or you will lose a lot of your beetroots! Of course, beetroots are delicious on their own, but save some for the houmous!

Cut the beetroots into cubes and put them in a food processor with the chickpeas. Add some Extra Virgin Olive Oil ( I gave a nice dallop and then I added more as I went until I got the consistency I liked), add a dash of salt (again add in small increments till you get the flavor you like). I use about 2 cloves of garlic and add 1/4 tsp of garlic powder and onion powder. Don’t forget a generous portion of cumin (I like 1-2 tbsp, sometimes more) and blend away. Once the texture is creamy I add about half a lemon and squeeze all the juice (minus the seeds) into it and blend again. If you like you could add some smoked paprika!

It should be a beautiful rich purple red color that is oh so good! Make sure to buy some carrots and cucumbers (or lettuce leaves) so you have something to eat this hummus with or you will end up eating hummus with a spoon.  Thank you Gordon Ramsay!

No-Knead Bread

This bread has been a life changer for me! I love bread, but I have dairy and egg allergies. I can’t buy bread from the store, because they often use eggs, milk or butter, not to mention the processed sugar! As women with PCOS we all know that processed sugars are not our friend. It can lead to diabetes since we are already at risk just by having PCOS.

I had to find a way to make bread that wouldn’t require me to spend hours in the kitchen. The only thing spending hours in the kitchen is the bread itself. Because we don’t knead it we let the bread sit over night with a towel draped over it. I keep my in the oven, just because I have cats who might try to sneak under that towel. And there is the added benefit that the oven will keep the moisture generated by the yeast that we use.

I have made two different versions with this recipe. One was with sesame seeds, pecans, chia seeds and pumpkin seeds. The other one I went for a vegan olive cheese bread. Did I mention I’m allergic to dairy? And PCOS women shouldn’t consume dairy anyway, sooooo I tried to replicate the flavor of breads with cheese in them. Not exactly the same, but I liked the flavor. I still need to do more experimenting with that one, so I will share the first one only. The recipe I used is from The Awesome Green and it’s called the No Knead Bread with Buckwheat, Rye, Seeds and Nuts. Have you been to her site yet? I love it! Great photos and fun posts…unlike mine, but anyway! I just had to share this recipe, because it’s too good not to!

no-knead-bread

Photo Courtesy of The Awesome Green

All you have to do is mix all the ingredients together and then cover it. Keep it in a slightly warm place, this is why I used my oven. Whatever heat the dough would generate would stay in the oven and it helps it to keep the moisture. Which is really important if you use coconut flour like I do.

Now let’s get to the recipe!

No-Knead Bread with Buckwheat, Rye, Seeds and Nuts
Prep time
14 hours
Cook time
1 hour 10 mins
Total time
15 hours 10 mins
Loaded with fiber and minerals, the no-knead bread doesn’t require any baking skills and comes with a delicious crunchy-crust and nutty flavor.
Author: The Awesome Green
Cuisine: Vegan
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour (wholemeal)*
  • 1 cup buckwheat flour*
  • 1 cup rye flour*
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • ½ cup toasted hazelnuts
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • ½ cup toasted sunflower seeds
  • ¼ tsp instant yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1&1/2 cups filtered water
  • *extra flour to sprinkle the working surface and bowl
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast, salt, nuts and seeds, then add water.
  2. Stir to combine and obtain a sticky dough.
  3. Cover the bowl with a clean towel and let the dough rise at room temperature for for 12 hours (until bubbles appear on its surface).
  4. Sprinkle a working surface with flour, transfer the dough on it, fold it once or twice and give it a ball shape.
  5. Sprinkle abundantly the bowl with flour, place the dough inside, cover with a clean towel and let it rise for two more hours (it should double its size).
  6. With about 20 minutes before the dough is ready, heat the oven at 220ºC/450ºF and place a cast-iron pot or a clay one into the oven, empty, to accumulate heat.
  7. Remove the pot from the oven, carefully transfer the dough into it, cover with a lit and bake for 30 minutes.
  8. Remove the lid and bake for 40 more minutes.
  9. Remove from the pot and let cool for a 10 minutes before slicing.
Notes
I subbed half buckwheat and half coconut flour when I didn’t have rye flour or whole wheat flour and it worked well! Just remember to keep adding water until the dough sticks to itself and feels sticky, otherwise it will just be a crumbly mess. It’s best to use 1 cup coconut flour, 1 cup rye flour and 1 1/2 cup buckwheat flour. Add the amount of water recommended in the recipe, but if it falls apart add more. Like I said before keep adding water a little bit at a time until it sticks together and it starts to feel sticky. Then place in the oven (off!) and leave it over night.
I don’t have a pot with a lid that can be baked, so I use a frying pan that can be baked and cover it with aluminum foil. It works great!
Don’t be afraid to experiment with what you throw in. I’ve used sesame seeds, olives, nutritional yeast and it turns out great. Find the flavors you like in your bread to switch things up.
Let me know how it works out! Happy baking!

no-knead-buckwheat-bread

Photo courtesy of The Awesome Green.

 

Entering the decade of my 30’s

February 1st was my 30th birthday. I have officially entered my 30’s. I know many people weren’t ready for it, but I was.

I appreciated all that I have learned in my 20’s. From the crazy nights of clubbing and drinking during college to becoming more responsible and going to work (not hungover). I grew from the immature and strong headed girl into who I am today. Of course, I can still be strong headed, but I’ve learned to not fight everything that comes my way. I’ve learned to let things go and say “oh well”. I’ve let go of friends (or at least pseudo friends) to keeping a small, close set of friends. That’s not to say I don’t make new friends, I do. I just now know how to recognize who will be a good friend for me. It isn’t about the quantity, it’s the quality of our friendships that matter.

I moved countries in my twenties. I met my husband in my twenties. I learned I had PCOS in my twenties. I started fertility treatments in my twenties. My twenties were a time of learning a lot about myself. Finding what worked for me. Learning how to deal with my health. I began to love cooking, because it was a way to take care of myself and experiment at the same time. My twenties…

I experienced so much in my twenties, but I was ready to say good-bye when my 30th birthday was approaching. Now, that I am officially thirty I can say that I look forward to what my thirties will bring. I hope that my thirties will bring me a baby or two, but I have no control over that. Whatever comes I know I will be able to handle it. The good and bad is a part of life and I will remind myself to focus on the good days, more than the bad. The bad days are so strong that I need to remind myself about the good. Otherwise, that will become a sinkhole that I don’t want to have to fight out of. I have enough on my plate thank you very much.

I think I’ve grown a lot, but I know that there will be more to learn and experience. There is always something to do or that happens. I hope that whatever comes my way I handle it gracefully and am able to look back on it and learn from it. Of course, I know there will be plenty of wonderful moments and I will try to hold onto to those and let go of the bad ones.

So, I say “Hello 30. I’m Victoria. It’s wonderful to meet you. What do you have for me today?”

No-Go

The last time I mentioned that 30 follicles had been stimulated. I went to my follow-up appointment and nothing had changed. Which means the medication (Sexovid) didn’t give me enough of a boost. So, my doctor ordered a 2 week break in which hopefully my period will come.

According to my doctor the medication isn’t going to cut it. It’s been a year since I started using Clomid, Sexovid and Hormone shots to try and ovulate. I just turned 30 on February 1st. I’m thinking these are a few of the reasons why my doctor decided to try IVM after a year of trying with the medication.

I have to admit I was a bit shocked to hear my doctor recommend IVM after only a year of hormone medication and shots. I wondered if my condition was that severe. I mean, I do have a partial bicornuate uterus on top of the PCOS. But then I realized, that it might actually be a good thing to move to this stage so quickly. The medication of hormones clearly aren’t working on my body, I hope to have at least 2 children and I would like my first child before I turn 35. In the long run, this might be the best thing for us. At least that is what I am telling myself and it helps to keep me in high spirits. At this point anything to keep up our spirits are the best thing.

I will talk about IVM in another post. It’s a rather new technology compared to IVF. It started to become available in 2007 or 2009. For those of us that can’t mature eggs IVM will be (hopefully) a little more gentle on the body (not to mention the wallet).

30 follicles have been stimulated

Well, after my morning sickness side effects my doctor didn’t give me the fourth shot and when I went in for my next scheduled check-up my doctor saw that I had about 30 follicles that were about 12-15mm on my right ovary. He told me that another shot of hormone is too risky, because the chances of OHSS (Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome) was very likely to happen in this situation. Instead, he prescribed Sexovid again. Remember Sexovid is similar to Clomid, but a little weaker which means less chance of side effects. I took it for 5 days twice a day.

No major side effects although I do feel a lot of pinching around my right ovary and my breasts have a lot of pings and pangs going on throughout the day. I’ve felt the need for chocolate, so I made myself some. I went to the gym one day so far this week for cardio. The rest of my workout is from walking about 40-50 minutes to work in the morning or some basic weight training like push-ups, triceps, squats and stretching.

Currently, I have finished all of my meds and am waiting to see the doctor (tomorrow). Here’s hoping that one or two (or three or four) eggs are ready to be released! Then the doctor can give me a shot of something or other that will make my body release the egg(s). Cross your fingers for me!