The more I go into Genea, the more I appreciate what a wonderfully well-oiled machine that place is. It is just run like clock-work and all the nurses and women working in there are so gentle and friendly and sweet. I must’ve been VERY unlucky with my first consultation visit there (months ago now) and definitely got a bad first impression. That made me incredibly apprehensive about continuing this process at Genea but honestly, I’m so glad I did because they’re fantastic.
I was seen very quickly and was in and out in 10 minutes. I’m so lucky I live close by. It must be so annoying to travel long distances on public transport for a 5 minute appointment only to have to turn around and go back again.
I always feel funny and light-headed if I don’t eat after a blood test so after Genea I had a good feed on the greatest corn fritters at Kafeine in Balmain. I came home with a plan to get stuck into my uni work (assignment due in 2 days arrhhhh) but pretty much as soon as I got in the door, that fatigue hit me like a tonne of bricks again. I listened to my body, surrendered and went back to bed.
Before I go on, let me explain the two injections in the way that I was able to understand them because I literally only just worked this out due to too much science talk and weird confusing packaging and not enough plain english and good analogies…
You get given two kinds of injections in your Genea party bag to take home with you. You give yourself one or both of these injections every day until it’s time to go and have your little procedure to collect all your eggs and pop them in the freezer.
The first injection is called Gonal F or ‘FSH’ as you’ll hear the doctors and nurses call it. FSH stands for Follicle Stimulating Hormone. Its job is pretty self-explanatory – to stimulate lots of follicles to produce and grow in your ovaries so that when harvesting comes around, you’ve got a whole bunch there, instead of just one. Not all follicles contain eggs though, which is why it’s important to have lots to choose from. Think of your ovaries as those pretty japanese bowls at sushi train and the egg as the edamame bean and the follicle as the green pod surrounding the bean. When you hit up sushi train and tuck into that edamame in those cute little bowls, not every pod has a delicious shiny green jewel in there waiting to be gobbled up. (Life is cruel!)
While you’re taking Gonal F, your hormones be goin’ crazy like “quick let’s pump this bitch’z sushi bowls with as many edamame beans as possible!” That’s why it’s totally normal and expected for you to feel a whole range of different things at this time. Your body is working in overdrive and your hormones are more jacked up than every dude from Geordie Shore combined during a pre-clubbing workout. THAT’S VERY JACKED!
Every woman is unique so our symptoms and side effects from the hormone injections will all be different. Some may have no side effects, others may have loads. So far, I have experienced extreme fatigue and some mild nausea but no pain at all (considering I have Endo I thought the injections might stimulate growth of the Endo and I’d be in agony but not a pinch so far!)
The other injection is Cetrotide – the antagonist. Who the hell is supposed to know what the fuck an antagonist is?! Seriously. This was assumed knowledge when I had that first awful consultation at Genea and a big part of the problem why this process can be so confusing. For normal humans without a scientific background: An antagonist medication stops something from working – which in this case means it stops the Gonal F from generating more follicles, stops you from ovulating and prevents the eggs from being released. Think of it this way – if all the eggs and follicles were realeased from your ovaries, then there’d be nothing to collect! That’s why you need the Cetrotide.
Generally, (we’re all different) you have the Gonal F injections every day from Day 1 to Day 5 or 6. For some reason, my body has responded very quickly to the Gonal F. My blood test this morning showed that my oestrogen had sky rocketed so even though it’s only Day 3, I now need to get started on taking the Cetrotide in order to counteract the Gonal F and lower those oestrogen levels. If I didn’t do this, I’d be at risk of something very rare but dangerous called ‘Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome’. Because Genea keep such close tabs on you, cases of this are extremely rare because you’re always being checked, monitored and well-looked after.
So, after getting off the phone, I cracked open a box of Cetrotide and gave myself the injection. This one’s a little different to the others. I had to carefully lay out all the needles and jars and alco-swabs and read the instructions a few times to be sure I knew what I was doing before I injected, but after you’ve done it once, it’s easy. Not sure what it was about this injection but I certainly felt the immediate effects from this one. Shortly after I’d injected myself, I felt quite woozy, nauseus and just odd. Then hormotional Syl came outta nowhere and I was overcome with I don’t even know what – but I cried. Big heavy sobs.
Once that was over, all I wanted to do was pull the doona over my head and go back to sleep but I had a meeting at uni to work on an assignment so I was forced to get out of my trackies and put my game face on. I’m not in the business of being a martyr or keeping any of this a secret, so I warned my study buddy that I felt like crap and explained to him what I was going through. He was wonderful and emotionally held me up while I struggled to make sense of anything I was reading or typing for the next 3 hours. In all honesty, I was pretty useless. I felt sick, tired and my vision was blurring. By 6pm I was shattered and we called it a day. I tried really hard to work but my concentration was terrible and I could barely string a sentence together. It felt like my brain was filled with fairy floss and I’d just woken up from an anesthetic.